We moved to Ketchum, Idaho. In Ketchum I was going to need something different. Ketchum (Sun Valley Ski Resort is part of Ketchum) had snow half the year and my kids were growing and would need space. Everybody’s vehicle of choice seemed to be a Yukon XL or a Suburban. The local dealer had a Jeep Grand Cherokee and a GMC Yukon XL for sale. I figured that my wife would drive the Yukon so she could carry kids and their friends, and I would take the Jeep. Wrong again. She took the Jeep and I kept the Yukon XL.
Driving the XL was not an exciting enterprise. Like all vehicles, each is built with a purpose in mind. The Yukon was built to carry 3 rows of screaming kids and all their shit to the slopes. A lesser purpose was to take me to Costco so we could buy a month’s of toilet paper and nuts. On one of these Costco trips in the winter I had a bit of a scare. I was driving back to Sun Valley with my son Lucas, after loading my XL with stuff. It was night and still cold. We hadn’t had any new snow for days, and I was cruising at 80 mph on the road north. In the distance I saw a car, also moving north. A few minutes later I came up on him and moved to the left so I could pass him. I accelerated a bit to pass him faster, and I hit a patch of black ice. All of a sudden my rear end swung to the left and I found myself 90 degrees to the road, still traveling at over 90. The driver’s eyes, in the car we were passing, were the size of dinner plates as he freaked out. I turned the wheel into the turn and slowly returned to the proper direction. Everything seemed to be moving in slow motion. The other driver hit his brakes and wanted no part of this dance. In a few seconds we were clear of the ice and I slowly moved back into the right lane. The other driver had slowed to a crawl and I could barely see his headlights on the rearview mirror.
The only other off road adventure I had, was when I drove to Nevada to look at some geothermal wells we were involved with. The XL was packed with surveyors and equipment and we set out across the fields to look for capped wells. We spent the day climbing hills and fording streams. I loved it. I wanted to see how dirty I could get the XL. It got pretty dirty.
I kept the Yukon until we moved to Santa Barbara and ran out of snow.