I presume this is a 4 cyl? Good on ya for this build. With gas prices going up, sooner or later people are going to have to start re-thinking their priorities and needs. Seems to me there's no point in having the biggest, best, most built up trail-ready rig and then leave it in the driveway because you can't afford to put gas in it!
From 1999 - 2003 I drove a 2wd Ford Ranger with a shell and I put nealy 93,000 miles on it in less than 3 years! I drove that thing all over Wyoming, Colorado and even Montana. I also drove it to North Carolina to attend a military school in the Summer of 2002 and it was one of the best "road trip" vehicles I ever owned (though it could have used cruise control.)
Sure, there are a lot of roads that are "off limits" but this country is criscrossed by good all-weather dirt roads that will get you to some pretty interesting places if you put in the research and are willing to park the truck and hike a little.
One of the things I like about 2wd pickups is that they are simple. No CV joints, no T-case, no ADD, no hubs, no complex transaxle, just a simple, old fashioned engine/transmission/rear axle layout.
If circumstances forced me into a 2wd I think I'd adjust to it just fine. Certainly I'd miss the ability to drive on the more gnarly 4wd roads but I wouldn't let that keep me from getting outside and enjoying the world.
2004 Chevy Suburban 1500 LT in "Expedition White."
"I am the Man with No Name: Zapp Branigan!"