Getting a winch on my H3 Hummer has been a goal for a while now. Originally I was going to use Defelice’s winch mount, but chose a different path nearly a year ago. Over that time period I’ve developed my own winch mount that hides inside the factory bumper. What I like most about my design, will be the difficultly recognizing it wasn’t made by Hummer. Currently I’m on my third version of the design and hope to have the fourth version be production ready. The H3 Hummer winch mount is laser cut from 3/8” inch steel to ensure that the design is plenty strong. So far with the testing I have done, it has proven to be plenty thick. As it stands now, the winch should cost in the $300-$400 range powder coated black. Update – Feburary 5th, 2013 Here’s the second video of me testing.
Three miles west of Salton City California is the 4×4 Training Area called Truckhaven Hills. I wouldn’t describe Truckhaven as either a park or a trail, but instead as a play ground. The obstacles for your vehicle to climb over tend to be man made from things such as logs, giant tires, concrete, and boulders. Having just spent an hour watching video’s on YouTube really say that the place looks amazing, and check out this video at the grand opening 2011. Something I haven’t really seen any where else is the labeling of the obstacles like Ski Hills explaining the difficult of crawling over it. Anyway, the next time in the area around 29 palms, I’ll be sure to stop by Truckhaven Hills. Truckhaven Park Map
The east coast doesn’t have much when it comes to 4×4 trails and park, but it seems that New Jersey has a place of it’s own called, “Wharton State Forest.” While the trails are pretty much as easy as it can get and you might get surprised at what you see driving around back there. I find that the best part might be that it doesn’t have any fees or registration required to drive on the trails. (You know what I mean by that if you have ever been to Attica, Indiana at 9AM.) Your not going to find any technical trails or rocks to crawl, but you can find plenty of mud, swamps, and sand that could put up a challenge with a heavy rain. There are some rules to follow, but it’s nothing special. All vehicles must be street-legal, registered, and insured. All drivers must be licensed Travel is restricted to established roads Stay off private roads, driveways, and gated areas Check for the latest videos on YouTube for Wharton State Forest.
I happened upon some great video of the H3 Hummer getting it’s IIHS Rating and thought these two videos were to good to pass up. However, now I’m a bit worried that the IIHS doesn’t quite have the grasp on their job as I once thought. Any true vehicle enthusiast knows the exact motor the vehicle has in it, especially if it’s something weird, but apparently IIHS doesn’t. They have the H3 Hummer listed as an 3.7L V6, when clearly the motor is actually an inline 5-cylinder motor. The tests are only done on 2008+ H3 Hummer models, and you can tell because anything prior 2008+ doesn’t have side impact airbag curtains. That part is nothing special, but when you consider that a 2006 and 2009 have the exact same rating I’m a little bit confused. Anyway, no point in continuing to talking when your most likely here to see the H3 Hummer crash into something.
One of the more infamous trails in Colorado is officially called “Forest Service Road 648,” but most know it as Black Bear Pass. The popularity of this trail stems from the beautiful views that require the driver to have nerves of steel. Black Bear Pass is a seasonal road and generally opens late July and closes in early fall. The Black Bear Road reaches a altitude of 12,840 feet at the highest point after which point the trail descend 4,000 feet into the town of Telluride Colorado. Be sure to keep an eye out for the sign famous for it’s saying: Telluride –> City of Gold 12 Miles – 2 Hours You don’t have to be crazy to drive this road – but it helps Jeeps Only Special thanks to JK Experience for the photos.
Relatively soon, I will be headed to Black Rock City out in Nevada to attend the 2013 Burning Man, Cargo Cult. During Burning Man, Black Rock City becomes Nevada’s third largest city for the week that the event is held. To get there most take State Route 447, but I take a short cut to get there which happens to be off-road. If you’re driving from the east to get to Burning Man, I highly recommend taking Jungo Road (State Route 49). I was able to shave 4 hours of my driving time, with the way I drove getting there. Jungo Road begins in the town Winnemucca, and continues crossing the beautiful Kamma Mountains until finally reaching the town Gerlach. The road is hard packed gravel and for the most part, it was hard for me to believe that the road wasn’t paved with how well it drove. While other sections would be very uncomfortable without four wheel drive or a full-size spare tire. Most of the road follows along the feather river route train tracks. I was passed by the occasional mining truck, but for the most part, I felt alone out there. As a precaution, I don’t recommend driving Jungo Road unless you have a full tank of gas, four wheel drive, and full-size spare tire.
In the 1970’s, off-road enthusiast around Hot Spring Arkansas began exploring the the logging roads in the area, forming an impressive network of trails. Then in 1999, the land owners closed the off-road trails down so that they could put the land up for sale. A couple years later, a group of businessmen bought the land to create the off-road destination Superlift ORV Park. The trail grades begin with completely stock vehicles with four wheel drive, all the way up to trails that requires 36+ inch tires, front and rear lockers, and the expectation of body damage. Superlift ORV Park has hill climbs, mud pits, rock gardens, water crossings, and more through out it’s trail system. Official Website -> Superlift ORV Park Trail Map -> Superlift ORV Park Trail Map
North of Fredericksburg, in Texas hill country, is Canyons Off-Road Park. The concept of this park began with two rock crawling enthusiast when they realized that their favorite local places to off-road at were being closed down. They decided to open up their own park and the rest is history. This park is only open during the hours Friday at 3 P.M. till Sunday at 3 P.M. Canyons ORV park is geared toward 4×4 rigs and ridiculous climbs, but has things to do for mildly modified vehicles too. Have a look at youtube for bunch of videos of the park and find out why they require you to have some sort of roll cage.
Located 30 miles north of Syracuse, New York is the mild off-road trails of New York Fields of Dreams. New York Fields Of Dreams 4×4 park has limited the tire size to 35 inches and doesn’t allow trucks or full-size SUV’s. While a turn of to some wheels, I think it’s nice that this New York Off-Road Park provides a place for the inexperienced to go and drive trails that they really shouldn’t have to worry about. The land is on 100 acres, 85 of which is heavily wooded, with mud holes, hill climbs, water crossings, and side hills. They are minutes from Happy Valley Wildlife Area, consisting of 8,645 acres, upland, wetland, hiking trails, parking lot, birdwatching, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, hunting, fishing and trapping. If your looking for 4×4 trails for a stock vehicle, or want to rent one of their vehicles to experience off-road driving, this is the place to go. Offical Website -> http://www.4wdfarm.com/
South west of the town, “Laurens” is South Carolina’s best off-road vehicle park, Gulches ORV Park. Gulches ORV Park is on 80 acres of land and has over 40 trails rated from easy all the way to skull and cross bones. What’s neat about the trail system at Gulches ORV Park is that the trails are designed so that groups don’t have to split up despite a group having vehicles that wildly more equipped than others. They do this by having easy trails link up with all the hard trails. Keep an eye on the events because Gulches ORV Park offers the chance to run the trails all the way up to midnight. Gulches Off-Road Vechile Park Map Official Website -> http://www.gulchesorvpark.com/
Naches Pass was originally a Native American foot trail connecting the various Salish people on the west side (Nisqually & Puyallup) to the Yakima people on the east side of the Cascade Range. In later years, Naches Pass was worked on to be used as a wagon trail short cut from the Oregon Trail. The trail never found practical use because the steep terrain is nearly impractical for wagons and it would required over 60 crossing of the Naches River before reaching the pass from the east. One of the earliest written accounts of the Naches Pass is from Theodore Winthrop. He wrote a book titled “By Canoe and Saddle,” in which he narrates his journeys in the Washington area predating 1855 with his own personal account of crossing the Cascade using this very trail. The western half of the trail, number 1175, is only open from November 15th to July 15th in an attempt to reduce the soil erosion. Where as the eastern section of the trail, number 684 Naches Pass is open to off-road enthusiast year around, however snow may make the trail impassible. Along the trail, in Camp Urich, is a log cabin complete with a loft and wood burning stove open to the community to use. The cabin is located on the Pacific Crest Hiking Trail and requires just as slight detour south from Naches Pass to spend the night at. The cabin is reserved on a first come first served basis, which means that it may […]
In the town Harrison, Michigan is Rocks and Valleys Off-Road Park where it gets a bit more wild than the usual off-road park. The difficulty of the trails range from beginner to expert, even the people afraid of scratching the paint will have a place to play in the 200 acres. Rocks and Valleys Off-Road Park has rock gardens, tires gardens, hills to climb, and of course plenty of mud holes. The cost is $20 for each driver per day and an additional $5 for the passengers. What are you waiting for? Head on out! Rocks and Valleys Off-Road Park Map Rocks and Valleys Off-Road Park Official Website