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The Jack Wagon

 
Old 10-14-2018, 09:47 PM
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The Jack Wagon

Hi all!
I am a proud owner of a 2014 Mercedes G550 that I purchased a little over two years ago now. I've followed these threads for a long time now and decided it was time to make an account and share my input. In the time that I have owned the "Jack Wagon", it has gone from mall crawler to rock crawler quite literally. A few simple mods have been added as this thing is so fit stock, not much else is necessary. I run 275/70/18 BFG KO2s, a GobiRacks roof rack, and a 42" light bar that mounts onto the Gobi. Not only is it off road equipped but also used! I have ventured to OHV, State, and National Parks - so far mainly in Texas. In this thread, I hope to share some of the adventures and assist anyone who is looking to make modifications or try something new with their G Wagon as well as learn new things myself!

Around the time of the purchase of the Jack Wagon, an Instagram was created (@JACWAGN) to document the journeys and keep as a journal of all of the cool places it went. Over the course of time, a following slowly began to arise on the site and I noticed people were becoming interested in the adventures and the vehicle itself. With this following has come several questions on what type of equipment I use, where I get it from, what my opinion of the G Wagon is, how it compares to other vehicles, and my opinions of the places I ventured to. Not only were their questions of the G and the locations but similar questions towards myself for taking such a magnificent vehicle in the mud. All of this led me to the creation of Jack Wagon Overlanding.

Jack Wagon Overlanding is an off road/all terrain vehicle accessory shop as well as a lifestyle page. Here you can find (and purchase) all of the equipment run on the Jack Wagon as well as various products for outdoors adventures and merchandise/apparel of the company. It's about more than equipment for G Wagons, it's really got to do with your personality, mindset, and perspective. More can be read on this at the bottom of the homepage of the website (jackwagonoverlanding.com) but the idea is "embracing your journey" and being who you want to be rather it's the popular choice or not. Many Mercedes owners have a distinct stereotype to them but G Wagon owners in some instances defy this stereotype. While our business suited brothers and sisters eat over white table cloths, you find us out somewhere in the desert or in a forest getting dirty and finding a way out of trouble. Because of our adventurous spirit, our next destination is always a bit of a mystery. We can take the common person by surprise when we go into detail about our journeys and what we come from. Jack Wagon Overlanding welcomes people like this and is a growing community of people being content with themselves and living the life they choose regardless of what others think about that. Beyond just G Wagon owners, many people who enjoy off roading or just find satisfaction with the story have "hopped on the 'Jack' Wagon" and I'd like to welcome anyone from this community to join as well.

Here are a few pictures from the adventures the Jack Wagon has taken and I look forward to posting more here from time to time. If you have more questions, you can ask on here public or privately but I am most active on Instagram or by email - [email protected] . I am always looking for ways to grow a community and provide more products and services to the people and am open to any ideas you may have!





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Old 10-15-2018, 09:05 PM
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Welcome to the forum. Good luck with your new venture. Looking forward to reports on your off road journeys.
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Old 10-17-2018, 11:37 PM
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How are those KO2 city and highway driving?
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Old 10-18-2018, 09:12 AM
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Not to speak for him, but I am running 35x12.5r20 KO2s on my truck. They are one of the most easily balanced, well treaded and developed AT tires available. They do pretty well in the wet, and are very quiet. Like most chunky ATs, they don't particularly like grooved cement, but they drive much better than my Grabber AT2s did.
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Old 10-18-2018, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Venom-AMG View Post
How are those KO2 city and highway driving?
I've been running the KO2s for nearly 50k miles now and they've been fantastic! Been very pleased with their capability on and off road!

On road, they are very quiet and run smooth. Even at high speeds, you can't hear them (the exhaust is louder than them.. lol). It's important to note, however, that these are not made for the street only and are designed to gain an advantage on other terrains. With this being said, you are sacrificing a few things by not running strictly street tires. You will see an increase in braking distance and you will also experience a slight bit of roll when making sharp turns. This is nothing out of the ordinary for this type of tire and compared to other A/Ts, it does a great job.

The one warning I will give is to be cautious when driving in the rain with them. AS WITH ANY OFF ROAD TIRE, they are treaded in a way that causes the vehicle to more easily hydroplane if you drive aggressively. I've only experienced it one time in all of my driving with them during a round about when I was pushing it a little too hard. Other than that, there's been no issue but it is a topic people discuss. Again, not a fault of the tire but a trade off for gaining more off road performance capability.

I'm nearing my next tire purchase and have debated on trying a few other tire types but believe I have narrowed my next purchase down to two options:
1. Another set of bfg ko2s
2. The new bfg km3s. The km series for bf goodrich is the mud terrain series that features even more aggressive tread and boasts further off road capabilities... and they just look really cool. After looking over these tires, they seem to be similar to the old km2 tread pattern and the ko2 sidewall pattern. I think it will be interesting to do a comparison of the two and am currently leaning towards this just to gain a perspective.

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Old 10-18-2018, 08:59 PM
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Thank you for both your experience with the Ko2, I love the looks but the wife wants something more street comfort. I'm leaning toward the hankook dynapro atm or kumho at51 to make her happy and still retain a somewhat offroad look
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Old 11-02-2018, 01:08 PM
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Finally got some clips onto YouTube of some rock/hill climbing and a little mudding. Will continue adding videos overtime to showcase the true capabilities of the G. It walks over obstacles so easily with the hefty engine creating high torque at low RPM. Add some clearance and a little protection and this tank can hang with the best of 'em!

YouTube channel: Jack Wagon Overlanding

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbD...SC6CiypSI-BLIg
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Old 11-02-2018, 05:55 PM
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Originally Posted by JACWAGN View Post
Finally got some clips onto YouTube of some rock/hill climbing and a little mudding. Will continue adding videos overtime to showcase the true capabilities of the G. It walks over obstacles so easily with the hefty engine creating high torque at low RPM. Add some clearance and a little protection and this tank can hang with the best of 'em!

YouTube channel: Jack Wagon Overlanding

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbD...SC6CiypSI-BLIg
Hahaha, they said you were "babying it". Let them swing the economics
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Old 11-05-2018, 04:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Sarlox View Post
Hahaha, they said you were "babying it". Let them swing the economics
Exactly! The Jack Wagon gets some occasional hate from the crowd..
There's some obvious bias that comes into play with those comments. Bouncing up the rocks full throttle may make for a more exciting video but the idea is to get wherever you want and be able to get back home at the end of the day!
"It's just metal" doesn't quite apply! It's extremely capable but making mistakes (even small ones) can get costly as all MB owners know
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Old 11-05-2018, 05:27 PM
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So JACWAGN, you're running the BFG All-terrain A/T KO2 275 / 70 / 18 s on those 18" stock wheels, right?

Why the 275/70/18s, why not do the 265/70/18s , doesn't the 275 widen the tire?
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Old 11-10-2018, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Sarlox View Post
So JACWAGN, you're running the BFG All-terrain A/T KO2 275 / 70 / 18 s on those 18" stock wheels, right?

Why the 275/70/18s, why not do the 265/70/18s , doesn't the 275 widen the tire?
I like the added beef!
What do you run on yours?
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Old 11-10-2018, 03:57 PM
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I'm going to do the 265/65/18 BFG KO2s. The older Gs are already have a bit of roll to them and if I go to a 265/70 I think the longer sidewall will add to that roll. I guess I could widen it out and go to a 275/70 but I don't want to take the risk of rubbing.
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Old 11-14-2018, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Sarlox View Post
I'm going to do the 265/65/18 BFG KO2s. The older Gs are already have a bit of roll to them and if I go to a 265/70 I think the longer sidewall will add to that roll. I guess I could widen it out and go to a 275/70 but I don't want to take the risk of rubbing.
Going taller will definitely add to the roll and the extra width helps stabilize that a bit but all options in that range are going to be generally the same with only a slight bit of variance. I've been able to clear a 275/70/18. In the two years I ran them, I only have two burns on my rear fender well where the tire made contact with the inner plastic on full articulation doing some technical off roading. The burned area pealed off and you can't even tell anything happened. Daily driving I'd be willing to bet you will NEVER rub. Any wider and you can start rubbing your turning arm with your driver front fully turned towards passenger. This is where more concave/more negative offset rims start to come in handy but the you're going to start rubbing the wheel well and need a lift. Wouldn't recommend going beyond 275/70/18 without a lift and either wheel spacers or new rims.

Now, I present to you a new solution:
Introducing the bf goodrich KM3 tires! Just got these put on last weekend and so far I have been very impressed! As they are a mud terrain, they appear much more aggressive being thick and blocky. This more boxy design actually has improved the driving on the highway against the KO2 since the KO2, as mentioned, likes to roll when turning. These don't do that. They are much stiffer on the road in the sense that they don't wobble the entire vehicle when making your lane change and don't make the vehicle rock after recentering. They appear to be much more stable. I haven't put many miles on yet so this is still a raw opinion. Will be doing a more thorough review once I have tested them out a bit more. They seem more stable and look awesome. The only negative here is they do start to make a little hum around 65-70 mph. This can be heard with the radio off but only barely over the exhaust. It never gets any louder but starts to change pitch as you increase speed. With the radio on at all, you can't hear either.


bf goodrich bfg km3 on 2014 mercedes benz g wagon g550

bf goodrich bfg km3 on 2014 mercedes benz g wagon g550
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Old 11-16-2018, 03:37 PM
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Couldn't stop with the tires, had to update wheels too! Went for the "Black Jack" Semi Gloss finish! Changes the entire aesthetic of the car. Very happy with them!
Did some "mall crawling" to break them in and preserve the new kicks



More pictures to come soon (of course)
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Old 11-18-2018, 03:25 PM
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Yeah JW, I did look at those new KM3s, and chose the KO2s mainly because our G550 is my wifes car in Idaho and she didn't want it to look too off-roady. With that explained, those KM3s on your Gwag look awesome, great job!
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Old 11-18-2018, 03:47 PM
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Old 11-23-2018, 07:10 PM
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In addition to selling GobiRacks, we now have Front Runner racks available for purchase as well!
You can find both on the front page of our website!

Front Runner:

https://jackwagonoverlanding.com/pro...agon-roof-rack




GOBI:

https://jackwagonoverlanding.com/pro...agon-roof-rack



Last edited by JACWAGN; 11-23-2018 at 07:28 PM.
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Old 11-23-2018, 07:13 PM
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We have the 911 Motorsports Reverse Spare Tire Mount available. While you can buy directly online, we give you a $5 discount and free shipping and proceeds go toward continued innovation to G Wagon products.
Jack Wagon Overlanding is currently distributing the majority of its products but is in the process of fabrication for several G Wagon parts.
Please help support JWO and the G Wagon community!
https://jackwagonoverlanding.com/pro...-reverse-mount

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Old 12-10-2018, 11:27 AM
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After a few weeks of running with no side steps, the product we've been developing and fabricating is finally finished! The Jack Wagon Overlanding original Skid Step is here! A combination of a rock slider and side step, the Skid Step gives protection to the underbody and allows easy access in and out of the G.





Made 100% of steel, the Skid Step is as solid as they come. The rock slider runs 1/2 inch below the exhaust system to protect the frame and prevent scraping or snagging the low hanging exhaust. The side steps feature a side tube that functions as a kick out that prevents obstacle contact to wheels and tires. Side steps include two side plates with the JWO logo to allow stability when entering and exiting the vehicle.





The Skid Steps follow perfectly in line with the fender flares for an aesthetic finish that ties together with the rest of the vehicle. Three stringers run diagonally to redirect hazards away from the vehicle. Powder coated in a two layer, rugged, textured, black finish adds extra traction for stepping on the side steps and increased durability to prolong the life of the steel.





Available on our website:
https://jackwagonoverlanding.com/pro...agon-skid-step
*Ships free to lower 48 states
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Old 01-02-2019, 09:27 PM
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Happy New Year everyone! Hope it's off to a great start! To kick this year off, Jack Wagon Overlanding would like to share the love on all G Wagon parts.
Check out our website where you can find the BEST PRICES ONLINE for roof racks, light bars, and reverse spare tire mounts. Also available are the JWO original Skid Steps.
If you have questions, PM or email us at [email protected] .
We are also open to custom fab jobs. Anything you want, we'll try our best to make it happen!
https://jackwagonoverlanding.com/

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Old 01-03-2019, 07:55 AM
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Old 03-02-2019, 09:36 PM
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Hey there folks, just a little update! Added a couple new things to the G and the product catalog lately and wanted to fill everyone in!




For the Jack Wagon:




As we're preparing for a journey up to Moab and are traveling on the highway more, I decided it was time to throw in a CB Radio. Went with the Cobra 75 and Magnetic Cobra mount onto the roof.




Install was very straight forward. Wired to battery under back seat cup holder, around the center console to the driver foot well, through the fire wall into the engine bay, squeezing underneath the hood, up the gutter and onto the roof. No drilling. Radio rests on the E Brake for now and will eventually mount above the ignition but works fine where it is. Gets pretty clear reception. Has noise cancelling to help with the incoming signal. Not modded to talk overseas or anything crazy like that but definitely able to talk to truck drivers and off roaders in their respective terrains up to a couple miles apart.




With the "Black Jack" powder coated wheels, it was time to complete the look in the front with the grille and bull bar.

Decided to wrap the grille as it is plastic and won't see too much abuse but the bull bar acting as the "lead blocker" and also being tubular, it was best to go ahead and powder coat it. Wrapping the bull bar would leave a line where the wrap overlaps at points and that didn't look very clean IMO.




I was hesitant for a while to mess with the bull bar and grille because I had fear of the bull bar being difficult to remove and didn't want to spend $50 on a tool to remove it that even some close MB mechanics had rarely seen..

After some examination of the part and talking over with a fellow G Wagon owner, we realized that using an adjustable pin wrench would work just fine.




To uninstall the bull bar:

Set the adjustable pin wrench in the star slots behind the bull bar and turn counter clockwise. There's one behind each of the two vertical bars.










Once those are off, you simply release the bull bar slightly forward and pull it off to the side as the two pins at the bottom are not bolted on but just holding it up.
















You'll have to excuse the dirty truck, lots of rain lately. Hard to keep it clean over a day..




Having decided on blacking out the grille and bar to match the rest of the vehicle there was only one decision in question: Black or Chrome MB emblem.




Took a vote on Instagram and about 2/3 wanted it to go black. However, some shared the vision I already had in mind. Leaving the logo chrome pays tribute to the G Professional and early model G Wagons when the grilles were black and the logo remained chrome. I love the idea of letting that star shine bright. We're proud to drive our MB's and don't want to "mask" that in any sense. Furthermore, it ties together with the center caps on the wheels and the "V8" and "G550" on the side and rear of the truck.




As the wrap went a lot faster than powder coating, I got the chance to drive around with the bull bar off.










While it is a clean look, something just didn't feel right as I've always had the bull bar on. Kind of felt like the G's eyebrows or mustache got waxed off.. I also like having that extra bit of protection up front (should I ever need it).

Finally the powder coating was done and I was able to pop the bull bar back on in no time.

An interesting thing to note (excuse non technical terms): The star bolt receiver inside of the bull bar is adjustable in the sense that it screws in and out of the bull bar itself. If your bull bar seems off kilter (which mine did upon first install), you can twist those receivers to adjust the distance each side of the bull bar sits from the truck.




BOOM! Here it is:










Very happy with the way it came out and can't wait to get it out in its natural habitat to get some better shots! Aesthetically, I think the color way is exactly where it should be.




As for the website, we are now a proud partner of 463 Industries who makes wheels and accessories for the G. Two new products we have added are the front air vent cup holder and the auto-up window module. You can check both of those out on our website: jackwagonoverlanding.com !




Let us know what you think. We're really happy with the way the Jack Wagon is coming along!

Last edited by JACWAGN; 03-02-2019 at 09:39 PM. Reason: resize pictures
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Old 05-19-2019, 09:50 PM
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Took a road trip last month! Went from Texas to Moab via New Mexico and Arizona. Logged about 2,700 miles total counting overlanding sections. Wanted to share the experience with you guys!
A little scene setting - we took this trip the week the massive wall of rain came through the Southwest including 70 mph winds for a couple of days.

The journey started out of North Texas heading west on 20. We cut up in Sweetwater onto 84 and then shifted onto 180 heading west into NM. West Texas is always a fun site to see with the wind turbines spinning around. The sunrise out there in a wind storm maximized this experience. Those puppies were spinnin'!



180 turned into 82 in NM which we continued following. The wind was blowing so hard, all of the street signs were blowing over sideways.


We were driving head on into the wind for most of the trip (the picture above was around a bend) and it was definitely showing with gas mileage. Only got about 9.5 mpg on the way out. Got 12.6 on the way back!! (it was a big deal to us[img]file:///C:/Users/18178/AppData/Local/Temp/msohtmlclip1/01/clip_image003.png[/img]) We then neared Mayhill in the Lincoln National Forest and expected some rain to start falling as it was about 65 degrees that morning. Much to our surprise, we entered a mountain bowl and saw the temperature drop down to 25 in a matter of 30 minutes. Sleet turned to snow and we found ourselves in a blizzard in Cloudcroft!


30 minutes or so later, we were out of the bowl and onto the White Sands side. Temperature goes back up and the once blue then cloudy sky now goes white and beige. Amidst a sandstorm, we enter the White Sands Missile Range. To the naked eye, you could not distinguish ground from sky, everything was just WHITE. We got out to mess around on the dunes and get pictures (of course) and were literally sand blasted. We grabbed bandannas and covered our faces in an effort to avoid too much contact but the little grains still found a way into our eyes, hair, underneath our clothes, and all over the G. Was such a great photo op though and WSMR is a pretty cool historical marker.


We got all the sand we could ask for so we continued North up 54 to 285. In those next few hours, we went in and out of two more snow storms before settling into the beautiful city of Santa Fe. You could make a trip alone out of Santa Fe, all adobe buildings, lots of good food, and a great community. It was cool that evening so we had a nice bowl of soup and some drinks at one of the local restaurants and settled in for our next early morning. Well what do you know, we woke up and it snowed again.


A hop, skip, and a jump, we went through Cuba on 550 onto 64 into Ship Rock. It took several miles of driving around the monument to finally find an opening into it. It wasn't until after the trip we found out why. Ship Rock is sacred ground to the Navajo people and getting too close is unlawful and disrespectful to the them. Take note if you decide to venture out there. Let me tell ya, it was beautiful and massive. Drove for 45 minutes on a dirt path to get closer and closer as the mud grew thicker and thicker. Being on a one truck convoy with no tow points, we figured we got close enough, turned back around, and headed on.


We decided we'd come this far so we rode 64 out onto 160 to 163 in Arizona to hit Monument Valley and boy are we glad we did. We had a misconception that it was mixed in with the Forrest Gump point and it was just going to be something to pass by. It turned into a 4 hour trip around the park and taking home some awesome Native American merchandise. Everyone at the Navajo Tribal park was welcome to sharing the culture and stories and the setting was breath taking. More pictures available on the instagram @jacwagn but here's a "peak"


And finally, we were into Moab up 191. We'd finally made it. lol.. You'd think we'd seen enough already and we probably did but Moab blew us away. It was like driving around in a John Wayne movie for two days. Red clay, prairies, mud, rocky mountains, and snow capped mountains in the distance. It's a place you have to go to to fully understand. It's like an off roader's dream come true. Every vehicle there is off road/overland ready. People rafting and free climbing. Campers everywhere. It's a getaway. Everyone there for the same reasons: Peace of mind and FUN. In total, we have around 1500 photos from all of the cameras together. I'm not one to get caught up in the picture taking but there was just that much to see and do, we had plenty of opportunities to take pictures and still more time to just drive and enjoy.







As always, more pictures up on the instagram and more parts being put onto our website jackwagonoverlanding.com
This is just a hint of the incredible journey we had and for those that travel, you know pictures can never do it justice. Highly recommend this destination to all off roaders and overlanders. It's worth it.
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Old 05-20-2019, 03:28 AM
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Using the diff lockers...and low range

Very nice pictures of your adventure.
How was the comfort level factor spending all those days in the wagon?
How often were the diff lockers or low range were used on this journey?

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Old 05-20-2019, 07:18 AM
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Great story....great pictures. Thanks for sharing. The G looks right at home in those environments. Wish we had opportunities like this in the Northeast.
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