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Month: September 2016

2018 Jeep Compass (MK) Official Images Released

2018 Jeep Compass (MK) Official Images Released

Well, we finally have some ideas about what the 2017 Jeep Compass will look like and if I’m honest… like what I see (at least on the surface). The MK (Compass and Patriot) have never excited me at all. Sure they have been a good entry level SUV that will let you explore just a little bit, but man have they been ugly. I will say that the current compass, with it’s Grand Cherokee like face, doesn’t look that bad coming at you, but for heavens sake don’t look in the rear view mirror at it once passed!

Delivering models late seems to be a trend with FCA that extends beyond the much anticipated JL Wrangler. While this new Compass is a 2017 model we are just now learning what it will look like while other ’17 models have been on showrooms for months.

My company car is on borrowed time and a new vehicle is on the horizon for me… This Jeep may just have possibility. But it will greatly depend on what features they bring along with it. In the past the Compass and Patriot have been lacking some of the features I look for in a fleet vehicle. This said, it looks like they are goring after a Trailhawk version of this Jeep which may give some insight to an up-scaling of the interior along with it’s better styling. I just hope this doesn’t come with too much of a sticker price increase though. A well trimmed Compass already puts you into much higher-end SUVs in the category that comes with them as standards.

This new model is intended to rival against the likes of the Toyota Fortuner, Honda CRV and the Ford Endeavour. The SUV will make its official debut at the 2016 Sao Paulo Auto Show in November but should start to arrive Brazilian dealerships next month.

Since the 2017 Jeep Compass (Jeep 551 C-SUV) will be launched in several global markets including India, it will have both right & left hand drive versions. While there is nothing official about its engine options as of now, I expect it to come with both gas and diesel engines. While the gas engine could be the 2.0-litre Tigershark, the diesel might be the 2.0-litre Multijet II diesel . Both the powertrains could get a 6-speed manual and a 9-speed automatic transmission options.

I know many Jeep “purists” will look at this Jeep and see it as an abomination of the brand, but vehicles like this under the badge are needed to keep the brand going for years to come. I may be one of the few, but I think FCA is actually doing a pretty decent job (but hold reservations until the JL is released).

What are your thoughts?

Pic Share – (Sept 17th, 2016) Daniel Boone Backcountry Byway

Pic Share – (Sept 17th, 2016) Daniel Boone Backcountry Byway

Our day, which we knew would be long, started pretty early. We were up and ready by 5am. By 5:15 we had met up with our neighbor and her girls (Sheridan Girls) and were on the road. We started in some pretty heavy rain, but this soon ended as we made our way south. Before you knew it, there were some pretty “epic” (see what I did there Sheridan Girls ) views of the full moon through the receding clouds.

Soon the sun had started to peak over the hills. Since we were running a bit ahead of schedule, it was time to transition the trip into “SSS” mode and hit some backroads! It was here we found this neat old barn with some recently harvested tobacco hanging to dry.

Just when we thought we had missed the show, we crested a hill to a pretty amazing sky and paused for a little photo.

Before we knew it, we had arrived at the meeting spot and people started to showing up!

With everyone gathered, we headed over to the trail-head at Pumpkin Hollow Road to begin the Tour. This is where some members of the Ohio River Four Wheelers who would be joining us for most of the day and helping around some temporary reroutes.

There weren’t too many opportunities for pictures up until our lunch spot…

From here, we picked up the pace to one of our favorite spots on the DBBB….Old Fincastle Road. This is where we had the opportunity to get pictures of everyone who joined us for the day. 🙂

We really love this shot! Jeeping is very much a family sport/hobby for us. As we wrapped up this little spot, it is awesome to see all of the families and kids making their way back to their rigs.

After Old Fincastle Road, most of the group from Ohio River Four Wheelers departed us and continued on their own. Soon, a pit stop was needed and it was here that most of our southern friends from the Jeeps and Wrenches crew also decided to call it a day.

A few of us continued on to see Chimney Rock and The Nada Tunnel before calling it a day. The sun would set on our way home from this pretty awesome day!

We enjoy bringing people together through jeeping and exploration. This ride had members of the Ohio River Four Wheelers, Jeeps and Wrenches out of Tennessee, and a Kentucky Wayalife member. This is one of the very reasons I wanted to start this community! It’s great to see people step outside of their normal groups and leave with new friends through our efforts.

Thanks to everyone who joined and spent the day with us!

Cabin Filter and Shock Update

Cabin Filter and Shock Update

So, a couple of updates….

First, the new Fox shocks are hands down the best shock we have used thus far. We initially set them to 4 on the front and 5 on the rear. This was firm over bumps on the road, but we suspected they may settle in. At this setting they handled very similarly to the Bilstein 5160s.

Where things were noticed to be VASTLY different was over wash-outs, whoops, and bumpy sections. While firm on the road bumps, magically, Dirty seems to almost float over this terrain. We honestly couldn’t be happier at the moment.

Time will tell, but one weekend of wheeling and ~800 miles on them, we are optimistic.

The second thing is we noticed our AC started having some trouble keeping up when we were on our way back from Windrock. For now, it seems this was due to the cabin filter being WAY overdue on being replaced.

I went to the dealer for a replacement but they either made a change or we got the wrong one. The old was a two-piece design, where the new we got is one piece. The one measures the same size as the two old ones so I used it, but it was a PITA to put in… The part number they gave me was 68233623AA

Serpent Mound (Peebles, Ohio)

Serpent Mound (Peebles, Ohio)

This last Sunday we were blessed with amazing weather. Since we had nothing really to do, we decided to jump into Klondike and hit the road for some exploring.

Our destination was one that is so close to us we have overlooked it for years, the Serpent Mound in Peebles, Ohio. The Great Serpent Mound is a 1,348-foot-long, three-foot-high prehistoric effigy mound on a plateau of the Serpent Mound crater along Ohio Brush Creek.

There is a short, but very nice hiking trail around the outer woods and along the creek as well as a paved path and observation tower for viewing of the mound itself.

We had fun with our little stop here and it was well worth the $8 parking fee. This is a perfect stop for when you are in the area or passing through. There are lots of remote roads with nice views in the area as well if you are looking to make a full day out of it. Make sure you have a good map with you though, as this part of Ohio is not covered by cellular data at all.

For more information on the Serpent Mound click HERE




Since this is a Jeep enthusiast and lifestyle forum, and we were out on a Sunday…. It seems fitting to add a picture of Klondike posing with a really cool old and abandoned church along our drive.

Is the 2017 Grand Cherokee Trailhawk useless?

Is the 2017 Grand Cherokee Trailhawk useless?

I’ll admit that with amazing amenities, a good engine line-up, and great looks, I was excited to hear that 2017 would bring a Trailhawk version of the Grand Cherokee. So much so, that when I recently stopped by our local dealer to get a few parts, I couldn’t help but take a few pictures and look at the one that they had recently received for an order.

Because it was an order and already belonged to someone, I didn’t want to push for a first-hand look at the interior. Still, I crawled underneath to snap some pictures. What I found was enough to change my opinion of the vehicle entirely.

In a nut-shell, what is the point?

The Trailhawk trim level comes with a significant cost adder. In most cases, we are okay with this as it also adds capability. But in this case, it seems to be only fluff. No lockers are added in this model as the rear differential will only be fitted with a limited slip. Sure, it has a fancy air suspension that allows for adjustable ride height, but I’m not sure that it’s a real advantage on the trail overall. Lastly, they claim it has a “full complement of underbody armor” in the brochure, but I found several weaknesses that make the “Rock” Quadra-Drive mode useless.

One quick look at what’s going on under the rear and you will notice several unprotected aluminum parts that I can’t imagine handling a rock (or even a tree stump) impact very well.

A closer look at just one rear corner doesn’t do much to help my off roading concerns. There is a whole bunch going on in a very tight space and everywhere I look, I see electrical connectors that are far too exposed for my liking.

Up front isn’t much better. You will find a large aluminum knuckle and lower arm accompanied by one of the largest diameter swaybars I’ve ever seen. Oddly though, this beef ran out when it came to steering connections. I’m sure there has been sufficient engineering here, but it just seems small when visually compared to the other components.

In similar form to the rear, the ride height sensor, connector, and arm seems left very vonerable to even a branch or brush that may get cought by the tire.

Speaking of ride height, I’m not sure how this Jeep was left, but even in the parking lot it appeared to bave about a 1-1.5” taller stance when parked next to a Grand Cherokee Limited. So if nothing else, there is the ability to get the belly up and out of some harm’s way.

It’s not all doom-and-gloom though. Let’s not forget that this Jeep looks amazing! Every time I see one on the road there is a part of me that wants one.

My issue is the fact that this one had a sticker price of just under $55k! I didn’t stop to see what all this one was optioned with, but no matter what the configuration, this puts it into the wheel-house of an SRT. At least the SRT (while a very different) has a purpose beyond status.

If going fast and making noise isn’t your game, you could find similar comport and capabilities in other trim levels for far less money. If you actually are looking to do some trail riding, Jeep has far better choices to be made with out of the box capabilities in my opinion.

Windrock Offroad Park, Labor Day Weekend ’16

Windrock Offroad Park, Labor Day Weekend ’16

Alana and I had the opportunity to join a couple of friends at Windrock Offroad Park in Oliver Springs, Tennessee over the weekend.

Our wheeling weekend started on Saturday, but our friends John Jay and Joe Miller started the previous evening. Sadly, Joe broke an axle shaft U-Joint and it ended his weekend early. 🙁

With others dropping out of the trip and Joe out, it was down to just John and us for Saturday.

A Badge of Honor trail (16) was long and for the most part, pretty boring. This was really the only obstacle on it.

Unfortunately, there are two ways to this point and the side John took as an approach left limited options. Getting up this would pull off his muffler and damage the rear driveshaft. 😳

We took a different line up with Alana at the wheel while I spotted. This line offered much better tire placement.

Other than a backup for a little bump, it was a walk. 😛

With John’s driveshaft dented and starting to twist, he made the smart call and decided to head for home. This left us all day Sunday to head home and explore along the way. 😎

We decided to make the trip avoiding all interstates. When we passed a sign for McCloud Mountain’s Skywalk, we decided to stop for brunch.

McCloud Mountain is a 1300 acre gated community. You either need to visit the restaurant or stay at the lodge to gain access. Our $20 brunch was well worth it. :mrgreen:

After eating we headed to the skywalk that is just down the road. We pretty much had the place to ourselves for almost an hour.

As we headed into the Jellico area, we caught a glimpse of the highway we were avoiding. I must say…. our way is much better! 😉

Gotta’ love these “roads” 😀

Back on pavement for a bit… we soon stopped at Levi Jackson State Park. The place was hopping! We ended up just stopping by the millstone library to stretch our legs.

With another run on the back-country roads, we decided our next leg stretch would be a good one with a hike to visit the Natural Bridge Arch in Slade, KY. This place was hopping, too! So pictures were hard to take without getting someone’s head in it. The bottom line is we had to point the camera up a fair amount.

With daylight running low we were still almost two hours from home. Still, we stopped to take in the sunset which was amazing!

From here we made the home stretch, but still no interstate.

….and this is how you turn a 5 hour drive into 14 LOL! 😆