I've been putting alot of hours behind the wheel recently. Probably more miles on dirt and rock then pavement. My Cherokee has kinda officially left the street. I still maintain registration and insurance but soon that too will end. I have a street car now, a Kia Sportage. A hand me down that does pretty well on gas. Back on topic... It's fun to be able to get home from work, jump in the Cherokbeast and put in a couple of hours in the seat. It takes a long time to become so familiar with your vehicle that it becomes an extension of your body. You feel the long arm suspension drop into holes as if you were stretching your legs. You can feel the tires grip on rock as you make forward progression on a hard obstacle. All of these connections make you a better driver capable of predicting the outcome of many situations. I've been reluctant to go at times when I knew the ride may be harder than I wanted it to be. But yet I went and learned so much from confronting fears. Although alot of the time I had nothing to fear. I have made so much progress and I attribute that to a couple of things. Proper instruction is the first. Needless to say I am a control freak and during stressful moments "proper instruction" becomes difficult for the instructor. Secondly my analytical mind classifies each moment and uses it to predict future outcomes. Simply put, pay attention.
So what does all this mean? I am definitely improving each time I go out. Putting this Jeep in major off camber situations, climbing over piles of rocks, trekking through the occasional mud hole, falling off in ruts, driving up and down steep hills, more than I ever had.