Two weeks back we rolled into Barnwell Mountain Recreation Area in Gilmer, TX to do some wheeling with North Texas Jeep Club. We've been putting the Jeep through different scenarios to determine what type of driving and level of off-roading we want to do with it. At this point I have to admit my pride may have been a decisive factor in the upgrades we have the Jeep in the shop for right now.
Until we wheeled at Barnwell the Jeep did everything we put it through. I will admit that since we purchased it though, it has been very sluggish. This is due to the previous owner putting larger tires on it without regearing to accomodate the larger rotational mass. For example, 6th gear is unusable. I am not exaggerating. Unless you get the vehicle over 80 mph, 6th gear will not pull the vehicle down the road and it slowly creeps down in mph until you have to shift back to 5th before it lugs out. Honestly, with the gearing issue I don't even know what proper gearing will do for off-roading. Remember, were new to this.
Because our Jeep is basically stock except for the 3" lift and 33" tires, were always put in the easy group. That means the trails we run with the group are 1 or 2 diamond trails. I admit, my pride is hurt every time were placed into that group. I want to run the Mudbug through some harder stuff to see what it can or cannot do. Barnwell gave us that opportunity. Actually in all honesty, NTJC's leader gave us the opportunity. During the lunch break I was telling him that I wanted to run some harder trails because as of yet the Jeep had not been challenged. To my surprise he said SURE, come along with us, if you get stuck well get you out! And that kicked off a whole new era for the Mudbug.
The trail he took us on was a 3 diamond. There were some obstacles we did well on, one that challenged us but we made it, and one the Mudbug was not able to overcome. It was this obstacle that Justin said "That's what you need lockers for". It was good. This gave us a lot of understanding that we did not have until that point about the value of specific upgrades.
We had a fantastic day with the group and are looking forward to the next event. Until that time though, we decided to do some solo wheeling and made plans to go to Hot Springs Arkansas for some wheeling. That experience will be in our next post.