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Protect, promote and provide 4x4 opportunities worldwide

MAY 2014 • Volume 41 • Issue 1


Board of Directors President Jim Mazzola III– president@ufwda.org Past President Wayne Groom – pastpresident@ufwda.org Vice President Pat Brower - vpresident@ufwda.org International Vice President Peter Vahry – intlvp@ufwda.org Treasurer (vacant) Bob DeVore – treasurer@ufwda.org Director of Membership Pat Brower - membership@ufwda.org Director of Public Relations Preston Stevens - prdirector@ufwda.org Director of Environmental Affairs Jason Church - landuse@ufwda.org

Extended Board of Directors

4WD Awareness Coordinator 4wdawareness@ufwda.org Website Administrator Milt Webb Design – webmaster@ufwda.org

Legal and Marketing

Legal Counsel Carla Boucher – attorney@ufwda.org Business Development Manager Michelle Church - business@ufwda.org 231-557-7189

Editorial and Design

Editor, Peter Vahry Consulting Editor, Phil Hanson

UFWDA Office and Contact PO Box 316 Swartz Creek, MI 48473 Email: info@ufwda.org Phone: 1-800-44-UFWDA

Hoo Doos and arches adorn the Granite Cr. canyon rim


Departments: Editorials: Catching up with President Jim Mazzola Preston Stevens, Director of Public Relations International 2014 AGM Webinar

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Comment: Is it Time to Halt Foot Traffic on Certain Public Roads and Trails? The Silent Killer

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News and Events: Valentine’s Weekend Snow Run 10th Australian 4WD Gathering 2014 Snofari 2014 35 Years and Raised One Million Dollars! Gitchee Gumee 2013 Uwharrie National Forest OHV Trail System Work Day Te Rau Puriri tree planting Middle Atlantic Four Wheel Drive Assoc. 2013 Club of the Year

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Features: The Granite Creek Trail Snow Wheeling While Vertically Challenged Business members Member Organizations

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Cover photo of Granite Creek trail: Jerry Smith Stories and articles are submitted from various Association Members and other contributors. The views and opinions expressed in the stories and articles within are solely those of the individual, or individuals who submitted said stories or articles.   United Four Wheel Drive Associations neither advocates, endorses, nor recommends any of the said views or opinions.


Catching Up either that or charge our members double to triple what they paid previously. I did receive 2 leads on insurance companies who tried their best but due to constraints we simple could not easily comply with, we were unable to obtain a Master Policy. We’ll keep looking but it would appear as though our previous arrangement was much better than we ever could have imagined.

Jim Mazzola

UFWDA President

Greetings to all who survived this winters ‘Polar Votex’ as we in the north east had aptly named it. We in Michigan actually broke an all time 1890’s total snowfall record of around 92”.  For those of you in the Rockies and and other less habitable regions looking at us and saying, puuuuf, what a bunch of whimps!  You probably didn’t even wear an insulated jacket this year! As much as I love the winter and snow-wheeling, my Tracker has been down since last fall after I decided to build a cage for it. That’s an entirely different story and best reserved until I actually get to work on it. It’s been in pieces for the last 6 months. (Sounds like a another real fourwheeler’s project doesn’t it!)   I did manage to bum a ride once this year to the SoFo SnoFari event in January. Navigating from the passengers seat was certainly a new experience. Rather enjoyable I might add. The snow was ‘feets deep’ which was a welcome change from previously events years gone by. I believe there should be a story and some pictures here in this issue. So down to business, first Insurance. We haven’t had much success in re-establishing our umbrella policy. As I’ve written here previously, our original insurance company decided to just quit writing full size vehicle policies. Our agent did his best to find a new policy package but after crunching the numbers it required UFWDA to double the number of events we insure each year to a bit over 22 events in order to break even. Being the fiscally responsible group that we are we simply couldn’t risk the loss. It was

Next of course we have the upcoming AGM or the Annual General Meeting of UFWDA in June this year. As most of you may remember at the AGM last years we made an announcement of our intention for 2014 to go the ‘tech’ route.  In our effort to leap into the 20th century, we’ve decided do an interactive ‘Goto Meeting’ or Web based meeting. We also decided to make it on a week day in order to not draw potential members away from their weekend plans. We all have such hectic lives now that free weekends are about as scarce as ‘$3.00 a gallon gas’. Look for the announcement of times and registration requirements also in this issue of the VOICE. BFG’s Outstanding Trails was once again sponsored by BFG. We wholeheartedly appreciate BFG’s continued support of this program and congratulate this years winners. UFWDA has had a bit less involvement in this years award ceremonies than in previously years, as we were unable to send a representative to the award ceremony due to time constraints and previous commitments our Board Members had. You can read about the winners from Pennsylvania, Utah and Colorado on our website.  Also on the clubs and associations ‘do list’ are a slew of nominations for Fourwheeler of the Year and Environmental Fourwheeler of the Year awards, and Jack Edwards (Association/Club) award. Information and forms can be found on the website under the SOP headings. They’re the back 6 or so pages of that document.  In respect of filling Board vacancies, we have our Treasurer Bob DeVore who has graciously stayed on from last year to keep up with the books until we get a nominee to run for his office. Then we have our Director of Membership role which is also available for nominations. Pat Brower is doing a remarkable job, but he sure could use a bit of help. So as you can see, quite a few available positions. None of these take a terrible amount of time and the knowledge gained serving in one of these position will benefit the fourwheeling community in an untold number of ways. This last note is a difficult one to have to admit to.


As some of you may have noticed I’ve missed a few ‘Pres says’ reports of late. I will be stepping down this year after 4 years. This has been due to the time constraints of my new job. I recently made a substantial career change, within the same company, but that now has eroded much of the time I once had as discretionary. Even this years AGM is going to be a struggle for me, as I will be on the road nearly the entire month of June with travel spanning California on the west coast to Florida in the south and ending back here in Michigan with a stop over in Ohio at the end of the month. I truly hope that someone finds it worthwhile to step forward and fill not only my shoes but the shoes of all our outgoing members who have devoted countless hours to the preservation of access to public lands. Stand UNITED Sincerely,

As I have been in previous Voices sharing with you much of how we did things in the past that help to create the entire four drive experience, such a group camping, travelling in a convoy on the interstate, etc. Well, this past February members of the Middle Atlantic Four Wheel Drive Association did something that we had not done in at least 10 years. I was able to arrange an as per use agreement with one of Maryland’s fine Forest Managers. Needless to say, with Maryland’s political landscape, these gentlemen often find themselves walking on eggshells when it comes to policy and access. Well we received the blessing to go ahead and do a “snow run”. Do to the massive snow we had just before the trip, several had to back out due to work or having their equipment buried.

Jim Still, we had very nice turn out and the trail riding was a lot of fun. Mind you, we did not go so far and we had an axle blow on Larry Pope’s Jeep. Still, that did not dampen anyone’s spirits. Yet, to me, one of the main highlights of the weekend was having the group break bread together and for us to socialize on Saturday evening, Thanks in part to the good folks at the Casselman Inn, located in Grantsville, Maryland. This historic Hotel and Restaurant serves home cooked Amish style meals. Really good and very reasonably priced. In fact, that may be an understatement.

From the desk of the Director of Public Relations Preston Stevens Hi Folks, Let me check. Yup, I think it finally stopped snowing. We had another 6-8” on the 30th of March. Not so normal for our area and it of course was very wet and heavy. Even our road covered back up. One week we had like 7 inches of snow, then later that week, 1” of ice. Then a week or so later, 32”. It looks like a war zone around here. It is quite a mess and it has taken up a lot of my spare time. So, here is a thought. Your club can do something very positive, while image building. Check with your land managers and see if they need a hand cutting away fall from the winter. In other words, there are probably a lot of downed trees across roads and trails. From what I understand, a very large portion of the country got clobbered this year.

Sunday we had breakfast at Annie’s Kitchen in Accident, Md. (Read up on Accident, Md. It is neat how it got it’s name). To say that was an awesome breakfast would be an understatement. Here is my point. Once again, we experience the entire four wheel drive experience. Because of that, everyone had a great time and demonstrated exceptional team work. Quickly, our group turned into a large family. Now, everyone wants to know if we can do this again, next year. Including, the Casselman Inn and Restaurant. All we did, was to get back to basics. Just a reminder, too. Get those RTP grant requests in! It is your tax money. Speaking of money, please give some thought as to how you can raise some money to help United/ Carla to fulfil our mission. Okay, summer is coming. Let’s get our rigs in shape. Let’s have fun and be safe.


remote from anywhere, is expensive with limited cost recovery options. UFWDA also congratulates Raymond Shepherd as the new vice-chairman of the Association of All Wheel Drive Clubs- Southern Africa (www.aawdcsa.org.za) and we look forward to engaging more with that vibrant 4x4 scene in Southern Africa.

By Peter Vahry UFWDA International VP Being also the editor of this publication, I apologize for the lateness of this issue. Too many reasons to list, but the world just seems to have less time to get everything done! Here in New Zealand, we appear to be having a breakthrough in respect of access to public lands managed by our Department of Conservation (DoC). It seems that they’ve finally recognised what we’ve been saying for years: getting people involved with recreation on public land gives a sense of responsibility and an awareness of a need to look after that land. They’ve identified too that the numbers of people, especially young people, visiting our public lands has been dropping. The DoC managers have not opened all the doors, but there’s now a willingness to talk about re-opening old overgrown routes from past years and even assisting with finance to hire machinery etc. There is also recognition by our Environment Court (a division of the justice system dealing with land, water and air issues), of the present and future value of unformed legal roads. There are thousands of kilometres of such roads laid out on survey maps, but have either been never formed or in some cases are simply disused since the days of mining and logging. The Court invariably now rules in favor of such roads being retained, rather than being ‘stopped’ and the land sold to private ownership. We must congratulate Brian Hevey from Tasmania as the elected president of Four Wheel Drive Australia www.anfwdc.asn.au Australia seems to go from strength to strength, although the growing use of some outback desert tracks by recreational four wheelers is causing concerns for the sustainability of those routes. Maintaining such tracks, that are hundreds of kilometres long and

The international links of UFWDA allow our members to recognize trends in land access politics as they evolve and the opportunity to respond appropriately. An even wider mix of 4x4 organizations would be beneficial to our recreation. You are welcome to contact me. intlvp@ufwda.or I was recently reminded that land use and access debates are invariably very drawn ot affairs that seem to be designed to reward the last one standing. The process has claimed at least one past advocate in the west, who earlier in the year wrote to me “they hit us with the 2M acre “Yellow Legged Frog”, closely followed by the adjoining and similarly sized ground of the “Bi-State DPS Greater Sage Grouse”, there are a little over 1500 other endangered species remaining on the list to be addressed. Meanwhile our “Demander-in-Chief” is preparing to lock up millions of acres in the West blatantly ignoring the intent of the Antiquities Act, bypassing the will of we the people, trampling States rights and giving our duly elected Representatives in Congress the middle finger.   The ESA needs to be reformed; the Antiquities Act needs further restrictions, the loop holes allowing Sue-Settle-Collect litigation need to be closed and on and on and on.   Even if these reforms were made, the result would likely still be flawed!  Besides, they are using funding as the catch all now, which means to me that our closed routes and trails will never again open, while thousands on BLM and NFS lands across the West will close; if not due to funding it will be Frogs, Grouse, Lizards, Sand fleas or some damn thing.   I am truly sorry but that’s it for me, the drip torture has finally taken its toll and I see no end!  Let the 99% who wake up every morning wondering what the hell happened to their favorite trails, parade around with their flameless torches and lip service bravado! “ Keep the wheels on the ground and remember that the other readers of UFWDA Voice would enjoy reading about your adventures too.


Valentine’s Weekend Snow Run

Words; Larry Pope Pictures courtesy of Berna Pope, Cherie Taylor, and Mike and Katie DeChristopher.


Trip Report February 14-16, 2014 Middle Atlantic Four Wheel Drive Association (MAFWDA) Preston Stevens, Director of Conservation/Land Use MAFWDA, organized and led this great adventure in Garrett County Maryland. Preston made this happen through his professional relationship with the good folks at the Savage River State Forest and The Casselman Inn in Grantsville, Maryland. Access to the trails was by exception and special permission granted by the Savage River State Forest Manager for this particular event only. The majority of the participants lodged at The Casselman Inn. Are we “Normal” or “Nuts”? And the survey says?!! “Normal”. Participants; Preston and Pam Stevens and daughter Emily – Green Jeep XJ Robert Rixham and Shelley Fitch – Silver Toyota 4Runner Mike and Katie DeChristopher and family– Michigan Yellow Willys CJ-3A (The Tank) John Tabor and daughter – Green Jeep YJ John Tabor Jr and son Little John – Red Jeep JK Larry and Berna Pope – Blue Jeep JK Andrew and Cherie Taylor – Silver Nissan Xterra Pro4 Erik and Dani Ramseth – White Jeep Patriot Ben and Courtney Paolucci – Blue Subaru Outback

Berna and I headed west Friday around noon, temperature was 45 degrees and clear sky. The past couple of days we suffered the snow and ice storm that had moved through. We received about 18 inches of snow however, Western Maryland, specifically Garrett County, received about two feet of new snow. Yes, new snow as they already had around two foot on the ground. Our trip west was without incident and the roads were clear and dry. We pulled up to The Casselman Inn, where we would be staying, at 3 pm. The thermometer was reading 32 degrees and wind blowing that cut straight through you. Daniel Grant, an English engineer and owner of the famous Fountain Inn in Baltimore whom Grantsville derives its name, was the original owner of a piece of land called Cornucopia. The parcel included much of today’s Grantsville, at an elevation of 2,300 feet, and one thousand acres around town. The Casselman Inn was opened in 1842 by Solomon Sterner and was one of several inns on the National Trail providing lodging and meals for the stage coaches, covered wagons, drovers, and riders which made the Old Pike the busiest thoroughfare crossing the mountains of Western Maryland. In the 172 year history of the inn it has been called Sterner House, Drovers’ Inn, Farmers’ Hotel, Dorsey’s Hotel, and The Casselman Hotel and Restaurant. Sterner built the Casselman of brick which was handmade and burnt on the land. A fireplace was built in each room to furnish heat and cooking facilities for the original building.


The Dorsey’s added a kitchen in 1903 during their ownership. The Miller family assumed ownership in 1964. Business soon outgrew the facilities and a antique shop, bake shop, 40 room motel, and new 125 seat dining room were added in 1973. The Casselman is a second-generation ownership and operation and is one of the most historic landmarks in Western Maryland. And in my opinion has the best homemade food in that part of the county. Saturday morning we found it had snowed another 8 to 10 inches overnight. After breakfast, and what a breakfast (mmm good!), everyone lined up their rigs on the road behind the motel. Preston conducted a drivers meeting and laid out the “plan” for the day. When this was complete we headed west on Alternate US Route 40 (Main Street) to the trail head Preston had decided to use the night before. US 40 is the most historic road crossing over the Appalachian Mountains. The road was originally an Indian trail known as Nemacolin’s Path, it then became a military road built by the troops of British General Braddock. Called Braddock’s Road, the General and his troops marched west in 1755 from Fort Cumberland on their way to the ill-fated expedition to Fort Duquesue during the French and Indian War. For the next 25 years the rough military road was the main thoroughfare connecting the East with the Ohio Valley. Known for years as The Old National Trail, it was later designated as US Route 40. US 40 skirts Grantsville by following I-68; but the National Road runs right through town as Main Street and Alt US 40. Presidents-elect Andrew Jackson, William Henry Harrison, James K. Polk

and Zachary Taylor all traveled to Washington, DC via the National Road. The line of rigs arrived at the trail head in no time since it was a short 5 miles from town. The fun began as soon as Preston entered the trail, out came the recovery strap and winch cable. We all eventually got off the road onto the trail. The snow was deep; how deep you ask? Well, deep. I’ll have to refer you to the photos but I would guess at least 3 feet and maybe 4 in places. Plus it snowed most of the time we were on the trail. The temperature never got above 27 degrees. Everyone was making good headway with Preston blazing the trail ahead of us in his XJ. When we got to one point, a bend in the trail, the fun really started. Three of us got stuck and stuck deep. Mike finally had enough and pulled out the tire chains and put them on the CJ-3A. He never got stuck again and had become the official recovery dude along with John Jr. As we continued, inch by inch, foot by foot, further into the forest we noticed a Green ¾ ton Dodge Ram had joined us. No one knew who this guy was and he sure was not part of our group. He came up to us with his rig and then decided he would blaze his own route around our line of rigs. He wasn’t very successful other than digging ruts in and on the side of the trail. The only reason I am writing about this idiot is to show there are individuals out there with built up rigs that don’t have a clue how to drive on a trail. It’s irresponsible people like this guy that ruins it for our hobby and the offroad community as a whole. With that said he was reported to the MD DNR and hopefully they catch him one day. OK enough about that guy. As it turns out as we got further down the trail everyone eventually got stuck in the snow. Well, with the exception of John in his YJ. He was a recovery guy also. It was at this point where I was attempting to extract Robert’s 4Runner from the deep snow when there was this loud sound of something exploding under my rig. Mike and I at the same time said “what was that? We soon found out; I just exploded the left front axle U Joint and yoke on both ends of the axle shaft. It was ugly. Only one itty bitty piece of the U Joint


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was found, it had totally disintegrated. So I am toast at this point and can’t go any further on the trail. Mike put a bungee cord around the axle end so we could get the JK turned around on the trail without causing much more damage. Plus it helped showing the damage a little better for those taking pictures. Mike went on ahead of us to see how the trail looked and how much deeper the snow may be. Preston and I were considering leaving the JK there and Berna and I ride with someone else for the rest of the day. We would pick it up on the way out, hopefully. Mike returned and said the snow got deeper plus the trail began going downhill meaning we would have to go uphill on the return trip. Hmmm, uphill and deep snow and it has taken us 4 hours to cover ¾ mile of trail as it was. Get everyone turned around and head back to the trail head was the decision. We did have fun getting to the point where we were. As Preston said we weren’t going to let some sour lemons spoil the fun. We eventually got everyone turned around and made it back to the road. John Jr hooked a recovery strap to me and pulled me since I only had two wheel drive and in case we encountered more deep snow going out. Preston kept a slow pace so I could nurse the JK back to the motel without causing further damage. We went off-roading in three or more feet of snow. Are we “Normal” or “Nuts”? And the survey says?!! “Normal”. Once we were back folks headed for The

Casselman for lunch except me and John. John gave me a ride to the CARQUEST store in town to see if they might have an axle shaft assembly. Nope. Neither did the NAPA store. John said he had an idea. We went to the True Value hardware store to look for a plumbing test plug. We found them so I bought a 1½ inch and a 2 inch plug because we weren’t sure of the actual diameter of the axle housing tube. These plugs have a metal circular flange on top with rubber below the flange and a bolt with wing nut running through the middle. Place the plug in an open end of a pipe and turn the wing nut to expand the rubber to make a seal and plug the pipe. Ingenious, but will it work? We returned to the motel and John went to get something to eat. Preston planned to take everyone on a tour of the back roads of the county after lunch. So Berna I jumped in Robert’s rig with him and Shelley for the afternoon ride. It was a nice ride but not as nice as it could have been driving my own rig. No offense Robert and Shelley. We headed down MD Rt. 495, through Swanton, MD to a road that lead through Deer Park, MD. Yes, where the Deer Park bottled water comes from. The logo on the bottle was the original logo of the once famous Deer Park Hotel. Several presidents and famous people would frequent there. The hotel was lost to a fire. We continued down the often snow covered back roads of Garrett County to the access road of the


Potomac State Forest, where a local farmer had cut a path through the snow, just about as wide as a Jeep, or so it seemed. It went to a point to where the road forks, where we all turned around. In the process, Preston and John Jr. managed to get hung up in the deep snow. That just added to the fun. We went out by going through the historic mining town of Steyer, MD that is right along the upper Potomac River. The scenery was awesome. We returned to the motel around 6 and we all planned to meet at Casselman’s for dinner. After dinner everyone was going to meet in the common area of the motel and have a social gathering and talk about the day’s adventure or some other fish story. I don’t know what time the party broke up because my happy butt left at 9:00. I was wore out and worried if the JK was fixable to get home. John and John Tabor Jr, I really don’t know if he is a junior I call him that because it makes writing this easier, said they would help with the fix at 9:30 Sunday morning. Sunday morning was cold, 17 degrees, and right on time John and John Jr pull up. I was anxious to see if the fix for the axle John had designed would actually work. If you haven’t been paying attention so far now is the time to start because here comes a temp fix for a busted axle so you can get home. Some may already know this trick but I didn’t and to me John was thinking outside the box on this one. After the guys had pulled the front tire and hub assembly off, the axle just simply slid out. John then inserted the 1½ inch test plug into the axle

housing, tightened the wing nut, and the axle tube was sealed. This fix allows the wheel end of the axle shaft assembly to spin freely and keeps the differential fluid in the pumpkin. It only took about 30 minutes for the entire process. After all was said and done everyone had a great time even if only going ¾ of mile on the trail in four hours. Off-roading is about having fun, being with friends or making new friends, and being responsible while doing it. Not like the jerk with the Dodge. It’s like meeting someone for the first time on a ride and they help whoever needs help. I offered to pay John and John Jr for doing the work for the temporary fix. Naturally being the good people they are, denied any payment. All they asked was that I “pay it forward”. That I will do and without hesitation. So if you are ever on a trail ride and I am along and you explode a front axle shaft U Joint and yoke on a Jeep, I’ll help you fix it. I now have four plumbing Test Plugs in my tool bag just in case. We made the 170 mile trip home Sunday just fine with no problems at all. Not bad for a $5 plug. I think we took the lemons Preston referred to and made lemonade. It was fun and I hope we get to do another snow run next year. Historical information provided by The Casselman Inn and the Greater Grantsville Business Association, Inc. Larry Pope is the current President of CORE and MAFWDA. He may be reached at lpope@core4x4. org.


Words and photos; Bruce Close Over the Easter weekend, 18th to 21st April, I staged the 10th Australian Four Wheel Drive Gathering at Dungog in rural New South Wales, about 3 hours north north west of Sydney, Australia. The Gathering is a biennial event and has been held now in all states of Australia and The Northern Territory. This year the event was held at the Dungog Showground and was attended by 80 4WD drivers from most parts of the country. There were people from Western Australia, The Northern Territory, Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales. There had been a lot of rain in the area up to the weekend, but the fine weather came and we had the best weekend. The purpose of the Gathering is to get together with four wheel drivers to make new friends and to renew old friendships. We raise money for the Royal Flying Doctor Service over the weekend through various activities.

equipment. On Saturday night we sat down to a sumptuous meal, a lucky door prize drawing and were then entertained by a duet of two entertainers called “The Grumpy Old Men”. Sunday morning saw a trip to Terrible Billy Track east of Dungog and another to Chichester Dam and the State Forest loop. A group were also taken to a local olive grove called Bunna Bunoo where we had tour of the processing plant. Later on Sunday we were given a demonstration of safe chainsaw usage. On Sunday night we had a guest speaker who presented a talk on the disputed border between South Australia and Victoria. After that we had an auction to sell merchandise kindly donated by our sponsors. I would like to thank those people that bought items at the auction. Monday morning saw us sit down to breakfast, breaking camp, saying our farewells and setting off for home.

We gathered at the Showground to camp for the weekend on Thursday night and Friday morning. On Friday two trips were organised, one was the Fosterton Loop, a scenic drive around Dungog and the other was Trevor Tops Road, which takes in scenic forest roads around the area.

I would like to acknowledge the following people and companies for their contribution to making the weekend a success: My organising committee: Barry Vines, Joyce Hollins, Peter Glendinning, Bev Hockley, Jim Collis and Jim Davey.

Friday night was our formal welcome and plans were outlined for the weekend. On Saturday a combination of Friday’s trips were carried out for those people that did not get a chance to go on Friday. Also a group were taken to a local winery called Camyr Allyn at Gresford about an hour west of Dungog and also to Gresford billy cart derby and markets. There were also trips to Stroud, Gloucester and some forest roads.

Trip Leaders: Col, Rhonda, Rachel & Rebekkah Crowther – Ipswich 4WD Club, Steve & Joan O’Brien – Newcastle and Districts 4WD Club and Ken & Yvonne McDonald – Central Coast 4WD Club.

On Saturday afternoon we had a demonstration of 4WD recovery equipment and how to use it. We then had a demonstration of vacuum sealing

Contributors: Dungog Shire Council, Dungog Showground & Recreation Reserve Management Committee, Chris Newbold, Caterforce, Clever Products, 4WD NSW & ACT, “The Grumpy Old Men”, JohnTurbill & crew and John & Bev Deckert. Sponsors: ARB New South Wales, TJM Hunter -NSW , Freshield – Victoria, Independent Trailers – Canberra, Peterson House Winery – Hunter Valley, Westprint Heritage Maps – Victoria, Camyr Allyn Winery – Gresford and Bunna Bunoo Olive Grove – Vacy. For more photos and videos, visit our website at www.4wdgathering.org.au


Snofari 2014 Words and Photos; Jim and Sara Rutkofske

“ I made it, now the fun begins, after 3 attempts the next rig in line makes it. The next rigs push as high as they can then we all work together to lengthen straps and pull cable as needed. The final Jeep makes it up with the pedal to the metal�.


The last week in January is always a gamble with wild Michigan winters. The 8th annual Snofari held in West Branch, Michigan had record snowfalls to bring in 100 registered rigs from 5 states. As I sit at registration, I remember each year what makes Snofari such a great event. This is my 5th year leading trail at this event. Each year I typically run the same set of hills and trails, yet my trails still fill up. I blame this on Mother Nature and snowfall. This year had something we haven’t had in a while... SNOW, and lots of it, roughly 2 feet in the woods with a crusty layer 6 inches deep under the powder. Powder by my definition, not Webster’s, is fluffy white flakes that suck you in when you don’t have the right combination of tire pressure, wheel speed, and finesse. The Friday of Snofari is generally a 4-6 hour ride through the woods. I like to mix the scenic snow covered pines that so many people never get to see in the country with a gentle hill climb that will give the drivers a taste of what we could be in for. The first hill is always a test for the trail leaders and participants. It is our jobs to break the trail and with so much snow this year I found my rig to work best with low RPMs, 6 PSI in the tires, and a combination of locking and opening the axles at just the right time. By keeping RPMs as low as possible it allows the other 8-10 rigs behind me the chance to use their equipment. The first hill is also the one that teaches the driver what happens if you don’t make it. Normally if the conditions are icy the vehicle, driver, and passengers end up in a

backward bobsled motion. This year with so much snow we had the reverse effect, plenty of traction with powder snow that tends to throw you where you don’t want to be... Like off the trail and into the woods, which is exactly what happened to the


#2 Jeep in line behind me. A well built YJ with a healthy sounding V8 that went nowhere with 36 inch Swampers and 30Ibs of air in the tires. The driver soon found himself off the trail in a small ravine that ended up in the only cable pull of the day. Once back on the trail they decided to air down to 10 PSI. After witnessing this display of Mother Nature vs tire pressure, the rest of the group airs down as they feel necessary and we are again on our way. The CB radios are now alive with the sounds of “clear” when each rig clears the hills. A well tuned CB is one of the keys to a safe trail ride. These hills in some cases are very steep climbs with tree cover on them. It is very easy to lose site of the rig in front of you. The word “clear” puts an end to the guessing game of “is it safe?” The rest of the day is filled with rolling hills and technical driving through a piece of state forest, the kind of place that is perfect for a hammock and a good nap on a summer day, but throw that out the window! It’s 8 degrees and there’s 2ft of snow on the ground! One of my Friday stops is the St. Helen Motorsport Area, (MSA), the MSA is a scramble area that hosts sand dunes in the summer and plenty of wide open snow runs in the winter. The MSA is also a good place to get out and stretch your legs and talk about the day’s travels. After about an hour of playtime we move on to the final mile or so of trail. With the closing of one of my favorite trails in the area, “Pinball Alley”, we are forced down a different section of trail. This particular trail is prone to high snow drifts, drifts big enough that 40 inch tires are engulfed by the white fluffy stuff. As the first couple of rigs knocked it down, the smaller rigs make it through with a minor pull here and there. Just on the other side of the drifts the CB is chirping

with the words, “my trans is hot and I don’t have any forward gears”. After letting the trans cool and adding fluid, the trans is declared dead. Normally this is not a big deal however we’re at the base of a long hill with a lot of snow. The decision was made to turn the Jeep around and pull it up backwards since it still had reverse. The Jeep is then hooked to my tailgunner and pulled up the hill in reverse using its own power as needed. This is the last hill of the day so I am confident that turning this rig back around and pulling it forward is the way to go. It’s about a half mile to the pavement then a straight shot to the hotel, home free. Once we get to the pavement the CB again says, “Hey I need to pull over, my trans is hot and I have lost all forward gears” This time is was from a well built Comanche pickup. We hooked rig #2 up on a stop and began to pull him back to the trailer at the hotel. Just then my tailgunner pulls up next to me and says that he has developed a low end knock in his motor. The group worked together and we all made it back in time for the GLFWDA Quarterly Meeting. Total carnage for the day was 2 transmissions and 1 4.6 stroker motor!


DAY 2 — Saturday Run... On all good trail rides the second day is always the more eventful. Today my trail run was completely full, 12 rigs and 1 secret weapon that came all the way from Phoenix, Arizona with a Hemi powered, Mattracks wearing, 2 door JK. Yes, for the second year in a row Mr. Mark Turner and Mr. Don McMillan from Daystar Products International have come to play in the snow. After seeing 2 blown transmissions and a motor destroyed, the math was easy; Hemi and Mattracks and a long drive to Michigan equals my trail breaker for the day! The first hill today is a favorite of mine, a long 2 section hill that is approximately quarter mile long and 30ish inches of snow. Mark laid down the path for me to follow. It was work to get to the top, constantly working my wheel to the left and right, locking and unlocking differentials, just letting the tires hunt their way to the top. I made it, now the fun begins, after 3 attempts the next rig in line makes it. The next rigs push as high as they can

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then we all work together to lengthen straps and pull cable as needed. The final Jeep makes it up with the pedal to the metal. This hill is the tone setter for the day. I don’t want to spend all day winching however I want the participants to have a good time. Luckily for me, I have Mark that can pull us through anything if needed. The next set of hills proves to be no problem and we can move on to our lunch spot. One of my favorite things about trail riding is the ability to cook on the trail. Today’s menu is White Chicken Chili that has been cooking in the crockpot all day. My wife and I figure that if the snow isn’t deep we can always feed the group well! When we arrive at the meadow area that is about half the size of a football field there is one problem, snow! I quickly ask Mark if he will beat down an area where we can have lunch. Off they go with a puff of snow! After they have made one lap I join in behind them, before long the entire group is circling like a wagon train. As I get out to get the crockpot down from the rack, I step into snow that is just below hip high. This year is clearly the most snow I have ever seen! After lunch we head out to the next section of

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trail. As we cross the trail I realize that another trail leader has come into the area. I didn’t want to run into them so I flipped channels on the CB to find out where they were headed. I found out they were stuck at the base of a large hill. It seems a CJ had broken a U-joint and separated the knuckle from the axle. The group was ok so we continued on in a round-about way, Plan B I guess you could say. The catch, Plan B takes us through a nasty mud hole, but hey, no big deal, I have the boys from Arizona leading for me and they will skip right across that like nothing and then the rest will follow... Well, Mattracks work great in snow but when it comes to barely frozen snow covered mud, not so much. The bogey wheels and the angle of the tracks found its way between the mud and ice. They were stuck in the mud up to the grill! As we hooked them up to a pull rope I could barely move him. And by move him I’m talking about a 30ft 7/8 rope at roughly 30mph in reverse barely budging him. As the mud falls from the right front track we see that the track has flipped over bending metal links and has tore up the fender. We work together using dead fall logs to skid the Jeep up onto the snow. We go to work unbolting parts to find a 3/8 metal plate looks like a taco. Using pry bars and hammers we were able to

clear the bent parts. I was able to straighten the part and two others re-assembled it. After about an hour we were on our way to the hotel.


United Four Wheel Drive Associations 2014 AGM Webinar When: Tuesday, June 24, 2014 Time: 8:30 PM – 10:00 PM - EDST Whether you refer to us as United Four Wheel Drive Associations; UFWDA; United; or some other affectionate term: Please join us for this year’s AGM. This year’s AGM promises to be the most cost efficient method we could think of to update our Membership on our activities. We also have the business of the Association that requires your input as we will host elections, determine the deserving winners of the various awards and ask what actions you would have us direct your monies and our attention to improving your land access rights. Registration:  Delegate Credential Form is due no later than June 15, 2014 –you may request the form by sending an email to treasurer@ufwda.org.  Ambassador, Lifetime or Individual Members may register by sending an email to treasurer@ufwda.org. Award Submission(s) are due no later than June 15, 2014- – You may access the Award Criteria/Forms from the SOP at: http://www.ufwda.org/who-we-are/ufwda-standardoperating-procedures/; you may also request the specific criteria by sending an email to treasurer@ufwda.org. Organizational Reports are due no later than June 15, 2014 for inclusion in the UFWDA Annual Report (There is no standard format and we simply ask you to tell us a little about your organization and what you have been up to over the last year). Please email Delegate Credential Form, Award Submissions and Organizational Reports to treasurer@ufwda.org. You may also”Snail Mail” to Arrive No Later Than June 18, 2014 to:


UFWDA P.O. Box 316 Swartz Creek, Michigan 48473 We are still seeking Nominations for the following positions: 

President

International Vice-President

Director of Membership

The Nominating Committee Questions for any position may be obtained by sending an email request to nominations@ufwda.org Nominations are to be submitted to nominations@ufwda.org We also need to be thinking about our vacant positions. Let us not forget we have the following vacancies in need of being filled: 

Director of Environmental Affairs

Treasurer

The Individual appointed to this position would serve the remainder of said term and be eligible for re-election at our 2015 AGM The current bod appeals to all delegates and organizations to seek out individuals to fill the positions needed to aid each and every one that has a passion for our sport. UFWDA is comprised of volunteers and needs your involvement to sustain the fight of Land Access. An explanation for any position may be obtained from the SOP at: http://www.ufwda.org/who-we-are/ufwda-standard-operating-procedures/; or you may also request the specific criteria by sending an email request to nominations@ufwda.org Help UFWDA Help You, Our Sport and Your Organization! You are an integral piece of the puzzle in determining the future of land access rights for our sport. We look forward to sharing with you at this year’s AGM, while you relax in the comfort of your easy chair at home, sitting in your vehicle, or resting in your hammock in the backyard.


35 YEARS AND RAISED ONE MILLION DOLLARS! THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES!! Words by Luana Schneider Photos by Brian Swearingen and Luana Schneider

35 YEARS AND RAISED ONE MILLION DOLLARS! THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES!! By Luana Schneider It was decided that this year we would return to the Minocqua/Arbor Vitae area for the Four Wheelin’ with Feelin’ for the March of Dimes On Road/On Trail Rally. With the very accommodating people we were able to work with, it made the initial planning a breeze. Also with us having the start of the event at the Arbor Vitae Community Center and Fireman’s Park we only needed to be on

pavement a short while before we were on trails in the beautiful Northern Highland—American Legion State Forest. A few weeks before the rally the route committee was in the area setting up a route and clues and had some really great weather and some new experiences. In one section as we came off the main highway there all of a sudden were four Eagles flying around and above us and not going real far. We got some great photos and then started looking around to see why they stayed around just to find the remains of a deer carcass just off the main trail. We also found a trail we had used in the past to be way too wet and it would have become impassable and so started to look for an alternate route around it. That evening we


reviewed maps and went back out the next day to see if anything we saw on the maps would go through. As we stood at the intersection where we found no other trail around the bad spot, along came a large truck hauling a huge piece of equipment and the individual stopped right by us to unload. In talking with the person we found he was going to work on some of the roads/trails in the area and we teased about the possibility of fixing the muddy spot. He said that was his primary reason to be there because he was sick and tired of trying to drive through that spot with his truck and the constant concern of getting stuck. With that hurdle conquered by coincidence we were able to establish a good route combining old and new route. The rally was held the weekend of October 5 with much of the committee already there Wednesday night so they could get a start first thing Thursday morning to set up the headquarters, start and finish and props on the route. We also tested out the route with the clues for the last time to insure the route was clear and the clues were accurate. However, it had started pouring that Wednesday night and then kept raining off and on and on Saturday it rained some all day. With much evaluation of the route it was decided that the route was very wet and slippery but would hold up and, therefore, with some concern did not call off the event. Participants started coming in to register with their raincoats and boots ready to go out and go wheeling with some in open vehicles. In order to be eligible to participate, each vehicle entry had to

have at least a $75 pledge to the March of Dimes and pay a small entry fee. Each participant was given a goodie bag and a door prize and since it was a Mardi Gras theme they were given beads. They then were sent out to the tech inspection area. Once the vehicle was teched for safety, they were given a set of clues and their time card was recorded with their start time. The object is to get through the route in as close to the perfect time by using the guidance of various speed limits by the terrain they are on and using corny and tricky clues to find their way through. For some they do not even worry about the time, but get their card stamped along the way to be eligible for the Poker part of the rally. After driving a short time on paved and gravelly very scenic roads the participants were already on trails that even though rainy were still very scenic and enjoyable with some road time connecting trails. There was only 40 miles of route this year and almost all of it was on unsurfaced trails. The clues were quite corny but the craziest one was the clue naming all the people on the show “Friends” but Ross and then telling them to go on the road of the person that was not listed—“Ross” Lake Road. When this clue was first brought up I who have never seen the show really wondered what the clue meant. Then to top it off they wanted to have a question in the clues asking for Phoebe’s favorite song and when I heard the song was “Smelly Cat” I did wonder about the show and the committee. To top it off it was suggested in the clues that the participants sing the song as they followed the route. Yes this committee has a strange sense of humor and is how and why the clues come out as they do which creates quite the high expectations and concern from the participants as to what will come up next. The brave souls that covered the checkpoints came prepared with pop ups and setting up a fire to keep warm and dry. People were given various food treats, etc. at the check points with the early one even having some sausage & egg wraps for a donation to the March of Dimes! One checkpoint had bubble blowing for the kids. At another checkpoint they tried to have a marshmellow shooting contest, but apparently it did not work out with the wet conditions. I never know what the checkpoint folks will do to keep things enjoyable for the participants. Participants came back wet and dirty, but really enjoyed the route and clues and also the regular Burma Shave signage and some other signage that was put up without my knowledge. With this being Rod and my 35th year doing the rally and the last one that I will be heading up, the committee was again up to their usual tricks. This time they had wanted posters of me throughout the route


saying {WANTED For Rally Runnin’ Lippito (they call me Lippy) Bandito 35 Years “On The Run”}. Participants were to count how many signs they saw and several counted 35, but just to not let people assume that, there were 36 of which the person who submitted the number 36 won a prize. At the Finish participants handed in their time cards and drew for the Poker cards they were eligible for and then headed out to clean up and get a bite to eat in order to be back by 7:00 for the program and dance. At the program there were many announcements including thank yous and awards to the various entities that make the event possible. One company, Colony Brands (formerly Swiss Colony) for many years has donated enough prizes that

Rod & Luana receiving the award from the Governor and presented byMarty Bethke & Leo Schneider

every participant and work received at least one prize. We also announced many Off Highway Vehicle issues that are currently happening in Wisconsin. For each $100 of pledge money submitted, a participant was given a chance at winning a special prize which this year was a two over night stay with a dinner and other items, however I lost the winner’s name so I cannot give it to you! The best Poker hand of a full house was won by Tom & Ashley Martinson. With the one coming the closest to Perfect Time with 242 minutes won by Alex Schmitt. The winner of the Highest Pledges this year was Karl Schultz who came in with $2,155.15 that was all in $2 bills except the odd $1.15. Highest Club


Pledges of $3,065 went again to the 4 Lakes 4 Wheelers out of Madison. The unique one in the Highest Club Pledges was the third highest club pledges of $600 by a new group called Jeeping for Jerry. This group organized in memory of Jerry Krueger who had been a long time supporter of this event and passed away unexpectedly last year. They came up sporting special t-shirts and their vehicles including Jerry’s vehicle that now is his nephew’s. All the money raised all resulted in 60 vehicles participating and raising over $14,000 for the March of Dimes! Bravo to all!! I then presented a gift of a Jeep or Ford planter to each couple that has been part of the main committee for so many years. Dave & Cindy Bahr with Dave working it for 15 years and previously participating for 10 years & Cindy joining him the last few years. Bob & Frances working the rally for 21 years, Roy Schachtschneider & Betty Taft working it for almost 20 years, Jan & George Thomas who have worked it for as Jan says “20 wonderful years”. Keith & Kristi Truckey who have worked it 18 years and participated the previous 3 years. Helen & Gil Wagner who have worked it the past 11 years with participating the previous 14 years. Ed & Linda Welch who worked it for over 25 years and participated 1 year before that (couldn’t participate after that year--the clues were too hard on their marriage). I also presented a Jeep Planter to Leo Schneider who has either participated, worked and/or has headed up one of the committees for almost all 35 years. And also another Jeep Planter was presented to Jim Baker for being involved all 35 years. It goes on with many other people working and/or participating for many years. There is Dan Sippola who in his 19 years as a participant raised almost $50,000 in funds for the March of Dimes and Jeff Steinhorst even though working not participating in the event was close behind Dan raising a significant amount. Then there is Mark & Marianne Schultz who had taken over the Start after participating for many years and after Harold & Mary Hoernke after many years finally had to quit doing the Start and the same for Kevin & Chris Bak on the Poker and Steve Dunn who could be counted on for doing a checkpoint for every year and the list goes on. Then there are all the kids that grew up with this event with knowing the importance of such an organization as the March of Dimes. Many of them are now participating or working or taking on a main committee for this event. There are the five “kids” from our club of Adam & Tara (Schneider) Fell, Corey Welch, Ben Grosse, Jenna (Schneider) Adas. In the last years Tara took over handling the pledges for us which made such a difference—

you’d be surprised how few people know how to handle money, get it organized and recorded properly! Also there is Chris Hannis who grew up riding in the rally with his dad and when he was old enough has participated or worked the rally. I presented him with a plaque for his main involvement in these later years. Of course, I can’t forget our three kids, Brenda, Mary and Tom who have grown up with this event and their spouses and our grandchildren who have been involved in so many ways they can’t be listed. They headed up a checkpoint this year and handed out a flyer with a Jeepin’ photo of them when the rally started and another now with a letter of “Thank you to all the participants for their support of Rod & I and the event”. About the time I got all the recognitions done, there was a quite a turnaround! Leo Schneider & Marty Bethke presented Rod and I with a letter of recognition from the Governor for our 35 years of heading up the rally and raising one million dollars for the March of Dimes. With that the committee came out with 2 large cakes and everyone attending the program was served cake. We were also given a booklet with all sorts of poems and well wishes from various folks at the event. The program was now over and the dancing began and much more socializing occurred. The talk of the party was when the dance floor cleared when little Eloise Blaschka talked Leo Schneider into dancing with her and she was showing him all the moves!! I think what hit me the most was when one of the “kids” now an adult came up to me gave me a big hug and said “Thanks for all the great childhood memories”. And all Rod & I can say is thanks for the hard work of so many, all the fun at the same time and all the great memories while working on putting on such a unique event for such a good cause. Our biggest regret is the fact that so many of the folks we get to see only once a year during this event we probably will not see again, but hopefully that will not be the case. Several were talking about having a “reunion” ride sometime in the future. As you can tell from this article, this event was always geared to be a family event and what a great charity to link up to for such an event as the March of Dimes fighting birth defects! What happens in the future for an event is uncertain. The Wisconsin Four Wheel Drive is now taking a survey of individuals to see what folks may want for an event and who is willing to get involved—so stay tuned. UFWDA congratulate Luana and Rod on the their fantastic achievement... a hard act to follow!


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2 3

1 There were two sheet cakes for the party 2 It’s Mardi Gras Time!! 3 The Main Committee 4 Dan Sippola and his granddaughter receiving a trophy for second highest pledges presented by Keith Truckey and his two sons.

4


Is It Time To Halt Foot Traffic On Certain Public Roads and Trails?

By Jerry Smith

For many years the USFS, BLM, NPS, and other government entities have closed miles and miles of roads and trails on public lands to motorized uses. Preservationists are still in “high gear” clamoring for more closures of roads and trails and adding more Wilderness by several different names. (Citizens designated Wilderness Study Areas, Wild Areas, National Monuments, etc.) In recent years, the BLM and USFS have become extremely bold in their “Preservation” of public lands, closing 70% to over 80% of what is left of open roads and trails in their given jurisdiction in a single move. It is my opinion that it is way past time to stop playing defense and go on the offense… in a major way. “Motorized Routes Only” It is past time for the government entities to designate areas, roads, and/or trails as “Motorized Routes Only”. “Motorized Routes Only” would be designated and would disallow any kind of foot and non-motorized uses. This is not necessarily meant as a revenge on non-motorized users, but fair is fair. (Preservationists are always claiming “fairness”) They insist on naming everything as “endangered”, “rare”, “archeological”, or

any number of other designations that justify “preserving”. The motorized community must demand “equal” treatment by having “designations” that name certain areas, roads, and/or trails as motorized routes of varying difficulty. The “Quiet Users” are always claiming noise, dust, exhaust, pollution, erosion, and lack of “solitude” available on most roads and trails currently shared with motorized vehicles. As they cannot tolerate our uses of public roads and trails, it is time THEY be banned from certain designated “Motorized Routes Only”! Therefore, the motorized community must UNIFY and demand that certain areas, roads, and/or trails on OUR public lands be designated as for “Motorized Use ONLY”! This designation should also carry certain guarantees that these routes will remain open to motorized uses indefinitely baring any emergencies that come along. These “emergencies” must be mitigated and reopened ASAP. This would also preclude any more “Roadless Area” designations as these routes will have been designated as “Motorized”. Ooops, no more ignoring a road or trail exists so they can call it “Wilderness eligible”!


The Silent Killer Well, here in the USA, it is winter time, as I am writing this. Rather cold. In fact, for about a week, it was really cold. Frozen water and sprinkler system pipes were the norm. Plenty of overtime for plumbers and pipe fitters. Plus, there has been a lot of areas with major snows. So, you are thinking, “Oh no!, not another lecture on sitting in your vehicle with snow against the tail pipe, so on and so on.

3.) You feel like you are wasting your time and no one is listening or reading your letters/emails. Sure, we lose battles and that is just the way it is. But, we also have won some dandy ones. Your calls and letters are NEVER A WASTE OF TIME. Okay, maybe nothing came of it on this one effort, but that letter will

Now, while certainly this is a problem and believe it or not, people will still die from that very thing. I am going to address the problem of another silent killer(s). IT IS US! We are the “silent killers.”

have a lasting impact. You in some way, have

The cause, APATHY! Now I am speaking in general terms, so for those of you few where this does not apply, continue drafting your letters to your Congressmen and land managers, attend those meetings and keep donating your resources to your club, association and United.

4.)

Plain and simple, apathy is literally killing four wheel drive. Now, what are the causes of apathy? Well, some folks are just lazy by nature. So, let’s not focus on them. Most of you are not lazy by any stretch of the imagination. So, what is the problem. Well, let’s look at the list of possibilities. Which one applies to you or maybe some friends? Again, this is not to say anyone is a “bad” person. But, I feel we all have gone soft in one form or another.

wand and things just go our way. As United,

made a difference.

Why should I do it.? Someone else

will take care of it. That is why I joined United. Ah…, you are the someone else. We all are. You are United. We all are United. United is not that magical organization that waves its magic

we are a force. The more of us there are, the stronger the force. Very simple.

5.)

I am not giving anything to United

anymore. They are not doing a thing FOR ME! Wow! That is an attitude that does more

1.)

Your work hours and demands at work

to close roads than any Sierra Club rally. So

have increased and you are just pooped out

many simply do not get it and in today’s world,

when you get to the ole homestead. This is one

it is even more apparent. Too many folks are

that hits home here.

used to having things given to them. Many whole heartily believe in socialism. To think

2.)

Your family demands have increased

and Lord knows, that should always be everyone’s #1 priority.

of how many of our fathers, grandfathers and forefathers died to keep that way of life away from us.


6.)

Is that case of beer more important

I have a few questions for everyone.

than supporting United? Let’s see... after a Is Four Wheel Drive Recreation worth

weekend or two and that case of beer has all

1.)

been flushed down the toilet or sprinkled on a

saving?

tree in the woods. United wins even one battle, and that can result in years of access and four

2.)

wheel drive recreation for you, your friends and

Associations worth saving?

Is the United Four Wheel Drive

your kids.

7.)

3.)

Is public lands access worth saving?

4.)

Are private property rights worth

Why should I worry about United, I will

just spend that money on a pay for play place? At least there I will see where my money went.

preserving?

Well, let’s look at that. Sure, nothing wrong with four wheel drive parks, in fact, they are awesome. Still, you will pay twice as much

5.)

for one day of play than you would for an

modifications to our four wheel drives?

Should we be allowed to make safe

individual membership to United. If United continues to be successful, then you will have

6.)

a lot more days to play. Remember, once those

$20.00, $30.00 or $50.00 to help preserve a

groups and individuals that do not like us get

way of life?

Is it going to break you to kick in

every inch of public land closed up, they will then switch their focus onto private lands. Look, they have already punished farmers

7.)

Is it that difficult to write my

Congressman and land managers?

through the Endangered Species Act and the EPA. Besides, you all own “public” land. I can’t make it any clearer than that! Let’s take a look at some facts. In fact, let’s lay the cards right out on the table. United is simply becoming ineffective due to a lack of resources. Financially, it ain’t good! Membership numbers are not where they should be. We have one of the best, if not the very best Environmental Lawyer in the country, who has and would do anything for us. But, she has a family. She spent a large part of her life getting prepared to pass the Virginia Bar. One of the most difficult in the country. Yet, we as four wheelers cannot raise enough funds to pay her even a token wage. She has been working for us at a true bargain rate. Now we as United cannot even muster up enough funds to pay this lady to do our dirty work. The work that quite frankly most of us do not know how to do, or have the time to do. United was started in 1976 by a group of state and regional associations that wanted to not just save our sport, but to make it grow. Well, it grew. But, United only grew by so much and now just does not have the numbers that we need to be a truly effective voice.

Okay, please permit me to run some ideas past you. Can your club put on a fund raising function to benefit the members of United? Can you talk up United on a forum that you are a member of? Can you submit stories and articles, that within the text promote United and its mission? Submit them to the national magazines and local papers. Can you submit articles and photos to Peter Vahry our newsletter (Voice) editor ? While Peter does a better than outstanding job with the Voice, wouldn’t it be awesome to see your club trip in there. Think about the enjoyment it would give others. Plus, it would get others excited about our sport and United. Not to mention, a good plug for your club. Folks, this is a fact. We are at a critical turning point. United needs your support. Think of it this way. We are all “Younited” Submitted by, Preston Stevens


Gitchee Gumee 2013 Words ; Jim Rutkofske Photos: Sara Burrows


With the colors at their peak and as extreme amount of rain the Algoma canyon Ontario area was sure to hold endless adventure for the 21 registered vehicles at Gitchee Gumee 2013. This year we were lucky to have fair veteran trail leaders that guided us through some of the most scenic areas with some nasty terrain. Myself, Jim Rutkofske, and Ryan Hoffman joined forces to revive the crown jewel event of Great Lakes Four Wheel Drive Association. We were honored to have the help of 4 veteran trail leaders this year. They were, Jim Mazzola, Jim Kitson, Dave Neph, and Eric Ross. Without their help this event never could have been pulled off. It’s 6:30am and I’m nestled outside armed at my registration table with my hot coffee, spreadsheet, and yellow highlighter anticipating the long overdue first day of Githee Gumee 2013… the driver’s meeting is set for 7:45am for an 8:00am departure. Though early departures are sometimes tough to take on vacation it’s well worth the loss of sleep. Its shortly after 8am and were heading north on Highway 17. The colors are at their peak and Lake Superior is on my left. I’m running sweep for Eric Ross who is the trail leader. We are heading toward 38 Road. Our group is a wide variety of Jeep builds ranging in tire size from 43s to 35s. About 8 miles down 38 Road Eric radios back that the washout in the road is bad and turns out to be our first obstacle. As I approach the group who are now out of their rigs I see a tan TJ nearly level with the road in a washout that is about 6 foot deep and 8 foot wide. The mud and gravel mixture is so slimy and has sucked in one or Eric’s 43 Swamper SXs so far that it has nearly disappeared with the

other 3 tires on somewhat solid ground. The group worked together to pull cable and get Eric up on high ground. The rest of the group picked a more shallow line in the washout and proceeded with caution. As we continue down 38 Road we take a little side hill climb that we call the “Driveway Trail”. This trail takes a hard left turn off the road and goes at a pretty good incline to an elevation of about 1600ft. Add mud, rocks, wet leaves, and logs in the trail and you’ll be sure to have a good time. Though this climb is fairly intense, we all made it. On our way back down to the main road included small ledges and a small creek crossing. Once back onto 38 Road we continued to the start of our day in the woods. Next we came up to Sheppard Lake and 3 nearly extinct logging bridges. The first bridge has a pretty good rocker cranker for rigs smaller than 35s. Once you clear this you’re crossing the Batchawana River. The scenery here is beautiful but don’t look down because you’re riding on only the steel structure and rutted boards of what is left of the bridge. The 2nd bridge is somewhat better in the wood department; however there is no steel structure. It’s wood beams that appear to be solid oak approximately 3ft by 3ft. To add to the excitement the beams are tilted on an angle and a bit slippery. Its best to go slow and pay attention to your spotter. Clearing the 2nd bridge makes the 3rd bridge look like the Mackinaw only, again, just steel structure and rotted wood that’s falling off into the water while it is being crossed. To clarify, steel structure means a 3 inch beam that luckily hits the center of most tires. There isn’t any metal grating, only rotting boards and the occasional 4inch Androx nail sticking out. A spotter is a must!


The next hour of trail is fairly nice with winding trails, a couple good creek crossings, and an occasional muddy granite rock face to test your tire’s ability to lock up on moose snot! Everything was fairly calm until we got into a tight section of trail with a lake on the left side and a pretty good cliff on the right. While navigating through the off camber trail, Steve Slezinski came on the radio saying he heard a bang then lost his steering. He was in front of me so I got out to see how extensive the trail damage was. The steering gear box was tight and everything appeared to be ok however, the steering wheel was now 90 degrees off center. It appeared the gear box slipped one of the teeth inside because it was now functioning fine with all the steering components still tight. We opted to drive it until we found a method of trouble shooting. This was a bit risky considering we were about 40 miles from camp and there was some pretty nasty trail in front of us. We’re on the road again running through some nice rolling hills, we have crossed over the peak and are working our way down into the valley. There is about a 200ft sheer rock face on our left and pretty low area on the right. This area seems to be consistently wet. By the time I got into the nasty ruts the trail looks like Crisco on a cookie sheet and I’m driving on 38inch chocolate covered donuts! Just as I get to the stagger holes I slide into a small marsh run off that has swallowed both my passenger side tires. Everyone was out in front of me and the area was too sloppy to drive back into. There was one tree in the area that was good enough to hook a winch line up to but on the down

side it was only about 30ft away. I was in there good. A straight line pull was pretty much useless. I ended up using double snatch blocks and was still maxing out my 9.5ti to the limit. San Wiseheart was able to back around somewhat and holed his cable to me. Light is good. I’m in Canada driving what feels like a school bus with enough rigging on it to lift the Titanic. I hit my winch controller to begin forward motion and of course… Clickety, clickety… the solenoid is pulling in but the motor is not engaging. The few choice words I shared with the controller must have worked because the motor engaged and I was on my way to higher ground. This was a ton of work to move a vehicle length. Up ahead the rest of the group has found that the trail continues on up the middle of a ravine with a greasy granite hill climb on it. The first couple rigs made it without too much difficulty, the rest of us is a different story. Most ended up driving forward until they couldn’t so any farther the pulling cable to complete the rest of the climb. The trail is a bit higher now but is so brushy that the vehicle in front of you disappears easily. At the end of the brushy trail is a marshy swamp. The first 2 rigs don’t have much difficulty. There is a nasty rutted up hole that swallowed 3 JKs and 1 TJ, all on 35s. Beyond this hole is a small clearing that when a rig travels through it, it gets rutted up worse. Eric turned around and came back through to help pull people through. After the JKs clear the area we find it best to hook up the TJ on 35 AT to Eric’s Jeep and just pull it the entire way through the quarter mile bottomless mud run. Now it’s my turn… I feel like a pilot going through pre take off checks. Seat belt,


some old and new friends welding something. The skid plate is fixed and we’re on the way by 9:30 Today we were heading to the Pancake Lake area. It is noted that off the main trail we are on, there is a fork with a small waterfall on it. We decide as a group to go check it out. The trail seems to be a typical 2 track that has some pretty good ditches in it. When we arrive at the falls it was a hiking trip. The colors were nice and the falls were a nice reminder of the surrounding area. After the pics were done, its time to hit the trail again. The trails today have many steep ditches in them. In one case in particular, Dave Neph found out that his front receiver mounted winch was jammed in from hitting it hard on Friday’s run. The approach angle was just too steep. The winch had to come off. After a few minutes of beating on it with a hammer we decided to hook it up to a tree and cable out to a safe distance, the electrical connection was disconnected and we were using the vehicle’s weight to free the bent winch mount from the receiver. Everyone was clear and bang! The winch let loose and shot about 15ft into the ditch. Mission completed! The cruiser mow has a better approach angle for the day ahead.

check… Air lockers on, check… Wife, hold on this could get rough! Finally, rev limiter on the minivan motor, check. We’re on our way bouncing off trees, rocks, ruts, and the rev limiter the entire way! Woo hoo, we’re at the logging road, which is still about 2 hours from camp. Only one more obstacle lies in our way, crossing back over the Batchawana River. Only this time there were no bridges. After about an hour we arrive at the river crossing. Eric eases into the water; it’s about 3ft deep and gets shallower the further you go. The rest of the group navigates the water crossing without any problems. The Batchawana Station is a welcome sight after 12 hours in the woods. In about 40 miles we’ll be back at camp and ready to head out for more tomorrow. Day 2 of Gitchee Gumee On Saturday morning all the groups assembled for the 8am daily driver’s meeting. Due to smaller groups we decided to merge a couple groups and head north again. After the driver’s meeting somebody noticed Steve Slezinski’s TJ had only 1 bolt in the skid plate on the driver’s side. A closer look at the skid plate reveled that the bolts were all there but the nut certs had broken loose from the frame. Jim Mazzola lent us his welder and we were on our way to making molten memories. Eric and others had prepped the area. I was the welder, what a great way to start the day… Laying on a tarp with

We are heading to the “Lower 2” trail which has a few creek crossings and some tight brushy trail. This trail also has a rock crawl that is roughly a quarter mile long with roughly (4) 3-4ft ledges on it and a couple 40inch plus rocks to navigate. We start at the 1st bypass for the rocks which a stream crossing that is fairly tame. Once across the stream, the trail is windy with lots of brushy areas. There is another creek crossing which is actually the out trail for the rock crawl. This particular spot is a little tricky due to running water on an off camber angle with moving rocks that seem to hang you up no matter what line you take. Its lunch time and Eric and I check out the rocks while the others are preparing lunch. Eric walks the crawl like it is a parking lot. At the end there is a 90 degree right turn which has a ledge that is off camber and vertical. I was spotting for him and I thought this would be a show stopper. I under estimate what a capable rig would do. He crawled the ledge one tire at a time without issue. Now it’s my turn. I really had no business trying this in my wife’s daily driver however, no guts, no glory and I’m on my way as I clunk, bang, and jar myself to the end. I get to the ledge and decide that it’s time to see what I’ve built. Eric slowly spots me up the off camber ledge with the passenger side tire first. The tire with 4lbs of air in it seems to be glued to the wet rock, now the driver front starts to hit the


ledge, from the driver seat it feels like the rear tires are firmly planted and I’m moving upward. The front passenger tire reaches the top of the ledge. By this time I’m out of suspension travel and the tire is hanging roughly 2ft in the air. Now the rear passenger tire starts to climb the ledge. The front picks a little more and then hits the break over angle and the front that was hanging sets down on the ground nicely and smooth. With a small bump from the skinny pedal I’ve cleared the ledge. I never figured this would have been possible for my JK. The trail continues on and eventually we end up at an old logging road. From here on out Eric leads the way because we made a right turn instead of a left turn at my GPS point. No worries, Eric comes here often and is taking us to another set of trails. As we make our way into the heavily wooded area, there is a loud pop from Keith Kodet’s Sammy right in front of us. Then it started to smell like Coney Island at lunch time. I guess at some point Keith placed his lunch (a can of chili) on his exhaust manifold and the timer just went off when the lid blew off! After a closer examination of the Sammy engine compartment, it resembled a bad diaper. The mess is cleaned up as good as can be and we’re rolling to our last obstacle of the day. This ditch seems like a muddy, slick ledge that is about 5ft deep to drop straight into and about 20ft on the other side. Eric walks through it and then the others started to attempt the entry. Getting into this spot is pretty nasty but getting out of it is pretty much impossible without a cable. In some cases it took 2 winches on snatchblocks to pull up. This was a great example of team work though it took us a couple hours to navigate this spot. I think everyone relished in the fact that we all were through it!

We’re now on our way to the Batchawana Falls. This is a large water fall that is a favorite spot to stop and take pictures or to do a lunch spot. We are just passing through on our way back to camp which is about an hour and a half out. Somebody noticed that Jerry in our group has a broken axle shaft on a Prorock 44 axle. We decide that since the shafts are always turning we should pull the shafts out. We’re now working in the dark and battling the bugs which are terrible! The U-joint is blown out and makes for easy separation. I taped up the axle tube to seal it up and the axle was reassembled. The ride back to camp was fairly uneventful. Time to relax around the bonfire.


Uwharrie National Forest OHV Trail System Workday

Words and pictures courtesy of John Craven


March 15, 2014 The last “off season” workday of 2014 greeted us with sunny skies and the warm weather that most of us had been looking for as temperatures soared into the 60’s. 66 individuals signed in at the Hunt Camp meeting with Ranger Smith and after a short briefing were assigned to trail duties by volunteer coordinators Chris Brower and Darin Touw. Key items for this last workday before the spring opening were major repair of erosion damage to Daniel Trail, drainage repair to prevent erosion on Wolf Den Trail and creek crossing maintenance on Dutch John Trail. The Carolina Trail Blazers, who received a 2013 Outstanding Trails Award from BF Goodrich, used a portion of their grant money to rent a mini excavator for erosion repair. With the expert heavy machine operator skills of George Gazeley, who is also an OHV enthusiast, the Daniel crew was able to repair a large portion of seriously eroded trail. While George was on the machine other crew members were manning a bucket brigade with buckets donated by Sherwin Williams. These five gallon buckets were filled with small rocks and chainganged to fill holes in the trail, then compacted with the excavator as it moved up the trail. On Dutch John Trail, the Carolina Broncos club worked to clean out water bars to improve drainage and prevent erosion. A couple of crews also worked on the many creek crossings. Uwharrie District Ranger Deborah Walker has decided to do away with the “corduroy bridges”, made of telephone poles and cable, and go to a “hard bottom” crossing on these creeks. Many of these “bridges” have been removed and Carolina Broncos worked to continue to harden the bottoms with more rock. They also worked on the entry and exit banks to harden them as well. On Wolf Den Trail, Old North State Cruisers worked on many erosion and drainage issues as well as creek crossings. ONSC turned up in force to maintain their trail in the time honored method, manual labor! Using only hand tools such as shovels, picks, tamping bars and rakes, ONSC made some major repairs which will divert water on Wolf Den Trail and prevent more damage in the coming months as the trails welcome back all OHV enthusiasts. The Forest Service had 100 hay bales on hand for water bar run off areas and Triad Jeep Club

was in charge of distribution. Club members and individuals hauled the bales onto the trails, placed them in crucial run off areas and staked them in place. Unfortunately, there are many in the OHV community who do not understand the need for these repairs! The United States Forest Service has a mandate to “manage” the forests for multiuser recreation. They are tasked with being good stewards of our, the public, national lands. This mandate requires periodic and occasional repair to trails that many OHV enthusiasts see as making the trails easier, removing the challenge. These repairs allow the USFS to follow their mandate while allowing OHV enthusiasts continued access. The alternative to maintenance and repair is closure. Too many of us in the OHV community want to have our cake and eat it too! We want the trails to become “high challenge” opportunities through erosion and use at the expense of the risk of closure to all. This selfish, us against them, mentality must change if public access to public lands is to continue! After the workday the work crew was treated to a barbecue lunch by volunteer coordinator Chris Brower. A great meal of Boston Butt and BBQ Beans helped refresh the volunteers and had them looking forward to the next workday! Thank you to everyone who came out for this workday whether part of a club, an organization or individual! Without your support these workdays would not be the effective management tool they have become! Special thanks to volunteer coordinators Chris Brower and Darin Touw, NC4x4.com and non-profit Friends Of Uwharrie for their efforts and support of the OHV workdays! Their leadership is crucial to continued access at the Uwharrie National Forest OHV Trail System!


The Granite Creek Trail In the Delores River Drainage

Story and pictures courtesy of Jerry Smith


Roy proved to be “the workhorse” on this trip The Granite Creek trail is one that has had little use by full-size vehicles for several years. Gamble Oak and Juniper trees had grown into the trail leaving little room for full-size vehicle access.

At the Colorado/Utah border, those who desired to do so, aired down. Most members elected not to drop air pressure for the short roughly thirty-mile drive to Granite Creek.  Some lived to regret that decision.

The Granite Creek trail takes you through some spectacular Colorado and Utah Canyon Country. Deep within the canyon, one has no idea when you cross from one state to the other unless you closely watch your GPS.  That requires a great deal of concentration as the scenic values of this deep canyon and the trail keep your eyes quite busy.

The road along this route is generally rated easy and recommended for stock vehicles. Last fall, we encountered more difficulty than would be normally expected on our way to Gateway, CO.  Snow has a way of increasing the difficulty of many trails.

For years, the Grand Mesa Jeep Club (Colorado’s Club of the Year - 2013) has been discussing this as an opportunity for a “club project”. Reopening trails closed by Mother Nature has been an annual endeavor by a few club members.  Last year they reopened the Coon Hollow Jeep Trail after Mom Nature had physically closed it for years. Shortly after the 8 AM meeting time, we struck out for adventure with a side dish of work from the Albertson’s on Broadway in Grand Junction, CO.  In no time we were weaving our way through the east entrance to the Colorado National Monument.  What a way to open your sleepy eyes on a cool Saturday morning. Passing through Glade Park, we picked up the last member of our group – totaling 11- vehicles.  A great turnout considering we intended to begin what was billed as a two-day work project.

This early in the spring, some snow and mud was anticipated in the higher elevations of Granite Creek. That would only add to the “fun” in achieving our destination… until we learned that Jason’s Grand Cherokee was without a front driveline for the day. One rocky hill climb proved to be too much for the 2wd vehicle and Roy came to the rescue with a tow strap.  Then we crossed upper Granite Creek and encountered a steep, rocky, muddy, and melting snow covered hillside. Jason again hit the “automatic reject feature” button and required a tow from Roy.  It took several tries to find a line to get them up the greasy hill, but Roy made it look easy once enough traction was found. The next one to find that same button was Collin in his carbureted CJ.  The incline caused the engine to cough and sputter to a halt mid-way up the hill.  Once again Roy came to the rescue.


This box canyon is what you avoid while climbing the shelf road

Melting snow and slick mud made this hill a challenge for all

Note the narrowness of the road near the JK. Â You get a dandy view there!

Steep and narrow, but oh so beautiful

The Grand Mesa Jeep Club ascending the shelf road on Granite Cr.


from below. Once above the switchbacks, the road became even more narrow and very much more rocky. Many of the rocks were of a size that a small-tired vehicle must totally avoid.  Some caused a terrific view from the passenger side of the box canyon on the lower side of the road as the outside tires searched for something to hang on to. To give an additional understanding of the word “steep” when describing this section of the trail, Collin’s CJ stalled again requiring Roy to back several hundred yards to provide assistance.  Roy certainly proved to be a major asset to this trip.

Lost Horse canyon has some awesome scenic values Not long thereafter, we turned off the main trail and entered what is believed to be Lost Horse canyon. After a few miles, this canyon intersects with the main Granite Creek canyon and proceeds westerly.  After entering Granite Creek, there were many stops for brush trimming parties.  Several trimming tools and a chainsaw were put to good use for the next few miles.  Gambel Oak and Juniper trees were trimmed back to allow for full-size vehicles to pass without fear of losing paint to the stiff branches. Last fall, on another trip to the region, several club members had walked down from the top of a steep, really rocky and narrow shelf road that drops you into Granite Cr.  They reported one rock protruding from the upper hillside that barely left room for Luke’s narrow CJ to pass by. The rest of the trail was said to be grossly rocky, dangerously narrow in places, and quite steep.  It sounded like my kind of trail. Upon reaching what Harley refers to as “the Homestead”, we could see the steep shelf road along the side of a steep box canyon.  This would be the end of the brush trimming for the trip.  We had done in a day what had been predicted to be a two-day project… so far! After exploring the “Homestead”, we began ascending the lower tight switchbacks to the shelf road visible

Having attained to mesa top, we found that we had used up the majority of sunlight for the day. No time was squandered getting back to the end of DS road at the CO/ UT border where we aired up and split up into smaller groups for the drive back to town. We offer many thanks to all participants for all their patience, cooperation, and hard work in reopening another trail.  To some, new experiences with using a tow strap and brush trimming tools were a source of learning. Reopening a trail is a joy that not many of the wheeling community have experience with.  Yes, it can be a lot of work, but it is done with the knowledge that the worker and many others will be able to enjoy these trails well into the future… barring any land managers and “Preservationists” getting in the way. This day was loaded with learning and working experiences for all.  It also provided for a great day of Jeeping that our memories will hang on to for a long, long time. Hopefully, the Granite Creek trail will remain open to excite many seeking an adventure in a wonderful part of the great American BackCountry. One last thought you should remember; “When you come to a fork in the road… take it!” Happy trails. Copyright:  Happy Trails 4wd – 2014.  All rights reserved.


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Snow wheeling While Vertically Challenged another viewpoint on Snofari

Words by Paul Hittie Photos Sheryl Miller and Paul Hittie


In December 2013 I had to say goodbye to an old friend. In 2006 my wife purchased a silver 2004 Wrangler Unlimited (LJ) that was generally unmolested, except for a big light bar on the windshield. As soon as we got it home, she decided it needed bigger tires. When those rubbed the fenders we added a budget boost, which then necessitated bigger tires, then another lift. By then it didn’t ride as smooth as when we purchased it, so she moved on to a 2008 Wrangler Unlimited and I sold my daily-driven Wrangler YJ to keep her LJ as my new daily driver. For the next six years and 120,000 miles, my LJ took me to NH, IL, IN, OH, PA, ONT pulling triple duty as my wheeling rig, daily driver, and camper tow vehicle. Right up until a dry, bright evening in December when another motorist and I had a difference of opinion over the right of way at a four-way stop. With my insurance check in hand, I set out to find a replacement – had to be another Unlimited, and I wanted a manual transmission to avoid many of the woes I experienced in my silver LJ. I answered an ad online for an Orange (technically “Impact Orange”, but after the wreck we don’t use the term “impact” at my house) 2005 LJ 6-speed and discovered the owner was an acquaintance that I had wheeled with a couple of times. A few days later I picked my “new” LJ. Off and on for several years I have helped out another local club as a trail leader for their annual Sno-Fari event in West Branch, MI. After I wrecked my silver LJ I had notified them that I might not be available – after bringing home the “new” Jeep I let them know that I was back in the game. Unfortunately due to my work schedule, there was no time to make any significant changes to the Jeep before the event, which is held in late January each year. I snuck out for one weekend prior to the event to prerun my trails with some of the folks from my club, and despite the relatively stock Jeep I had purchased (2” budget boost and 265/75R16MT tires, to which I added my old seat covers with their 47,000 storage pockets, a CB and my 2m radio) we had a good time, and managed the snow fairly well. For those of you who did not follow the snow forecast for the upper Midwest this year, most parts of Michigan came close to or set new all-time snowfall records. By the time Sno-Fari rolled around, there was snow everywhere in Northern Michigan…lots of snow. Fortunately my Sno-Fari group included a couple of friends with bigger tires, including Ryan Goglen and his Wrangler TJ with a recently transplanted ¾ ton Dodge drive train. After Ryan broke through the snow bank to get us off the road, we headed off into a sunny, MI winter day. Less than a half mile into the trail we had to make our first recovery of the day…Me! I missed a turn on my GPS and ended up in 2+ feet of unbroken snow,

and with my vertically challenged Jeep I did not get far before Ryan had to come to my rescue. We got back on the right trail and enjoyed an hour or so of gentle hills, snow-covered trees and tight trails (free MI pin-striping for all!). As we turned south to follow a trail along the eastern edge of the State Forest with a number of long up-and-down hills, we had to hold up and wait for the back half of the group. One member of our group was running a recently rebuilt, older full-size Blazer – freshly rebuilt motor and transmission, and unfortunately fresh paint. His military OZ tires were not cooperating in the snow despite several stops to lower his tire pressure. By the time we got everyone pointed south along the fence line, it was apparent that his problems were worse than just uncooperative tires – it was starting to show signs of transmission failure. The question was a) send him back to our entry point with my tail gunner Eric Culling or b) push on to get him off the road while keeping the group together and moving forward. We chose option B and got everyone loaded up and moving again. Except the Blazer. At first the Blazer was reluctant to go into gear, then showed significant signs of the transmission overheating, and in the course of only another several hundred yards it was obvious that his day was over. With our biggest, heaviest vehicle out of commission and in the middle of the group, we again had to weigh our options – back through the twisty tight trails while dragging a big/heavy/dead vehicle, or forward. Forward meant a shorter path with fewer turns, and more open terrain, but it also meant negotiating several long hills while dragging our friend to the safety of a trailer. Again we chose forward – I went forward with Ryan and several other Jeeps to beat down the snow and make sure we had a clear path back to the road, while we shuffled the rest of the crew to get anyone else with big tires and/or a bigger engine in front of the Blazer. Here is the part of the story I cannot tell – you will have to rely on a couple of pictures supplied by Sheryl Miller of the Cadillac Jeepers. While I led my group to a quiet (if not boring) section of the woods to wait, the rest of the gang strapped themselves together like a team of sled dogs and started the slow process of dragging the Chevy out. The stories later at dinner were nothing short of hysterical, although in the crazy hours that followed, very few pictures or video were taken. Meanwhile, I and the group that followed me out to the road started to grow weary of waiting, so after making sure the sled dog team under the guidance of Eric, Ryan and Chief Musher Patrick Beldock (GLFWDA President) was making slow but steady progress we headed back into the woods. The area to which I take my group each year is sometimes referred to as the “Hills of Montezuma”, and in


addition to a lot of long hill climbs also includes two abandoned gravel mines that are great for sledding, and a couple of scenic vistas that make for great pictures. We headed off to one of those overlooks, and after my group patiently waited for me to break the snow on a couple of east-west hills in my vertically challenged Jeep we eventually made it to the turn off to the south for our first view.

day had taken out the ground wire on my winch, adding to the difficulties – cold fingers and tiny screws are not a good combination. The trail to the east proved impassible, so once again we had to sort out our group, get about half turned around, and then headed off in a new direction. Fortunately, with someone other than me in the lead, which probably would have been a good idea from the start.

I made it about 50 yards up the hill before coming to a stop in the deep snow again. Several self-recovery attempts only buried me deeper in the snow and into some scrub trees, so another of my helpful group used a combination of his winch and yank strap to get me out of trouble. The tight terrain and steep hills made it tough to get a bigger/badder Jeep around me to lead the group, so we decided to back everyone else up and continue east.

Just to add insult to injury, as we were considering our options and watching the clock to make sure we made it back to the hotel in time for a cocktail and dinner, my entire dash board shut down. One of the interesting aftermarket pieces installed by the previous owner in my orange LJ is the heated seats – two settings, “slightly toasty buns” and “medium rare”. Due to the amount of time we spent in the snow working on recoveries and fixing my winch, my son and I ran the seat warmers on medium rare for a couple of hours straight until we overloaded some asyet unidentified safety device.

Another 100 yards of deep snow brought me to a stop in thigh-deep snow. Again the trail was narrow, but fortunately (?) I managed to slide far enough off the trail to allow a better built Jeep to pass me. While he worked his way a little bit further east, the rest of the sled dog group finally caught up with us, and I started working on getting my Jeep out of the snow and scrub trees again. One of my previous trips off the edge of the trail that

Fortunately, just as the windows were starting to ice up on the inside everything started working again. Dinner time was drawing near, so we headed back to town for the fantastic banquet and raffle drawings that are synonymous with the Sno-Fari event.


The Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival Friday, June 13th to Sunday, June 15th, 2014


Te Rau Puriri Park tree planting Words and photos by Linton Ivicevich

May 4th was a stunning autumn day with sunny clear blue skies, the perfect setting for a day planting trees at the Te Rau Puriri Regional Park on the South Head of NewZealand’s Kaipara Harbour.

planting, as well as giving their parents a hand planting. For those doing the digging, when taking a breather between hole digging, there were the expansive views of the Kaipara harbour to admire.

The 247hectare park was acquired in 2005 and is farmed parkland which is open to the public 24/7 enabling walking access to over 1km of the Kaipara Harbour’s coastline.

Once the 1,000+ plants ran out, we continued on ‘releasing’ (cleaning the weed growth) around the trees we had planted last year, then it was off to the western block on the other side of South Head Road to plant flaxes and Puriri on the corner over-looking the road. This block’s western boundary abuts Department of Conservation’s Lake Ototoa Scenic Reserve and most importantly of all, has the farm’s wool shed, which was the location for lunch.

Over the past years NZFWDA (New Zealand Four Wheel Drive Association) affiliated clubs, mainly Auckland 4wd club and Land Rover Owners Club (Auckland) have been removing old fences and planting 1,000’s of native trees and shrubs in an effort to restore areas of the park to its former glory, prior to intensive farming. Manuka, Kanuka, flaxes, Puriri and alike have been planted on steep hillsides, in gullies and around wet lands. Many other people from school groups to groups such as ‘South Kaipara Land Care ‘(who also plant along the edges of Lake Kareta and alongside the Wilson Road beach access) have been part of this successful program. So after a 9:45am briefing from the park rangers, the volunteer planting day began. We, (Auckland 4WD Club and Land Rover Owners Club (Auckland) a 40+ strong group of adults and children loaded up the vehicles and an array of old army trailers with trees, plus a ‘Portaloo’ in tow and headed down to the bottom of the park to continue planting where we had finished last year. Trays of trees in peat pots were spread out and planting began. As always, it was great to see that this has become a family event for many, with an ever increasing turn out of children who were all too keen to run around the hillside handing fertiliser tablets to those doing the

The park rangers put on an outstanding spread ready for people to make their own hamburgers, including a vegetarian option. While the BBQ was still sizzling, it was asked what the lunch preference was to be for next time; to which the vote was unanimous, “continue with the burgers” option. As always it’s a perfect finish to a morning putting trees in the ground. In total over 10,000 plants have now been planted as part of this project, with the first plantings really showing their success as they are now rapidly growing to good healthy sizes. This is an annual event and details will be posted for a similar time next year at www.auckland4wd.org.nz on the what’s on page, and for those keen on other community activities run by the Auckland 4WD Club there is also the annual Muriwai beach clean-up in October (weather and tides permitting). Linton Ivicevich Vice President Auckland 4wd Club.


Middle Atlantic Four Wheel Drive Association (MAFWDA) 2013 Club of the Year By Larry Pope, MAFWDA President Photos Michael Vincenty, MAFWDA Secretary During the 2013 MAFWDA Annual Convention, the Board of Directors and Association Club Delegates had the honor of selecting the inaugural MAFWDA Club of the Year. For 2013, Capital Off Road Enthusiasts, Inc. (CORE) was selected for that honor. Below, you will have the opportunity to read the outstanding nomination submitted by CORE members Andrew Taylor and Cherie Wood. I am looking forward to the competition for the 2014 award. Here is a little background before you read on. CORE is organized as a nonprofit organization for the purpose of providing social, educational, and recreational four wheel drive activities for its members and guests, as well as participating in and supporting civic activities for the betterment of the community. Now the outstanding write up provided by Andrew and Cherie. Despite its small size, CORE has continuously shown its dedication and enthusiasm to the promotion of, and participation in, the offroading community. Its core fundamentals include the responsible enjoyment of our shared resources and the commitment to preserving them. Throughout the year 2013, CORE has actively upheld the values of MAFWDA and has made significant strides in development as a representative of its membership. The most impressive contribution CORE has made to MAFWDA can be seen in its participation in the board and the activities pursued in support

of the board. First and foremost, their own President, Larry Pope, has enthusiastically taken on the role of President for the MAFWDA. Under his leadership, the MAFWDA community has remained active and has made definitive and impressive headway in positive land use activities. In addition, CORE member Bob Weaver assumed the position of MAFWDA Vice President and member Michael Vincenty holds the position of MAFWDA Secretary. These members have eagerly participated in MAFWDA sponsored events and have worked tirelessly to maintain an active and dedicated membership. In pursuit of this, Michael Vincenty runs and publishes both the MAFWDA website and the Recovery Points newsletter, to keep members informed and to encourage participation. CORE members have also shown their dedication through their participation in MAFWDA sponsored activities and meetings. At the MAFWDA meeting on May 18th, seven of the twelve attendees were CORE members. CORE also manned the MAFWDA booth at the PA Jeeps All Breed Jeep Show, hosted by membership group PA Jeeps. The event took place on July 20th-21st and CORE contributed 10 volunteers to aid PA Jeeps in running the event and promoting MAFWDA in their booth. In addition to participation in MAFDWA-sponsored events, CORE members have also maintained a constant voice in the online community and in offroad publications. In the year 2013, CORE has added 6 new trail reports to their website and has many more planned. They contributed a trip report to the July issue of the MAFDWA newsletter, Recovery Points, on a recent trip to the Green Ridge State Forest. They have also contributed


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several articles to United’s Voice, including an article on their recent trip to Green Ridge State Forest, and were included in an article about their participation in a volunteering project at Potomac State Forest. CORE has also been a strong advocate for positive land use activities and has participated in a number of campaigns to promote them. The group spent the weekend of October 11th volunteering at Green Ridge State Forest, helping to maintain the forest and build relationships with the forest staff that may lead to future use of currently closed trails. On the weekend of August 2nd, CORE joined MAFWDA in their volunteering efforts at Potomac State Forest. The volunteering efforts at this event helped clear storm damage from Hurricane Sandy and reopen potentially lifesaving fire trails to the park rangers. These events helped promote a positive view of the off-roading community in hopes of gaining access to public and private lands, but also as an effort to maintain positive relationships with local land managers and aid in conservation efforts through trail maintenance and repair. Recently, there have been a number of opportunities for CORE members to show their support to the efforts of positive land use in the DNR proposal on the expansion of the ORV trail system. CORE members attended several meetings on this topic to provide vocal support to

this cause, including the Maryland DNR meeting on June 9th. CORE members also participated in a number of online campaigns and questionnaires to show their support of reopening public land in Maryland. And finally, CORE became a member of the Maryland OHV Alliance in an effort to support these campaigns and further connect with others in the community. The year 2013 has been an active and prosperous year for CORE and its ongoing efforts to promote positive land use and the enjoyment of fun and safe off-roading activities. They have maintained a steady schedule of events including Big Dog’s Ice Breakers, Wheelin’ for Hope, and trail rides to Casparis, Peter’s Mill, and Flag Pole Knob, among others. They have dedicated themselves to volunteering their time in positive land use campaigns in Green Ridge State Forest and Potomac State Forest, as well as in the online community. Through these efforts CORE has not only exhibited a positive example of an off-roading community, but has also been a prime example of upstanding club membership in MAFWDA. They have made every effort to actively engage their club members in MAFWDA sponsored activities and have gone above and beyond with their enthusiastic participation. Each CORE member is delighted to be a part of such an active and forward-thinking organization and proudly dons their MAFWDA stickers on every rig!


Business Members 4 Wheel Drive Hardware (330) 482-4733 www.4WD.com 4x4 Wire (619) 390-8747 www.4x4Wire.com BF Goodrich (877) 788-8899 www.BFGoodrichTires.com Badlands 4x4 Adventures, Inc. (310) 347-8047 www.4x4Training.com

Jeep Action Magazine +61 02 6656 1046 www.jeepaction.com.au Moses Ludell’s 4WD Mechanix Magazine www.4WDMechanix.com Muirnet.net (619) 390-8747 www.4x4Wire.com Olathe Toyota Parts Center www.parts.olathetoyota.com

Big Dogs Offroad (410) 440-3670 www.BigDogsOffRoad.com

Poison Spyder Customs (951) 849-5911 www.PoisonSpyder.com

Bill Burke’s 4 Wheeling America, LLC 970-858-3468 www.BB4WA.com

Quadratec (800) 745-2348 www.Quadratec.com

Blue Springs Ford Parts (800) 248-7760 www.BlueSpringsFordParts.com

Survive Off Road LLC (602) 321-0833 www.surviveoffroad.com

Bushwacker (503) 283-4335 www.Bushwacker.com California Assn of 4WD Clubs, Inc. (800) 4x4-FUNN www.Cal4Wheel.com DreamSeat (702) 338-2511 www.dreamseat.com Expeditions West (928) 777-8567 www.ExpeditionsWest.com

ExtremeTerrain (800) 988-4605 www.ExtremeTerrain.com Hi-Lift Jack Company (812) 384-4441 www.Hi-Lift.com

Susquehanna Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep, Ram (717) 252-2412 www.Susqauto.com Tom Wood’s Custom Drive Shafts (877) 497-4238 www.4xShaft.com Trasharoo (714) 854-7292 www.Trasharoo.com WinchBin www.WinchBin.com X-Treme Mobile Adventures (800) 370-3308 www.XTremeMobileAdventures.com


United Four Wheel Drive Associations would like to thank our Direct Members, Clubs and Associations for their support. 4 Lakes 4 Wheelers, Inc. (Wisconsin) http://www.4l4w.org/

Middle Atlantic Four Wheel Drive Association http://www.mafwda.org/

ACES 4X4 Club (Michigan) www.aces4x4.com

Capital Off Road Enthusiasts www.core4x4.org

Arizona State Association of 4-Wheel Drive Clubs www.asa4wdc.org

PA Jeeps www.pajeeps.org

Association of All-Wheel Drive Clubs-Southern Africa http://www.aawdc.org.za/ Badgerland 4×4 TNT Club http://www.badgerland4x4.org/

Midwest 4 Wheel Drive Association http://www.mw4wda.org/ MN Trailriders http://www.mntrailriders.org/ Montana 4×4 Association, Inc. http://www.m4x4a.org/

Baltimore Four Wheelers http://www.baltimore4wheelers.org/

New Mexico 4-Wheelers http://www.nm4w.org/

Between the Hills Trailheaders 4×4 Club http://www.trailheaders.net

New Zealand Four Wheel Drive Association, Inc. http://www.nzfwda.org.nz/

California Association of Four Wheel Drive Clubs, Inc. http://www.cal4wheel.com/ Central North Carolina 4×4 http://www.cnc4x4.org/ Central Ontario 4×4 Club http://www.co4x4.com/ Colorado Association of 4 Wheel Drive Clubs, Inc. http://www.hightrails.org/ Creeper Jeepers Gang 4WD Club http://www.creeperjeepers.org/ Demon 4×4 Demon4x4.com Four Wheel Drive Australia http://www.anfwdc.asn.au/

Rim Country 4 Wheelers, Inc. http://www.rimcountry4wheelers.com/ River City 4X4, Inc. http://www.rivercity4x4.org/ Rock Crawlers for the Preservation of Future Access (RCPFA) http://rcpfa.com/ Rough Country 4 Wheelers http://www.rc4w.com/ Scrambler Owners Association http://www.cj-8.org/ Seven Hills Jeep Club http://sevenhillsjeepclub.org/ Southern Four Wheel Drive Association http://www.sfwda.org/

Great Lakes Four Wheel Drive Association http://www.glfwda.org/

Carolina Off Road Extremists (CORE) http://www.core4x4club.com/

Hall of Fame 4×4 Trail Riders http://www.hof4x4.com/

Carolina Trailblazers 4WD Club http://www.carolina-trailblazers.org/

Havasu 4-Wheelers, Inc. http://havasu4wheelers.org/

Cumberland Off-Road http://www.cumberlandoffroad.com/

Indiana 4 Wheel Drive Association http://www.ifwda.com/

Damn Locals 4×4 Club http://www.damnlocals4x4.com/

Mesa 4 Wheelers http://www.mesa4wheelers.com/

East Tennessee 4WD Club http://www.et4wd.org/


Extreme Ridge Runners http://www.myspace.com/extreme_ ridge_runners

Georgia Bounty Runners 4WD Club http://www.gbr4wd.com/

Middle Tennessee Trailrunners 4WD Club http://www.mttr4x4.net/

Capital City Fourwheelers www.capitalcityfourwheelerssva.com

Hard Rock Crawlers www.hardrockcrawlers.org

KMA Off Road Jeep Club www.kmaoffroad.org

Lost Jeepers www.lostjeepers.com

Ohio River Four Wheelers http://www.orfw.org/

Mechanicsville Mudders varokcrwlr@juno.com

Rattlerock 4-Wheel Drive Club http://www.rattlerock.org/

Mid-Atlantic Jeepers www.midatlanticjeepers.com

Rocket City Rock Crawlers 4WD Club http://www.rocketcityrockcrawlers.com

Middle Peninsula Jeep Association www.mpjai.com

Rock Solid Jeep Club (No web site)

Off Chamber Crawlers www.offchambercrawlers.org

Rocky Top Trail Riders http://rockytoptrailriders.org

Poor Boys Four Wheel Drive Club www.poorboys4wd.com

Scenic City 4WD Club http://www.sceniccity4wd.com/

River City Trail Runners www.rivercitytrailrunners.org

Smoky Mountain Trail Runners http://www.smokymtntrailrunners.org/

Seven Hills Jeep Club www.sevenhillsjeepclub.org

Southeast Toyota Land Cruiser Association http://www.stlca.org/

Shenandoah Valley 4 Wheelers www.sv4w.org

Southern Jeeps http://www.southernjeeps.org/

Southern Mini 4×4 www.myspace.com/443172858

Trick ‘n’ Traction 4WD Club http://www.tnt4wd.org/

Southwestern Virginia 4 Wheelers www.swva4w.org

Tidewater Fourwheelers www.tidewaterfourwheelers.org

Southern High Rollers 4×4 Club http://www.southernhighrollers.com/ Southern Illinois Jeep Association http://www.sija.org/ Southside Jeepers http://southsidejeepers.com/ Sundowners 4×4 Club http://www.sundowners4x4.com Two Trackers http://www.twotrackers.org/ Virginia Four Wheel Drive Association http://www.va4wda.org/ •

Bay to Blue Ridge Cruisers www.bbrcva.org

Blue Ridge Rock Mafia richard.wiggs@nolenfrisa.co

Western Maine Mountain Jeepers http://www.jeepmaine.com/ What Lies Beyond Jeep Club of Michigan http://whatliesbeyond.org/ White Pine 4-Wheelers jeeptrailcat5440 (at) yahoo.com Wisconsin 4 Wheel Drive Association http://www.w4wda.org/ Wisconsin Off Highway Vehicle Association www.wohva.com Wolverine 4-Wheelers http://wolverine4wd.org/


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