Bob Cooke – contributor
Ignominy. The dictionary defines it as a feeling of disgrace, public shame. That’s exactly how I felt; though at least there wasn’t any public around when it happened. Being a reasonably experienced and competent off-road driver, I’m usually quite good at reading the way ahead and deciding whether or not the Cherokee will get through. There is the argument that even if the way ahead looks doubtful the whole idea of having some off-road fun is to have a go, and no shame attached if you don’t make it, getting stuck does, after all, provide an excellent opportunity to exercise your recovery skills.
It’s just that on this occasion it wasn’t one of those challenging obstacles like a steep and rutted climb or a pile of rocks. It was just that the surface of the muddy track got softer and softer along its length. And I could see that it was getting even softer up ahead, to the extent that my brain said: “Time to stop and go back, old chap.” Unfortunately I ignored that advice, mainly because there was another car up ahead and it seemed to have no trouble at all in spite of its relatively narrow tyres. So I drove on – for another 20 metres or so, at which point the Cherokee simply sank into the soft mud and wedged its floorpan into the gloop.
That, in itself, was not particularly ignominious. A bit annoying, perhaps, but no more. The ignominious part was when the car up ahead reversed back through the soft stuff and, after the passenger had walked back and attached a strop to the Cherokee’s recovery eye, proceeded to simply hoik the Cherokee out of the mud and tow it all the way to firmer ground.
Make: Jeep Cherokee
Model: 4.0 Limited
Recent costs: None
Arrived: July 2011
You can read more about this Jeep in the February 2014 issue of 4×4 Magazine – available here