December 2015

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I really don’t even think regular driving even feels like driving. You have to stay within these very narrow lanes. You have to constantly stop and start your car according to what the other drivers are doing and the traffic lights. Cops are everywhere, or at least it feels like they are. You don’t get any of the sheer freedom that you can get with off-roading, which is why I think off-roading is the real thing when it comes to driving.

You can really see what your car is capable of when you drive off the road. When I’m in traffic, the only thing that I know my car is capable of is advancing a few feet, and I could do that in pretty much any car. What’s the point of an SUV if that’s the only thing you’re going to do with it? Really, if you have an SUV and you’ve only ridden it on your way to work, you are totally missing out on the experience.

The SUV is not a commuter vehicle for the people who are just trying to go from being home drones to office drones. This is the vehicle for the people who are as free as a bird, or at least for the people who want to be free as a bird when someone lets them out of their cage.

You can get the feel of the SUV when you’re going up and down different hills, and you totally don’t get that when you’re on any kind of paved surface. You can also really feel how fast you’re going. You don’t have to worry about some cop catching you speeding. You are one with the car, and it can take you places at speeds that you’ve never felt before.

Off-road driving also requires actual skill. You’ll hear a lot about old guys bragging about how they can drive a stick shift and all of us kids today are spoiled with our automatic steering. That’s a pretty dated opinion today, since most cars have automatic steering. I don’t think that the cars themselves should be hard to drive. Driving should be hard because of the terrain. If you can’t get a car across the road, that should be your fault because you’re a lousy driver. If you can’t handle the tough parts of off-roading, that means you need to work harder at it.

Off-roading just gives you this pure sense of freedom that you don’t have on the regular road. Roads are paved. Their constrained. They were planned ahead by some government department that is going to continue to rule your life as soon as you park the car, even if you can forget about them for a little while as soon as you get behind the wheel. It’s really hard to feel cool when you’re on the road. When you’re off the road, driving becomes everything that you thought it was going to be when you were fifteen and still learning to drive. Then you drove with your dad, and he spent most of the lesson teaching you about all of the rules. Driver’s Ed almost felt like it was mostly about what not to do as opposed to what you should do, and who wants to learn to drive like that?

When you go off the road, you’re living the dream you couldn’t when you were fifteen. You can now: go to a field and get started. Then, you should be able to handle inclines even if they don’t have any pavement. From there, you could end up driving through the mountains someday like you’re one of the original modern mountain men. You can look down at all of nature knowing that you basically beat it, which is way more than most people will ever do, even if they have an SUV.