March 09, 2009Ocala National ForestInverness, FloridaOff Road Trip Report

Attendees: Rich, Brandon, Crystal, Kevin, Mike & Donald
Rigs: 1997 Isuzu Rodeo, 2007 GMC Canyon,  1998 Jeep TJ


The weather was rainy and cool much like Oregon as we headed to the trails.  The first place we went is a “forest” located outside of Inverness Florida.  It was in this forest that all of the decent wheeling was found.  The trails consisted of sandy mud with some wash outs that will test a stock suspension system but not be challenging to a modified suspension.

Since all three of the vehicles were stock this actually worked out pretty well even though I didn’t find the same thrill as the trails back home.  Down here I am reminded that wheeling isn’t always about conquering the biggest and baddest obstacles it’s about gittin’ out and spending time with old friends while making new ones. I also was reminded that it doesn’t take much to cause body damage when I dented my rocker panel while traversing one of the more interesting wash outs.

After several hours of playing on the trails in Inverness we decided to head up to the Ocala National Forest near Ocala Florida.  On our way out of the trails we came across a large mud hole that the Jeep couldn’t resist.  I didn’t even attempt this hole because of my distrust for unknown mud holes as well as the fact that I’m just not a fan of mud and deep water in general.  The Jeep tried in vain three times before the Fish and Wild Life officer showed up.  We didn’t get a ticket, only a warning which we took as a suggestion to leave and head north.

Upon reaching the Ocala Forest we began cruising the roads in search of something interesting to do.  We found this to be rather unproductive as there is around 300K acres of land in the Ocala Forest and none of us knew where anything good was.  The rest of the day was spent adding some back country pinstriping to our vehicles as we squeezed though the brush.  As the sun began to set we decided to call it a day and head for home since home was now about 3 hours south of our current location.  On the way home my front end developed a “shimmy” that I couldn’t get rid of.  This slowed my progress and I didn’t manage to get home until about 9:30pm with work in the morning and all my preparation for work yet to be done.  All in all I would say the lack of sleep and the dent were well worth a day with friends out on the trails, no matter how flat they may be.

-By Rich Stewart

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