Glad I could be of some assistance.
In terms of clubs, I'll generalize first.
There are at least 40 clubs from here (CT) up into southern NH and central NY that you could join. Some are Jeep only many are open membership to any 4WD rig. The main requirement would be tow points front and rear. If you show up with a stock GC and have tow points but don't have a fire extinguisher (for example) there aren't too many clubs that I know of that are going to tell you to pound sand. The other major requirements.. like seatbelts, insurance and battery tie downs are most certainly on your stock truck. (Well, I would hope that you have insurance...
Joining a club that is located near to you isn't really a necessary thing.. as most clubs have forum/email based communication and they all need to travel out of CT to go wheeling. There are a couple of pieces of private land available for club only events here in CT, but even some of the out of state clubs have access to those properties. So, if you join up with say JT4x4 out of Groton, their wheeling events will mostly be up in MA or points north.
Eastern 4 Wheelers is a long time CT club, I started and was president for many years. They have been around for nearly 25 years and would arguably have the access to the most land out there... We were one of the pioneering clubs in obtaining private land for wheeling use.
Dave Spence is the new club Pres and has been doing a great job of heading up the club. Our forum is seeing regular activity (not lots/heavy, but regular...
) and we hold trail rides every month and two per month through three or four summer months. Dues (as they are for most/many New England clubs) are $50 a year. Check the site for what that exactly gets you...
Also, check out EC4WDA -- East Coast 4 Wheel Drive Association -- NorthEast Region
for a listing of New England based clubs or
They are based out of NH and most clubs are centered up in that region but they do have a few clubs down in southern New England.
Hopefully that answers your questions.
Oh, another thing you can do... (but I'd buy those tow points first...
) Head over to Borders (or any of the big bookstores) and pick up a CT Gazetteer. Its a big map book with pretty much EVERY road in CT on it and they're overlaid on topos.. so you also can see terrain.
Book will run about $15 +/-. If you're into exploring, each weekend, take a map page or two and highlite the dirt/unmaintained roads, get a couple of fellow Jeepers together (best to do with small amount, usually no more than 4-5) and head out exploring. Most times you'll find gravel/dirt roads you can drive a car down.. sometimes, you'll find gates (road may have been closed/abandoned and reverted back abutting landowners) and sometimes, you'll find rutted, muddy dirt roads where you'll actually need 4WD. Thats why its important to always have another rig with you. You never know what a 6" rut can do to get you stuck.. and being alone, out in the woods, stuck, is NOT fun.. especially when you have to pay someone to come and tow you out... probably more than those tow points or yearly club dues..
If you have a GPS, bring it.. don't use it to direct yourself but have it to make sure you are where you think you are.. use the map first, the GPS as back up. It will also be helpful if you run into any enforcement officers and you find out you are somewhere you're not supposed to be. Armed with information and politeness, there is a 99% chance the officer will tell you that you aren't supposed to be there and have you turn around or continue on (etc) but with no ticket. If you see anyone while in your travels, always stop and be cordial/friendly. You may have just stumbled across the landowner who may have no issues with wheelers and end up allowing access to their property.. It HAS happened to me.. more than once! With no map/GPS to defend your position with and/or if you run, act an a$$, you will most certainly see the stiff end of a trespass ticket.
Babbled a lot here.. and need to head to work.
Have fun and any questions, don't be afraid to ask.