This past weekend, my wife and I took some time to get out of the house and socially distance in the Gunship (our 4Runner). We drove from Houston down to Galveston and then went West along the coast until Freeport. From there, we went inland and then back down toward Matagorda. Once there, we went to a public-access beach area that was open and allowing vehicles to drive on the sand. This gave me an opportunity to put the Gunship into 4WD (4-Hi) and go through some soft sand. I didn’t air down, and fortunately I didn’t need to. The sand was soft and I did have to make sure to keep momentum and speed up, but the 4Runner made it through without nary an issue.
We ended up stopping for a picnic lunch close to an inlet to the inland waterway that extends along the entire Gulf Coast and then up the East Coast. The weather was very windy, and I was worried that our Yakima Slim Shady awning wouldn’t be able to handle it, but I was wrong. I was able to use the anchors (long tent poles) that came with the awning and they held in the sand just fine.
Our lunch was delicious, and the views were amazing. We watched a herd of cattle on Matagorda Island, just across the inlet, wandering, mooing, and even getting into the water to cool themselves. We watched a squall line pass to the North of us, and fortunately miss us with its downpour. After eating our lunch, we drove straight up back to Houston. I then took time to wash the Gunship off and make sure that all the salty sand was off the underside while cleaning off the 400+ dead “Love Bugs” from the front-facing surfaces of the vehicle. I made it just in time; drops of rain started falling the moment I pulled the Gunship into the garage.
This is the second time I’ve been able to take the 4Runner out and get off-road, and it was thoroughly enjoyable. Even my wife, who was rather skeptical of going off-roading and of me getting a 4WD vehicle, has admitted she’s enjoying our adventures. I look forward to far more as more parks open and we return to a semblance of normalcy after the COVID-19 pandemic winds down.