Put a fence around a man, and what do you get? A sheep. All too often, this is what society makes us, with too many signs and regulations stifling our fun. Take heart, for Pyramid Lake is the perfect antidote for fences. Located about a half-hour north of Reno, Nevada, this big high-desert lake, which lies within a Paiute reservation, offers miles of uncrowded dirt tracks, precious little pavement, and a dearth of signs or directives. It's perfect Hummer H2 country.
For boating freaks, the 183 square miles of alkaline water is as attractive as the barren landforms are to off-roaders. It feels as silky as a spa, and, at nearly 80 degrees in summer, it begs for serious watersport, while also demanding top equipment. Enter the 2004 Malibu Wakesetter LSV, a luxury wakeboarding boat powered by GM's lusty 340-horse Monsoon 5.7-liter marine engine. The Wakesetter is the perfect complement to the Hummer, coddling up to 14 passengers while generating spectacular wakes.
Our H2 and Wakesetter joined forces at Malibu's Merced, California, plant. From brushguard to swim platform, the pair stretched 40 feet, weighed 10,300 pounds, generated 656 horsepower, held 85 gallons of fuel, and cost a whopping $114,500 (Xtreme custom trailer not included). It also broadcasts serious attitude. Want to get noticed? Tug this rig into town and see what happens. The pair is a guaranteed conversation-starter.
Some H2 buyers rightly have complained about poor fuel mileage. Heading north from Southern California to Sacramento, and over the Sierra Nevadas to Lake Tahoe to pick up wakeboarding buddy Dan Kruger, the Hummer loafed along at 1800 rpm at 60 mph, returning just 8 mpg with boat in tow. That made $2-per-gallon fuel fills a grisly affair, with fill-ups often approaching $60.
But the H2 makes sense when you tug a heavy boat up steep terrain like Highway 50's 7382-foot Echo Summit. In this capacity, the Vortec 6.0-liter V-8 acquits itself well. It doesn't have the muscle of GM's Duramax turbodiesel, but the H2 hauled the Malibu with the flow of traffic or faster. The H2 got the boat over the mountain with ease, and we headed toward Pyramid.