A couple days ago I got an email from a friend, saying she thought I should get out of the house. She invited me to a gathering of off-road entoosiasts, primarily Hummer-owners. I dithered and probably would have begged off, but finally, the allure of compelling something large and expensive over boulders and other unlikely surfaces won out, and I called her late Friday and agreed to come along.
A caravan of mostly Hummers headed out to east Texas Saturday morning, and the conversation was great as we drove along, laughing and howling as we went, quotes from Office Space, Idiocracy and Bubba Ho-tep being bandied about like oxygen. We turned off I-20 at Gilmer and had the misfortune of falling in directly behind a funeral procession crawling at its ubiquitous pace, and we moseyed along as opposing traffic remained pulled over on the side of the road for our passing, even though the funeral escort had already passed them. Still, it must have been an interesting and odd sight out in the country like that, seeing all those Hummers in a row.
We got to the mountain in time to run one course before the catered barbecue was ready for lunch. My friend and her fiance discussed my prospects and said that I should run something like a beginner course. I said, "yes, tadpole class, if you please." I really didn't feel anxious about it, but at the same time, I didn't want to break someone else's high-dollar toy.
Right after lunch began the running of more challenging trails, and as my friend wrestled the bucking Humbeast into submission up an alarmingly-close-to-vertical trail, I questioned the choice of barbecue. That said, I have a cast-iron stomach, but one is not generally agitated like a cocktail shaker after a meal, as rule, so perhaps that was a factor. To my relief, other than that one moment of gastrointestinal upheaval, I had no more cause for concern. *whew*
Fiance and another man worked as spotters, standing/walking near the vehicles and giving instructions at the really rough/tight spots. They were the key to no one getting stuck or rolling over, I believe.
To my surprise, in the middle of a very challenging course, fiance made me switch with my friend and I took the H3 down a rutted-out, boulder-strewn gully in the vehicle by myself. It was kind of evil of him, but in a weird way, it was very smart. I wasn't expecting to drive just then, so I really had no chance for nerves to kick in. At that point, the only option seemed to just climb in and let 'er rip. It was not as frightening as I expected, and it felt - dare I say it? - natural to be piloting that big machine.
So, I'm hooked: it may not be soon, and I may not be able to afford a new Hummer, but sometime in the nearish future - like in the next few years - I really want to get an off-roadish something-or-other. I really did like it that much. Good stuff.
The image below is not of me, but it is someone driving down that same runout that was my first run off-roading. It's much steeper than it looks in the photo, by the way.
Thank you very much to my friends for inviting me along!
Happy Birthday Baby Sister. I love you! Enjoy that new Cooper Mini.