Land Rover conquers Moab, Utah,Â eats mountains for breakfast
Remember that little gift box that opens to reveal a smaller box, and then another, and still another after that?Â The first time I saw one I remember being surprised at how small the boxes would get.Â I kept thinking, this has to be the last one.Â It canâ€™t get any smaller.Â But then, surprise, it would.Â Itâ€™s that same staggeredÂ amazement that I felt when I experienced the vast driving capabilities of a Land Rover.
Iâ€™ve seen Land Rovers, of course.Â Iâ€™ve ridden in them as a passenger, and Iâ€™ve even driven a Rover around New York.Â But none of that mattered, however, when I was clinging to the side of a mountain thousands of feet up.Â That, mon ami, gave me a whole new appreciation of the Land Rover’s capabilities.
Let’s back up a bit.Â When I was recently offered the opportunity to test-drive Land Rovers in Utah’s Moab desert for UPTOWNMagazine.com. I jumped at the chance.Â Later, when I learned Iâ€™d be driving a huge SUV up the side of a mountain, I naturally assumed that “mountain” was meant in a mostly figurative sense.Â You know, like, maybe a few big rocks or one semi-large hill.Â So, when we drove past the sign that ominously read “Poison Spider Mesa,” I was still smiling. As souped up Jeep Wranglers with roll cages and tires the size of small countries rolled past us, I was certain that our destination would not possibly be the same as theirs.Â Yeah, I was wrong.
Believe it or not, the Land Rover can handle anything those vehicles can.Â I have to be honest, I didn’t believe it myself.
When we stopped for a break to watch dune buggies and motorcycles attempt to shimmy their way up a sheet of rock shaped like a hairpin that had just been run over by a bus, I saw many of them slip, get stuck or gun the engine and burn rubber just to make it to the top.Â That said, I was less than amused when our survivalist guides indicated that we were supposed to drive the same route.Â Lovely.
After cresting that monster of an obstacle courseâ€”before my heart could resume beating at a normal rateâ€”we queued up for something even more treacherous.Â And bested it.Â Only to do something harder. I remember being surprised at how impossible each new feat would seem.Â I kept thinking, this has to be the last challenge.Â It canâ€™t get any harder.Â But then, surprise, it would (just like the little gift boxes). And yet the Land Rovers never faltered.Â Completed challenge by completed challenge, I gradually became a believer.
Obviously, the mountains in the Moab desert of Utah are big.Â Very big.Â Big enough to cause heart palpitations and sweaty palms.Â Itâ€™s because of this that the folks at Land Rover developed a very specific program for us to follow throughout the day, complete with a band of survivalists who literally helped guide us through safely (see above).