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Choose 3, 6, or 12 Monthly Payments. Affirm Offers Rates from as low as 10-30% APR based on your credit. Actual rate will be shown at checkout.
Click below for more info!
Did you hear about our latest giveaway on Facebook?
We’re giving away a sweet Trunk Storage Bag from Rightline Gear. If you haven’t seen these, you’re really missing out. If you’re like most of us, the cargo area of your Jeep JK is a mess. Just like all of their bags, this one will help organize your gear and it looks great too.
Check out the sweet little video we made about them!
We’ll pick a random winner on Monday 6/26/17. Good luck!
Starting December 7th, each business day we will open a new present and reveal what is inside. Once opened, click here to check our Facebook page for requirements to enter to win that prize! We’ll announce the winner the following day along with the next opened gift. Super simple, just check back here and Facebook every day!
Here’s a quick video we made just to show you how easy it is to remove a dent from your MCE Flexible Fenders. These are the only fenders on the market that you can do this with.
Order your set today! http://www.northridge4x4.com/brand/mce
The group had limped into Glen Allen as wheel speed sensors had plagued us again as well as a driveline issue. It was going to take some serious ingenuity to get the JK from Tactical Jeeps back the road…luckily Mel has some of the best wrenches in the nation on these trips. Kelly Carter from Low Range 4×4 and Russ Huff took a look at the situation and found that the JK would need a new driveline and as luck would have it there was one on the trip but it was going to require some serious fab work to convert it from an Atlas transfer case to the stock JK case. A local CAT service trucked pulled into the hotel parking lot about the time they realized that Russ had brought every tool needed for this fix in his JK. The driver graciously gave us his service truck and everyone went to work. It would require milling down a flange to fit the stock t-case and then re drilling and tapping the part for bolts. It was going to take some real thinking and backyard machining to make this work.
When it was all said and done the part worked flawlessly and the machine work was even balanced and didn’t vibrate. With the repairs complete, we had our last drivers meeting of the trip. Mel told us to expect to use the snorkles and that we’d be doing some roads miles to the next wheeling place and then from there back to Anchorage where the group would be attending a meet and great for locals to come meet the MFG’s and the drivers and see the rigs of the JK Experience.
We pulled out of the parking lot and all of us had that overwhelming feeling of almost sadness. We’d been on the most amazing adventure and covered almost 2000 miles in seven days and worked through the harshest mechanical and weather conditions. No one wanted the journey to end but if it had to end we knew it was going to be amazing. As we reached the parking lot of the Knik Recreation area everyone aired down for high speeds on gravel and mud and rock. Eric and CJ decided they were going to make the trek up river in a burned out Subaru instead of their built JK’s.
Once everyone was ready, we had a quick drivers meeting to talk about the river crossing and that we’d be going up the river 25 miles to an ending location and then back down. We turned out of the parking lot and headed up the vast valley of the Knik River.
As we forded a river channel after a mud bog, we were slowly making our way toward the 25 mile goal. You couldn’t really see what was on the other side of this earthen dike, but you could see snow over the top and everyone started motoring!
Once the Jk made the final few feet to reveal what was not the other side, we were all blown away with the beauty nature had placed in from of us. We were at the foot of the Knik Glacier, and how fitting and cool that this spot was the end of the JK Experience. Mel had told us from day one that he had worked his ass off to find the best locations for us to experience and this was the culmination of all his and his teams hard work.
As everyone got out of their rigs, they were almost speechless at the vast beauty that we were witnessing. There are very few places like this on this great planet and were considered ourselves so lucky to be able to be apart of such a grand experience.
Randy Byers, who has been on every JK Expense since day one, said it best “there have been some amazing locations but this moment I will remember for the rest of my life”. Mel had started the JK Experience to showcase what could actually be done in a JK but the trips became so much more than that, the became a platform to blow people away with the beauty of our great country. It became a place for like-minded individuals to get together and became life long friends. It became a place for Sponsors and MFG’s to be on the same playing field as their customers, and it became a place for the inexperienced to be educated by the best the wheeling world has to offer. We covered right at 2000 miles and ran some of Alaska’s toughest terrain, its most dangerous highways, and saw some the most beautiful country we’ve ever witnessed. From the bottom of Alaska to the top, this trip has been amazing.
We, as Northridge 4×4, became a sponsor of this great event to let you know what the parts you buy from us can do, we also wanted you the customers and fans to know we are serious about understanding our parts and not just the part numbers. We set out on this 2000 mile Alaska JK Experience in probably our least built JK, in comparison to some of our other builds, to prove that we carry the best parts from the budget based builds to the most extreme built JK. Its been an honor to cover these events for the past year and we can’t wait to see what Mel Wade has in store for the JL Experience. Thank you for following us on all of our local feeds and look out for the video’s we have coming in the near future!
Everyone awoke in the North Pole and attended to the various problems with their JK’s. We had issues with wheel speed sensors, crank sensors and an oil issue but everything was handled and everyones spirits were high. We were going wheeling again!
After the drivers meeting, we had some quick road miles to make and then we turned left off the highway and looked straight into the mountains.
We had a quick drivers meeting and everyone aired down from the previous road day and we were off up toward the Canwell Glacier. No one had any idea what it was going to look like let alone the fact we would be running up a spine ridge with a couple hundred foot drop off to the left and the mountain to the right.
The JK’s ambled up the trail slowly as we were taking drone footage and there were photographers out getting still content. The higher we climbed the gnarlier the trail became as well as the darker the sky got. It was once again raining in Alaska.
As we neared the end of the trail, it turned right and we stared directly into the Glacier basin and the run off creek it had created. It was truly unreal to think we were parked in a spot that had once been under a hundred feet of snow.
Everyone took the allotted time to eat their lunch and shoot pics of where we were at, for those of us that had never seen a glacier we all took the time to soak it in.
Once we were on our way down Mel decided to take a different route back to the highway and we snaked down the spine ridge and into a different valley that presented us with a beautiful emerald colored lake for a photo op.
We lined up the JK’s and the photographers each took a turn capturing the moment and then we were off to another destination.
A Few short road miles took us into another valley and a stop to walk across an old fashion suspension bridge over a glacier fed river.
Once the group had chance to feel the bridge beneath their feet we were off to see the famous Copper River and we used this time to air back up as we had a few miles yet to go and the morning was going to going to have road miles as well.
The day had taken us to places and sites no one could even dream of let alone drive their JK into. Eric said it best, “I have checked off items on my bucket list I didn’t even know I had on the list.” The trip was winding down but we all knew is was going end in epic fashion.
As the sun never really leaves the sky this far north, the night seemed extra short due to the fact we had all stayed up talking in the sun driven rain. Mel arranged for the crew to tour the town of Deadhorse/Prudhoe Bay and drive to the end of the highway marking the highest north you can drive in the United States. The town of Deadhorse is the public portion of the town and it has a parts store and pseudo gas station.
The Prudhoe side is restricted by the Oil companies that built all the infrastructure for the oil crews to work on the North Slope. Is was quite astonishing to see how much is really built up in this harsh environment. Three thousand people inhabit this place on a rotating schedule while drilling.
When we got to the end of the road we all ventured out onto the Jetty and little Mel decide he would take the Polar bear plunge and dove into the Arctic Ocean only latter to think maybe it wasn’t good idea. It was a lonesome feeling out there looking into the ocean as it was rainy and gray but it marked a point for all of us as a huge accomplishment.
Once the crew was all back together Mel explained we would be driving someplace past Fairbanks back down the Dalton Highway and to expect close to a 14 hour day.
The weather was rainy and dreary but the clouds were high enough to allow the group to be able to see a lot of the Brooks range and vast expanse of what was in front of us.
As the group approached Antigun pass again the weather took a turn for the worse and we were stopped on top for construction in a snow storm.
While waiting for the pilot car a 1929 Ford sportster pickup came rambling up from the other side. He was on his way from Key West which would mark the lowest you can drive in the US to Deadhorse which would be the highest. Now we all consider ourselves pretty tough in all these built JK’s but he obviously showed us as he had no wipers or side windows or even a heater for that matter!
Once we were off the mountain the pace picked up as we had miles to cover. We drove into the small off the beaten path town of Wiseman, Alaska and we were instantly taken back 100 years. It was an old mining camp and most of the buildings had been turned into a museum.
Once we got back on the road we quickly made the miles to Coldfoot for our fueling stop and then it was back on the road for more perfect scenery.
As we motored on down the Dalton the miles grew shorter and we knew we had to be getting close to our destination for the evening. We pulled into town of North Pole and it seemed very fitting end for where we had been the past two days. You learn quickly to expect the craziest things on the JK Experience!
We woke up early to ensure that the Blue JK was prepped and ready for the road in front of us. Mel had told us the night before, which never happens, that we were running the Dalton Highway from Fairbanks to Deadhorse (Prudhoe Bay) which is the end of the road and the highest point in the United States. The mileage count was going to be right at 500 miles and while that doesn’t sound like much in the Lower 48, to run 500 miles in Alaska means you’re going to run pavement, gravel, and mostly dirt. Living in Alaska I’d heard of the Dalton and the TV show “Ice Road Truckers” has made the route famous but in no way could we understand what we would see let alone drive through for the next 500 miles.
We were an hour and a half in when we made the left hand turn to the Dalton and not far from that we crossed the Arctic Circle, who would ever think that you’d have a chance to cross that line let alone do it in a JK.
Once we were back on the road the next spectacle we ran into was the Trans Alaskan Pipeline which was built tin the 1970’s and supplies our country with a large portion of its sweet crude oil. The man made marvel still looks like the the first barrel flowed down the line from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez.
The next crazy experience for the JKX crew was driving over was driving over the Yukon River which was the principle form of transportation during the Klondike gold rush. After the river we pulled into Coldfoot, Alaska where we filed up the tanks and rotopaks as the next fuel would be in Deadhorse at the top of world.
The vista’s and long valley’s are so very surreal as we cover the miles, you feel so small and overpowered by the vast country on either side of you while driving. The talus slopes are home to Dall sheep and Mtn Goats while Moose and Caribou roam the valleys along with Foxes, Wolves, and inland Grizzly bears. At the bottom of Antigun Pass we were stopped for construction and were just in awe of where we were about to drive, its insane as its the only pass in the Brooks Range that is crossed by a road. Bush pilots have a hard times getting over it let alone driving over it!
With the final 164 miles to Deadhorse in front of us we sped up the pace as everyone was excited to get out of the vehicles after 10 hours. As we neared the town we were treated to a Grizzly Bear sighting as well as Caribou and a large herd of the reclusive Musk Ox. We could see the structures come into view and realized how much there actually was in Deadhorse. Approximately 3000 workers are on the site at all times and the various companies run flights twice a day carrying new people in and taking people home. Our home for the night was a barracks style compound, they are the only option in town and we were plenty glad to have it.
Mel and Lisa along with Chris Durham treated us to a Reindeer Sausage BBQ while we stood around in the rain and marveled over the fact that the sun really never goes down up here this time of year. Mel needed some arts from the 24 hour Napa and Eric volunteered to drive him and while out they saw a large Grizzly bear and the grumpy old guy chased them in the Jeep!
It was a truly amazing day and everyone settled in to get a few hours of sleep before we headed to the Arctic Ocean to see if anyone was up to the Polar Bear Challenge.
We began the day with a few road miles to the town of Healy, Alaska for some fuel and supplies. Once everyone topped off and was ready, we headed north to the Stampede Road turn. This trail became famous after Christopher McCandliss hiked into the interior of this road to an abandoned school bus which became his home where eventually he succumbed to the exposure and the elements of Alaska.
Our purpose today was to wheel this trail and experience the Alaskan permafrost and Muskegs. It didn’t take long for the action to begin and we quickly learned the concept of teamwork winching and strap pulling as everyone understood what it was like to be stuck in the Alaskan Tundra.
Our Warn winches and ARB recover gear was put through its paces as we slowly made our way over the twelve miles to the river crossing. The key to tundra is not to break through the crust because once you do there is no bottom. You wanted to be on the throttle but not spinning the tires unnecessarily.
Once we got to the river crossing we assessed our time and decided to make our way back to the pavement as we had other obligations to make for the day.
It was a good thing we did because the trail out was so much worse than the trail in. After 14 JK’s had made their way across the tundra, it was broken through and it took three hours to go back over what previously took and hour and a half! It took all hands on deck a lot of help from our Warn winches to get back to the start of the trailhead.
We made it to Fairbanks late in the day and Mel advised us in the driver’s meeting that we would be headed far north and would have a very long road day tomorrow and to be sure everyone was supplied and their JK’s we in top running order. Randy Byer’s had experienced some transmission shifting issues earlier that had turned into a problem later in the day and the entire crew jumped in to replace two wheel sensors to make sure his JK was ready for the run north in the morning.
I can’t say it enough, the JK experience isn’t just about wheeling…Its about the people.
We started our morning with the driver’s meeting in Talkeetna and Mel explained that we would be having a road day toward Denali National Park. The JK’s rolled out on the highway and the clouds opened up a bit to give us our first glimpse of the mountains that have made Alaska famous.
Only 30% of the people who come to Alaska to view Mt. McKinley ever get to see the mountain itself because of clouds and weather and well we were not the select 30% but it was still a breath taking view. While we took the opportunity to take a few photos and get the drone in the air, a local gentleman offered us a chance to come do a little trail at his homestead inside the park and also down to the Susitna River, this is a rare treat as there is no off roading in the park unless its on private ground.
Once we were back on the pavement, Alaska Department of Transportation treated us to some off roading on the highway as the pavement was completely gone for road construction.
Once we arrived at Denali Village just outside the park, we had another driver’s meeting where Mel gave everyone the options to either go into the park or go whitewater rafting on the Nenana river. As you can see from the photo below, most people jumped at the chance to go rafting.
Not everyone in the group had been on a river before so it was a special treat and the conditions couldn’t be better. The four boat group was on the river for about three hours and went through many large rapids on the class four river.
Once off the river, everyone was treated to a BBQ with all the trimmings.
The night ended with everyone around the camp fire telling stories of past wheeling trips as well as what might be in store for us tomorrow in the wilds of Alaska.