Southern Ohio “Overlanding” in a Flat Six Subaru

Thirteen hundred miles in two and a half days, driving from Rochester New York to southern Ohio. My goal – spend one night outside of modern amenities to rekindle something that my digital existence doesn’t foster – an analogue connection to nature… while driving a 2005 Subaru Outback 3.0. I know – a bit hypocritical, but what can I say – this car is special and I’m okay with the delusion that I can justify camping alongside fuel injection, an all-aluminum three liter 250 horsepower flat six and symmetrical all wheel drive.

Subaru Camping

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Where I Should Have Stopped

A few weeks ago, I sold the one constant thing in my life for the past four years. While it was a hard decision to make, it was the right thing to do if I was every going to preserve my truly southern Jeep while living in upstate New York. Its now vacant parking space has left me with a set of juxtaposed emotions that would leave any gearhead spinning – what do I buy next?

My old 1999 Jeep Cherokee XJ Ruby. This was her “fuck you” side.

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New York to Windrock: Prologue

As a wheeler, or someone who partakes in off road activities with a motorized vehicle, your hobby is often defined by your surroundings. The goal of modern infrastructure and bureaucracy is to eliminate what you find appealing – near destitute areas with landscape in need of low range and contemplation – so you tend to post up in more rural facets of America than a mecca of hipsters and iPhones. Knoxville, Tennessee is borderline as it houses a large, state-supported university, old money, new money, and good old fashion rednecks all within a 20 mile radius. Plus, on its outskirts are a number of dedicated areas where other wheelers can gather and talk about off roading before driving off road, all without bothering ordinary people and their iPhones. It’s a nice place for gearheads who like to go slow rather than fast.

Wild Wild West Knoxville

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The Camry Conundrum – Why Every Gearhead Should Make Friends with One

Let me make one thing clear – the Toyota Camry is by zero means an enthusiast vehicle.  It doesn’t matter how many “Sport” badges, fog lights, lower body moldings, or paddle shifters are added, the midsize Japanese namesake simply does not have the panache to match even the the slowest motion handbrake turn an edgy commercial can capture. Despite the car’s vanilla demeanor, there is a big question mark surrounding the Camry and its relationship to the people with grease under their fingernails who’d rather ignore it – why are we ignoring it? Isn’t it time we put aside our differences and tap into the Camry’s potential?

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Project Hot Rod Apocalypse Part 2 – Skip to The Middle

Two years after taking over responsibility for Ruby, she now looks at me with glassy eyes and a bruised face – but that’s mostly from pushing her into a tree… er, three trees. Whatever the number of trees this Jeep has hit, I still own it and have sunk so much money into fixing and upgrading various parts that I now have a slightly worse truck than when I first bought it.

Jeep XJ Header Panel

Here’s the abridged story of how Ruby, the 1999 Jeep Cherokee, first went from a SUV to a questionable deathtrap smile machine.

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Can You Have a Car for Your Entire Life?

Recently, I received an email from a good friend asking,

“So, theoretically, you can have a car for your entire life. But, from a practical perspective, how likely is it that if everything is done right and the car is not involved in any accidents, that one could in fact keep a vehicle for their entire life?”

Let’s look at that first part – can you have a car for your entire life? The simple answer is yes.

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Three Questionable Names at the 2016 NAIAS

Today marks the second day of the North American International Auto Show 2016 and with it, automakers from around the globe have unveiled their next superstars, volume leaders, unknown concepts, and ground-breaking technologies. As a skeptic with an affinity for vehicles unveiled at the 1962 Detroit Auto Show, here’s a snippet of unbiased truth aimed at three of the 2016 NAIAS’s hottest vehicles.

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Car Tech: The Subaru Headgasket.

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The Subaru boxer engine is a very unique machine. Its flat design layout and odd firing order give it the feel and sound of absolute legends. Unfortunately, certain variations of the boxer engine do carry some undesirable traits and none are more pressing than the head gasket issue that plagues the Phase I EJ25. This engine, which was Subaru’s first DOHC EJ series four cylinder, can be found in the second generation Legacy GT sedans and wagons (96-99) as well as the Outbacks of similar vintage. Even though it was innovative, light (due to its all aluminum construction) and enjoyed being revved, Subaru must have been excessively drunk on sake when they decided to install the gaskets that separate coolant and oil. The OEM head gaskets on the EJ25D have a tendency to fail just as much as the sun has a tendency to rise in the east. If you have one and the head gaskets have NOT been replaced, here is what you need to do to remedy a tragedy.

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10 Best Vehicles for a Hitman

The job title “Hitman”, despite its glamour and prestige, is a bit more difficult than one might think.  The men and women who make ends meet by using their ex-military training to turn murder into income have a lot on their plate.  Not only do they have to risk their lives and deal with their crippling morality each and every day, but they also have the infuriating task of picking a vehicle to suit both their desires and needs.  A hitman simply can not just purchase a Camry and go to work – no one would watch that movie.  In order for a complete, legend-making hitman to exist, one must pick out a set of wheels that is menacing to the core.  Powerfully dark, clever and deceptively suave, these cars and trucks are just as dangerous as their drivers.

For this list, each vehicle picked rolled off the factory floor just the way it is – no modifications.  This is for simplicity, practicality and to provide real-world consumer advice.

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Project Hot Rod Apocalypse Part 1 – An Intro

I’m going to make this short and sweet as with the whole world coming to an end and what not, you and I do not have a lot of time for flowering introductory paragraphs filled with useless adjectives that are obviously pulled from some sort of online thesaurus and inserted into said paragraph in a desperate and moronic attempt to impress the many members of the female race that are not reading this because it contains the words “Hot Rod” in the title and that’s just boring.

Reader, meet Ruby. Ruby, meet reader.

1999 Jeep Cherokee

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