This was the part that I had been waiting so long
for. My chance to pilot the H2 and really see what it was made
of. Having driven Jeeps for so long and just about every other
worthy 4x4 on the market today, I was dying to see if the H2 was
all hype or if it really could live up to the Hummer name and
the claims of the marketeers at GM.
South Bend had been in a drought situation for
a month or two and just prior to our arrival, several inches of
rain swamped the area. So it wasn't long before we were really
able to check out how the H2 would do in the really slick and
snotty stuff out in the woods. Great!
Each participant in the academy was given a partner
and assigned a trainer. Each group then had "their own"
H2 for the duration of the academy. Our H2 was equipped with the
optional air suspension package with automatic load leveling and
rear height elevation systems. This would prove useful over the
next two days, as it allowed our H2 to get over a few humps and
out of a few situations where the extra height in the back really
We had a
blast for the next hour or two as we wound around the wooded
trails and flexed the H2's suspension to the max. Being IFS,
I didn't expect the H2 to perform off-road nearly as well
as it did. I was not only pleasantly surprised with its capabilities,
but I was astounded at the amount of rear-end flex the solid
axle had. Despite the flex and front-end travel, the H2, like its big brother,
did spend a fair amount of its time off-road on three wheels.
But because the truck is so large and well-balanced, we never felt like were going
to go over on our side.
Coming from the rough-riding world of short wheelbase
Jeeps, it was a nice change of pace to take the H2 out on the
trails. The cushy suspension and heavily-padded leather seats
of the H2 made driving over rocks and falling off of ledges easy
work for our kidneys. The H2 really did have a wonderful ride
quality to it. It's just big - real big. Sharp turn-ins are definitely
not the H2's forte.
The Coopers figure out how to use their Garmin GPS units
Just when everyone was over their initial jitters
and amazement at what their trucks back home were capable of,
it was time for another quick class inside. Each of us was given
a brand new Garmin
GPS V, complete with MapSource CD, instructional
video and a GPS navigation book. We were given an overview about
how GPS systems work and were taught the basics of GPS-based navigation.
We were then given a coordinate out on the grounds to go find
and test our skills.
showed up at the waypoint (some much later than others), we
all headed back to the hotel to get cleaned up and headed out
to Houlihan's for dinner. Everyone chowed down on whatever
they wanted to eat and drink, we all chatted about the day's
events, and the Hummer gang, of course, picked up the tab.