Willie and Jeanne have been a writing team from their first travel story about Death Valley’s Goler Wash, California, back in 1970. He is best known from his nearly 40 years of working as a contributing editor for FOUR WHEELER Magazine as well as his Tech Line and Willie’s Work Bench columns. He has had tech columns and articles in publications such as Traveling 4x4’s, 4 Wheel & Off Road, JP, Hot Truck, Sport Truck, 4x4 Power, Off Road, 3 Wheeling and others, as well as updating, expanding and revising the original THE JEEP BIBLE which is still in print after over 20 years. He has over 1700 published articles--actually more but lost count.
His first off road vehicle was a modified bicycle at age 14 before anyone knew what a “mountain bike” was. Next in line at 15 was a model A Ford roadster that had an auxiliary three speed gear box and a welded differential. At 16 he was racing go-karts and then he bought his first Jeep, a well used 1943 military MB, which after being totally rebuilt was replaced with a new CJ-5 in 1962. This lasted through his college years, and naturally was modified extensively.
After college there was a year with the USFS as a surveyor and firefighter, then going to work for LA County fire department. To beat the Army draft he joined the Navy Reserve and worked as fire chief of a large naval support base in the Vietnam Delta for 15 months.
After returning to his job as a firefighter and arson investigator in southern California and marrying Jeanne there was a long string of various 4x4 vehicles. As expected, all became extensively modified, along with building and driving six successful off road race vehicles throughout the US. He even got paid to travel through Europe for a month to drive factory Range Rovers.
In between racing, Bobcat tractor work, magazine articles, three daughters, Girl Scout activities, a paid/call firefighter in our hometown and his job as a professional firefighter, Willie and Jeanne along with their daughters somehow managed to find time to extensively explore both the California and Nevada deserts as well as many exploration and scuba diving trips deep into Baja California and mainland Mexico. He got to do a lot of sailing off the California coast, some flying in a Cessna 170 and even some glider time.
He also did a month long "BORDER TO BORDER" trip, Canada to Mexico on dirt roads, and then the next year followed the complete Pony Express Route, "HOOF BEATS OF HISTORY", from San Francisco to St. Joe, Missouri for FOUR WHEELER Magazine.
A forced retirement due to a back injury in 1987 brought a lot of these activities to a halt and they moved to a small ranch in Montana in 1992 (small by Montana standards). There they raised and trained horses (the most being 7 at one time) for several years, did some custom logging, and built five 4x4 magazine project vehicles from the ground up.
After abusing his body over the years and 13 and counting major surgeries he decided to stop doing the "Ya’all watch this" thing. They then spent a considerable amount of time exploring the Montana backcountry. Oh, and six years ago he discovered he has Parkinson's which is progressively getting worse but is something that he can live with; it's better than being on the underside of the grass.
They have turned their knowledge of the trails and the related history into very successful books. Their 1st book: "4x4 Routes of Western Montana" their 2nd book: “4x4 Routes of Southwestern Montana”.
Their 3rd book: "4X4 ROUTES OF SOUTHCENTRAL MONTANA" is AVAILABLE now.