What can I do with my 4x4?

Johnny L.A.'s Open Letter got me thinking… What can I do with my 4x4 pickup? I’d like to try some off-roading but don’t know where to begin to go. I’ve moved myself once and will help some friends move, but I don’t count that.
Note that I live on the eastern seaboard, not known for mountains or trails. Although I live close to the Chesapeake, I have no interest in buying or towing a boat.
For the record, I drive a Toyota Tacoma, regular cab. Any suggestions?

Actually I’ve heard there are a lot of trails back east. I don’t know of any myself, but I’m sure you can go into any 4WD store and find out. You can also call the local ranger station and ask them about “jeep trails”. Another thing you might do is look for a message board about offroading. For example, jeepsunlimited is for Jeep drivers. You can try to find a Tacmoa club near you. Or you can look around for trucks with offroading stickers on them.

I’d like to use my Cherokee for towing my helicopter. But I don’t have a helicopter. Yet.

Woo Hoo! My wife has an Xterra, and I love taking it offroad. I live in Northern VA, so I don’t get too much chance to go offroad, but when I do, here’s where I go:

Close: There are some trails around woodbridge/dumfries VA–I’m not sure where exactly, but they are on the maps. Look through the maps of VA for rural areas, and look for roads(trails) that look like they go through the wilderness and seem pathetically tiny. That’s usually what you’re looking for. Most all of these are state or local roads (public property) and perfectly legal to trek down.

Farther Away:

–Southwest VA/Blue Ridge Mountains. Know anyone who goes to VA Tech? There are some incredible trails down there, off of Brush mountain and several fire trails that are very challenging. If you go up to Mountain Lake Resort, there is a trail that starts up there and goes halfway into WV.

–Outer Banks, NC: I was just there, and it’s freaking awesome. Aside from the surf, sand, and incredible fishing, you are allowed to drive on the beach in certain areas. Very challenging as well.

Some pointers:

GO WITH SOMEONE EXPERIENCED YOUR FIRST TIME! Sorry for the caps, but I cannot stress this enough. Have someone else with a truck lead you on a trial as you follow them, and basically do what they do. You will learn tons just watching and imitating.

Be Prepared. Is your spare tire mounted under the truck bed? Learn how to get it out before you go. Get a set of tow straps (if you get stuck, they are your only recourse). If you choose to drive on the beach, deflate your tires to 20 PSI, and bring a 12v pump to re-inflate them.

Be careful and have fun…

quick question: why the hell did you buy it?

no offense, here, mind you. just curious why you plunked down the extra (and continue to plunk down extra for insurance) for a 4X4 when it seems you really don’t need it? my wife is convinced we need a frontier 4X4, and when i ask her why a 4-wheeler, she comes up blank! they DO make 2wd versions, and they are cheaper to buy and insure. in the 7 years she has had her truck, she has never needed 4 wheel drive.

and a comment on Barons advice: when you go with someone “experienced”, don’t assume they are “experienced” because they own a real cool jeep with 3" of lift and a killer sound system. my observations have been that the nicer the ride, the less they know about using it. the guy with the beat up, scratched old rig, festuned with tools and supplys knows whats going on. (and if its a jeep, be prepared to tow him when it breaks down :D)

Fair enough questions for someone living in an area with so little snow. But when it does, you better believe I need the 4WD, since they don’t do a good job clearing the roads. And I did own a 2WD truck before this one. After getting it stuck a few times (and other reasons), I decided to trade up. The extra cost and insurance haven’t been all that much.
Thus the point of this thread, figuring out other things I can to do besides helping my friends move.

      • Stock 4-wheel drive trucks are only really acceptable for graded-road use, in stuff like snow or mud. Where I used to go for canoe trips for instance, the roads were bulldozed+graded gravel/rocky roads up and down and around steep hills. When it’s dry any car can drive anywhere on them, but if it rains or it’s snowy (not exactly canoeing weather, but anyway) two-wheel-drive vehicles often cannot drive up the hills. These are access roads through a state forest preserve.
  • The biggest easy change you can make is to get all-terrain treaded tires the same size as the ones you have, but they are much louder than regular street-tread tires during on-road use. It’s almost easier to get another set of cheap steel wheels and put your off-road tires on them, and switch sets as needed. Mud-tread tires work even better, but are very loud on the highway; that guy with the pickup with 44-inch Monster Mudders probably can’t hear his stereo when he’s cruising down the highway. - DougC

Move to Hawaii and come fishing with us. Lots of reason for a 4x4. :smiley:

You could always use it to irritate Father John… :stuck_out_tongue:

Try joining a local 4WD club. They can probably teach you a lot of nifty stuff that will save damage to your car, to your ego and to the environment, not to mention making your outings much more relaxed and fun.

[pulling out soapbox, and then mounting hobby-horse that stands on the soapbox :wink: ]

A quick note: There are two types of 4WD-ers. Hoons who go “bush-bashing” once in a blue moon, destroying everything in their wake. They are easily identifiable by the fact they have minimal knowledge of their vehicle or the environment, zero respect for nature or others enjoyment and usually bring radios when camping, because the sounds of nature at night are “boring”.

The other sort of 4WD-er is the opposite. They are interested in their surroundings, eager to learn, respectful of others, stick to paths already made, take all of their rubbish out with them (and usually pick up other’s rubbish, too) and do numerous other things to ensure they can continue to enjoy nature for a long time to come.

Please be a responsible 4WD-er. The local 4WD club should be able to help out with info about responsible, environmentally sound ways of camping that you may never have even thought of.

[/end of rant]

Have fun !

By doing less with it, you’ll irritate him more.