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Homestead 4th of July HUMMER Event, 2003
Hot Springs, Virginia
The July 4th weekend event at the Homestead put on by Bill Ingram and Jesse Spindler of Independence Hummer was a lifestyle outing meant to introduce new Hummer owners to the capabilities of their vehicles off road. The trail rides were planned and lead by Hummer Club veterans Harold Hawes, Bill Hawes and Ken Kyger. No advanced or extreme trails, but a good introduction to mud, hill climbs, stream crossings, etc. for new owners.

The group was mainly H2 drivers with a collection of H1 trucks mixed in. The event was as much a chance for owners to meet each other as it was for the off road driving. The Homestead was an excellent location as it provided a large variety of activities, many trails, excellent accommodations, great food and top notch service. The camaraderie built among Hummer owners was tremendous. I guarantee this group of owners will be smiling and waiving at any Hummer they meet on the street.

At least two H2 drivers are looking for H1's to move up to and several drivers got "bitten" by the off road driving bug. I have received several emails asking "when is our next off road event." It is a shame to have the money invested in our vehicles and not at least occasionally take them out into the woods. For those of you street drivers out there, consider this event next year (or a potential National Club event here) as a chance to use your truck off road without worry of damage or major driver tension. Not to mention a Five Star resort to call home during the stay.

Future events will probably divide the group into trail ride experiences and off road skill challenges. The location provides a wide variety of trails for everyone. Harold Hawes' farm is nearby with additional skill tests and a perfect field for Hummer Games.

Following the organized ride on Saturday, several drivers were "itching" to go play on some of the hills we passed. Six trucks headed into the woods for a little more of a challenge. The first stop was a 200 yard hill on a 50 degree slope with loose rock and mud for a surface. The H2's attacked a side entrance and with a little trial and error, all five trucks made it up the first climb. I took the H1 up the main hill to the top and was soon joined by every one of the other trucks. There was a 60 degree slope at the base on one side which made for an intimidating way down, but eventually all trucks braved what looked like a drop off to the bottom. For fun and because Harold said he did it, I took the H1 up the hill backwards.

Our next adventure was a similarly steep hill covered with four foot tall grass. The day before Tyler Daum showed his "never give up" attitude and finally got his H2 up were only the H1's had climbed. On this day, the H2's in the group tried, compared notes, tried again and eventually used HL to reach the top. LL did not have the pull to get the H2's up, but they found a way to beat the obstacle.

We then made trails through the grass and forest to the top of the ski slope main run. On the way down we crossed a service road where trucks traveling a little too fast caught some air. At the bottom there was a lot of laughter and huge grins from the decent. As I turned to leave, I noticed five H2's racing back up the hill for another run down. I turned around, but stopped by the "bump" and got out my camera. I was lucky enough to catch Beau "Jumper" Markolf in mid air. As a former motocross racer, he felt natural going over the bump! It was crazy and probably will never be repeated, but we measured 56 feet from launch to landing. Those of us who saw it happen will never forget the feat. Beau, Tim Gunderman, Tim Montazeri, Bart, Scott Evert and I became the Airborne division that day.

The best testament to the enjoyment of this trip is that everyone is ready to sign up for next year's event. AMG should take note; this is what they are looking for when requiring their dealers to hold such lifestyle outings for Hummer owners.

Marshall Henderson
'01 Blue Soft Top