Top Of The World

I’m missing our new camera hard.

Ran “Top of the World” on Sunday with a small group that included Ryan and his monsterous YJ. Monsterous? Well… maybe not but it’s certainly a capable rig. And even though it’s running what most publications would call a smaller tire size (35″), it has a lot of advantages over stockish rigs on 31’s.

One of these things is not like the other

This picture hurts a little.  I might as well be driving a Caravan.

Out on trails and actually facing adversity… the ZJ has some major disadvantages over other more popular rig choices.  Facing 2′ drops and gigantic walls of dirt and mud, polyurethane bumpers seem like the dumbest idea ever.  Especially when they are as long and as fat as those on the ZJ… even after my trimming.  And clearance… whether a stock XJ or Toyota or Nissan would hit bottom as often as I did I don’t know, but I hit it way to much for comforts sake.  I was definitely glad for the armour I do have, and will certainly invest in some more.  And the 318 that is so nice on the streets and highway… is pretty irrelevant on the trail.

XJ would be a much better choice… but I wish I owned an 80 series Landcruiser.  One that couldswallow 33’s and lock the rear axle stock.   Then again… an 80 series Landcruiser is a large truck.

Coming down on Top of the World

ZJ isn’t going anywhere though.  Eventually I’ll get it on 33’s… or at the least 32’s.  I really want to shy away from lifting it… but maybe 2″ is required.  After observing the abilities of an open diff small lift XJ on 31’s… I definitely feel like my truck could easily be all that I want it to be.

Only Ryan got out of this hole.  I was happy for the bypass route.

Now… having actually driven on the trail, I’ll say that I’d way rather go drifting or to auto-x.  The trail is thrilling… but in a different sense.  I think I’d almost rather be a passenger/spotter.   That might just be a result of the fact that doing so takes MY vehicle out of harms way., but spotting is actually as much of a challenge and as involving as driving.  When the trail gets difficult, it’s really quite impossible to know where all four wheels are at and what exactly lies 6″ ahead or behind each of them from the drivers seat.  Beyond that,  the long drawn out thrill of a an obstacle that might take you two minutes to complete is exciting in the grand scheme of driving experiences, but completely underwhelming compared to the two tenths of  a second mid corner when I am wildly crossed up at auto-x.

I was smart and conservative with my only road worthy vehicle out on the trail… and perhaps as a result, I was the ONLY vehicle of four to make it in and out without some damage.  Harsh… but I’ll continue in the direction I’m headed, running the easy trails and hopefully getting my wife out sometime with me to enjoy long drawn out doki doki moments and nice scenery.

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