I noticed an immaculate GL63 in Scottsdale last night, and it seemed sad to me that so many incredibly capable vehicles are never used to anything like their capability. My 2008 Cayenne is is used as a hack, tow vehicle, winter beater and general transport device, as well as delivering excellent road performance.
On and off over the years I have gone offloading in the Arizona desert in a wide variety of 4x4s. My rookie trip in 1993 ended up in a slight reversal of fortune, as I attempted to ford a wide and seemingly shallow wash, which ended in a Jeep Cherokee being washed down the river and written off. Since then I have learned to respect it.
The desert is a stunningly beautiful,raw,unforgiving place, with lots of trails of varying degrees of difficulty and remoteness.. Yesterday we took the Cayenne out through some abandoned mining trails, with nothing out there excepted fancied in shafts and the occasional rusting water tank. This did not seem unduly difficult - we had a detailed set of route instructions, ( the trails are unmarked and tend to look alike).
As it turned out the trails were significantly steeper and narrower than we expected this time, and a single missed turn meant that we had a 55 degree hill to climb which was strewn with sharp rocks and loose shale. Low range was absolutely essential to climb it. The wheels individually spun slightly, sought grip, spun again, sought more grip...it was as if we were inside a mechanical mountain climber, reaching up, hand by hand for the next firm hold. there were several points on the trail where we were sure that we would not make it, but it was very,very impressive how capable this thing is when deployed in rough terrain. It took us almost four hours to travel 20 miles. There is always the knowledge that a mistake here means that you could have a ten mile walk , hopefully in the right direction. IN the entire trip we only encountered a single ATV, and saw few tire tracks, most of which were ATVs also.
The paintwork tool a beating, and the sound of the sharp thorns screaming as they scraped both sides of the truck was painful to hear. There is too much dirt on it to see how much damage we experienced, but I would not be surprised if a respray is required. Just about everything out there scrapes, pierces , or bites.
Here are some pics which do not do justice to how difficult this was in reality::
Cactus like this (Choia) is horrible stuff...touching it slightly will result i razor sharp barbs sticking in you...difficult to remove:
We had a glorious Arizona sunset on the way back
and stopped for a snack in Wickenburg Az:
Not perhaps as shiny as the GL63, but in its own way, a, touch more satisfying