After a few full days at sea and some quick sojourns at Patagonian ports, I was in need of some good automotive excitement. The smaller port towns of Chile and Argentina I had visited up to this point were indeed chock full of cars. Many of them were even what I'd call "DWA approved" transportation--snorkel clad, 4x4, quad cab, turbocharged, intercooled, diesel propelled trucks.
The rest though, pretty damn disappointing. Lots and lots of Chinese things I had never even heard of (with the exception of Geely). JAC, BYD, and GREAT WALL badged crap everywhere. I was enjoying the heck out of the locales, taking in the killer regional foods, being blown away by the nature, and surprised by how developed the towns are in such remote places. On the automotive side though, I was bored.
The fam and I had arranged a 4x4 excursion upon arriving at the Falkland Islands, with the goal of checking out some little dudes in tuxedo's. Penguins. And boy did we find them. But this isn't a nature blog, so let's get back to that "4x4" component of our excursion. Once docked at Stanley (the capital of the Falkland Islands), a small boat tendered us over to our awaiting rigs, sitting pretty on a rocky beach.
I knew they were going to be Land Rovers, but I was AMPED when I first caught glimpse of the Defender 110's waiting to haul us into the countryside. The closer I got, the radder these beasts became. I was immediately drawn to the beefy "BF Goodrich Mud-Terrain T/A" rubber they rocked.
They didn't just look the business, they WERE, the business. We hit all sorts of terrain on our way to Kidney Cove, starting with a rocky beach.
Then steep inclines and declines over rocky road (mmmmm, ice cream).
Soft dirt covered in grass.
I mean, sure the tires kicked ass, but holy fucking hell are Defenders capable! I had the pleasure of sitting shotgun as our local guide followed another Defender 110 very closely and it was rad to watch the thing handle the terrain like it was nothing. I loved watching a rig do it and then experiencing it immediately after. The short overhangs, the ground clearance, the suspension, the short gearing, all playing a part.
Hey, I know. EVERYBODY knows Land Rovers are made to mob off-road, but experiencing it first hand is just awesome. These old simplistic machines are bad ass! Sure, the interiors are as basic as can be, they are not cheap, and apparently they are not the most reliable things out there, but according to Kelpers (Falkland Islanders), there is no substitute. Perhaps a Land Cruiser is more reliable, and a Lexus something rather, is cushier while achieving the same task. However, when it comes to a no frills, off-road beast with epic sense of occasion, I am sold. Shit...I don't need another money pit of a hobby do I? We'll see.