Late Friday evening looked post-apocalyptic in the metro. Severe weather (what some call the worst storm they’ve ever seen here) had taken its toll. I had spent the last two hours on the air with you, meteorologist Mike Lynch, Edgar Linares, Jonathan Lowe, Daphne Adato, Roshini Rajkumar, and one of our WCCO sales guys Hutch, giving storm warnings, watches, updates and damage reports. It was scary, exhilarating and unifying.
Breaking news always does that, it brings us together for the common good of keeping each other safe. Thank you for your help. After the storms passed I left the station. Even though I felt confident in my route home as I knew where most of the damage was, it still took me an hour to drive 10 miles. I felt like a mouse in a maze because every detour I tried on the darkened streets of Minneapolis dead-ended me in front of another downed tree or power line. I figured I was safe because I drive a Jeep Wrangler, I could rely on ‘Jeep Muscles’. Or at least I thought I ‘drove’ a Jeep.
I learned the next day that I never really DROVE my Jeep until I trekked out to Trollhaugen on Saturday. I attended the Jeep Adventure Weekend with Park Chrysler Jeep and many four wheeler enthusiasts. I reminded Carol, the event organizer and Jonathan Dworsky, Park Jeep’s owner I needed to drive the beginner trail as the only 4-wheeling I’ve ever done is maybe going over a curb while making a u-turn. (A legal one!) With my trusty guide John King, who’s been doing this for 30 years, 2 other jeeps as backup, a walkie talkie, and many guide volunteers to tow us out of any trouble, we headed off on the stunning trails on private property of Trollhaugen.
I had no idea the true power of my vehicle and sometimes ignorance is bliss (and sometimes it’s stupidity). When John said, “This is a pretty challenging climb and you just have factory tires on your little Jeep, I don’t think you should try it. ” I responded, “No way. Looks fun, I’m trying it.” I was ready to flex my ‘Jeep Muscles’. After I got stuck once, I got towed out and I got smarter. Second try was nothing short of amazing. I cut the wheel when my guides yelled, I gave it gas to vertically climb the downed trees and scaled rocks that looked cliff-like from behind the wheel. I made it to the top. AWESOME!!!
I had no idea. Sure you see the commercials, the muddy vehicles, the triumphant drivers, the mythic cliffs, but holy cow my Jeep really did that! (And just the night before I was afraid of a few puddles and tree branches in the street.) After a few hours of gunning it, getting stuck, reverse navigating up hills out of too-deep ravines I was filthy, exhausted and empowered. What a rush! Really, I had no idea.
It’s eye-opening going into an experience with no pre-conceived notion of how it will end. Friday night we got a lesson in just how powerful wind and rain can be, the push to use caution was well-advised. Saturday I learned to push limits (within reason and with the help of seasoned guides) and found out just how powerful a little gas a great suspension can be, caution was thrown to the wind. After witnessing Mother Nature and my Jeep flex their muscles I have a new-found respect for both of those powerhouses.
For more information on the 4-wheelers of club in Minnesota click here.
We’ll talk off-roading tonight on my show beginning at 8!