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Muddy Chef Challenge 2016
On a damp July morning, a large convoy of Ferraris drove slowly in a circle around an encampment of Land Rovers. As Green Oval enthusiasts ogled the Ferraris, Prancing Horse aficionados stared at the Land Rovers. Weirder things have happened, but not many.
At first I attributed this alternative universe moment to the presence of the free beer from the Branford, CT, Stony Creek Brewery, free rum from the Newport, RI, Thomas Tew Distillery and free cocktails from the 13th St. Cocktail Catering. Even the restorative powers of the free Cide Road Switchel didn’t change the oddity of this moment.
This added to the sounds, sights and smells provided by the Muddy Chef Challenge, held July 28-31, in Lakeville, CT, the home of the famous Lime Rock sports car race track. Nestled in the stunning countryside of the state’s northwest corner, the track hosted the Ferrari Challenge race series that weekend. The howl of tightly wound-up engines mixed with the growl of Land Rover’s pushrod V-8’s and ticking pushrods of the venerable 2.25 L four cylinder to provide an aural symphony every morning; the noise also helped shake off the effects of the free drinks.
Eric Yohe created this unique experience eight years ago, a heady cocktail mixing Land Rover models of all vintages with foodies, extreme grillers, campers and off-roaders. Eric and his team also brought in vendors with enticing products and services, and not surprisingly, you find something to please most everyone. A terrific group of volunteers, including Kristen Feeney, Gene Schubert and Peter Batenaro, among others, helped smooth out the bumps resulting from the rainy weather and large turnout. Raffle income would go to the designated charity, Autism Speaks.
Most everyone in attendance had come from CT or bordering states like NY and MA—and there were a lot of them. Registrations ran well over 100 and hundreds more enthusiasts formed some 90 culinary teams. Rovers North’s Rob Smith drove down from VT in his’ ‘94 Defender and enjoyed “the sports cars racing, meeting Rovers North customers, meeting new enthusiasts and the mix of vehicles.” Michael Ladden, Hampden, MA and Carrie Touchette erected a tent large enough for a circus and for unfurling an old “West Connecticut Land Rover Club” banner (with a Yorkie for a guard dog). John Vallerand, Greene, ME, made another one of his epic drives in his Series II-A 88”. This time he packed the Rover with the largest teepee tent I’d ever seen, as well as his mother and sister. Somehow he found room for his signature cooling utensil, a round griddle the size of a manhole cover.
In comparison, my tent was the size of a beach towel which barely covered my sleeping bag and slender air mattress, but only if I lay them out diagonally. My drive from my island town in Maine totaled 7.5 hours, which included a 1.5 hour ferry trip and the muggiest, hottest, most congested drive imaginable along the interstates in Massachusetts (#nomoresummertravel).
I arrived at the fabled race track on a Thursday night, found my assigned camp spot and erected my tiny L.L. Bean tent. I also set up my tiny, two burner camp stove, small cooler bag and diminutive water jug, my one fork and spoon, ready to show off my culinary talents. By that evening a steady stream of Range Rovers, Discoverys and Defenders had emptied out their contents of Tent Mahals, grills the size of kitchen stoves, coolers that rivaled dumpsters in size—and an assortment of tables, chairs, vases, cutlery and linens that accompanied their equipment. All this glamping made me feel like a desert nomad marveling at the encampment of a sheik and his entourage.
Mike Chioffe, Stamford, CT works in IT for a hedge fund, but his escape comes in the form of a ‘95 Range Rover Classic, into which he’s put a considerable amount of sweat equity and overseen some restorative work. Mike’s tent and camp kitchen made mine look like pet’s quarters, but could barely compare with the Big Box Store footprint of Keri and Kieran Dunn from Norwalk, CT. Keri, who works for Vineyard Vines, and Kieran, who works for Pitney-Bowes, have owned their ‘02 P38 Range Rover for just a year; Keri calls it “one classy car.” The daily driver disgorged a tent so large you could stand up in it, complete with an inflatable, full sized double bed. A folding table enabled them to set up their propane-fueled baking oven as well as serve drinks in a refined manner. Durbin Hunter and Haleigh Lipnick, also from Stamford, brought an enormous tent, several propane tanks to fuel their cookstove and with cookware of restaurant quality. For grins they brought along a Golden Retriever with a proper name of Wellington—but who only answered to Mr. Pickles—that entertained every kid in the encampment. Adam and Rebecca Check, Bolton, MA, former winners at the event, created a movie set field kitchen behind their Range Rover that simply dazzled; I slid over every so often to see if I could mooch additional samples of their cooking.
You could off-road during the day, with extreme trails a long ride away in MA. Across the hills lay Dutchess County, NY, with its own quaint villages, hillside gentleman farms and country roads. It’s also the home of the Orvis Sandanona Shooting School with its own off-road trails, and Crown Maple Farms, on whose property you could also go off-roading on forest trails. Both required about a 45-minute drive and some long waits on the trails, but in the beautiful landscape, whining about it seemed ridiculous. Besides, the Orvis lodge combined stunning rifles and gear with private club levels of leather chairs, drink and food, which Tim Smith, Norwalk, CT and I enjoyed enormously. Crown Maple Farms’ buildings hid their production inside handsome barns featuring tours, free samples and outdoor dining. Each day’s off-roading also featured an “Iron Chef” competition for those challenged to cook on the fly.
If you tired of the culinary world you could enjoy the Land Rovers surrounding you. Manny Backman, Warrington, PA, and his son, Kevin, Titusville, NJ, arrived in their ‘04 Discovery II. Kevin works for Major League Baseball and takes his ‘67 Series II-A to the train station. Nancy and Vincent Chong, Chappaqua, NY, found their ‘85 Land Rover 110 on Ebay and had it shipped from Florida to New York. They painted it themselves using a roller brush and treated it to a personalized plate that reads “CLIFF4D,” as in Big Red Dog. Professional race car driver Mark Hamilton Peters, Lakeville, CT and Sophie Purdy, Sharon, MA, enjoyed the day in a ‘64 Series II-A 109”, a former NATO Belgian military vehicle with a glorious patina. Bill Schimkowski, Westborough, MA, brought his restored Sage Green ‘61 Series II-A 88”; it reminded me how nice mine would look if I would stop using it for work. Bill let me drive his and demonstrate some of its off-road capabilities.
Pediatrician Lin-Lin Remenar, her husband, David, and children Van, Jude and Sydney, arrived in their ’88 and ‘95 Range Rovers. She noted that the Land Rover people they’ve met come from “all walks of life.” “Land Rover owners love leads to passion, which we need more of!” She admitted to some nerves when first off-roading, but said it had become “amazingly addictive!”
During one afternoon event Will Hedrick gave a presentation on his efforts to help enthusiasts hold onto their imported Defenders. Throughout the event the UK firm Arkonik presented their refurbished Defenders to excite the gathering. Founder Andy Hayes has spent several years searching out 25-year-old Land Rovers for importation to the US. He calls them “pieces of history, designed brilliantly and refurbished as such.” He seeks to have them leave his shop “better than they were in the day.” Most are from Continental countries so they can be LHD for the American market. For legal importation, the 90/110’s and Defenders must leave with their original engines; for now, that means 3.5 V-8’s or 2.5 L petrol or diesels. The handsome paint jobs and custom seats (one of which would not lift to access the underseat battery) made them look even more striking and certainly added to the joy of the test drives/rides offered generously throughout the event. Client Communications Manager Jasmin Clinton spoke of the many efforts made to educate Americans unfamiliar with these models—and also enjoyed her first ever trip to the US. Prestige Motors of New Jersey works with Arkonik on US sales and became a sponsor of the event.
The “Challenge” part of the Muddy Chef Challenge kept the judges exhausted. Jim and Robert Wollschlager, of Mystic, CT and Omaha, NE, respectively, won the Team Spirit Award with their twin Series Land Rovers. Lars Vigen, Madison, CT, won the Best Campsite award due to the weekend edition of a stuffed coyote [don’t ask]. The culinary competition categories included dessert, appetizers and entrees. You earned extra points for using locally-sourced ingredients (I learned that purchases made at a nearby grocery store didn’t count), in addition to numerous other considerations. Terry Jackson, Lewiston, ME, brought his winning ingredients in his ‘11 LR4. They combined to create “sashimi tuna with a soy, sesame oil and Hillrock Distillery Bourbon glaze, on a mango and roasted corn salsa bed.” Oh—no wonder my stuffed mushrooms failed to garner an award.
By Jeffrey Aronson
Photography: Jeffrey Aronson, Aimee Almstead
TAKING THE MUDDY CHEF CHALLENGE
10 AUGUST 2016
Since 2008, Land Rover enthusiasts in the North East have been having fun cooking and camping in the annual Land Rover Muddy Chef Challenge.. This year’s challenge at Lime Rock Park, CT was a culinary overload, says Bill Gonyea, General Manager at Prestige Land Rover, the event’s title sponsor.
What is The Muddy Chef Challenge?
This is passionate, die-hard Land Rover enthusiasts getting together in the picturesque grounds of Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Connecticut for three days of cooking, camping and a lot of fun. It’s been going on since 2008 and this year there were around 110 Land Rover vehicles with owners, families and friends attended, over 350 attendees in total. They hold lots of off-road adventures, seminars, fancy-dress parties, vendor displays and plenty of sampling of adult beverages around the campfire. It really is a fun event. The organizers like to describe it as Top Gear meets Top Chef.
Why the big focus on cooking?
The guy who founded it, Eric Yohe, is a passionate Land Rover enthusiast and an equally passionate foodie. I think it started out as a few friends taking their Land Rover vehicles camping and having fun cooking out. It has grown from there. Now, over the Muddy Chef Challenge weekend, there are two major cooking competitions with teams having to prepare gourmet meals using only locally-sourced ingredients, and only using cooking equipment they can carry in their Land Rover vehicles. It was amazing how elaborate some of the kitchens were, with huge tents and grills.
Who takes part in the event?
Passionate Land Rover enthusiasts, first and foremost. These are mostly Heritage enthusiasts who brought along their Defender, their 110s and 90s, their Series II, their LR3 and Discovery vehicles. It also draws in owners with newer LR4 and Range Rover vehicles. They come along with their families and friends, set-up their tents and focus on having a great time.
Prestige Land Rover was the title sponsor. Why does the dealership get involved?
This was our first year as title sponsor. The main attraction for us is the opportunity it gives us to increase exposure for our new models. We trucked-in twelve new Land Rover vehicles – Discovery Sport, LR4, Range Rover Evoque and Range Rover Sport. We also provided a few LR4 vehicles for the organizers to use as shuttle vehicles to move people around. We had test drive opportunities during the weekend and on the Thursday before the challenge, we held an off-roading event for customers at the nearby Orvis Sandanona clay-shooting grounds in Millbrook, New York.
You were also a judge in the cooking contest. How was the experience?
Both myself and Chris Turner, who is President of the Prestige Group and owner of a restored Land Rover Defender 110, were judges for the Saturday night contest. You have to remember that over 90 teams take part, that’s a lot of food to taste. Then there’s the added dimension that they pair most of the meals with a different beverage from some of the event sponsors, like Hillrock Estate bourbon or Thomas Tew rum. It was a long night.
Will you be back next year?
Most definitely. We’ve already had meetings with the organizers talking about ways the event might grow and how they might widen the appeal. I really do think it has the potential to be a much larger event in the future.
Join Arkonik and The Muddy Chef Challenge crew for an afternoon of Polo. This is the sixth annual Gold’s Dragoons Polo Cup match. Watch Gold’s Dragoons battle Squadron A. Come early so we can park alongside each other and tailgate in style! Pack your Yeti coolers and grab your pop-up canopy, lunch baskets, and head out for an amazing afternoon of polo.
The match is held at the Fairfield Hunt Club. Located at 174 Long Lots Road, Westport, CT 06880. Tailgating starts at 1:00 and match play begins at 3:00. Prizes are awarded for the best ladies hat and the best tailgate. As this is a Muddy Chef Challenge affiliated event, the price of admission is – FREE!
Don’t want to pack a lunch or cooler? No worries, you can buy drinks and a catered lunch at the club. The lunch is $25.00 for adults and $15.00 for kids.
Land Rover stopped manufacturing the Defender on January 29, 2016. After being produced in various forms for the past 68 years, the iconic Defender – the quintessential safari vehicle is no more. What’s a US based enthusiast to do? Have you seen the prices on e-bay? Huge sums for Defenders in a wide variety of conditions – from rusted out hulks to “brand new” models of dubious legal status. We’re talking serious risk and serious money. What can a potential buyer do to find and purchase the Defender of their dreams? Have one custom made. Your color, your options, your ideas, your dreams. Arkonik is dedicated to creating the finest Land Rover Defenders in the world. 100% legal for import to the United States.
Visit with Tom Maxwell of Arkonik at the polo match to learn more (and perhaps take a test drive) in one of their bespoke Land Rover Defenders.
Lorenzo is the horizontal guy in the photo.
If Land Rover made an aircraft would you fly in it? Why/Why Not?
Only if it was first serviced by Lars Vigen over at Madison Motor Works…that way there is a better chance that it won’t go down, and if it did at least
Tell us a little about your background, your career, and where you live.
I’m an Italian/American originally from Bridgeport, CT and relocated to a little town in Litchfield County where my Landy has plenty of room to play. I am a Certified Financial Planner™ and I focus on investment strategies for companies and individuals that are strategic by design and tax efficient by purpose (because hey, if they are going to justify tax dollars being spent to crush Rovers then why give them any more tax dollars than you have to?). I know a lot about food, wine and travel and piece, by piece I’m learning how to fix up my Disco (practice for a IIA)
How many Land Rovers have you owned and which was your favorite?
This is my second Rover. I had a Range Rover P38 named Gertrude. We had a love/hate relationship. Mainly because of a fried ECU which controlled the switch from Hi-Low and an affair she had with the 3 Amigos…still hate those guys. I now have a 97′ Discovery.
I’m getting through her at a snail’s pace but it is a fun trip. She is a work horse on the farm and starts up every time…which why I forgive her for her leaky sunroof and lack of foot wells (rusted through). But I can say that her lack external beauty is made up for by her will to live. The question is will she end up as a camper or as a mobile kitchen for future Muddy Chef events? I loved them both for different reasons.
What’s the best thing about owning a Land Rover?
When I first bought Gertrude it was all about getting from one place to another no matter what the weather. While she proved herself through the winter of ’13 it became more than that. I love the community. It is like a fraternity of owners. Most have gone through the trials and tribulations of owning a Landy. Those folks also know it is about how they look when covered with mud and not when they are covered with wax. It is about a friendly wave to a fellow owner or knowing that an owner stuck in a ditch has a very good chance of being pulled out by another owner (try doing that in the Prius club)
What’s the worst thing about owning a Land Rover?
They are never “done”.
Been on an adventure? – tell us about it
My only adventure has been to the 2015 Muddy Chef over at Lime Rock. It was my initiation into the community. It took about 30 seconds for my neighbors to come over and introduce themselves and within a minute they were helping with my gear and offering up all the tools I had forgotten. By the time the first campfire died out in the little hours of the morning I knew I was hooked.
How do you plan to beat the competition this year at the Muddy Chef Challenge?
In 2015 I came very ill prepared. I had no idea what to expect. That being said me and my cousin formed “The Cooking Cousins” and took home the trophy for the iron-chef portion. We also teamed up with Co-Bro’s to take home an award for the Muddy Chef portion. This year I plan to have a lot of fun, be more organized and cook what I want to eat and what I want my fellow Landy Owners to enjoy. I’d love to take home the trophy again but this year I’m committed to meet more great people, make memories and smoke more cigars.
If you could ask Land Rover for a particular type of vehicle what would it be?
A new Series. Leave the yuppie bells and whistles out of it (leave the A/C in). 30 Grand, leave the top off, factory snorkel extra fogs and a winch, It doesn’t need to get over 80 mph but if it could get to 55 in a hurry all the better.
What upgrades/modifications does your Land Rover have?
It’s the HSE package which gave it a lift out of the factory and apparently it is a big deal that it has chrome bumpers. Previous owner upgraded the stereo but not much else. First I’ll get it proper, then I’ll work on special.
If you were on safari which three (living or dead or fictional) people would you pick to bring along?
Tough one. I’d want Lars Vigen around because let’s face it…there is a good chance that something is going to break on a Landy so having someone around who can fix it is awesome. It would be even better if the Safari was driven in his truck.
Eric Yohe because for some reason good cigars and bourbon always seem to follow him. Let’s face it…no good story started with “while we were drinking water and chewing gum…”.
Finally, my cousin Tonino as long as he left his cell phone home. He is a good shot with a rifle if things get hairy, is a good cook (the other half of the Cooking Cousins), is funny as hell after a few scotches and he would never let me live it down if I left him home.
THE LAND ROVER MUDDY CHEF CHALLENGE
1. If Land Rover made an aircraft would you fly in it? Why/Why Not?
Yes, but it would have to be a glider.
2. Tell us a little about your background, your career and where you live.
Ex Seafood industry exec from Westport, CT currently living in Weston, CT. Punted the corp arena in 2008 to professionally pursue auto racing career and that’s how I’m depleting my retirement funds now!
3. How many Land Rovers have you owned and which was your favorite?
My 1982 Stage One SIII is the first Land Rover for me. Ever since my Uncle bought a SII back in the 70’s (named Ralph) I’ve wanted one. Still want an 88 as well.
4. What’s the best thing about owning a Land Rover?
Just being different and not having a carefree easy to drive car. It’s also very utilitarian for camping and farm work.
5. What’s the worst thing about owning a Land Rover?
Not being able to smoke, drink and text at the same time because I’ve got to watch the road at all times!!!
6. Been on an adventure? – tell us about it
Since it’s a new acquisition the Muddy Chef 3 was my first foray off road. Needless to say I had an adventure at Orvis when she rolled on the side in the articulation section. See photo!!
7. How do you plan to beat the competition this year at the Muddy Chef Challenge?
Mario Batali is my co camper this year so I don’t need to say much more than that.
8. If you could ask Land Rover for a particular type of vehicle what would it be?
Probably another gnarly basic off Series like vehicle. Jeep have taken this segment. Take it back.
9. What upgrades/modifications does your Land Rover have?
Pretty stock. US trailer hitch.
10. If you were on safari which three people would you pick to bring along?
Richard Leakey, Jim Carrey (most recently in Dumb and Dumber to), and my son.
Richard Leakey is Kenyan politician, paleoanthropologist and conservationist.
World Class Whiskey – From Vermont?
I’ve been writing on wines and spirits for over 15 years, and living in Vermont for even longer, but the two have never had much in common – until now.
Unlike vodkas made from Maple syrup or even lactose (really), WhistlePig, which is bottled on a farm in rural Shoreham, Vermont, is not just another marketing gimmick – according to many critics it is the best rye whiskey in the world.
As I reported recently with the launch of a high-end rye from boutique bourbon maker Knob Creek, super-premium rye is the hot new spirits category. America’s favorite before Prohibition, rye is again all the rage among bartenders heralding a return of classic cocktails like the Manhattan and Old Fashioned. But WhistlePig is almost too good for this, and can be appreciated on its own.
Introduced in mid-2010 and made in very limited quantity (1000 cases), the story behind WhistlePig is unique. Industry legend Dave Pickerell, the longtime Master Distiller for the renowned Maker’s Mark bourbon distillery in Kentucky, decided to devote himself to a quest for the best rye possible, the next evolution of boutique bourbons. He wandered the earth trying rye whiskies, until he found what he considered its finest expression in the form of a new Canadian version, made from nothing but rye grain (law requires the majority of starch to be rye in order to be labeled rye whiskey, just as it requires 51% corn for bourbon, but pure ryes are rare).
For various reasons, including the fact that rye grain is considerably more expensive than corn, but also because a straight rye distillation is very tough on equipment, gumming it up with sticky residue, few distillers have bothered with pure rye whiskey. But the Canadians solved the sticky problem with two solutions, using malted rye and by developing a special strain of yeast-like fungus for distillation (for much more detail on this issue, check out this article from a great site devoted entirely to Canadian whiskies).
So Pickerell teamed up with WhistlePig founder Raj Bhakta, a former contestant on The Apprentice, who purchased a two century old working farm in Shoreham and renamed it WhistlePig Farm and began growing his own rye. Bhakta purchased the incredible Canadian rye whiskey, still in bulk storage, brought it back to Vermont, hand bottled it, and it blew critics away with rave reviews. At the same time, Bhakta and Pickerell, now Master Distiller for WhistlePig, have set up their own distillery on the farm and are working towards producing their rye from start to finish going forward.
But where it is made is not nearly as important as how it tastes.
Pickerell fell in love with the stuff because of its strength, purity (100% rye grain) and maturity – he calls the combination of proof and purity 100/100 and along with 10 years of aging in new American oak barrels, claims it hits “the sweet spot” in all three categories. I think he is right, and the balance between the higher than usual strength, higher than usual purity, and lengthy aging is perfect. It certainly does not taste like 100 proof, or half alcohol, because the woodiness for the aging perfectly balances the strength. It’s got just a hint of herby spice, maybe a little mint or cinnamon, but nowhere as much as many whiskies and less spicy zing than most ryes. Rather it j tastes of grain, its essential component, in a good, earthy, bread-like way, with the caramel-rich mouth feel of well-aged whiskies. I hesitate to call it straightforward, because that makes it sound simple, but its straightforward – it tastes like rye.
I’m not the only one who likes it. When the first batch was just released in mid-2010, it immediately earned a whopping 96-point rating from Wine Enthusiast – the highest rating the prestigious magazine has ever given to a rye. The Tasting Panel magazine gave it 94, and F. Paul Pacult’s acclaimed Spirit Journal gave it the highest possible 5-star rating. Details magazine simply called it “America’s Best New Whiskey,” while the Wall Street Journal named it one of the top five whiskies of the year. There was no shortage of other accolades.
And the odd name? Well to really appreciate that, you have to listen to the funny story in first person audio from Bhakta on WhistlePig’s website, but hey, it’s as good as lots of names, and to go with it, they created a suitable logo which reminds me of the Monopoly board game guy crossed with a pig. If I’m going to buy a $70 bottle of rye from anyone, it’s as likely as not to be a cartoon high-roller pig with a top hat and cigar.
But seriously, as whiskey lovers continue to enthusiastically embrace WhistlePig, there is likely to be a lag between the sellout of the limited first batch and future production, so hesitation might not be the best strategy.
The Land Rover Muddy Chef Challenge 3
Lime Rock Park
497 Lime Rock Rd Rt 112
Lakeville, CT 06039
9:00 a.m. Thursday, July 31, 2014
Published: Wednesday, July 23, 2014
LAKEVILLE >> Calling all Land Rover enthusiasts. Pack up your oriental rugs, leather chairs, Land Rover flags and signs, gourmet grub, camp grills and lots and lots of gusto and head up to Lime Rock Park for a weekend of off road adventure, fine food and drink and lots of camaraderie.
Preregistration is required at http://muddychef.com/.
“Land Rovers are your sort of rugged, safari, adventure-type vehicle,” says event creator Eric Yohe. As an owner of an unrestored, 1961 Land Rover Series IIA, the Madison resident is passionate about all things Land Rover and is a foodie.
Yohe arranged the first Muddy Chef in Stowe, Vermont and went on to host last year’s event in Mystic. Bringing the road race/cook-off to Lime Rock was a natural progression and embraced by the park’s Director of Business Development Walter Irvine, another Land Rover enthusiast, and former owner of a Land Rover LR2, who enjoys the “culture.”
“Off-roaders (are) very adventurous, typically very philanthropic, really up to doing crazy stuff like off-roading all day and then coming back and putting on a blazer and making a gourmet meal AT their truck,” Irvine explains.
Cooking a gourmet repast is part of the challenge. Attendees may cook whatever they can transport in their Land Rover. The dishes are then judged by an esteemed panel of fellow epicureans. No one walks away hungry and everyone has lots of fun concocting what they think is the tops in haute cuisine.
“It’s exciting and it’s nerve-wracking and you have to adapt, but it’s tons of fun,” says Madison participant Kristen Feeney.
How do fresh Nantucket bay scallops on a bed of local roasted sweet corn sound? To Yohe it sounded like a winning entry last year. Alas, other venturesome gourmands apparently served entries better tasting, better presented and better liked by the judges.
Away from the rugged terrain, attendees will put on their best cocktail attire – blazers and shorts and Lilly Pulitzer shifts – and visit two local venues.
The Falls Village Inn, complete with a taproom designed to honor the Lime Rock legacy, is “intimate and comfortable…A feel that honors not only Falls Village, but also that of Lime Rock Park, our famous neighbor,” says their website, http://www thefallsvillageinn.com/taproom.php.
Up the road in Dutchess County, New York, a long winding road will take guests to the Madava Farms where Crown Maple Syrup is tapped and refined to make a one of a kind maple syrup. While feeling like they have entered a Napa Valley winery, guests may partake in a maple syrup tasting in a finely appointed tasting room complete with a copper bar, website: http://www.crownmaple.com/visit-madava-farms.
Some of the events sound outrageous: “For those of you who want super rock crawler, smashed body panel gnarly you have access to Old Florida Road and MaBelle in Western, MA,” according tomuddychef.com. Yet Yohe stresses there is something for everyone.
“What I like about it the most is, despite the stressful things you have going in your life you really can’t think about anything else in your life except how am I going to get this vehicle and myself through these woods, over this obstacle,” Robert Wollschlager says. “It’s fantastic.”
Wollschlager, of Mystic, will join in on the fun with his dad, James. They will bring two of their four Land Rovers – a 1972 Land Rover Series 3 88 and 1982 Series 3 Stage- 1 V8 109.
Each morning there will be vehicle inspections and safety talks. The only prerequisite is that “your vehicle should be in good repair without any serious frame rust and able to handle basic off-road challenges.”
“The majority of our vehicles are the rare ones, the early ’60s ones, the ’70s … the classic Land Rovers,” Yohe says. In addition, the event draws drivers of “the Defender, which is what you see on safari…we get lots of those.”
Every morning, before venturing out there will be vehicle inspections and safety talks. The only prerequisite is that “your vehicle should be in good repair without any serious frame rust and able to handle basic off-road challenges.”
In need of a break from the rigors of off-roading, guests can head over to Orvis Sandanona Shooting Grounds in Millbrook, New York to experience sporting clays at “the oldest permitted shotgun shooting club in the country,” they boast on http://www.orvis.com/sandanona.
Back on the road, how about the Overland Challenge in the Housatonic State Forest?
“It’s sort of a high-tech Easter egg hunt,” says Yohe. “Drive to a spot with the GPS, get out and use the compass to go in the direction we tell you to go, start walking and you will find what ever it is. Somewhere in that forest is something to find like an orange flip-flop nailed to a tree.”
Whether you are an experienced off-roader or want to try it for the first time, love adventure and the thrill of the ride, or want to spend a weekend in the country learn more at Facebook/The Muddy Chef Challenge.
The mission of OutdoorX4 is to promote responsible 4×4 adventure travel along with the utility of 4×4 and dual-sport vehicles to enjoy all forms of outdoor recreation. In essence, we want to help create solidarity amongst all communities of adventure enthusiasts because at the end of the day, enjoying the great outdoors should be a right of which we all share rather than a privilege.
So what makes OutdoorX4 different from other publications? Well, for one our content is a hybrid of all areas of outdoor recreation and adventure. Whether you’re an avid 4×4 adventure traveler, mountain bike enthusiast, camp cooking aficionado, world-class fisherman, dual-sport motorcyclist or weekend warrior, OutdoorX4 is focused on providing the most engaging and unique content to appeal to the broadest range of outdoors enthusiast while providing expert advice in the field, suggestions on places to visit along with an expanded perspective on the history of the areas we travel, as well as dynamic photography that inspires the outdoors enthusiast to choose the road less traveled.
Frank is an avid explorer, adventurer, and advocate of responsible outdoor recreation and off-highway travel. Frank has had the fortune of traveling throughout the world, including destinations throughout North and Central America, as well as across Eastern and Western Europe. When he’s not cycling across Texas on his road bike or climbing in the Swiss Alps, he is touring the backcountry in remote destinations throughout the United States and abroad in his diesel Grand Cherokee.
Frank is the Editor-in-Chief of OutdoorX4. Additionally, he was the Co-Founder, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of JPFreek Adventure Magazine from 2006 through mid-2012 as well as publisher of several industry journals. He is a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, and his articles on off-highway travel, adventure destinations, and product reviews have been featured in numerous publications. Frank resides in Texas with his family.
With a deep and varied background in business and a nose for keeping work fun while doing what he enjoys, John Herrick publishes OutdoorX4. John makes sure the book gets to subscribers and the newsstand while enjoying as many adventures as possible the rest of the time which also includes producing CRAWL Magazine as well as producing special outdoor events.
He’s been published as both a writer and photographer, an avocation he took up in his late teens.
An avid Jeep owner, John also enjoys desert racing, rock crawling, and other motorsports. With an eye towards responsibility, he heads the CRAWL Trail Foundation which promotes grass roots trail preservation.
John lives in Northern Nevada in the shadow of the Eastern Sierra, with his wife Pam of 30 years.
Phil was born with a determined desire to explore. Whether by Jeep, dual-sport motorcycle, mountain bike, road bike, kayak or on foot, Phil pushes himself to go further and do more. Phil can often be found alone on his adventures as he enjoys the purity of being surrounded by nothing but wilderness. He recently traveled solo on the Continental Divide trail from Mexico to Canada, self-support by Jeep and completely off-highway. Additionally, he has logged over 6,000 miles and numerous legs of the Trans America Trail via dual-sport motorcycle from Tennessee to Oregon, and owns the oldest active geocache in the state of Louisiana.
Phil is an avid endurance cyclist, randonneur, and runner. When Phil is not pushing himself to the limit, he is on a mission to raise awareness for the rare terminal disease his son has called Adrenoleukodystrophy. He has written numerous articles and conducted several interviews regarding his awareness campaign – Expedition Awareness. While his passion runs deep for the great outdoors, it does not compare to that of his family.
Phil resides in Wichita Falls, Texas with his wife and three children.
Jonathan Hanson’s expedition experience encompasses land and sea-scapes from Baja, Mexico to the Beaufort Sea, from the Libyan Desert to the Namib, and modes of transportation from sea kayaks to sailboats to bicycles to Land Cruisers and Land Rovers.
He has traveled among and worked with cultures as diverse as the Seri Indians and the Himba, the Inuit and the Maasai.
Jonathan has taught wildlife tracking, natural history writing, 4WD techniques, and other subjects for many conservation and government organizations. He is an elected fellow of the Explorers Club, and a charter member of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers. His writing experience spans a dozen books and two dozen magazines, including Outside, National Geographic Adventure, Nature Conservancy, Sea Kayaker, and Backpacker.
Jonathan and his wife, Roseann, are the creators and owners of the Overland Expo, the largest adventure travel event of its kind in the world.
Kraig is a freelance writer and world traveler who covers mountaineering expeditions, polar exploration, adventure travel, and other outdoor pursuits.
He has served as the Media Director for the Primal Quest expedition adventure race and is the editor of The Adventure Blog.
He is a regular contributor to travel site Gadling.com and the outdoor blogs for The Clymb and the Wenger brand. He has also published stories with Outer Edge Magazine, National Geographic Adventure amongst others.
Kraig resides in Austin, Texas.
Wes was bitten by the adventure bug at a young age, spending his boyhood exploring the family farm from sunup to sundown, annual vacations on lonely backroads across the rural South, and dedicating his summers to staff employment at a Boy Scouts camp.
When not on extended paid vacations to Southwest Asia for Uncle Sam, Wes can be found guiding backcountry trips and documenting routes, destinations, and stories in the U.S. and Central America.
Wes is the publisher and editor-in-chief of Central Overland, an online magazine dedicated to vehicle-based adventure travel, and resides in central Arkansas with his wife and two kids.
Mark is an adventurer who was born of, reared by, and educated in Arizona’s Sonoran Desert.
He has climbed the walls of Devil’s Canyon, trekked the trails throughout the Rocky Mountains, slept on the ground in most National Parks, rope-swung into a river here and there, driven the back roads of the southwest U.S. and Mexico, enjoyed song and cerveza in the cantinas of the Baja peninsula, and otherwise traveled like a backpacking pilgrim from British Columbia to Peru.
Mark holds a degree in English from Arizona State University; he learned from composition maestros such as Jeanne Dugan, Robert Krut, and G. Lynn Nelson. His work has been published in Overland Journal, Nissan Sport Magazine, Arizona Outdoorsman, and JPFreek Adventure Magazine. Mark and his wife are also the curators of Adventure Parents, a resource focused on the adventures of raising children to enjoy an active, outdoor lifestyle.
Mark resides in Arizona with his wife and two children.
Alan & Jackie are avid off-highway enthusiasts who have immersed themselves into a lengthy list of outdoor activities, be it land, water, or air.
Their primary recreation vehicle is a Jeep Rubicon and it has traveled all over the continental United States on backpacking, mountaineering, rock climbing, sailing, and skydiving adventures.
Additionally, Jackie and Alan are professional skydivers and work as instructors at Skydive Dallas in Texas.
You can follow their adventures on their site at Jackie and Alan’s Outdoor Adventures.
Andrea is the better half of our Editor-in-Chief.
Born and raised in Mississippi, Andrea spent her time as a child adventuring while on her bicycle and called the Smoky Mountains her second home.
Andrea is an avid explorer, artist, musician, mother, wife, adventurer, seeker of truth, and on a quest for all things beautiful and good.
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PHOTO: Seven Wonders of The World
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THE NEW SITE LOCATION OF THE MUDDY CHEF CHALLENGE.
IT’S SO BIG WE ADDED ANOTHER DAY TO THE EVENT. NOW – JULY 31, AUGUST 1,2,3 2014.
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