Space-Age Polymers and Advanced Technology Makes for Instant Fun – Just Add Water!!!

I believe that it is written, somewhere deep within the yellowed pages of an old Jeep owner’s manual, that you have not officially achieved full-fledged Jeep ownership status until you have been baptized into the Jeep church. Don’t get me wrong…despite the name this isn’t a religious ceremony of any sort. It doesn’t require a priest and is not likely to be followed by a reception, complete with little finger sandwiches, fruit punch or a cake. This ‘baptism’ is one of deep water, of pouring rain and probably of mud. Sure, it tends to be a messy ordeal but it always washes off and things dry out long before the memory ever fades.

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I can’t even recall the first time it happened to me, or begin to count the number of times that followed. What I can easily recall is that some of the best times I’ve had in my Jeep have been when things are NOT going the way they should. I could go as far as to say, with reasonable certainty that I’ve been set up. Jeep made plenty of allowances in their design to allow for the unexpected and undesirable to happen. The roof is configured to come off the vehicle entirely, as well as the doors, which both seem pretty suspect to me. There are even plugs in the floor that, when removed, allow for water to drain out of the cab, although the diameter of the drain holes are much too small to keep up with the water flow demand so your ankles will usually remain completely submerged in a heavy downpour. It’s like Jeep knew what kind of trouble Jeep owners were likely to get into and they wanted to make sure we were equipped to handle it and make a full recovery.

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My first ‘baptism’ was innocent enough. It was a sunny spring morning in Georgia and I opted to give my daily driver wheels the day off, choosing to enjoy a sun-soaked trek in to the office in the Jeep. The fresh aroma of budding trees triggered by winters end, accompanied by soft, cool breezes was just the right way in which to start your day and an even better way to end it. Mother nature, however, was hard at work in the background, enacting plans to make sure those blossoming trees had ample water- a plan she would put into full action about the time I began my homeward jaunt. As a steady stream of water trickled from my interior rearview mirror, as though a water faucet had been left on, it occurred to me that a bikini top was probably a well-chosen name for a product that basically guarantees that you are going to get wet. My thoughts then shifted to relative gravity of the situation that unfolded around me as my vehicles entire interior electrical system was being exposed to the one element of nature that it has the least in common with. All these years I spent avoiding the urge to use the hair dryer while lying in the bathtub were all for naught, as I was most certainly about to perish in a freak electrical fire.

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The most redeeming part of the Jeep baptism is probably the impression it makes on those around you that get to witness the event. The look of complete and total pity expressed on the faces of onlookers as they watch you brave the torrential floods must be seen to be believed. A look that could only be outdone by the shock and dismay that their faces would reveal, if they only knew that you were having a blast! I recall on one occasion a fellow in a black luxury sport sedan who pulled up next to me in one such monsoon, partially rolled down his window and made a verbal gesture of his compassion for my plight. “Bad day to own a Jeep! Ain’t it?” he said, to which I replied “No… Thursdays are as good as any day.”

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Of course, there is a flip-side to that coin. Every rose has its thorns; or at least that is the rumor I’ve heard relayed in a song. When it comes to having fun while in a Jeep, water is clearly the magical multiplier. Whether it’s a wide water crossing that runs up to your rocker panels, skirting a majestic waterfall on an isolated backwoods trail or adding equal sums of dirt and water together to make mud- the end result is always the same. Everything you do in a Jeep is “funner” when you add water, but be careful. When you are out wheeling and you add water, things can get really slick really fast! While I don’t mind an occasional struggle for traction, if your adventure has you on any sort of an incline, you will soon be unwillingly finding the shortest route down the mountain; bouncing off anything and everything that is in your path. While this still makes for vast amounts of fun, for those who value pretty painted sheet metal, this can be a real downer. For those Jeepers who are still sending the bank a monthly payment, it’s a downright unacceptable activity to use your Jeep to clear-cut forest land. For that reason, splashing through puddles is the recommended watersport until you have title in hand (with the top off, of course).

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So if you’re out in your topless Jeep and the dark clouds seem to conspire to rain on your parade, don’t despair. It’s just part of your baptism. Sit back, breathe in the air and enjoy it. Most importantly, try not to look too crazy. It’s a Jeep Thing! OlllllllO

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Weighing the Pros & Cons of Insanity

Over the years, I have come to realize that I do my best thinking at night. In that short period of time between lying down and actually falling asleep, I solve some of life’s largest quandaries. To be honest, what I consider to be “my best thinking” is probably substandard to most other people but, at least to me, it’s pure genius-level stuff.

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In stark comparison, I seldom if ever have a lucid thought when I first wake up. At the earliest hint of the first shrill tone from the alarm, my mind is prone to produce such mindless gibberish that I’m left wondering on what occasion I received a head injury. “Where’s the dog!?!!”…”Lefty Loosey” or even “Hello!”, as if answering a phone in my slumber, are some of the first things that come across my mind and therefore cross my lips in mornings earliest seconds. I’ve even been known to grasp desperately at a non-existent handrail, while still comatose, because my mind convinced me I was falling. Trust me…at night time, I am freaking brilliant!

I am currently deeply engaged in the planning of a cross country trek to Toledo, OH for the annual Toledo Jeep Fest in August. And this is not just any trek, but one taken in my 25 year old Jeep. As I laid in bed last night planning what mechanical tasks I needed to address this weekend in preparations for my voyage, it occurred to me that, amongst all the other pertinent planning, I needed to address how my Jeep was going to dress for the trip.

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If you have or have ever had a Jeep, you probably know what I mean. Anytime you take your Jeep out, you have to assess your itinerary and determine the best and most practical set-up for the occasion. If you have a hardtop, most of that decision making is pre-determined for you. Since my YJ is a soft top, I need to ask myself “Do I run the fastback soft top so I have my windows ready in waiting in case the weather goes south or do I roll the dice and don the more-risqué bikini top?” I decide that the fastback top would be the wisest choice and offer the most versatility. See! Nighttime-Me is ridiculously sharp. Isn’t he?

Then my mind progresses to the subject of doors. Do I mount up my half doors to the Jeep with a plan to then store the uppers in the rear cargo area when the weather permits or do I just leave home without any doors at all? I can even store the doors in the hotel room for short jaunts without doors. Or, do I drive half a dozen states away from my home with no means of protecting myself and my vehicles occupants from the elements during what might be one of the hottest Augusts in recent memory? Why, of course I do. Wait…what??

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I think if my wife was accompanying me on this trip, I would have to give the topic of going door-less for 1,300 miles some more intense thought. Bottom line is that I’m taking my teenage son and I love the open-air Jeep lifestyle as much or maybe more than anyone. Face it! I’m never gonna be able to tell my son about walking to school, ten miles each way, uphill in the snow. I need him to remember that time we drove across the country in a Jeep for no reason other than we could. And, worse yet, we wanted to! My exhausted and heavy-eyed self could not pose a single counterpoint as to why I would complete this trip in anything other than true Jeep fashion. Limited top and no doors!

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I hope, beg and pray that you will follow me along my journey beginning on August 8th, 2018 as we make our way to Toledo, the birthplace of Jeep. We’ll be posting pictures from the road and sharing the experience on our Rugged Ridge Facebook page and at YourJeepYourAdventure.com . We hope to see you then! OlllllllO

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Training Tomorrow’s Heroes

“Anyone who does anything to help a child in their life is a hero to me.” ― Fred Rogers

When it comes to turning wrenches on a Jeep, too many people would write it off as dirty, knuckle-busting work. While this conclusion is more than substantiated, it fully dismisses the larger truth that hard work, and in this case mechanical work, can be nothing short of good medicine.

In the foothills of southern Tennessee, there is an organization that really “gets it”. The Austin Hatcher Foundation for Pediatric Cancer has made it their mission to not only erase the effects of childhood cancer but to optimize the quality of life for these kids as they experience the impact of diagnosis and as they brave the trials of their ongoing treatment. The Foundation has found a way to give these kids and their families a valuable tool with which to fight those daily battles- best of all, it’s a tool that already lies within them. They only need to learn how to access it and perfect it’s usage. In my opinion, what better subject with which to develop their craft than on a Jeep.

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While the Jeep seemed a perfect blank canvas for Hatch’s Kids to practice their magic on, it’s not every day that a brand new Wrangler JKU lands in your lap either, at least not in the real world. Fortunately, the fine folks at the Mtn. View Auto Group see things a little bit differently. They jumped in and fired-up a brand-spanking new Wrangler, hopped on the freeway and dropped it on their doorstep…literally. It still had the paper floor mats in it. But not for long.

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The Austin Hatcher Foundation’s goal was to transform this bone-stock JK into a modern interpretation of the classic Jeepster Commando, an early-70’s rarity that added popular muscle car styling to the time-honored CJ persona. Rugged Ridge donated pile upon pile of parts to accomplish this massive undertaking while Truck ‘N Trailers USA provided enough shop space, lift and tools to build a space shuttle. And to top it off, they’ll accomplish this task with manpower sourced from the families that they serve on a daily basis. Yes…they’re gonna build this beast with kids.

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It was a brilliant plan whose full perfection would not be realized simply or quickly, but through a series of scheduled “Build Days”. Days that were carefully planned to insure success with a project checklist for all to see. A list detailing what needed to be accomplished that day and providing a visual reminder of the team’s successes as items are checked off. While these were likely some tough build days, they are not nearly as tough as the kids who’ve fearlessly tackled them and found ways to laugh and smile through the entire process.

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And now, with all those pesky words out of the way…bask in the glory of Hatch’s Kids building a super-sweet 2017 Jeep Wrangler JK Unlimited Hurst Edition. It doesn’t get any cooler than this.

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So let’s hear it for the Austin Hatcher Foundation family and the outstanding influence this project has had in the lives of these young people. Be sure to keep any eye out for this beauty making appearances at automotive events over the upcoming year. It is possibly half-as-cool as the kids that built it but still way cooler than most anyhting else on the street.  You can find out more about the Austin Hatcher Foundation and the amazing work they perform in the lives of kids affected by cancer by visiting https://www.hatcherfoundation.org/  OlllllllO

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Trail Access Grant: Stay The Trail update

trail-1The Rugged Ridge Trail Access Program continues to award many grants since first being announced in 2013 at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas. The Responsible Recreation Foundation received the grant back in 2015 and has made great strides since than. Their flagship program “Stay The Trail” has been spreading the message of responsible motorized recreation for eleven years now.

The grant was used to complete three distinct projects that involved the purchase and installation of kiosks and other materials. These projects provided much needed signage and information at three heavily used OHV areas.

Badger Flats This project took place on the South Park Ranger District in the Pike National Forest to install a variety of kiosks and signs. Volunteers helped install three sets of kiosks at two different locations, along with one smaller sign, and the placement of large rocks to create a barrier around the kiosks.

Mt. Antero This project took place during the annual All-4 Fun event sponsored by Mile Hi Jeep Club to improve 3 large kiosks. These trails were between Salida and Buena Vista on the San Isabel National Forest. This project was a combined effort to bring the 4×4, ATV, and Dirt Bike communities together to work together to improve and trails.

Mud Springs Recreation Area This project took place near Cortez, Colorado at the Mud Springs Recreation Area. Three large kiosk and barricades were installed around the Rock Crawler entrances.

To learn more about Stay The Trail or for further updates click here.

To learn more or apply for The Trail Access Program click here.

Spartacus Stamped Steel Bumpers

Rugged Ridge, a leading manufacturer of high-quality Jeep parts and accessories, today announced the availability of its new Spartacus Stamped Steel Front and Rear Bumpers for 2007-2016 Jeep Wrangler (JK).

Designed with the European consumer in mind, the soft contours of the Spartacus Stamped Steel Bumpers produce some of the most advanced styling in the industry. The stamping process also creates a high strength 11-gauge steel bumper that’s lighter than most aftermarket bumpers. Both front and rear bumpers utilize an adaptable design that can be easily changed between wide or narrow configurations, providing Jeep owners with two different appearances to accommodate larger wheels and tires as well as improved approach and departure angles.

Rugged Ridge Spartacus Stamped Steel Bumpers also feature specially designed injection-molded crush-can covers to complement the bumper’s styling while simultaneously helping to retain Jeep’s factory crash rating. Each Rugged Ridge bumper comes powder coated with a durable textured black finish to withstand years of on and off-road use.

“Our newest bumper features an aggressive off-road look that Jeep enthusiasts will love,” said Alain Eboli, Engineering Manager at Omix-ADA. “We took extra steps to strengthen the bumper – like stamping knuckles into its bottom edge – but were still able to retain a lightweight design that works with all popular winch models.”

The Spartacus Bumper is also available with an optional black overrider hoop for a more aggressive look and extra protection. Jeep owners can also mount a winch to this new stamped steel bumper by using a specially designed Winch Plate from Rugged Ridge.

Rugged Ridge Spartacus Stamped Steel Front and Rear Bumpers are backed by Rugged Ridge’s 5-year limited warranty and will be available in fall 2015 with retail pricing starting at $699.99 (front) and $749.99 (rear).

For more information about the Stamped Steel Front Bumper, Rugged Ridge’s complete line of high-quality Jeep and off-road products, or to find an authorized retailer, please contact Rugged Ridge at 770-614-6101 or visit www.RuggedRidge.com.

Part No. Description Retail Price
11544.01 Spartacus Stamped Front Bumper, Black, ‘07-‘16 Jeep Wrangler $699.99
11544.09 Spartacus Stamped Front Bumper w/Overrider Kit, Black, ‘07-’16 Jeep Wrangler $799.99
11543.13 Spartacus Winch Plate for Stamped Steel Front Bumper $179.99
11544.51 Spartacus Stamped Rear Bumper, Black, ‘07-‘16 Jeep Wrangler $749.99

 

Jeep® Jamboree 2013 Schedule

Jeep® Jamboree 2013 Schedule Announced

The official Jeep Jamboree schedule for 2013 has been released, including several new locations. Registration begins December 1st, make sure to visit their website for more information: www.jeepjamboreeusa.com

Trip Name Date City State
9th Texas Spur March 21-23 Llano Texas
20th Pine Barrens March 21-23 Hammonton New Jersey
1st Parker Arizona – New! April 18-20 Parker Arizona
20th Cajun April 25-27 St. Francisville Louisiana
9th Tennessee Mountains – 3 DAY EVENT! April 24-27 Oak Ridge Tennessee
23rd Arch Canyon April 25-27 San Juan County Utah
6th Top of the Ozarks May 9-11 Seymour Missouri
21st Big Bear May 9-11 Big Bear Lake California
16th Land Between The Lakes May 16-18 Marshall County Kentucky
25th Palo Duro May 30-June 1 Amarillo Texas
22nd Canyon de Chelly May 30-June 1 Chinle Arizona
4th Badlands May 30-June 2 Attica Indiana
21st Drummond Island June 20-22 Drummond Island Michigan
16th Penn’s Woods June 20-22 Bradford Pennsylvania
7th Killington July 18-20 Killington Vermont
18th Northwoods – Mole Lake July 18-20 Crandon Wisconsin
1st Roof of the Rockies – New! August 1-3 Snowmass – Aspen Colorado
2nd Coal Mountain Aug. 1-3 Shimoken Pennsylvania
16th Rubicon Trail Aug. 8-11 The Rubicon Trail California
5th Big Horn Mountains Aug. 29-31 Dayton Wyoming
21st Black Hills Sept. 5-7 Deadwood South Dakota
3rd Laurel Highlands Sept. 12-14 Farmington Pennsylvania
26th Ouray Sept. 12-14 Ouray Colorado
16th Catskill Mountains Sept. 19-21 Monticello New York
24th Maine Mountains Oct. 3-5 Bethel Maine
24th French Lick Oct. 3-5 French Lick Indiana
15th Moab Oct. 17-19 Moab Utah
20th Gateway to the Cumberlands Oct. 24-26 Williamsburg Kentucky
24th Ouachita Oct. 24-26 Hot Springs Arkansas
4th Cullman Alabama Oct. 31-Nov. 2 Cullman Alabama

Crush Recovery Build: SEMA Ready

Well, just it’s just about complete! At the time of this shoot the paint matched seats and hood mentioned on the previous post hadn’t been installed yet. Everything else is good to go, and everything has come together very well! You’ll notice some the great details in the paint matched accents in the gallery below. The build features more than 60 of the latest products from the Omix-ADA family of brands; some of the newest products from Rugged Ridge such as the new Aluminum Hood Latches and Aluminum XHD bumpers, and Alloy USA’s high-strength axle shafts.

The final outcome of this Rubicon has definitely met the original goal of the build. Crush Recovery is designed to be the ultimate off road vehicles to recover 4x4s stuck in the toughest terrain. Inspiration stems from both Jeep’s trusted reputation and and unmatched versatility. Additionally, the new for 2012 Jeep color, Orange Crush, provides added utility and safety to Crush Recovery. The vibrant color stands out amongst the green and brown hues of the outdoors, making rescuers easily visible to those in need. Make sure to follow the coverage of the SEMA Show 2012 from Rugged Ridge to Crush Recover completely finished, as well as all of the other vehicles featured this year!

Crush Recovery Build: Custom Painted Seats and Hood

We’re less than a week away from the 2012 SEMA Show, and the Crush Recovery build is coming to completion. The custom painted ProCar Evolution seats and Truck Master Designs hood are a couple of the last finishing touches. Drew Brothers Customs did an awesome job on these! Check out the photos below:

Crush Recovery Build: October Update

A lot of work has been put into Crush Recovery recently, and since the last update I’ve also started working on a second JK dubbed Crimson Sol! Within the past few weeks I’ve finished installed the following:

Rugged Ridge XHD Aluminum Rear Bumper, Tire Carrier, and spare tire
– Rugged Ridge JK Flat Flares
– Rugged Ridge Cowl Armor
Procar by SCAT seats with custom rear bucket seat mounts
Daystar™ Can Cam System
Recon fog lights and marker lights
– Custom gauge cluster and custom paint matched Rugged Ridge HID lights
– Doetsch Offroad Headrest Covers
– Rugged Ridge Half Doors

We’ll continue to keep you all updated as the build progresses to The SEMA Show 2012 – along with Crimson Sol!

Come See Rugged Ridge at The 2012 Off-Road Expo

Visit Omix-ADA/Rugged Ridge at this year’s Lucas Oil Off-Road Expo powered by General Tire! Check out some of our newest products and promotions! The show is held in Pomona, CA from October 6th through the 7th. Find us at Booth# 4719 in Building# 4.

The expo offers you the greatest collection of off-road companies, parts, equipment, gear, and experts ever assembled in America. From off-road racing to rock crawling, trail riding to sand sports, to motorcycles and ATV’s, to camping and adventure travel, you have the unique opportunity to meet and talk with the most knowledgeable people in the off-road industry. With a full weekend of excitement and 10 acres of off-road vendors in one location, you will see everything that is going on in the dynamic world of off-road.