Saturday, April 25, 2015

Thrillcraft: Junk Science and Elitist Propaganda

As a nature-lover who enjoys backcountry exploration primarily in a Jeep, I'm far more concerned than most people with the health and protection of the environment.  Most OHV users, whether they drive 4x4s, ride motorcycles, ATVs, mountain bikes, kayaks, hang gliders, JetSkis, snowmobiles, or simply drive their Prius down a dirt road to a picnic area, are also true environmentalists.  The following video, produced by elitist anti-access faux-environmentalists, is a shameful propaganda piece that shows the true colors of the extremist "environmental" organizations.

Exaggerated claims, out-of-context references, junk science, and outright lies make up the bulk of the video and the book they are trying to sell: Thrillcraft: The Environmental Consequences of Motorized Recreation.  While fully exploiting their fabricated stereotype of the hillbilly OHV land abuser to make their point, the editor and publishers of the book just so happen to perfectly fit the "armchair environmentalist" stereotype: rich liberal San Francisco elitist urbanites.  The quotes from the front page of their website summarizes their despicable claims:  "Thrillcraft threaten our national heritage" and "It's time to take back our lands!"

The Jeeping Experience

Jeep produced a great video shot at the 2015 Easter Jeep Safari at Moab, Utah explaining the Jeeping Experience.  The video illustrates the comeraderie of Jeepers; how this vehicle brings together people of all different backgrounds from all across America (and the world!) into an immediate friendship that comes from a shared love of our vehicles and of Mother Nature.  Anti-OHV organizations may paint an ugly picture of Jeepers, but this video shows who we really are:

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Jeep Reveals Another Round of Awesome Concepts at Easter Jeep Safari

Every year, Jeep and Mopar unveil a collection of concept vehicles at the Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah.  The offroad community and media anxious await the reveal of these vehicles, with some years showcasing more exciting vehicles than others.  After last year's uninspired offerings (so bland that I didn't even bother to cover the story) the team at FCA really upped the ante for 2015 - the best collection since 2012.  You can find my coverage of the concepts for 2013, and 2012 by following the links.

Jeep loves retro, and this year's Jeep Chief modernizes their 1970's heritage.  Built on a 4-door Jeep Wrangler Unlimited platform, the Chief is a reinterpretation of the classic Cherokee Chief with a focus on the laid-back Hawaiian beach vibe., Jalopnik, and Car and Driver published their own reviews of the Chief, and judging by the world's response, Jeep has created a real hit.

Even more retro is the Jeep Staff Car, which pays homage to the original World War 2 Willys Jeeps.  The open-air top, minimalist interior, blackout lights, tools, and NDT military tires all show the modern-day Jeep's direct link to its military ancestors. and Car and Driver gave it a very favorable review.

The Jeep Wrangler Red Rock Responder is clearly inspired by Discount Tire Direct's famous RESQ1 backcountry support vehicle.  The extended wheelbase and service bed carry tools and parts for remote vehicular rescue.  37-inch tires make up for the long wheelbase's breakover angle, while Dana 60 axles provide an appreciable increase in strength to stand up to the weight and leverage.

My favorite of the bunch, however, is the Jeep Wrangler Africa.  The closest to production of all the concepts, the Africa expands on the Wrangler's capabilities by pushing it into a niche occupied in other parts of the world by the Land Rover Defender 110/130 and 70-series Toyota Land Cruiser.  With a 12-inch stretch to the body, a raised roof, and a fixed hardtop, the Africa is the perfect expedition vehicle.  A 2.8-liter turbodiesel engine is the icing on the cake. and Jalopnik give it rave reviews.

Jeep produced three other concept vehicles based on the Grand Cherokee, the Renegade, and the Cherokee.  These were all upfitted stock vehicles rather than true "concept vehicles" and are outside the scope of this Wrangler-centric blog.  You can read about these and the above-pictured Jeeps at Expedition Portal, Autoblog, Four Wheeler, and  Four Wheeler put together an awesome photo gallery of all the vehicles.  For more information on the Mopar Performance Parts exhibited on these vehicles, visit's article.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Environmentalists at Moab's Easter Jeep Safari

Self-proclaimed "environmentalists" such as the Sierra Club, the Center for Biological Diversity, and the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance enjoy demonizing OHV users at every opportunity, but at the 2015 Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah a large group of real environmentalists took time out of their vacations to pour some hard manual labor into a trail restoration project.  Four Wheeler Magazine covered the Tread Lightly! Restoration For Recreation project with a thorough background and several photos of the project.