"You need tires." My friend Andy stands there in the parking lot looking over the old, worn out tires that sit at the ends of the 1981 Jeep CJ's axles. "Yeah, you definitely need tires. The trails aren't too bad, but the hills are steep. If you stop half-way up, well, we're gonna have to pull the rest of the way up."
The words you hear in a normal conversation among Jeep owners may be the same as those in a conversation about drift cars: differentials, re-gearing, etc., but these guys build their rigs for the woods, not for the track. The Jeep guys talk about disconnecting sway bars, about bump-stops, about what parts of the suspension rubs while flexing, and what armor they want to prevent more body damage. They can easily stand around for hours talking about their trucks and the abuse they put them through, and this is exactly what we did this hot Saturday morning late in June.
To outsiders, the Jeep world may seem pointless: bad gas mileage, bad handling, bad ride. But to those who "get it," Jeeps are a beautiful thing: they represent the ability to go anywhere, to see things so few people see, to explore the American back-country as it was meant to be explored. To the few who consider themselves real Jeepers, they get it. There's a reason they take their motto so seriously: "It's a Jeep thing, you wouldn't understand."
This meetup was organized by my friend Andy simply for the sake of hanging out and talking about Jeeps, wheeling, and everything in-between. If you want more info about off-roading in the Northeast, contact me and I'll put you in touch with somebody who can get you involved.
- Ross, 6/30/13