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Wally McCarthy HUMMER Happening - Gilbert, Minnesota - July 17, 2004
Last weekend nearly 30 Hummers (5 H1's and the rest H2's) drove from the Minneapolis area to the OHV Park in Gilbert Minnesota. Gilbert is home to Minnesota's first designated state recreation area for off-highway vehicles (OHV) and all-terrain vehicles (ATV). This park features more than 1,200 acres of recreation trails, scramble areas, training, hill climbs, rock crawls, and special events. This northern Minnesota OHV facility is for use by off-road motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles, and 4x4 trucks. The park is open to the public for recreational riding and will also host state and national competitive events.
I was impressed that so many people showed, given that it is about a 3-hour drive one way.
After breakfast we formed a convoy from the event hotel, through downtown Gilbert, and on to the OHV park. After breaking up into 'scenic', 'intermediate', and 'extreme' groups, we set out to play in the park for the day. I'm sure it won't surprise anyone that ALL of the H1's joined the extreme group, as did about 4 H2's.
One of the prime proponents for this event was Eric Huttner, one of Wally McCarthy's TWO dedicated H1 techs. Eric took me on my first trip to the OHV park last year. He is an excellent trail guide and instructor, and his talents were well-used at this event. Eric had carefully planned the day so that at various places along the trail, the trucks doing the 'scenic tour' arrived at key observation points just in time to see the 'extreme' folks putting their trucks through the paces. In every case the observers were out of their vehicles and looking, pointing, and laughing as they watched what the trucks could REALLY do.
The only mechanical casualties were a pair of tie rods on one truck, and a tire with the inside sidewall sliced by shale on another. Both problems were immediately dealt with - right there on the trail - by Eric and Scott, the Hummer techs from the dealership. There was also LOTS of red dust/mud, and there were the usual amounts of 'nature pinstriping' which seemed to concern some of the H2 owners.
That night there was a fancy buffet dinner and doorprizes. The staff from Wally McMarthy's also announced that they would take care of buffing out the 'pinstripes' for anyone who had them - NO Charge. Just call ahead to make sure there was a spot for your vehicle when you wanted to bring it in.
In case you're not familiar with the northern Minnesota area, it is an old taconite mine/dump area. The soil is very fine, heavy, full of iron, and bright red. It gets in EVERYTHING. I now have a pair of jeans that don't quite know what color they are?
In what I thought was an especially nice touch, the dealership folks also offered substantial discounts on full detail packages for anyone who brought their truck to the event. Just to put this in perspective, I spent almost 45 minutes in a car was up there doing my best to get to 'get the red out' but I had only made a dent in getting the truck clean. You better believe I took advantage of their offer!
I picked my truck up yesterday, and it looks gorgeous! They even took off my tires and wheels and cleaned up the backside of the wheels and around the geared hubs. You would not be able to tell that my truck had ever been there - well, except for the rock bite I got on the protector panel. A battlescar I will wear proudly.
As they say - a fun time was had by all. Usual disclaimers: I am just a happy customer of Wally McCarthy's Hummer, etc. etc. etc.