Alfred Budschitz emailed in some rather carnage-hungry inquiries What was your worst driving screw-up, and most expensive repair?

Well, Im happy to report that I havent had anything more serious than rock rash to repair after a trail run, except for bending my stock shackles, or tearing open my back tire on a pointy rock.  As for driver judgment, Im sure Ive slid off a rock or maybe driven through a creek that was really a bottomless pit at some point I just dont remember clearly

How many rides must you be on before you lose the moniker "Newbie?  From a  Frustrated Newbie

Generally the rule is that you are the newbie until another new person comes along. This is, of course, slightly different than being a rookie but if you read this article regularly, you already know what Im talking about.

Justin D(idnt want me to not answer his questions) Fender had a long, scrolling list of things he wanted to know 

What was the dumbest thing you have ever done in your Zuki?

That would have to be the time when I decided to imitate Bill Air Zuk Maulding and launched my truck up into the air. Dad caught this on video, and even that was a tragedy waiting to happen. On one of our trips to The Badlands, we found a dip in the road that, when approached with a bit of speed, would theoretically have a Dukes of Hazzard effect. 

Dad stood on the side of the road with the camcorder ready as I came towards him rather quickly, hit the dip, and flew a few feet into the dry Indiana air then (being heavier than air) came crashing back to the ground rather violently. Not only did I blow out both of my rear shocks, but also (since I hit the bump at a slight angle) flew up to the right just enough to leave about a tires width of distance between the bumper and my father this would have not only been tragic, but also very hard to explain to my mom.


What do you look back on, in your Zukin' experience, and wish you could do differently?

Not a lot, really. Ive had some gripes here and there with the way various events have gone The only thing I think I would change is maybe have a truck with less rust, but then again, if it was any nicer I might be afraid to take it out and do what I do with it.


What was your scariest Zuki experience?

I would have to come right out and say the Zookimelt 2002 Staff Run just a few weeks ago. Somehow we thought it would be a good idea to cut through a zig-zag trench. Looking back, it was an incredible experience, realizing the control of the truck I must have had, not to mention trusting my spotters and essentially flying with radar.  Because of my angle (If I recall, I was straight up in the air, balancing on one wheel) I could see nothing but the side of the chasm just a hair away from my elbow, and about six camcorders whirring, waiting for a good show.  I saw a lot of camcorders that day, come to think of it. I volunteered to be the tailgunner since I tend to go along at my own relaxed pace.  Anytime I would come around a corner and see everyone standing there, smiling and focusing their cameras, I knew something was about to turn fun.


After a rather Jackson-Pollackesque experience with some Chicken McNuggets this summer on the way to St. Louis, fellow writer friend Brenda asks, How would you recommended eating a food item that requires dipping sauce in the back of a Jeeplet with the top off (traveling 65mph)?  Any tips for travelers would be appreciated.

Well Brenda, after careful review and two rounds of lather/rinse/repeat, I have come up with the following suggestions:

1)     Possibly consume sauceless foods while traveling?

2)     Wrap oneself in plastic before consuming said foods?

3)  Cherish the fact that my Zuk could even GO that fast!

4)     Do you have any idea what those things are made of anyway?


Say for instance you drive into a large, deep puddle of water, not that I ever have, but how do you get out without flooding the tailpipe and shutting it down, causing a soggy-shoed walk?  Dave in IL

Well Dave, you raise some very good questions. When driving into deeper-than-axles water, one thing to keep in the back of your mind is where is the water in relation to my air intake?  Once water is sucked through the carb, something called Hydro-locking happens, and this is not good at all. Basically, it means find a new engine.    If by chance you find yourself stuck in deep water, but safe from hydrolocking risks, I like to keep the engine running at a higher RPM just to keep things warm and moving I would imagine it would be much harder to restart a submerged engine, but I may be wrong.


Where can I find info on roll-over angles so I don't over do it? From Suanne in CO

Suanne,  this is a tough question to answer because, as they say in the car ads, your mileage may vary.  The rollover angle of a Mazda Miata would be much higher than a UPS delivery truck due to higher centers of gravity. Many other things factor into deciding a roll-over angle, and this is something Im not really equipped to answer. I feel, however, that I have done some pretty crazy things in my slightly lifted Samurai and I have yet to tip over. I think as long as you keep your wits about you and play on the slightly safe side, go slowly, and always have a plan B, you should be fine. I think.


Id like to thank everyone who contributed questions for this months article. Questions are always welcome and will be answered in future articles.  If you would like to be a featured Seasoned Rookie, drop me an email and well talk!

Remember: Youre a rookie because youre trying something new. A Seasoned Rookie is someone who comes back to try it again!

Murph The Seasoned Rookie Life is Good.



08/11/10 14:37

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