TROY — The Jeep brand is synonymous with off-road driving and capabilities so much so that that many off-road vehicles that are by different manufacturers are sometimes referred to as Jeeps.
Since 1941 when Willys MB Jeep went into production for the military, through today, the Jeep has become an American icon. Not only the Jeep models themselves, but numerous signature upgrade packages have gained followings, from the classic Renegade to today’s Rubicon.
Not to be outdone, the Uwharries have partnered with Jeep to create their own signature package from the manufacturer. Beginning with this 2017 model year, you will be able to have your Jeep ordered with the Uwharrie package of upgrades and trim. Chris Cagle of the Eldorado Outpost has been working with the Uwharrie Off-road Training Center and Hendrick Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram/Hendrick Off-Road Center of Concord on the idea for the past couple of years and now they are finally ready to bring it to the masses.
“The Uwharries have really become the East Coast destination point,” Cagle said. “We are located right in the middle of the state and right in the Mid-Atlantic. So you have people converging here from Maine and Florida. The Uwharries are a well kept secret, but the word travels in the off-road circles.”
Cagle noted that the majority of off-roaders who travel to the Uwharries to take advantage of all they have to offer are really more of an overlanding crowd. He explained that overlanding in off-road terms is not about finding mud puddles to get dirty in or climbing the biggest hills but is focused on navigating to a destination. Overlanding will take you across varied terrain and obstacles and requires a vehicle with all around capabilities.
Cagle also noted that the Uwharries are perfectly located for those traveling from states away, as they will come to North Carolina and hit the mountains and trails, then travel through to the Uwharries and can then travel to the Outer Banks to traverse the dunes, noting not many states can offer that to visitors.
Not only are the Uwharries in a perfect location to be a central hub of activity, but their make up of hills, rivers, changes in elevation, clay ridges and varied environment have helped the area to grow into the destination that it is.
Cagle said not only do off-road enthusiasts flock to the area but also the U.S. military sees what a wealth of options the Uwharries offer in training scenarios.
“Those guys can come up here for just one day and can train for multiple situations because of the varied terrain,” he said. “They can be in the woods by rivers in the morning and by the afternoon be training across open fields and hills.”