On the first full weekend in August, new and old friends once more converged upon the New Jersey farm of Ben Smith and Christina Albrecht for the sixteenth annual “Blacker Than Night” Land Rover gathering.
Like most Land Rover events, it rained. It was hot, but later it was cold. Some people went off-roading and ran into things. Other people went off-roading and didn’t. Those people were declared the winners. People broke cars, and other people fixed cars. People cooked and ate incredible food, drank some decent beer, and drank some crappy beer too. People took some pictures, laughed, smiled, took some more pictures, and probably drank some more beer and ate some more food. Some of it was organized and some of it wasn’t. Kids were there and farm animals, and dogs too. Somebody got a tractor running and another (very excited) person got to drive it. Somebody got an old Range Rover running, and the very excited person got to drive that too. Somebody flopped their truck on its side and no one got hurt. People ate some more and the winners all got prizes. A couch was sacrificed on the bonfire. Then a chair. Some people went to sleep, others stayed up way too late. The sound of winches filled the woods, accompanied by slivers of off-road lights filtering between the trees.
In the end, everyone had a great time, and then it rained again. We’ll all hopefully come back next year and do it again because that is what we like to do. It’s good clean fun and a great way to enjoy and learn about your Land Rover vehicle, stay connected with long distance friends and make new ones too. For a few days we shrug off the burdens of life and relax before going back to the demands of work and home. Try it. It’s fun. You’ll like it.
Late in the weekend a turkey was attacked and later died from shock. The perpetrator of this heinous act and her owner made a sneaky and early exit, and therefore missed breakfast. Though I may have got my Thanksgiving bird early.
Photos by Dixon Kenner, Bill Maloney, Eric Riston, and Dave Bobeck
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