To say we love our work is an accurate statement, and we love it so much more when it takes us out into the open. Just this past weekend, we got to exercise that freedom as we headed up to the San Bernardino National Forest for the 2016 Big Bear Forest Fest, put on by the Inland Empire 4 Wheelers Club and sponsored by partners including our good friends at Wilco Offroad.
The Wilco team was kind enough to leave us an open space to tag along, which we quickly accepted. The chariots of the day were a couple of JK Wranglers, one a silver Unlimited and the other a red two-door. Both had the right stuff to navigate the gnarly terrain we would soon encounter as we left our base camp at the Snow Summit Ski Resort and headed to Devil’s Hole Trail.
Our spot was in the silver Unlimited with owner Paul Wilkins, operations manager Jake Klokochar, and handyman extraordinaire Matt Westergren. A good part of the conversation on the way to the trail covered the company’s adventures at the 2016 Easter Jeep Safari out in Moab, Utah, which had been an impactful yet enjoyable outing for the company.
Almost 20 Jeeps (and one Suzuki Grand Vitara, bless his heart) made it out to this particular trail ride, with models ranging as old as 1993 and as recent as last year. Grand Cherokees and Wranglers were the main models seen out and about, and each of them had the right amount of kit to make it through the somewhat challenging terrain.
Altitude was certainly a factor influencing our adventure that day: at times, we were more than 6,500 feet above sea level. The sun was not as bad during the morning, but would go on to cook us quite as a bit as the day wore on. In spite of it all, we had to admit that these Jeeps were stalwart soldiers, battling slow uphill climbs while carrying thousands of pounds and never quitting.
A few new products from Wilco Offroad were showcased on the silver Unlimited we were riding in. “The whole front end, front bumper, the whole kit is ours,” said Paul. “The back has our single motion tire carrier, which links into the back door. This brings it all out in one motion rather than having to open the tire carrier and then open the door to get to the inside.”
The tire carrier was launched less than a month before the Forest Fest, and this event was one more opportunity to get the word out and demonstrate the product’s effectiveness. But more that that, it was an opportunity to meet with the enthusiasts that keep the hobby thriving.
We all came away from the Big Bear Forest Fest having enjoyed a good morning adventure into the mountains, while also getting to explore some of what’s coming up for Wilco Offroad. We encourage you to check out the company’s Facebook page and website when you get the chance, and stay safe this weekend!