This past weekend I had some plans to meet some friends in Central Washington to do some camping and exploring. Despite the temptation of taking my newest toy(a 1990 Range Rover), I was pretty much set to take the Tacoma, as the Rover’s still pretty much unproven and as I was going to have the only capable rig anyway it’s not like I’d be doing any of the harder wheeling I bought the Rover for. Also, wasn’t going with my usual crew of more mechanically endowed individuals, meaning I’d have to fend for myself on any failures. Well, at the last minute I realized that I must be crazy to be taking my nice, new truck when there was a perfectly good 30-year-old radio-less, A/C-less, headliner-less and questionably reliable British luxury SUV sitting right next to it in the garage. Next thing I knew, it was Saturday morning and I was noisily cruising down the highway in the Rover, music blaring from a Bluetooth speaker on the dash in a futile attempt to quell the din in the interior thanks to the quad driving lights mounted on a substantial roof rack with no headliner to dampen the noise.

I took my friends out to one of my favorite semi off-the-grid campsites. The Rover performed very well on some mild trails with a few moderately difficult bits. It’s a much more raw experience than my Tacoma, which is exactly what I was after. Plus, the visibility was amazing, I don’t need to worry about the paint,the solid front axle was really nice(first time off road in a non-IFS rig actually) and you just can’t beat the soundtrack of a minimally-muffled V8.

Downsides? The highway trips there and back were pretty painful, I really need to do something about the headliner. Oh yeah, and about 2/3 of the way home I stopped at a rest stop and noticed some grease on my rear wheel. Looks like I get to replace some axle seals! Have not had the chance to start diagnosing yet, that’ll be a project for tonight or tomorrow.