Throwback Thursday: December 1997 “Dirt Wheels” Magazine Feature

Odometer (Integra):  236,569


Odometer (ILX):  176,656


From an early age, I became obsessed with any wheeled mode of transportation.  I created intricate roadways for my Hot Wheels and die-cast model cars in the front yard.  I even remember “driving” those model cars on a treadmill that was rolling a slow speed.  And I used to wash and wax my bicycles.  Seriously.  (I’m at left here, Aug 1990)


It’s no wonder I’ve become the car fanatic I am today.  But before I received my driver license, I was behind the wheel of a different kind of ride:  my family’s all-terrain-vehicles (four wheelers).  Dad’s bright yellow 1995 Yamaha Kodiak 400 cc go-anywhere beast became my pride and joy.  It was later outfitted with an aftermarket Warn winch up front and was virtually unstoppable in any terrain.


Best of all, my grandparents at the time had a cabin in central Utah with access to hundreds of miles of ATV trails.  In fact, one nearby town (Fillmore), to this day hosts an annual “jamboree” where riders come from all around the country to enjoy a weekend of fun and adventure.  This year’s National ATV Jamboree jamboree took place about a month ago.  It’s akin to the National Acura Legend Meets that I’ve so religiously attended over the last decade.


The Paiute ATV Trail system, named for the Native American tribe that originally settled the area, is seemingly endless.  There are some 800+ miles’ worth of trails waiting to be driven, and the main loop would take 25 riding hours to complete.  I always dreamed of doing that:  Strapping a tent to the rack of my four-wheeler, taking a cooler of food essentials, and just driving for days.  Seems like even at age 14, I had an appetite for the open road.

I can’t believe it’s been two decades!  In August 1997, I wrote a letter to Dirt Wheels Magazine asking them to include a photo in the “Parting Shot” section.  That photo was taken along the Paiute ATV Trail sometime during that summer.  At left is brother Bentley on the Yamaha Kodiak, in the middle is brother Payton on the Kawasaki Mule, and at right (with bleached hair!) I’m sitting atop the Polaris Trail Boss.


Another view from different perspective.


This was my letter to Dirt Wheels.  That signature!  How many 15-year-olds do you know who take themselves that seriously?


Well, it worked.  Four months later, my submission showed up at the very top of the page.  I rushed to the newsstand as soon as I got my issue in the mail so that I could buy up several extra copies.


Here are some other photos from our ATVing adventures over the years in the late 1990s.  First was my grandparents’ cabin, nicknamed “Paradise Found,” during a snowy winter.  The most important part of this photo is the trunk lid of my 1986 Chevy Celebrity which is clearly visible at bottom left.


Bentley, dad, mom, Payton, and me.  And Shadow!  Our pup.  Out hiking somewhere in the mountain range.


Grandma giving a thumbs-up.  Helmets for safety first!


Hiking with grandma, and cousin Braxton.


Payton riding on the front of the Mule, I guess?


Wintertime 4-wheeler ride.  With chains on the tires.


I miss that T-shirt.  “GET FOCUSED.”


Views for days.


Thanks for coming along on the ATV ride down Memory Trail!

14 Responses to “Throwback Thursday: December 1997 “Dirt Wheels” Magazine Feature”

  1. This just delights me. I love flashbacks and walks down Memory Lane! Thanks for offering respite from the daily routine. 👍🏼

  2. Awesome Tyson! Gorgeous views to boot. Lucky you. I bet those all terrains were a blast.

    However, about the Hot Wheels… I still have my entire collection that dates back to the very late 60’s/early 70’s. All those cars are stashed away in the closet, still slumbering in three small “suitcases”. I don’t have the tracks but the cars are still there. And… If you look close they still have remnants of car wax. Oh yes!! That was a ritual of mine – waxing the Hot Wheels. Those were the days…

    I might have to take some pictures of the HotWheels and post them on my blog. You have given me a good idea for a blog post.

    Cheers and stay cool. Yikes!! As Robin Williams would say, 111 F is HOT… DAMN HOT!!

    • Haha, yes, loved that scene from Robin Williams! And wow – wax on the Hot Wheels? That’s taking it to a whole new level! Would love to see those pics! Have a great weekend!

    • Pam Buckshon Says:

      Wow! Waxing the Hot Wheels! I love it and could almost see myself doing this at certain points in my life if I had collected those little cars. Aren’t we nerds!?
      I’d like the link to your blog please 😃

      • Haha – yes, I’m glad to be surrounded by nerds so we can all relate with one another. I’ll let Joe make a more formal introduction to his blog, but the website is Have a great weekend!

  3. Grandma on the ATV is awesome!

    Cool trip down memory lane. Thanks for sharing this!

  4. Do you still have a copy of the magazine?

  5. Midnight Mystery Says:

    You enjoy anything you can drive, that’s nice!!!

    Just reading this now, great story…

    Why not wax hot wheels, no fingerprints, haha…

  6. Alaeldeen Says:

    Hey Tyson! Is your friend selling any of those 6-Speed Legends? I’m searching for another one now that I’m done school and I have the time. Let me know what you find. (The more mileage the better 😉 )

    • Hey Alaeldeen, it’s good to hear from you! Congratulations on finishing school. Is there a specific Legend you are asking about, or would you like me to keep an eye out for just “any” 6-speed second-generation coupe? I don’t recall which of my many Legend friends you might be asking about.

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