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General Articles - Editorials

Smell the Daisies

Article written by Dr. Jones

Date Added: 06/06/2010

Is a Jeep an actual vehicle, or just a toy? Or maybe it can be both?

Let me explain. So much of Jeeping is focused on building it bigger, badder, better. We all NEED (at least that's what we try to convince our significant other) that latest and greatest lift or locker or piece of body armor, so we can push our Jeeps that much farther. An entire industry with countless companies exists for the sole purpose of making your Jeep more capable off road. Look at us for example. We have an archive with literally hundreds of articles about ways to modify your perfectly good Jeep so that it can drive over a bigger rock than it can now. Is there something better on the other side of that bigger rock than there is on this side? Is the view better because you drove over then big rock instead of taking the bypass? Of course not. So? Why do we do it?

Anyone with a modified Jeep has probably been asked that very question by someone with a stock Jeep at some point. Usually the best we tuff guys with our big Jeeps can muster up in response is an uncomfortable laugh and some sort of ?you wouldn't understand? cliché expression. It?s a very good question, and we know it. Fear not, though, there is an equally good answer. Why do we do it? Because it KICKS ASS! That?s why. We look at Jeeping as a motorsport, like riding dirt bikes or snowmobiling. The fun is in the drive itself, not in the destination.

As the Editor in Chief, I?ve been caught up in that aspect of Jeeping for so long, that I had actually forgotten that there was any other reason to own a Jeep. I mean, really, can you actually have fun simply using a Wrangler as a means of transportation to a destination with no wicked awesome obstacles (big rocks) on the way out there? Those guys in their wussy stock Jeeps don?t know what they?re talking about? do they?
We loaded up the Wrangler (surprisingly roomy with no kids in the back) and headed four hours west of Moab. Did you know there ARE other destinations besides Moab in southern Utah? We nearly had forgot ourselves, but anyway, our destination was a backpacking/hiking trip in some of the classic canyons of Southern Utah. Once in the area, the road out there was 40 miles of smooth dirt and washboard. Not a single stretch of slickrock, not a single mud pit, not anything remotely like a classic Moab obstacle. The Jeep truly was just a means of getting there. Could I really do this and still enjoy my Jeep?
Admittedly it took a little while to accept it that this was just a drive. Fortunately I had about 4 hours to get used to the idea. I was finally able to relax and stop looking for some feature in the road that would require me flipping on the locker, but I was still bored. Here we were driving down a bumpy dirt road totally wasting this Jeep?s off road potential. But the moment we reached our destination, all those thoughts that I had somehow morphed my Jeep Wrangler into a Jeep badged Patriot or Compass were instantly gone.
I?ve run the same Moab trails over and over again all the while never realizing that in the same amount of driving time I could be here. My obsession with driving over bigger and bigger rocks kept me from even considering what could be at the end of a boring dirt road.
After our hiking trip through Coyote Gulch and neighboring slot canyons, we headed north through Capitol Reef National Park (imagine that, I'm already up to three other spectacular locations that aren't in Moab). Again miles and miles of dirt roads with zero reasons for lockers, a flexy suspension, or even low range. And again? revelation.
Rock crawling takes so much focus on the trail itself, that we never stop to smell the daisies and we miss all the stuff on either side. That stuff I?m talking about is breath taking scenery and time spent sharing it with the family. I remember almost nothing of the road surface itself. I simply didn?t care. My head was only facing forward just enough to keep from crashing. I didn?t want to miss a second of everything off of the road. Don?t tell anyone, but I?m starting to think maybe those stock Jeep guys actually might be onto something.

Final Thoughts

What now? Am I going to strip all the modifications off my Jeep and join the herds of stockers that only drive places with a purpose at the end of the road? Hell no! I love the technical, hardcore rockcrawling. But this trip did have an effect on me. I am much more open to "smelling the daisies" and going places in the Jeep because of the features off the trail, not on it.

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