Three Suzuki Samurai on a Splendid Saturday Editor: Eric Bewley Photo:D. Arnold
PORTLAND, OR – Most of the time here at Zukiworld H.Q., we plan our trips out months in advance and try to pack as much fun as possible into each and every moment to maximize the time we have out in the great out doors and this pays off well. However, sometimes it is just as advantageous to pick up the phone, call a couple buddies, and head for the hills. Saturday was that kind of day. The weather we have been having here in the Pacific Northwest this winter has been brutal as it has been in many areas of the world. The end result is that a lot of the days are being spent indoors and winter’s dreary grip is even more soul crushing than usual.
We set off early in the morning. The we I speak of consisted of three well equipped and small Samurai ready to check out an area that we were unfamiliar with. Ron in his ’91 Samurai with a 2″ lift, lockers front and rear, 4:1 t-case, 235 tires, and a cool homebuilt rack in the back for stowing stuff. Davey in his heavily modified Samurai that most Zukiworld readers should be familiar with 30 inch Goodyears, Lockers, 4:1 gears, 1.6Liter, and other goodies. Additions of late to his Samurai that we are still trying to find a name for, is a fresh top, a modified ARB winch bumper and a rebuilt Warn 8274 winch. Davey has an affinity for these winches and is restoring them all of the time. I was in my newly redone Samurai named GI Jane. It has just been refreshed with new bodywork and paint from our good friends at 99W Customs and is back to it’s fighting weight with 30 inch BFG, 4.89:1 gears, lockers, SJ410 stuff, Swift GT stuff, etc… Well, it’s actually better than last time I restored / rebuilt it but that’s a story for another day.
Would we find awesome trails or gates blocking our every way? The answer would be yes and even though the weather was incredibly miserable, we all had a wonderful day of exploring. The area we were exploring is South and East of the Portland area and is a patchwork of private, BLM, Forest Service, and even a bit of Oregon Dept. of Forestry thrown in so it can be tough knowing where you are and sometimes the continuity of the roads and trails can be interrupted by one land owner’s policy vs. another. So our expectations were not that high as we headed up and away from civilization.
We weren’t looking for any hard core break your junk kind of trails as we just wanted to explore a new to us area and see what we could see. We found some moderate stuff to wheel on and some excellent waterfall features to. I guess when it’s raining an inch an hour, there tends to be waterfalls just about everywhere.
Not to give a blow-by-blow description of the day, suffice it to say that there was a fair share of mud and some great narrow trails that a full size could not have done and even a Sidekick would have had difficulty on some of the squeezes.
The newest explorer to join our group, Davey’s son Mason had a good time reading his books and telling his dad about where his belly button is located. I look forward to the day when Mason is driving his own Samurai and can join us on the trail.
Did we find what we were looking for? Well I know I did. Just getting out and seeing my good friends and wheeling in the woods was exactly what the doctor ordered and it was all good. This includes the rain beating down, the blocked gates, and the dreary day. Everything goes better with friends.
Talk about it!