First, let me set the stage for ya:
I stopped by work last night and picked up the So Cal off road trail guide my buddy had. I browsed through it and the girlfriend and I decided to head up to Big Bear and try some "moderate" rated trails. You can see my set up in the signature on this post. However, this Jeep is my first 4x4 since having a suburban about 20 years ago. Needless to say, I'm not aware of my ability or that of my jeep.
We get up to Big Bear about noon and had lunch. We then took a nice long trail on the back side of the ski resort. Near the end of that, testosterone got the best of me. My girlfriend said, "I wanna climb over some shit." My brilliant response? "Okay....we'll try one of the "difficult rated trails. If we get to a point that's too much, we'll turn back." We went to find Holcumb only to find it's completely closed off. So we turn around and head back to the Dishpan trail.
Starts out with a few challenging bumps, rocks and hills. Challenging enough that I got out to scout it a couple times. Then I get to a spot that was just crazy. Honestly, if it werent for some fresh tracks from another vehicle I might not have picked the right line. Still, I showed my girlfriend exactly where I wanted my tires, aired down and even set the superchips program to "Crawl." There was only one acceptable line and it was TIGHT. It also requires a hard 90 degree turn while the supension was fully flexed. This part took a while. I scraped a LOT!! I thought for sure I'd snap some part of the steering component.
The rest of the trail left me with a couple more challenging spots but that was the worst. I couldn't even imagine doing this run the opposite direction...which is the route the book describes. If it weren't for gravity, not sure I'd have made it. Still, in the end I got a real taste of what the jeep can do and little harm. Scratched a couple rims with minor 1 inch scrapes, scratched the front bumper pretty good (spray paint will fix it) and a little damage on the rear bumper. I already have a rear bumper on order so I didn't care about that.
1. The jeep is far more capable than I had thought...as is.
2. No more "difficult" rated trails without another jeep, another winch and at least one snatch strap.
3. "Difficult" probably means more like "nuts" to me.
4. When you think you're stuck...you're probably not stuck.