Off Roading:

Now then there is Overlanding.   This is my kind of off roading.  Overlanding is about traveling.  It’s about going some place, not just getting through some thing.  The way I see it, Overlanding has a point.  A destination as well as the journey.

via Overland | Mad Ogre.

fj40 2


fj40 1The Blue Beast: a 1973 Toyota Landcruiser FJ 40.

That was my baby for some 15 years till my back protested loud enough that I had to sell it. … the suspension was not Cadillac if you know what I mean.  This thing could no go past 45 mph, had no A/C, 3-speeds and swayed more than a drunk at 3 am on a Saturday. But this is the vehicle that taught be to be a driver.

When you off-road, you soon learn all about managing assets. You see, it is not only going out there where few people have gone before (or, if you are lucky, nobody) but also to get back to your point of origin. It is to learn enough about your vehicle to detect by sheer feel when something might not be right, to know what parts go pectoral up and be smart to have the spares with you and know how to install them, to be ready & creative when something you did not expect happens and fix it, to conserve fuel, to conserve yourself. Remember, you are in the middle of nowhere so what it is just a nuisance in the city can be life or death out there.

You also enjoy to go slow. As any youngin, I had the fever for speed but when the road (or lack thereof) forces you to crawl at 5 mph, you learn to enjoy it…and learn to enjoy what surrounds you. You learn to read the road and figure how to take a particularly treacherous passage by just a quick glance. And teaches you that lots of times, caution is the better part of valor and a strategical retreat is the smartest choice.


4 Replies to “Off Roading:”

  1. Ah, the FJ Landcruisers. My current daily driver is a 79 3.0 diesel which I bought one year ago for $3000- a super deal in PNG, where even a Hilux is usually beat to death after a decade.
    Anyway, she’s pretty much the perfect car for PNG, able to take on the poorly paved main road, and the unpaved, ungraded rutted mess that’s all the other roads with equal aplomb.

  2. A Land Cruiser was always my idea of what an off road vehicle should be. As it was, all I could afford was an International Scout II. Well used when I got it, it still provided years of off road, and so very often, off any trail fun.
    One of the more memorable was a trip to a wilderness lake with a couple buddies and attempting to cross a pond without first checking the depth- in my defense, it was pretty damn cold here in MN at the time- and not only getting stuck in the middle, but the engine died.
    My two friends looked at me with some serious fear in their eyes- we were a bit out of the way for ‘help’ to arrive any time soon. “We’re fooked, Jimmy!” Blurts one. I laughed. ‘Yup.”
    “So what do we do now?” asked the other. I didn’t answer, just silently prayed.
    “Well,” sez I, still praying. “If it doesn’t start and move out, she’s stuck here ’til freeze-up and I get a tow out somehow.”
    Being the Buddies they were, they unassed by climbing onto the top, then leaped for the dry shore four or five feet away, to stand behind the truck, drinking coffee and watching me.
    Praying louder now, “OK, Lord- it’s all up to You now… either she starts or we start walking…” and I turned the key and stepped on the gas.
    The dual exhaust were positioned perfectly and my friends standing behind the truck laughing at me, were in perfect position. The engine roared to life with a huge belch of exhaust that shot water from the truck to drench my friends, now running away yelling threats to my body.
    Dropping the tranny into gear, I kept praying and stepped on the gas.
    Needless to say, the Scout made me proud and showed its class as it pulled out of the muck.
    The return trip was even more funny… but I won’t take up more of your bandwidth telling it.
    Thanks for the memories, Miguel. God bless. And may we all have the joy of owning a real off road vehicle.

    1. The Scout was an awesome 4×4. You didn’t see many down there, but it would go any place a Landcruiser and a CJ5 would go and none of the other ones could ever dream. The only “drawback” it had IMHO was a bit too watertight which is not a good thing crossing rivers…. but nothing that could not be fixed by drilling one-inch holes in the appropriate places.

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