Ragged Edge 4x4
If you’re looking for an experience behind the wheel that you can’t get from your normal car, than Ragged Edge 4x4 might be worth a look. Ragged Edge puts you behind the wheel of the country’s most extreme 4x4 vehicles. For anyone that understands cars: Enclosed in their purpose-built chassis sits a custom built 350 Chev with alloy heads. A TH400 auto channels the 320 horsepower to an Atlas II transfer case, with a ‘rear disconnect’ so you can drive in four-wheel-drive or front-wheel-drive. For anyone that doesn’t understand cars: It’s a tractor on steroids. After the driving and safety briefing you get to take this ‘tractor on steroids’ for a spin around their three ridiculous courses: Razors’ Rdge, Chucky’s Revenge and Hell-Dorado. All of which are as crazy and scary as their names suggest. For extra adrenaline, they also allow the option of driving the course at night, with only the glow from the headlights to guide the way. No overhead street lights eliminating the course for safety here.
It has become a relationship goal of mine to be able to surprise Lawson with something….ANYTHING. Not because I’m incredibly romantic but because he is impossible to surprise. He gets real nosy and asks a million questions. Even when I try to throw him off, he still manages to work it out. Taking him to Ragged Edge was the one time I’ve managed to achieve my goal. I had him thinking the whole time that we were going horse riding. To be fair, there were horses involved but it was in the form of horse power.
These 4x4 vehicles are like a tractor that’s just finished a course of anabolic steroids. Walking up to the huge wheels makes you feel like you’ve just drunk the potion from Alice in Wonderland. Once in the car, we were given our briefing on how to drive it. I remember thinking to myself: ‘thank god Lawson’s the one that has to drive this thing’ because I didn’t understand a word he said. With the amount of car jargon used, he may as well have been speaking French. Although for a car enthusiast it definitely was the language of love. Lawson described learning to drive this thing, like learning to rub your stomach and put your head at the same time. Both seem disorientating in the beginning but with a bit of practice, they are addictive and strangely rewarding.
I was able to come along for the ride as a passenger. Which in my opinion, is equally as thrilling. I got to sit back and enjoy the ride without the pressure of having to knowing what all the buttons do. The courses are insane and really make you question to laws of physics and gravity. There was a point where our 4x4 have fallen completely on its side. Here I was thinking a team of people were going to have to come running and rescue us, but no. Our very calm instructor (once he finished laughing) simply said “pop it in reverse and give it a little gas” suddenly, our car manage to turn itself back onto all four wheels again. I would describe being a passenger like riding a rollercoaster without tracks. As you make your way up the incline of a hill, all you can see in front of you is sky, you become very aware that once you reach the top there is going to be a sudden drop down the other side.
It was a great experience and it meant I could definitely cross something off my bucket list....being able to finally surprise Lawson.
All week I had been trying to work out what we were doing Friday night. Having no idea what to wear, the response I got from Cat was always "just make sure you have enclosed shoes". That's it, I've guessed it., we are going horse riding and I was adamant too. I must give it to Cat, her acting skills were on point because she definitely sold it.
I can't even describe the excitement felt when we drove into the lot and I saw we were most definitely not going horse riding. The coolest, most epic 4x4 vehicles all lined up in a row is what created an ear to ear smile. BEST SURPRISE EVER! I can’t believe I was going to get to drive these absolute beasts. I was a little nervous so after a quick nervous wee we got strapped in ready to drive. I thought I was gonna suck at driving because it had both rear wheel and front wheel steering. Which meant when you turned left with the front wheel steering you had to turn right with the rear wheel steering, and all at the same time. This can be very hard to master. It is exactly like rubbing your head and patting your tummy. After a practice drive on the beginner course it all starts to sink in.
Once you have given it a crack on the most basic course (which is still super hard when starting out) you get to be the passenger to one of the pros to see exactly what the cars car can really do on one of Ragged Edges' most difficult course. I was having a great old time until he leaned to me and said “I hope your paying attention, because you have to drive this course later once it gets dark.” I laughed and thought he was joking. He wasn’t.
Once the sun went down and I could see nothing in the dark night except for what was lit up by the headlights of the car. Driving the 4x4 over such an extreme course in the pitch dark was so much fun, and I only rolled the car once. A pretty good days work if you ask me. You have an expert guiding you around the course, giving you help and directions on things like where to steer. Halfway through he came up to the car and said “do you want the good news or the bad news?”. Of course I wanted the good news. He replied with “this is the worst lap I've ever seen”. If that was the good news I didn’t bother asking what the bad news might be. In the end I'm glad he said that because it pushed me to try harder. I was concentrating so hard that by the end I had turned him around. He even congratulated me on the rest of the course.
I think in future I need to be less nosy because I had such a great night. I’m sure if I had known, it still would have been just as fun, but the excitement of not knowing was what made it great. The 4x4 adventure was the perfect way to start the weekend off and a great anniversary present.