Our First Jeeping Adventure
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We recently bought a jeep and were anxious to see if our ATV offroading skills carried forward. The local 4WD club puts on an annual 2-day event called a "Hump n Bump" that provided us with an ideal opportunity to find out. The emphasis in a "Hump & Bump" is not to admire the scenery, it is to seek out and conquer "obstacles" along the trail. The worst of those obstacles will often have a "go-round" for those whose vehicle (or skill/nerve/maturity level) is not up to the challenge. Trails are rated with a 1 to 4 rating system with 1 being a bumpy dirt road and 4 requiring significant vehicle modifications. Our top of the line 4WD vehicle came stock with serious offroad options like skid plates, locking hubs, sway bar disconnect, etc. However, Jeep had to make the model practical for everyday use, so its stock 10+ inches of ground clearance only qualified us for level 2 trails. Undaunted, we decided we were level 3 ready! Lesson learned: when you jump in with both feet you pay a price for your education!
Each day the trails started out easy enough and even ran through familiar territory. The first thing we noticed was that roads seem a lot narrower in a larger vehicle. The next thing we noticed was that every obstacle resulted in making you 1) stand on your nose, 2) sit on your tail, or 3) hang by your seatbelt. The runs may only be 20 to 30 mile loops, but they take all day
Patty and I both had an absolute blast! We chose to avoid all go-rounds except for one obstacle that was entirely too tight for our 4-door model (though we had winched through it in our ATV's a few years ago). We experienced one little problem early on when we managed to get high centered on a rock, but instead of getting to use my new winch, someone moved in and pulled us off. The factory skid plates functioned well but paid the price. One of the cross members got bent and was rattling against the exhaust. Once we got back to camp, a little wrenching and a 4 pound sledge hammer had us back on the trail with no time lost. Perhaps a few after market additions/replacements might be worth the investment.