Day 1 - Tennessee: Hale Mountain & Lynchburg

After a brief drivers meeting and handing out today's lunch box sponsored by MASTERCRAFT SAFETY - it was time roll!

Our first stop on the JKX took us to a private OHV Park in Alabama called Hale Mountain OHV Park. It was the brain child of Glen Hopkins who passed away in 2011 but his family wanted to cherish his memory by keeping the park open to the off-road community. Hale Mountain was the perfect way for us to cut our teeth with east coast wheeling and the mud that makes it so famous. We wheeled all day in the series of trails filled with enough ruts, rocks, waterfalls and drop offs to challenges and surprised us.

Hale Mountain OHV - Great people and great trails. Airing down to go to Hale and back.

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Northridge4x4 has been an awesome supporter of the JKX, and as you can see has skill!

Trail Jeeps is with us as participating sponsors for the entire JKX Series.  Wes, owner of Trail Jeeps is not beginner at this and is showing his skill.

At the end of the day, and keeping in JKX fashion, Mel surprised the group by announcing that the day was not over and be prepared for a road trip.  Air up!

On the road to...

. After about an hour on the road, we realized we were in Lynchburg, Tennessee home of Jack Daniels! After a tour of the entire distillery, we finished the day at The Barrel House BBQ, which I highly recommend if you go through Lynchburg and want to experience authentic BBQ in a friendly surrounding.The Jack Daniels Distillery!  Everyone was greatly surprised by this special tour of the distillery.  and an awesome BBQ dinner at the Barrel House sponsored by REVOLUTION GEAR & AXLE!

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Day 2 - Ian Johnson, Xtreme Off-Road & Powernation Studios.

.After driving through some beautiful Tennesse country side for few hours, we were surprised with a stop at the Power Nation studio, home of Xtreme Off Road where Mel had arranged for the the show’s host, Ian, and his crew to take us on a tour of the Power Nation set followed by a good ol’ southern BBQ lunch. 

Ian took the time to walk us through the process used on the show as well as showing us some of the builds past and present. The guys from the Power Nation TV actually came in on a Sunday to accommodate us. I have to say the hospitality and charm of the South was impressive.

Ian Johnson introduces us to the Powernation.tv studios and took us on the first ever behind-the-scenes tour.

Learning about the show production, how they shoot, edit and produce - cool stuff.

Oh, and some free swag, raffles, and BBQ for the participants of the JKX - thanks Powernation.tv

Before leaving, Ian, Mel and some of us took turns drifting their drifting trikes. 

While we were pretty spent after the long day of driving and touring the estate, we still had to get the jeep washed and prepped for an early morning photo shoot at the Biltmore Estate before heading out wheeling. Preparing for another day of the JK Experience means preparing for whatever is in store for us and making sure the rig is ready.

Day 3 - Wind Rock

Day 3 of the JK Experience East Coast event took us to WindRock OHV Park a 72,000 acre OHV Park with over 300+ trails located just outside of Oliver Springs, Tennessee. This was a beautiful park with RV and camp sites, and a large group of cabins, where we were to make our home for the next 2 nights. That night we experienced thunder and lightening and a LOT of rain and wind only hours before we were to hit the trails. We had a feeling there would be plenty of mud!

Mel plotting the trail runs.

Mel plotting the trail runs.

For those one the east coast you have to give Windrock OHV Park a try. It’s definitely a series of tough, but beautiful trails & scenery. The water crossings and obstacles that would normally be tough, became very difficult requiring us to use our winches all day long.

Super steep, slippery, muddy, long up-hill climb requires a lot of speed and momentum. After a long climb, a sharp turn and a sneaky tree jumped out to add some new trail badges.

Team work is very important on the JKX and the JKX support crew surely showcases that!  They're always ready to help out know matter how muddy or rocky after all the Xperience is yours, they make it unforgettable.

We all got to winch some tricky parts of the trail. Always amazed at how well those Warn winches perform. 

Yet another great day on the JKX. Nice to be back home to the cabins, re-torque, wash, and pack for the next day.

Day 4 - North Carolina: Tail of the Dragon & the Biltmore Estate

Road day, but done in a JKX style road day. Proving that JK's can wheel the hardest trails and then jump on the highway, we headed East towards the Tail of the Dragon with it's 318 curves in 11 miles. It was time to re-connect the sway-bars, air-up the tires, and let the hemis, superchargers, and even the ol' 3.8's roar. But first breakfast at the one and only Wafflehouse, thanks to Dynatrac

After breakfast we hit the road, not sure where to, but soon we had an idea thanks to our GPS. 

Continuing on through the Smoky Mountains we ultimately ended up in Asheville, North Carolina where all the JK-Experience participants received a private tour of the Biltmore Estate.

While we were pretty spent after the long day of driving and touring the estate, we still had to get the jeep washed and prepped for an early morning photo shoot at the Biltmore Estate before heading out wheeling. Preparing for another day of the JK Experience means preparing for whatever is in store for us and making sure the rig is ready. 

Day 5 - The Flatts

Our day started off pretty early so we could be at the Biltmore Estate before it opened for a pretty awesome parking spot.

Our destination that day was the Flats Off Road Park which was a bit less than an hour drive from the Biltmore Estate. The Offroad park was well known to a few in the group like Kelly Carter, owner of Low Range 4×4, and Ali Mansour JP Magazine editor and fellow JKX participant.

The crew and their rock bouncers led the way through kick-ass trails and seriously challenging obstacles. The trails at the Flats were pretty technical with a lot of trees, slippery hill climbs, and in some area’s boulders and slick rocks. It was a great day for wheeling as the rain held off and the trails dried out enough to provide a little bit of traction. 

Probably the most difficult part of the day for us was a creek bed trek which claimed rear passenger fenders on 3 rigs, a door dent, and a ripped tire while trying to sneak past a VW size boulder. 

Discount Tire's RESQ1 was there to rescue or help anyone along the way. Oh, and they wheeled the hell out of that hemi powered rig.

We do a lot of wheeling in dry creek beds so we thought we’d were well prepared but as was the case time and time again the x-factor was the slippery mud. 

When combined with boulders and rocks the mud literally changes your direction, prevents you from holding your line, and forces you to use momentum to get over things. A far cry from crawling it.

After lunch, time for Barbie Jeep Racing, with Eric from Northridge 4x4 and Mel banging and racing down a climb. Steering? Who needs it...

After the Barbie Jeep races and lunch we split into groups: hardcore and moderate.

Turns out the moderate group wasn't so moderate. A sharp turn, a sharp rock, and mud ended with a few of us earning some trail badges, like Chris from Fargo, North Dakota. We laughed and aired up to catch another great meal and rest for a 7:00am drivers meeting the next morning. 

Day 6 - Gulches

During the the drivers meeting the next morning we learned that we would be putting on some road miles, roughly driving 2 hrs before wheeling at Gulches Off Road Park in South Carolina where we would wheel in the morning followed by a BBQ lunch provided by one of the sponsors. Then our rigs needed to be able to drive another few hundred miles. Where we were going, we didn’t know, just that we’d likely not be getting to bed until after midnight.

Gulches has some nice tight notches, steep drops and boulders with you guessed it MUD! Right from the start we where we wheeled for a few hours sustaining only one break this time a DS strap.

Gulches has some nice tight notches, steep drops and boulders with you guessed it MUD! Right from the start we where we wheeled for a few hours sustaining only one break this time a DS strap.

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 After enjoying a great BBQ lunch. We hit the road for another 4 more hours were we ended up in beautiful Savannah, Georgia.