View Full Version : What/who got you into wheeling?

Coyote Red
July 17th, 2012, 08:51 AM
One thing that was mentioned to me when I asked Phittie what I could do to get more involved was that the Facebook and website are slow and boring. I offered to update them with stories, jokes, open discussion, and anything else to get people posting and checking regularly.

I want to know what or who got you involved in wheeling? If you feel like dating yourself when as well. I know the running joke is that whiterhino is older than the sand we wheel on. It might be interesting to hear how long you have been active in the sport.

I got into wheel through my dad who was part of the late 70's crowd with 2wd trucks and bias plies playing in the legal state land around Chelsea. He moved from trucks to Jeeps and attended several Jeep Jamborees. Some how he ended up in Peterson's when they featured the Snow Blind. I heard stories about the trips, places, and people that they meet and saw. Sadly he got out when trips to Maine were pushing $1000 weekends. I started to take interest when I turned 16 and would make trips up to the cabin in Luther and run the seasonal and forest roads. My interest grew from that point on. I wanted to push farther each time I went. I started to build my F-150 when the transmission went into self destruct. I towed the truck home and left it for dead in the fence row. Back in my mind I wanted to build the truck. I planned to start out with swapping from EFI that had issues to a carb that is simpler. With that idea it went from a stock rebuild to a performance cam, manifold, carb, over bore, and ignition system. The drive train was going to be rock solid so in slid the NP435/205. Currently I sit with a 205 case and a set of 60s waiting for the truggy build to take form. This money pit of an idea started in 2009

So what is your story?

July 17th, 2012, 03:56 PM
I grew up on a farm, which in a way is like wheeling for a job, constantly playing in the dirt. Always had 4wheelers and dirt bikes too. At about 12 yrs old, my dad bought a CJ7. I learned to drive in that old heep and spent far too much time driving it through the woods at the farm in low range. Things just snowballed, and I've always had jeeps in one form or another since.

July 17th, 2012, 06:19 PM
An argument over our next vehicle when my wife was 5 months pregnant is to blame. My wife wanted another truck (we had recently sold a Ranger and a D100) I thought we needed a station wagon with a kid on the way. We compromised on a Jeep Cherokee. Neither one of us had owned a 4x4 vehicle before. A few years later the family truck had grown into a Durango (too big and pretty for hunting and picking berries) so we picked up a well-used YJ, and discovered the wonderful world of web-wheeling on michiganjeepers.com. Now you are stuck with me.

July 17th, 2012, 07:23 PM
My old man wheeled with my mom back before they were married, and through her pregnancy. We've got pics of his stuck while she's 9months along, and the look on her face tells the rest of that story. He got out of it while I was growing up, blaming me for his having to stop the life he loved. I bought a(read 6 different in that year)79 bronco when I turned 20, and made a decent wheeler/dd out of it, then I got in an accident one winter and the cop asked if I needed a police report for my insurance, I told him "hell no, now it just gets better from here". After that I ragged on that old bronco. Me and the one other guy I wheeled with at the time called ourselves the "Square Peg Round Hole 4x4 CLub". That rig got rode hard and put away wet more times than not.
During that time I got more involved with organized wheeling and doing things right. My wife and I honeymooned on Drummond Island, and from that point I fell in love with that place. I joined Cheap Thrills Off Road club, then GLFWDA, and now I'm stuck and can't get away.

As for the old man blaming me for his loss of wheeling, he now lives iny basement and is a member of the two trackers, cheap thrills, GLFWDA, and UFWDA. he now has me to thank for the connection to the real wheeling world.

Renegade II
July 17th, 2012, 08:01 PM
I couldn't rent a hotel room when I was in my teens but I could take a date out to the Turtle Ponds for, um, star gazing. Long since married I now only have the wheeling to look forward to.

July 17th, 2012, 08:04 PM
Motorcycles when I was in 7th grade. Road with my Dad off road, and on my grandparents property north of Oxford on the weekends. Built dunebuggies with my Dad in the mid 70s. Spent many hours @ Silver Lake during those times. Attended the 1st Mount Baldy hill climb. Also did a lot of 2 track riding @ Oscoda. You could run from Oscoda almost to Mio on the trails.

July 17th, 2012, 10:00 PM
Ridin shotty in my dads f150/bronco and uncles eb's through yankee springs back in the day before everything got closed off (in all reality they helped contribute to the closing as they didn't know what you could and couldn't do as it was never enforced back then). And many summer weekends up at Silver Lake. About 1990 my parents split and there was no wheeling taken place till about 2002 or so when I jumped back into it, dabbled with fast cars during the wheeling break. Now I am president of Cheapthrills, Vice president of Two trackers and a member of GLFWDA and United.

July 18th, 2012, 06:35 AM
Although some consider me older than dirt, I on the other hand consider myself like an old bottle of whiskey that gets better with age. And for the record, kb8ymf is exactly 7 days my junior, so please remind him to always respect his elders.

I grew up riding go karts, motorcycles and sleds in an area where I could go out my driveway and ride for miles. Plus my folks had 38 acres that butted up to the Huron National Forest outside of Rose City and NFS land was wide open back then. So it was sort of a natural progression that I got a truck when I could afford it. It just sort of happened that a whole group of us all jumped into the sport at the same time. I bought a brand new 1976 long box half ton stick shift GMC when I was 19. No lift kits were available back then so I built my own from dump truck springs and lift blocks. (yeah, I know LOL) Even had to have the u-bolts custom made. That was when Gumbo Mudders first came out and 35" was the biggest tire available so I had to have them to be cool. I sold it a year later and bought a 77 shortbed stepside and used the same wheels,tires & lift. Then I got a little smarter and realized I didn't have the right gearing and actually went down to 32" tires. (armstrong maxitracs for those who remember) (still one of the best sand tires I have ever run)

I started running with the guys from Traverse City (yes, they were the front runners even back then) from the Wildwood 4x4 club. They put on an event called Onion Run (now still done at Twisted Trails but changed dramatically) and that was what got me into GLFWDA as you had to be a member to attend the run. A little back history on finding them. I was young and dumb and went up to TC with a buddy looking to do some wheeling. I was on the CB looking for someone and this gal comes back and says I have a truck and my husband has a jeep and there is a group going out tonight. I hooked up with this group that Saturday night for some trail riding & then ended up on the bank of the Boardman river for a cookout and they did this almost every weekend!!!! I was hooked!!!! What great people.

So, 1980 rolls around and I sell my truck and do a body off, SBC, muncie 4spd, fiberglass body, SOA, 36" Ground Hawgs, full cage build on a 1955 Willy's CJ5.

Now here I am 32 years later still fooling around.

One final note, I too feel I contributed to land closures. Those were times where you went where you wanted on state land and power lines and if there was a hill to be climbed or a muddy spot to cross, well, have at it. It was fun and harmless but it gave ammunition to the greenies. Look at stuff that has been closed for 10 - 15 years and it looks no different than where there was logging. But, that's how people reacted.

Creative Fab
July 18th, 2012, 09:07 AM
I grew up two tracking with my family every fall revolving around the deer seasons. Back then, 70's, all we drove were two wheel drive trucks so we learned to be really good drivers and how to find the guy with the tractor to pull us out in case our driving skills ever failed us. When I first got my drivers license I decided that I wasn't going to rely on that tractor owner any longer and my first vehicle was a 73 Scout II. Being young and dumb I managed to get that stuck worse than any of those two wheel drive trucks ever did.

Jumping ahead a few years I was daily driving an 86 Chevy short box with 4" lift and 33's which I used for hunting and took to car shows (a lot of washing and waxing) the shows became rather boring! Happened to be at an art show sitting at my fathers booth when I read the back of a guys jacket, it read "Delta Fourwheelers" so I struck up a conversation with him. He invited my wife and I to a Delta meeting and our first organized trail ride, Grayling on the Delta Fourhweelers annual labor day campout/trail ride. That had us hooked on the family and group wheeling experience. Just a few short weeks after that trip we attended our first GLFWDA quarterly meeting. That meeting the BOD was looking for nominees for recording secretary and I through my hat in the ring. Turns out mine was the only hat lol, that was 1997 and I sat on the BOD of GLFWDA for the next 10 years in one capacity or another.

I don't wheel as much as I would like so I make sure it is always with a group, that is what has kept me in this sport.

July 21st, 2012, 12:16 PM
I liked driving on back roads as a teen. We had an 82 Toyota 4x4 (wish I still had it!). A friend and I went up a muddy skidder trail and I was hooked!
Now that I'm a forester, I get to wheel at work!

July 21st, 2012, 05:07 PM
Coyote Red you are a genius. These stories are fascinating and help explain why this sport is fun and very addictive. Unfortunately my tale is lame. I got here by dating a thrill seeker. One day he had to have a jeep and he found the Trolls for his first ride. He has been hooked ever since. Give me a bumpy twisty trail any day over driving orange barrell highways.

July 22nd, 2012, 01:50 PM
I grew up snowmobiling and riding minibikes and Honda trail bikes through the woods. I begged for a Jeep for my first vehicle but couldn't convince my parents. When I graduated high school we searched high and low for a reliable Cherokee but I ended up with a ranger. At the time my girlfriend had a 4WD Ranger that we wheeled around Gaylord with. I joined MichiganJeepers sometime in the early 2000's, when it was still Michigan Jeep Forum, or whatever. I came across a Cherokee that was clean but needed a transmission so I went a drug it home from Traverse City. I was hooked from then, my family ended up with three Cherokees. Around 2003 I went to a Wolverine show where I made some new friends and in 2005 we joined the GLFWDA as SoFO-Michigan. In 2007 we brought you guys SnoFari and today I feel like my life revolves around wheeling.

joe & jeep
July 22nd, 2012, 10:07 PM
Growing up in Muskegon way back in the 60's, my parents had Jeeps back then, and rode with a club called the "Go-Go Rigs" and we went wheeling all over the place. My step dad taught me to drive a CJ2A at Silver Lake Dunes when I was about twelve, what a memory. My parents ended up being the first President and Secretary/Treasurer of the Michigan Four Wheel Drive Association, so I was always around the four wheeling crowd. My first Jeep, '72 Renegade , bought that soon as I got out of high school. today I drive an '05 TJ, and now getting my grandson interested in Jeeps.

July 26th, 2012, 10:15 AM
My parents grew up on Motorcycles in the 70s. My dad would race around Midland, and my mom would do trail rides with him. Then they had kids. When we were old enough (I was 4), they got a couple of 3 wheelers. Spent the falls in the UP getting ready for deer season and spent the summers riding around the Turtle Ponds when they were open, then went to Gladwin. Fast forward 12 years, leanred how to drive a full size Chevy through the 2 tracks in the UP. Got my friends hooked in high school riding around a farm in their trucks. My first truck I bought was a 89 S10 with the 4.3L. Put a 3" body lift and 31s on it. I would help my friends build their trucks through college (Blazer on 44s) and we would ride around Gladwin and doing mud boggs and going to Silver Lake. Since then, I have used my off-pavement exerience in all my jobs. I love wheeling and am trying to get my family involved more. My dad now ownes a Jeep instead of ATVs / Motorcycles. Did the Trolls fall color tour last year and the family liked it. My wife wants to go to SL sometime so the kids (including me) can play in the sand... I joint GLFWDA because of the efforts in getting the Rocks at St. Helen, I even contributed, but have not made it there. Now I am the 4WD Awereness Training Coordinator for GLFWDA.

Summary - I used to wheel a lot, but now not as much, but I am getting more time on the trail...

Good idea on this thread.

July 26th, 2012, 01:44 PM
Going to school in the UP, and my wife buying a H3

Ironman Offroad
August 23rd, 2012, 02:07 PM
I hope you guys like to read!
Started with a Baja Bug and a couple trips to SL in about 1980. That lead to a "76 Cj7 for a year or so. That and a job for a Jeep lunatic lead to a 1970 Datsun P/U that evolved into a V-6 auto 4x4 conversion on 36" Swampers. Played in the mud with that including the Onion Run in "83 and the Taqua Trails run in "84. Got out shortley there after.
Jump ahead to "07 and a XJ on 35's ends up in my possesion. One summer on the stock axles leads to tons and 35's. Now it sits on 42's and the fun never ends.
Purchased Ironman Offroad from Pat in "00 and turned the hobby into a second job.

August 23rd, 2012, 02:32 PM
We have a friend who back in the late 90's had a beat to hell XJ.
We used to ride along with him while he played Baja driver through the woods, tried to get that thing up some pretty steep hills
and blasted through some sticky mud. It was so much fun, there is NO way we couldn't get one of our own!

Thanks for the introduction to fun off the pavement, Cory M.
It feeds my soul.

94 yj
August 23rd, 2012, 03:57 PM
My buddy went to jail for being an idiot and I had his Ranger for a few months. SInce I was into go fast rice rockets and cars, I didnt know anything about a truck. Hit the snowmobile trails for 2 weeks straight and was hooked. 2 weeks after he got out, I sold everything and bought a zr2, s10 kind, to roam the country sides. I was bitten and now prefer the dirt to the asphalt/pavement....anytime.

Coyote Red
August 24th, 2012, 07:25 AM
My buddy went to jail for being an idiot and I had his Ranger for a few months. SInce I was into go fast rice rockets and cars, I didnt know anything about a truck. Hit the snowmobile trails for 2 weeks straight and was hooked. 2 weeks after he got out, I sold everything and bought a zr2, s10 kind, to roam the country sides. I was bitten and now prefer the dirt to the asphalt/pavement....anytime.

:muttley: Another one gets converted!!!

I would like to thank those that have replied, this makes for a good read to hear how some were brought into the sport.

Evil Queen
August 24th, 2012, 06:17 PM
My first new car was a 78 Bronco. I modified it in a bling way (black with gradiated purple stripe, purple shag (padded) carpet etc. Too pretty to wheel. The first hubby got it in the divorce (I got the 65 GTO). Second hubby bought me a 86 Bronco brand new when we needed seat belts to strap in a baby seat (damned kids). When we moved up north, I took my oldest daughter out wheeling at least 3 times a week on the two tracks up here. When I finally got a jeep...it was all uphill from there!

On a side note: The first time I took the bronco out in the woods, I came home to see my hubby staring wide eyed....I got out and saw all the (sap) scratches and his face and started bawling. He hugged me and said....."Don't worry it'll buff out" THAT is why I have that sticker on my jeep.


My daughter Erica (now 26)


August 24th, 2012, 07:24 PM
Growing up in NW PA, my family was into agricultural services and lumber. So as my dad used to tell me the, family got paid to four wheel. My offroad rides were usually log skidders( commercial ones as well as homemade 6x6's and half tracks) and heavily modified 1 ton trucks used for spraying fields.

Pa is a wet and rocky state and fields were usually covered with both. So have much experience in mudding and Rock crawling. Usually doing things, to this day in vehicles that shouldn't be even attempting at doing.

As I grew older along came keys to the vehicles , but so also came responsibility to fix them. When your families' livelihood depends on having a fleet of offroad vehicles 100% available in the short window that the growing season permits, you learn to fix everything in the field quickly.

So this developed into a offroad enjoyment that I currently have the privilege of experiencing across the US today. I never let anything breaking from keeping me from reaching destination and home. Everything is repairable.

94 yj
August 25th, 2012, 06:13 PM
my proudest moment came 3 years ago when my wife told me to get out of the Jeep, she wanted to drive it thru the mud and make me film it....almost as good as when the dog relieved himself in the exact spot I did a few seconds before, #1 not #2, though I do carry a roll of Tp with me everywhere.

September 16th, 2012, 04:42 PM
I got into wheelin because I like the skinny pedal and big tires lol and I love looking at something and saying that looks impossible lets try it

October 14th, 2012, 07:58 PM
i grew up riding shotgun in my dads 74 cj5 mostly on drummond island. lots of wheeling, hunting, and fishing on the island as a young boy.
my dads cj was really nice! it was a renegade with a 390 go pack motor, a 4 speed, and scout axles. has alot of fun on the island as a boy.
dad would flat tow his jeep behind a 1976 wolverine class 26' class c motorhome. my first truck was a 1976 chevy step side with a 396 4spd on 40" gumbos. mudded it alot in the up in college. always wanted a nice jeep. finally broke down and got a 1978 cj 7. then i got a 1997 tj, then a bigger 1997 tj, then my juggy i have now. i also have a lj rubicon sahara and wj grand cherokee limited. i dont wheel as much as i used to, but i still get out when i can.