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Unloaded, OFF-ROAD Magazine
1733 Alton Parkway, Ste. 100
Irvine, CA 92606
Remember, we’re giving away swag every month to the author of our favorite letter. Be sure to include your address, so we know where to send your goods. Thanks!
Letters of the Month
Everyone who wrote in really took some time to recall how they came to be off-road junkies. Therefore, we’re hooking up our published letter writers not only with some genuine OFF-ROAD shirts, license plates, and stickers, but also with a DVD copy of Mud, Trucks, & Beer: Story of the Yankee Rebels to get you in the mood to go and get down and dirty. You can find the DVD at www.trucknight.com or you can write into OFFROAD for stickers and plates at Jerrod.firstname.lastname@example.org
In the July 2011 issue, we asked you to tell us how you got into off-roading. Funnily enough, a lot of the stories weren’t too different. Sure, everyone had his own tale to tell, but it seems that most of us got bit by the 4x4 bug early on and were never quite able to shake it—no matter how much time, money, jobs, or women it cost us!
START ’EM YOUNG
My love for off-roading comes
from my childhood. I distinctly
remember driving to local state and
national parks in my dad’s bright red
’86 F-150 4x4 on the way to camping
weekends. While listening to cassette
tapes of Judas Priest and Autograph,
Dad would drive us down the dirt
roads and trails to our destination.
Even though we were going camping
and fishing, my favorite part was
always getting there. Getting out to
engage the hubs in shin-deep mud
became a memorable past time.
In high school I worked with a
man from California who introduced
me to prerunners. Being in Wyoming,
it was something I had never heard
of but quickly began to love. I soon
bought my fi rst truck, and started
driving off-road as fast as it would go.
After Dust to Glory came out (which
I watched alone in the theater), I
started making random trips after
school or on my days off to anywhere
with trails or dirt roads where I could
quench my thirst for dirty speed.
Off-roading is a wonderful sport.
I hope more people can enjoy it in the
future. Thanks guys for doing such
great work on an incredible magazine.
I love reading it every month!
IN THE SANDBOX
Some of my earliest memories
are of playing with Hot Wheels, being
fascinated with monster trucks,
hauling loads of sand with my Tonka
Trucks, and helping my dad work on
his F-150. I remember as a small boy
going out to work on my dad’s truck
and thinking it was just the coolest
thing to hand him wrenches and to
get my hands dirty.
This, of course, all culminated
when I was turning 16 and had saved
up enough money to buy my dad’s
old truck. It was at this very moment
that I felt proud and excited to be an
owner of a 4x4. The fi rst thing I did
(well, just after I purchased my fi rst
set of 31x10.50R15 mud-terrain tires)
was hit the local seasonal roads and
two tracks of my native northern
As we have all experienced, one
stuck and broken part lead to another;
the fi nal result being a continuous
build-up of lift, rims, bigger tires,
engine/trans rebuilds, and of course
the most important thing of all—
knowing that this was something
more than just a hobby. It was in my
I read all of my OFF-ROAD magazines
front to back, always thinking
about what I want to do next to my offroad
truck (’91 K5), my wife’s Jeep (’04
WJ), or my daily driver (’06 Mega Cab).
Off-roading is something that is
just a part of me. I honestly cannot
explain it. If I am having a bad day all
it takes is a quick spin in my K5, slinging
some mud, to settle me down and
make realize again that it is the small
things in life that mean the most.
As for what got me into off-roading,
nothing specifi cally stands out.
Off-roading was in me even before I
knew what it was, and the fact is that
I love working with my hands and am
a tried and true gear-head who cannot
get enough of the off-road lifestyle!
VEHICLE PERFORMANCE ENGINEER
My experience with four-wheeldrive
trucks started in 1984. I grew up
in the Chicago suburbs, so off-road
adventures were few and far between.
Anything with 4WD in that area did
(and still does) command a premium
price. In order for a “po-boy” like myself
to be able to afford one of these
trucks, I had to get creative.
I was on the bid list for buying
vehicles from Commonwealth Edison
(our electric supplier) for some time
when I fi nally won a ’73 Chevy K20
with a pair of the heaviest-duty axles
I have ever owned. The truck was little
more than junk, but I was now in the
four-wheeling family. Not fully realizing
what I had, I regretfully sold the
truck two years later!
A year after (1987), I bought a ’69
F-100 with factory 4WD. With its Armstrong
steering, and four-wheel (nonpower)
drum brakes, you had better
have your “A game” on to drive this
truck. After 24 years of misadventures
(I’ve nearly died twice in this truck), I
am still proud to have it in my fleet.
Now I live in the foothills of the
Ozark mountains where I have hundreds
of miles of gravels roads at my
disposal. Because of where I live, my
list has grown to include more Fords,
Chevys, 19 FSJs (including parts cars),
and one CJ5. So, as you can tell, once
the bug has bitten, it’s hard to cure (if
you would ever want to).
RONALD A. POKRACKI
MARBLE HILL, MISSOURI