Protect, promote and provide 4x4 opportunities worldwide
September 2015 â€˘ Volume 42 â€˘ Issue 2
Board of Directors President Tom Mandera– firstname.lastname@example.org Past President Jim Mazzola III– email@example.com Vice President Vernon Ball- firstname.lastname@example.org International Vice President Peter Vahry – email@example.com Treasurer (vacant) Bob DeVore – firstname.lastname@example.org Director of Membership Richard Hiltz - email@example.com Director of Public Relations firstname.lastname@example.org Director of Environmental Affairs Jerry Smith - email@example.com
Extended Board of Directors
4WD Awareness Coordinator Craig Feusse - firstname.lastname@example.org Website Administrator Milt Webb Design – email@example.com
Legal and Marketing
Legal Counsel Carla Boucher – firstname.lastname@example.org Business Development Manager email@example.com
Editorial and Design
Editor, Peter Vahry Consulting Editor, Phil Hanson
UFWDA Office and Contact PO Box 316 Swartz Creek, MI 48473 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 1-800-44-UFWDA
Tom Mandera Vernon Ball Peter Vahry
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Comment: Working for Reasonableness Never Gets Old Quit Spinning the Tires! New Mexico 4-Wheelers Off Highway Rage!! How do we prevent the cause? 4x4 Manufacturers Need to Get Their Advertising Right
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News and Events: Morrison Conservation Run: Magic City 4-Wheelers Imogene Pass Rock Junction 2015 29 Road Desert Clean-Up Virginia Four Wheel Drive Association: Year in Review Calamity Mesa Loop Plus Why We Go Four Wheeling... 2015 All-4-Fun 2015 Survey Results Did you forget something?
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Lists: Business Members Member Organizations
Cover photo of Calamity Mesa trail, courtesy of 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 may neither advocate, endorse, nor recommend any of the said views or opinions.
Introductions Tom Mandera UFWDA President
Greetings again, everyone. I think I said most of what needed said in the AGM - if you were unable to attend, and haven’t yet had the chance to review the material, Peter has posted it to the UFWDA website, so you can review it and spread the word. We continue to sort out a long term working agreement with ORBA, while tending to our regularly scheduled mission of safeguarding our access. It is a long term investment, but a worthwhile one. For those of you that would like to invest in our future, there are always opportunities for a few good volunteers. Even if there is a vacant position like Public Relations, we’re always happy to help someone contribute in the best manner they can. Time flies, and summer is nearly past in North America - my daughters have returned to school, and like many of you in the northern climes, I’m trying to wrap up some out-of-doors projects before winter arrives - though here in Montana the numerous forest fires around the Northwest have the air pollution index advising everyone stays indoors - it makes me long for the clean air of the big Eastern cities. I suspect the fires will burn until the snow arrives - and in the meantime, we have to be on the look out for temporary closures. It’s the opposite in other places - maybe the oppressive heat and/or humidity is abating and it’s time to start outdoor projects, instead of finish them. For some, the wheeling season comes to an end, for others, it’s just about to begin. Either way, it all beats going to work.. -Tom
Vernon Ball Vice President
I would like to introduce myself, Vernon Ball from Billings, Montana. The new Vice President of UFWDA. I also hold the seat of President of the Montana 4x4 Association and the Magic City 4x4 Club in region1, Billings, Montana. I learned to love wheeling from my father when we were out hunting, camping or cutting wood for the winter. The smell of gasoline and the whining of the gears as we lumbered along the backwoods of Montana. It has since been my choice of relaxation. As well as the love of the vintage rigs, be it an old 48 Dodge Power Wagon still emblazoned with the faded military paint and markings, or the 56 Studebaker flatbed with chained up dually's pushing snow with the headlights or one of his many International Scouts or Travelalls. In the late 90's I started looking for a hobby that I could not turn into work, so I purchased a 76 Scout II; after a few thousand dollars found out it still wasn't ready for wheeling, then I fell for a 67 Scout 800 and wheeled the old trails, I had found home and a way to escape from the hectic life of being a cog in the system. 2000 I found and purchased my 1967 Nissan Patrol, a unique rig not unlike myself, Doug (as I have named it) had 33's and a hand rattle can painted camo paint job using real ferns and pines from the Tacoma Washington area. in 2006 I purchased the new Toyota FJ Cruiser, after wheeling 100000 miles I installed a 6" Procomp lift and 35's. Not until 2003 did I start being an active member of my club, first V.P. Then the President position as well as helping organize our local clubs mud and off road challenge..In 2006 I chaired and ran our states annual convention; that was a new experience to me, but I added some of my flair and the theme was Knights of the Round table with food eaten without utensils, while cheering on a select warrior doing battle. It was a hit and drew the attention of the Chairman of the Montana Divide Ride. I was Voluntold to run the Montana Divide Ride, which I did successfully from 2007
through 2011. During that time I was able to work with private land owners to access their property and received Variances from the Forest Service to travel closed trails. We raised thousands of dollars for each small community that hosted us. As Vice President, I hope to learn much from previous and current BOD, so we can regain and exceed our standing and strength within our membeship and other respected groups. I am new to this so please bear with me as I try and fill some large shoes of Pat and others before me. Thanks Vernon Ball
Peter Vahry International VP Editor
These are interesting times for four wheeling as the squeeze continues on use of public lands by vehicles in North America. UFWDA has been at the forefront since 1976 (yes, 40 years old in 2016) and did it well until around 2009 when our income streams dived along with the general economy. As the world economies recovered, many of the businesses associated with ‘off road’ took another route and supported the Off Road Business Association (ORBA), while many individuals found they could communicate about places to go etc. via the internet at no cost. So we now have ORBA with resources and expanding its influence and a recent shift by SEMA too, to raise awareness of the pressures involving ‘land use’ by our recreation. UFWDA is still regarded as influential and it is the intention to maintain that status, as our original philosophy being that the prime rules around USFS and BLM lands are made at a federal level and are hard to negotiate locally; is proving correct. There are thousands of four wheelers getting squeezed into smaller places; join UFWDA or donate to help stop being shut out of public lands. During August, public comment closed on a Forest
Service proposal to establish protocols for the National Saw Program and require their use on National Forest System (NFS) lands. This would include training and certification for the use of chainsaws and crosscut saws by employees, volunteers and others on NFS lands. This is likely to impact 4x4 users who not infrequently haul out a saw to clear a trail, or simply carry one on NFS lands. It’s all part of a worldwide trend to ‘Health and Safety’ regulations and down here in New Zealand (NZ) we’ve had a requirement for several years that to use a chainsaw on public lands, we need to have a certificate validating our training... a two day course at our expense. That requirement has impacted the level of volunteer support for trail clearing, although curiously enough the legislators are yet to recognize ‘brush cutters’ as being such a hazard (no doubt that they will at some time). As a result, they are now one of our main weapons in the battle with vegetation, especially when fitted with a tungsten carbide tipped saw blade! If I’m organizing a trail clearing effort on public land, then I also have to generate a ‘risk management’ plan identifying possible hazards and ways to mitigate risk. Generally a multi page document that is provided to each volunteer to be read and signed. Fortunately the pattern of risks on most work projects are reasonably common, so a generic document can often be used as the basis. The rules here changed again a few weeks ago from where clubs were not regarded as being employers when they organised work projects that used some paid workers (such a machine operator, surveyor, etc.). Now a 4x4 club in that situation is legally responsible for the health and safety of any person employed. Whatever happened to self responsibility? Darwin’s Theory of Evolution is under threat, as we all have to watch for and stop others from the effects of their own stupidity, to the detriment of the gene pool. Don’t forget that space can be made in ‘Voice’ to include member’s viewpoints about 4x4 matters, just write and submit to email@example.com The next UFWDA Voice deadlines are 24 September and 14 December. It is the material that you, our members, provide that makes publishing Voice possible, so help us by sending us those photos and adventure stories before each deadline.
Working for Reasonableness Never Gets Old By Carla Boucher, Attorney
If you are reading this edition of the United Four Wheel Drive Associations’ Voice, then chances are pretty good that you care about the sport and you are willing to be engaged in process to keep public lands open for responsible motorized recreationists. Over about the last decade, the coalition of antiaccess groups, the Environmental machine, has learned how to use the currently political system to help them recover high-rate attorney fees through the legal system. Here’s how it’s supposed to work: Imagine that UFWDA brought a law suit against the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) arguing that the agency relied on faulty science when listing a species as Endangered under the Endangered Species Act, we would hope that the agency would settle out of court. We hope for an out of court settlement because (1) the suit is ended in a shorter period of time, (2) we spend less money in attorney’s fees, and (3) we might get our attorney’s fees paid for by the government at an unregulated rate, let’s say at $500 per hour. In the same fictional case above, the USFWS is unlikely to settle the case out of court because, (1) the court threshhold is highly in favor of the agency, relying on the agency for the best science, (2) they want to list the species in question, not settle for
something less than listing, (3) even if they lose in court and have to pay our attorney fees, the rate of those attorney fees are regulated under the Equal Access to Justice Act at a rate of $125 per hour. These opposing positions and strategies offer a built in check and balance system that ensures plaintiff’s in the case (UFWDA) are bringing legitimate suits regarding actions that are substantially unjustified by the agency and it ensures the government is litigating its position on behalf of the people of the US for whom they work. Wouldn’t it be sweet if UFWDA and the USFWS worked together to create a win/win situation for both of us? There are times when the USFWS reviews petitions to list species and finds the science doesn’t justify the listing. In those cases, the Environmental machine bears much pressure on the agency to do its bidding. We’ve witnessed such strong-arm tactics with the Red Knot along the shores of the Eastern US. The Environmental machine has petitioned not less than 3 times for the Red Knot to be listed, but the science isn’t there to support such an action by the USFWS. Under such a circumstance as this, it might be beneficial for the USFWS to collaborate with UFWDA. If UFWDA agreed to sue the USFWS to stop such a listing that the agency doesn’t support anyway, the USFWS might just agree to an out of court settlement that prohibits
such a listing until such time as new scientific evidence is found to the contrary. In the end, the USFWS has a legally binding prohibition to list the Red Knot and UFWDA is paid its attorney fees for the suit and out of court settlement at a rate of $500 per hour. This might sound attractive but it isn’t right and isn’t legal. But this is what is allegedly happening between some federal agencies and the Environmental machine. In cases where a federal agency might not otherwise have enough documentation or science to support closures, agency personnel are colluding with the Environmental machine. The agency fails to list a species or critical habitat because they do not believe scientific evidence exists to support a listing, the Environmental machine brings a law suit to force them to list, and then the agency settles the case out of court, knowing in advance it would do so to create land management via law suit settlement. The Environmental machine receives reimbursement from the government for attorney’s fees at an unregulated rate, perhaps $265, $350, or even $500 per hour. A lawsuit has been filed to stop this type of collusion. The suit was filed by the State of Oklahoma and others against the USFWS. In addition to the law suit, 4 bills were introduced last Congress to address similar issues. 1. Endangered Species Litigation Reasonableness Act (HR 2109), aimed directly at sue-and-settle arrangements (those arrangements described above in this article). 2. The 21st Century Endangered Species Transparency Act (s. 292), which would require data used by federal agencies for ESA listing decisions to be publicly accessible through the Internet. 3. The Endangered Species Recovery Transparency Act (HR 4316), which would require the Fish and Wildlife Service to track, report to Congress, and make available online:
a. funds expended to respond to ESA lawsuits; b. the number of employees dedicated to litigation; and c. attorneys fees awarded in the course of ESA litigation and settlement agreements. 4. The State, Tribal, and Local Species Transparency and Recovery Act (s. 736), which would require the federal government to disclose to affected states all data used prior to any ESA listing decisions and require that the “best available scientific and commercial data” used by the federal government include data provided by affected states, tribes, and local governments. Most notable to the Oklahoma law suit is the Endangered Species Litigation Reasonableness Act (HR 2109). This bill is an attempt to limit the hourly rate at which the government can pay attorney’s fees in “sue-and-settle” arrangements. To curb the current trend where the government has paid attorney’s fees to the Environmental machine at a rate of $500 per hour, this bill would allow a maximum hourly rate as that defined in the Equal Access to Justice Act - $125 per hour. As you can imagine, the Environmental machine and its attorney’s oppose this bill as it can potentially reduce their litigation fee income from the government by about 80%. If you’re still with me, and I hope you are, I hope this information underscores how we can still make a difference. I know after 20 years it might not feel like we matter. But we do, and there are many members in Congress who think so too. Don’t give up letter writing. Don’t stop calling your elected official. Continue to communicate with Congress, with your State, and with each other. Be encouraged by the four bills I’ve showcased here. People are on our side to help us make a difference.
Quit Spinning the Tires! Bill Burke
Quit spinning your tires!” I yelled! Well, more like implored or coaxed and then yelled! Although I wanted to smack the driver around the head to really get him to STOP spinning his tires! The fact that he had already driven into the muddy tracks with speed and quickly slid into the pond edge, didn’t seem to sway him about his poor use of throttle. You see, spinning causes digging. And, digging deeper into a pond edge… well, causes sinking! Already the left front fender was entering the water level. The 35’s already were hidden from view on that side and the right side was very soon to follow if he…didn’t…. stop… spinning his tires! The big reason for this predicament was he tried to avoid a deep muddy trough by going around it, driving in the wet grass instead. Problem, besides not really a TREAD Lightly! moment, was the actual track had a good bottom and, as we now know, the bad choice of line got him stuck pretty darn deep into grassy, muddy stuff right on the deep edge of a pond. So, here we are! He had a winch, nothing to winch to! No Pull-Pal, ground too hard to dig for a spare tire hole (If he even knew about that trick) and the grassy meadow all around the pond didn’t offer any sizeable rocks. He tried smashing the Hi-Lift jack bar into the ground – heh-heh, they call them Rocky Mountains for a reason dude! Chock up one bent HLJ bar! As my group rounded the corner on the trail he started waving frantically – as if I couldn’t see him, as if I would drive past on the only track in the Flat Tops area and not see him! As if!! Panting at the almost
11,000 feet and swatting feisty mosquitoes he asked if I would help. Hmmmm…. Quick stuck assessment on my part and I decided to try pulling him back out with my Superwinch KERR rope. Crawl, Walk, Run – is what I teach but this dude needed an immediate run – he was stuck pretty deep! Two tries and I realized that rig was STUCK! It was going to take a winch to get him out. Luckily he had a decent winch and it was in good condition with a quality synthetic rope on it. And luckily I had a couple Sportsmobile Adventure vans on this trip! Heavy beasts that are phenomenal on the trail and even better anchor points! A problem that most folks encounter when deeply stuck in grassy pond mud is they underestimate the actual resistance the vehicle offers. This rig easily weighed in at about 5000 pounds. The tires on the left of the vehicle (pond side) were just hidden under the water and the tires on the right side were ¾ deep. He had also spun his tires enough that the holes he dug were acting as stops in addition to the actual consistency of the ground. With some quick calculations during the stuck assessment, including the mire factor, soil condition, lack of drive-movement and the amount of undersurface area in contact with the soil/pond/mud I figured the resistance to be about 8000 pounds. He had a 9000 pound winch! When I showed up he had about 25 feet of rope off the winch and attached to a large boulder. WRONG
– not even “worth a try” in any scenario! With estimated 8000 pounds initial resistance, the first layer of rope off the drum of a 9000 pound winch maybe, just maybe will give about 4500 pounds of effort! This showed, as there were several wraps that had dug into the under layers of the winch rope. And, the boulder….heh, heh… was dragged across the ground – like, as if!! Rocks must be at least the size of the vehicle, have a specific gravity significant to the vehicle size and be anchored into the surrounding earth! You know, like big honkin’ landscape! Although there was forest all around the pond the forest edge was at least 200 yards off! This is why I carry a Pull-Pal! With no hammer or axe to drive the HLJ bar, he tried to use a rock…NOT! In frustration he tried to lift the truck using the HLJ bar and bent it! Batting 1000 here! I spotted one of the Sportsmobile vans through the nasty mud hole that our stuck friend had tried to avoid! The 35” KM2s and the weight of the van allowed the van to just crawl through, slowly, letting the tires dig into the hard bottom of the trough! Nicely done Paul! Usually the best way to get through a nasty Rocky Mountain high altitude mud hole is to let the tires dig, keep steady moderate momentum and don’t over correct the steering when the side, sloppy movement of the ruts and mud move the rig around! I see people go wayyyy too fast and splash nasty mud and debris into the radiator fins and air intake. No need for the “hold my beer, watch this” stuff!!
I positioned the van with the front bumper facing the stuck rig! Before actually parking the van, I pulled the winch line from the stuck vehicle fully off the winch so I could see the first inches of the bare drum. Getting to the bare drum is important since this is where the winch gets its rating. Think of it as bicycle gears. The smaller the drum/gear the easier it is to move the load. With the winch it is the stuck object, with the bicycle it is my fat arse!! For this pull I needed as much efficiency from the winch as possible. Yes, I could have used a pulley block, but I estimated the resistance to be within the limits of the winch and I needed to reach way out to the Sportsmobile anchor point. Yes, I could have used a block and winch extension etc., etc., but it was not needed for this operation. I did use a 30 foot winch extension so the Sportsmobile could clear the wet soil (TREAD Lightly! and all!) and I needed the line to be off angle to get the stuck rig to move diagonally toward the shore and not deeper into the pond. The only issue I had was this stuck rig had a Hawse Fairlead and pulling offangle with synthetic rope dragging and surging on a Hawse could potentially damage the rope. Since the rope was new (and it wasn’t mine!!), I was going to stick with the plan and mitigate the risk. As you may recall from my past columns, I have issues with Hawse Fairleads and the industry that sells us on them. A Roller Fairlead is always better on any rope. If you are a rock-buggy competitor, I understand – but for normal winching, stick with a Roller. Surging of synthetic (actually any) rope will create an “overheating” condition that will damage
(any) rope. This is straight from a technical bulletin from the rope standards industry! Quote: “When using ropes on a winch, care should be exercised to avoid surging while the winch head is rotating. The friction from this slippage causes localized overheating which can melt or fuse synthetic fibers, resulting in severe loss of tensile strength.”
He wanted to drive out, heavy throttle only dug the tires deeper, and when he felt the rig move under winch he stopped winching and spun his tires……. NO!!! Don’t spin your tires. Let them crawl up and out, and… keep the winch rolling! You are winching out, not driving. You, dear reader, get my point by now! This guy was not listening well.
Moving along; I had the Sportsmobile driver set the parking brake moderately – this would keep the van stable in case he had to exit the vehicle quickly – and shift the transmission into Neutral. NEVER winch or anchor with a transmission in Park (or gear for that matter). It stresses the Park Pawl and can break a transmission. Use foot brake to hold the vehicle (if anchoring).
I find that this is a common problem with people who are winching out of a stuck situation. They think they can drive out…if we could drive out of the stuck.. we wouldn’t be stuck! Right? So, we are winching, and we need to keep the winch rolling, use as little throttle as possible only to HELP the winch. Keep winching out, until we can fully get on solid ground, winch some more and then drive forward to slacken the line. Keep the winch line loaded until fully out of the stuck! Eventually he got it! Eventually I was able to help him winch out. High Fives all around, thank you, thank you! You sure know how to handle that winch rope and rigging. Ya think?! Glad we had a Sportsmobile – although we did have a Pull-Pal but the SMB was easier to deploy! Winch out, don’t spin your tires except to help the winch get the rig up on a plane to make the winching easier. See you on the trail!
I instructed the stuck driver on hand signals, rigged the fall of the line and had him pull up the slack until there was tension on the line. I checked the rigging and connections once more, and commenced winching! I had the stuck driver put the rig in low/low gear and coached him to gently touch the gas pedal to get the tires to move slowly to assist the winch. This is where it got interesting! Don’t spin the tires I coached. “Just load the throttle to get the torque converter to start to lock up!” Don’t spin the tires, use the winch to pull – you can’t drive out of this, you need to winch. Only get the tires to move to help get the rig up on top of the soil and out of the ruts. You need to keep winching steadily and QUIT SPINNING your TIRES!!!
Bill Burke’s 4-Wheeling America
135 Lost Lane, Grand Junction, CO 81501 USA 970-858-3468 … firstname.lastname@example.org ... www. bb4wa.com
MORRISON CONSERVATION RUN MAGIC CITY 4-WHEELERS Words and pictures supplied by Vernon Ball
The Magic City 4-Wheelers (MC4X4), along with a few members of the Rimrockers 4X4 Club, performed their annual conservation and trail maintenance run on the Morrison Jeep Trail on July 25th. This is one of two trails the MC4X4 maintains in cooperation with the US Forest Service. This trail is in the Shoshone National Forest, the other, the Benbow Jeep Trail is in the Custer National Forest. The Morrison Jeep Trail is an impressive trail, covering 23 miles from the Clarkâ€™s Fork Canyon in Wyoming, to the Beartooth Pass Highway
near Long Lake. This trail won a coveted BFG Outstanding Trails Award in 2011, netting the MC4X4 $1,000 for continued trail maintenance. The trail is noted for its switchbacks, 27 in all, climbing about 1,500 feet out of the Clarkâ€™s Fork Canyon. The trail is not for those fearful of heights or exposure! The trail climbs from 4,400 feet in the canyon, to over 10,000 feet at its highest point on the Beartooth Plateau. It is truly a national treasure worthy of the BFG award. On our 2014 conservation run, the MC4X4, in conjunction with the Shoshone National Forest,
the Switchback Ranch, Polaris Trails, Northwest Wyoming Off Highway Vehicle Association (NWWYOHA), and the Powell Valley 4Wheelers joined forces to install a cattle guard and fence to replace a gate that was continually left open by trail users. On this yearâ€™s conservation run, we found the trail to be in good condition, with water bars requiring only minimal maintenance. I attribute this to our routine, continued annual maintenance. Eight vehicles participated this year, carrying 12 people. We had Jeeps, a Ford Explorer, and a Suzuki Samauri. We had nine MC4X4 members, two members from the Rimrockers 4X4 Club, and one guest. Participating were Chuck Strum, Cecilia Peterson, Brian Casteel, Louis Samoville, William Shipp, Emil Woeppel and his son Ethan, Gene Anderson, Jerry Gran, and Brian Strum with his guest Drew Palmer. We made quick work of the maintenance in order to enjoy the remainder of the trial and its views. The wildflowers were perfect, the weather was perfect, and three rigs and four people journeyed beyond the trails end to wheel into Sawtooth Lake for an overnight campout.
Join our community of Adventurers expeditionportal.com
By Frank Whiston The New Mexico 4 Wheelers (NM4W) is an Albuquerque based four wheel drive club.Â Founded in 1958, we are the oldest 4WD club in the state. When founded, NM4W was known as the Albuquerque Jeep Herders. However, the club was never restricted to Jeeps, and the name, New Mexico 4-Wheelers, was adopted in 1976. Regardless of name, the club has always been committed to fun, safe, responsible, and familyoriented off-highway adventure. Twenty people attended the first Albuquerque Jeep Herders meeting held on August 6, 1958. The newspaper notice invited "all owners of vehicles with 4WD or rough-road capabilities." What are the secrets to the clubâ€™s longevity? Alan Gilmore was an active member from 1983
to 1995 and a four-wheeler before and since. He says, "The club has always been conservationconscious. We stayed on established trails and abided by the same rules on the trail as on the highway." That meant no drinking, no shortcuts, and no racing. As a family-oriented, trail-riding club, we welcome all makes & models of 4WDs. From daily commuters, to the extremely modified, we all have fun. We're nondenominational. Pickups, Suzukis, Rubicons ... it doesn't matter. We accept everybody. And we're dynamic. We like to do lots of different things, and we change. Members have been into sand drags and hard-core rockcrawling, but trail riding, easy to hard, has been the mainstay of the club. As with any organization, there have been ebbs and flows. In 1983, the club was running out of
steam. Alan remembers, "My wife Marty and I were in our 40s and were the youngest members agewise. The charter members were getting older and driving on dirt roads, not trails."
for the state’s largest food bank and many others. Such projects are a continuing tradition for the club.
Over the past few years, the club has been stable at ~70 members/families. The club strives to retain existing members and attract new members by offering a well-rounded schedule of activities. There are trail rides at varying levels of difficulty, campouts, and participation in outside events and the political arena.
Road closures on public lands have been an ongoing concern. The meeting agenda for February 16, 1960, included "speakers discussing the state land-grab situation." The club spoke out against a Cibola National Forest proposal to regulate off-road-vehicle use in January 1976. Some runs that started in 1958 became club traditions. Christmas tree-cutting runs, "aspencades" to view fall colors, and summer events in the higher elevations of New Mexico and Colorado are mainstays. More recently started traditions include Meetups with other clubs throughout New Mexico, and a large attendance at the Chile Challenge in southern New Mexico, every year.
NM4W was instrumental in the formation of the Southwest Four Wheel Drive Association (SWFWDA), comprising clubs from as many as six states (New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Kansas, Arkansas, and Missouri). In 1991, Alan took action on what had been talked about for years. He linked seven clubs to form SWFWDA. Alan says, "We needed a bigger voice to fight trail shutdowns. A regional group would wield more influence with the United Four Wheel Drive Associations and the government." And since 2007, the group has been heavily involved with the National Forest Travel Management Rule. To show support for keeping forest roads open to motorized vehicles, members attend meetings, write letters, and document routes. Members have even taken United States Forest Service staff members on field trips to show them routes to save.
Community service has been an ongoing club endeavor. In the early decades, the club organized toy drives and provided Christmas trees for the New Mexico Children's Hospital. There have been work days at a day-care center, assistance with search-and-rescue efforts, and cleanups of adopted forest trails and highway miles, support
Monthly meetings are held at various members' homes (pot-luck affair) during the Summer. In the Winter, meetings are at the Heights Cumberland Presbyterian Church, a central Albuquerque location. Since the club’s 50th anniversary, it has become a tradition to have an annual summer picnic/meeting in the mountains near Albuquerque, which is one of the club’s most popular events.
In addition to meetings, we have day runs, overnight and weekend runs, even week-long excursions to other states. We try to schedule at least one or more other activities per month.
are scattered throughout New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Kansas. This is neat in that the club occasionally has opportunity to join these associate members in their stomping grounds to explore. NM4W maintains standing membership in several regional and national Four Wheel Drive organizations, some of which are: United Four Wheel Drive Association (UFWDA), Southwest Four Wheel Drive Association (SWFWDA), New Mexico Off Highway Vehicle Alliance (NMOHVA), and Blue Ribbon Coalition.
Recently, the club has been holding “Tech Sessions” where we call on club veterans or local 4x4 shops to provide talks and demonstrations on subjects such as driving techniques, “death wobble”, winching, navigation, recovery tools and usage to name a few. New members as well as the seasoned veterans all benefit from these sessions. We also have a handful of associate members who do not live in the greater Albuquerque area and
NM4W has weathered change for the past 57 years yet still stays together. We are a well-structured club that has the ability to adapt to current events, which is a good example of how beneficial and important it is to be a part of a local club which supports the larger regional and national organizations. In visiting the history of NM4W, you can see that road closures have been a concern and in the eyesight of this club from its first years of existence. It has not gone away all of these years and will continue into the future. For that, I am proud to be a member of this club which has the continuing dedication to protecting access to public lands.
Imogene Pass By Jerry Smith
Imogene Pass is one of my favorite non-technical trails. So favorite in fact that Imogene LLC is named after it.
observe. The mine doesn’t allow for the public to stop and “get acquainted” but the views of the mine are interesting.
Imogene Pass at 13114 feet is the second highest pass in Colorado... sort of. 13186 foot Mosquito Pass holds the top spot as a vehicular pass but Argentine Pass, at 13243 ft, might hold the title but for one small detail. Argentine Pass is only accessible by full-size vehicles from one side. Imogene Pass is in the “Switzerland of America”. All of Colorado’s high country is very high on the beautiful scale. But there truly is something special about the San Juan Mountains around Ouray. The beauty scale goes off the chart there.
The other access to the north end of Imogene Pass is approximately one mile above the Camp Bird mine. There was a time this access was not marked and was hard to find. Now it is hard to miss. Here you have the option of using the bridge or fording (Jeeping) the creek.
Many of the Imogene Pass trips begin in Telluride. Quite often you will come down Black Bear Pass into Telluride and return to Ouray by way of Imogene Pass. This makes a very good day of Jeeping if you add Yankee Boy Basin to the trip. The north end of Imogene Pass begins in Yankee Boy Basin. There are two access points to Imogene Pass from the Yankee Boy road. The one through the Camp Bird mine property is not always open to the public. If it is, take your time crossing the private property as there is a load of history to
Not far from the creek crossing you will find a fork along Imogene Pass. If you have the time, taking the right fork is worth some exploring. Not too many people seem to take advantage of this opportunity off the Imogene Pass road. This side road will take you up into Silver Basin and around to Sidney Basin below Governor Basin. Along the way are some mines to explore and some sights that make the short side trip worthwhile. A small alpine pond/lake and a rock formation I named the Praying Mantis are two of the sights. Back on the Imogene Pass road, you get some
Above Camp Bird #3 the Imogene Pass road begins a long curving ascent up Imogene Pass. Here early in the summer you will drive through snowdrifts that have been cut through by county road crews. These drifts are long and usually near 20 ft. deep to begin with. Just a little below the Imogene Pass summit is one of the more technical portions. Here a sharp turn puts you into a rocky climb that when wet, which is often, can give you some tight seat covers. After another long climb, you will be at the summit level and another fork. Take a few minutes and go to the left and up the hill to some eye-popping views. From the top of the hill, you can look eastward and see Red Mountains 1,2, and 3 and understand how they got their names. You will also see why they call this the Switzerland of America. Words and pictures only fail to describe this scene.
good views of the Camp Bird mine down in the valley. Not far above the intersection of the road through the Camp Bird mine is another fork. This side trip will take you into Richmond Creek to other mining claims in a forested setting. Continuing up the Imogene Pass road you soon encounter other levels of the Camp Bird mines. Passing by Upper Camp Bird you climb to another fork. A right turn will take you up to below the Chicago Tunnel Mine. Returning to the Imogene Pass road will bring you into the Camp Bird #3 level mine. Early in the summer if you look into the mine adit you will see thick ice covering the floor of the mine.
If you are extremely lucky you may see one of the corporate jets dropping into the Telluride airport streaking across Imogene Pass. From here youâ€™d swear you could shake hands with the pilot. Dropping down to the Imogene Pass summit will provide more views. Beginning the descent of the south side of Imogene Pass you may encounter more snowdrifts cut by another county crew. The counties compete to see which will reach Imogene Pass first. Down the Imogene Pass road you will soon encounter the Tomboy Mines and town site. If youâ€™re so inclined, go on the Internet and check the history of this historic place. It is fascinating. Be careful of where you drive and walk around Tomboy. Old rusty nails and other dangers will cause you grief.
Continuing down Imogene Pass be watchful of views of the Black Bear Pass road, Ingram Falls, and Bridal Veil Falls across the valley. Much lower you will see Telluride come into view. Remember that uphill traffic has the right-of-way. Imogene Pass is busy. Take note of places wide enough to pass so you know how far you may need to back up. Go up Imogene Pass prepared. Any day at 13,000 feet can be cold enough to snow. Winds on Imogene Pass can be brutal on a sunny day.
Imogene Pass is spectacular in too many ways to count so donâ€™t let a cool breeze deter you from the enjoyment Imogene Pass can provide. And remember this, when you come to a fork in the road... take it! Happy Trails to you. Copyright Happy Trails 4wd
UFWDA and several other 4x4 linked organizations are doing what we can to encourage financial support for this TV mini-series about the origins of the 4x4 vehicles that we take for granted now and are the basis of our recreation. The aim is to produce a world class TV production that will also generate revenues to be shared among our organizations. Click on the ad above to find out more and how to be involved.
Rock Junction 2015
Another Grand Mesa Jeep Club Success By Jerry
The Grand Mesa Jeep Club annually conducts three major events centered on the first Saturday in June. The Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday prior to that first Saturday is our 3-day Rock Junction event. Those three-days are loaded with wheeling some of the premier Jeep trails in western Colorado and eastern Utah. This year saw over 70 rigs going out on trails from the very mild to the very wild and extreme each day. People and vehicles from 7 states came to enjoy the western Colorado hospitality and environment. Planning for Rock Junction 2016 is already in the mill. The Grand Mesa Jeep Club has already submitted a request for a 5-year permit for the event from the Grand Junction BLM field office. June 1-3, 2016 will be the dates for next year’s fun in the west. Trails with names like Die Trying, Boulder Canyon, 21 Road, Calamity Mesa Loop, Pace Lake, Sheep Creek, Top of the World, and several others were mostly run without much mishap. Of course, there was some vehicle carnage including this author’s rig ripping the upper control arm truss off of the rear differential. This and the other broken parts only add to the adventures to be had during such an event. At the conclusion of trail runs, club hosted BBQs only made the end of the day more enjoyable. Trail talk of the day’s trips is always interesting and you can count on some “embellishment” to make it even better. Hearing of the various trails and their challenges makes for good anticipation of the next day’s trips. Mark your calendars for Rock Junction 2016. Get your vacation times arranged and come to Grand Junction June 1-3. We promise you’ll have a super time, meet some serious wheelers, and have some great food at the end of the day.
NEXT, add Saturday, June 4th to your calendar. The Rocky Mountain Off Road Expo held at the Mesa County Fairgrounds in Grand Junction, Colorado is an event you don’t want to miss. A strong contingent of Off Road Accessories Vendors line up to show their products. National names like GenRight, Poison Spyder Customs, Rockstar Customz, Safari Ltd., and many others will show you the right products to upgrade your Jeep or other 4x4. A Show and Shine with Jeff Bates custom-made trophies to the best in class honors the winners. Land use organizations and agencies will bring you up to date on the latest. These are the people who work very hard to maintain access to YOUR favorite trails. Give them a hearty thank you! Try your luck on the short-course obstacle course can be run for a donation to support the “Crawl to a Cure” organization fighting to cure Breast Cancer. This is always a crowd pleaser. A large swap meet offers the chance to pick up some bargains on parts and accessories. Stick around for the raffle drawing to win yourself some prizes YOU choose by placing your raffle ticket(s) in buckets for that prize. They also have many door prizes that are given out. And if you are a really dedicated enthusiast, come out in the desert north of Grand Junction on Sunday to assist the Grand Mesa Jeep Club in their “Desert Cleanup”. In 2015, over 8-tons of O.P.T. (Other Peoples Trash) were removed in about 3-hours by about 40 volunteers. By Jerry Smith Director of Environmental Affairs United Four Wheel Drive Associations
29 Road Desert Clean-Up By Jerry Smith
The Grand Mesa Jeep Club has an annual tradition of working with the Grand Junction Field Office (GJFO) of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). In the last few years, it has become known simply as “The Desert Clean-Up”. The first Saturday of June each year, the Grand Mesa Jeep Club has its “Off Road Show” at the Mesa County Fairgrounds in Grand Junction, Colorado. It has become a major draw of some big-time vendors like GenRight Off Road, Poison Spyder Customs, TnT Customs, Big O Tires, and many others. The day after “The Show”, we take a portion of the BLM public land north of Grand Junction and spend most of the morning “Jeeping” the desert. What makes this “Jeeping” special is that we fill a large BLM dump trailer, a smaller BLM dump trailer, and another BLM trailer with trash dumped by uncaring individuals. Things like old televisions and computers that have been used as target practice for shooters, old tires, beer bottles, aluminum cans, bed mattresses, and other waste that “people” would rather spend $10 on gas to dump in the desert what might cost $5 at the dump. Go figure.
Dale Znamenacek and her son Mason
Under current BLM management, this area is managed as “Open” travel, meaning that anywhere you wish to travel is accessible. The Grand Mesa Jeep Club supports changing this travel mode to travel on “Designated Routes” in the upcoming BLM Resource Management Plan (RMP) and Travel Management Plan (TMP). The RMP/TMP is a 20-year management plan that the BLM uses to guide the management of public lands for the foreseeable future. Their current plan to adopt the change to travel on “Designated Routes” is drawing fire from some user groups, but is likely to be implemented once the RMP/TMP is finalized and has gone through whatever litigation is bought to bare. The desert under the “Open Travel” management plan has been left with trails crisscrossing the ridges and valleys to the point of saturation. If you can drive a motorcycle, ATV, UTV, Side-by Side, 4x4, or any other mode, there is a trail blazed wherever your vehicle is capable of negotiating the terrain. Why “people” think this public land makes a good dumping ground is still a mystery. Some “Men” have a twisted lack of respect for “Mother Earth”.
“They” just have to mutilate anything sacred to most of the rest of us.
We take pride in maintaining our heritage and congratulate others who do the same.
Our public land, or private land for that matter, should be revered, cherished, and given the utmost respect, ---- not treated like a private landfill.
In recognition of this dedication, BFGoodrich Tires chose the Billings Canyon Trail as an “Outstanding Trails Program” winner. For this recognition, BFGoodrich awarded the Grand Mesa Jeep Club with $4000 to maintain area trails.
Sites with “rock art”, ancient homes, camps, and burial grounds deserve respect, not disregard. We, as tenants of this world, must take better care or eventually we will be eating our ancestor’s trash as it leaches into the ground we grow our food on. Does anyone desire a mercury and lead sandwich? Members of the Grand Mesa Jeep Club with help from the OutKast Offroad, and Colorado Canyon Crawlers and others, proudly came out in large numbers to cleanup the messes of others.
Rugged Ridge also granted the Grand Mesa Jeep Club $1500 and several great products for gifts and raffle prizes at the “Off Road Show”. Without this kind of support, efforts to maintain and battle to keep open our trails would not be successful. The Grand Mesa Jeep Club sends our profound thanks to BFGoodrich Tires and Rugged Ridge.
Virginia Four Wheel Drive Association, June 2014 June 2015 Year in review. To summarize the past year is almost impossible. VA4WDA has made strides in every aspect of our mission. Our support of the Virginia and surrounding states, Multi Use Vehicle organizations is unwavering. Our membership has grown, our reach via social media is skyrocketing. Our partnership / collaboration with the Virginia Forestry Service is sound and productive. Our outreach to Virginia’s business community is at an all time high. From our support of Beach Cleanup’s in the Outer banks of North Carolina to our sponsoring trail cleanups in the National forest system, VA4WDA time and again has lead by example. From attending member club events throughout the year, showing support and offering help in their communities, to fostering our Business members with the highest level of exposure for their support. We start each season with our Annual meeting every March. This event includes the support of an exemplar Dealership “Starr Motors”. Starr has an off road course that offers new Jeep owners a chance to shift their shiny new Jeeps into 4WD. With this as our background, we average nearly 200 people per annual meeting. We invite many local and surrounding organizations giving them the opportunity to share what they do, and how off roading can both help and hurt. We even had the honor to have UFWDA attend as recently as 2013. Throughout the year we advertise via Web, Newsletter, and social media for our member
clubs and business members. We share their calendars and promote most all charity events and list in order the signature events from not only our business members, but any MidAtlantic signature event! We hold a Member Only Ride each year and the number of attendees has grown for the 8th year running. This year we will hold our 23rd Annual Trail Ride. Hosted by Tidewater Four Wheelers, this is the show case event of the year. We average 200 -300 rigs each year. We have numerous sponsors and for the past several years we have had the support of what is likely Virginia’s finest Off Road and accessories companies, Eastern Truck and Accessories. The annual trail ride grows every year and the outreach to our membership and the local community offers VA4WDA the perfect opportunity to not only grow our sport but to educate the most enthusiastic wheelers on the east coast about the latest “Access” concerns both here in Virginia and the United States. Most recently we met with the district Rangers from our vast forest Trail system found within the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests. We are very encouraged with the projects we have agreed to work on together. We could go on, but to say the least; Multi Use Vehicle owners in Virginia are motivated and educated, and VA4WDA will continue to support local and national efforts to preserve access to public lands. Report by Sandy Schneirla
OFF HIGHWAY RAGE!! How do we prevent the cause?
Imagine that you are slowly driving along in your Jeep, following friends driving their Jeeps on a famous Jeep trail in the high Colorado Mountains. The air is crisp and clear, as a light rain cleansed it just a few hours ago. Visibility is in the superior range and the mountains and valleys are showing off all they’ve got, times ten. No dust rises from the tires on the Jeeps ahead. The forest is lush with tall grasses and wild flowers bursting with every color imaginable. The trail is offering a few small challenges, but allowing your eyes time to do some wandering too.
By Jerry Smith
Life is just a breath away from outstanding. Your breakfast is settling into a more comfortable state that leaves you feeling fully satisfied and the pristine air you’re breathing fills your lungs with health and vitality. “How can it get any better than this?” you ponder. Suddenly, in the rear view mirror you spot an ATV coming up behind you at an alarming speed. Suddenly, the rider slows and eventually stops to look behind him. You continue on at the same pace with little thought to what’s behind anymore. The climbing road twists and turns as you follow the
river swiftly flowing below in its rocky-bottomed bed. Plenty of whitewater churns and boils as the water ever so slowly erodes the rocks. The sound of the rapids is barely noticeable through your rolled down window. Here comes trouble The peaceful scene is rudely interrupted by the scream of an ATV engine coming up fast again from behind. This time he has a whole stream of ATVs and UTVs directly behind. Knowing they will be running at a quicker pace than that of the Jeeps, you warn the others of their presence on the CB and expect to be passed at the earliest opportunity. The road is just barely one-lane wide with the usual larger rocks moved to the side of the worn two-track. No room to allow for passing here you think. Oh, but you would be wrong!!! This eager JACKASS blasts by spinning tires as hard as the machine can throw the loose rocks purposely causing the ATV to brody from side-to-side making the shower of rocks go in every direction including all over your Jeep. Does your mellow attitude go through a mild change or would you like about 5-minutes to teach the JACKASS the errors of his ways?? My thoughts rang with thoughts of denting his head with his own helmet and then leaving him sitting on four flat tires!! Just because one motor vehicle is more capable of negotiating a rough backcountry road faster than another, does that automatically give the faster one the right of way? Does that give them the right to act like a complete and utter imbecile?? In the instance I describe from last weekend’s trip, all of his meatheads friends followed suit in passing with no regard for safety or otherwise. In normal instances, Jeeps will pull over and allow the faster vehicles to pass. That is the right thing to do! This time, we showed them the same consideration that they exhibited and kept moving out of sheer spite!! See what this kind of attitude fosters!!
What about my rights? Does the fact that we are on a narrow one-lane road mean I have to forfeit the right of way immediately to some JERK in a hurry for no good reason? Over the years, motorcycles and ATVs have pulled this kind of crap too many times to count. As a member and leader of organized motorized trail users, it is incumbent on me to show restraint and show whatever courtesy I can muster. It is sometimes awfully hard not to follow this kind of brainless idiot to absolutely smash the machine he’s riding, with him still on the seat. We would all benefit from this guy being rendered useless enough that riding on backcountry roads would be the last thing he’d want to do!! THIS kind of idiot is the one who causes road rage on the highway and brings it with him to the off highway as well. Renegades are from every stripe and color of human existence. We all are guilty of it at times. That doesn’t make this kind of recklessness warranted or acceptable. These instances happen so fast, there is usually no chance to take pictures or license numbers (if they even have one), so what is one to do?? Shooting is even more unacceptable. Running them over – likewise. The only good answer seems to be in REQUIRING all motorized off highway users to be members of an organized group where they teach AND demand proper trail etiquette from their membership. That too, is something that strikes terror in my being!! We need more rules and regulations to ride the backcountry like we need a blind third eye. But if we can’t count on Mr. Ass Hat to conform to at least some semblance of proper trail etiquette on his own, how do we “teach” him that we ALL find his antics beyond acceptable, in a way that he understands and receives the message LOUD AND CLEAR?
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Calamity Mesa Loop Plus By Jerry Smith
Because the 2014-15 winter in Colorado’s high country was so mild, the “Niche Road” (as locals know it) had lost the annual snowdrift at the very top very early. Most years, this snowdrift lasts until mid-May preventing access to Tenderfoot and Calamity mesas amongst others. With the Grand Mesa Jeep Club’s (GMJC) “Rock Junction” event looming in early June, it is an annual treat to reopen trails such as the Calamity Mesa Loop, Pace Lake Road, Sheep Creek, Granite Creek, and Coon Hollow to allow a Rock Junction guided trip to each trail without the usual maintenance required by the first users each year. With a somewhat short notice of date change, six rigs of the GMJC gathered for a “work party” trip up to Calamity Mesa. After airing down near the end of 6.3 Road (the Niche Road), we began the steep climb to the top of the lower west bench of the Uncompahgre Plateau. In about 4-miles, you gain 2400 feet of altitude during this ascent. A few miles after gaining the top, you come to a second “turkey foot” intersection. They call it a “turkey foot” because of the way it looks on a map. One road splits into three in one intersection. In this case, taking the middle fork sends you out onto Calamity Mesa. The history of Calamity Mesa is rich with Uranium mining. Most, if not all of the roads were built to
service the many uranium mines that litter the mesa. We thank the mining industry for providing such a wonderful opportunity for motorized recreation and the BLM for allowing continued use of these challenging and spectacularly scenic trails. Upon reaching the 4x8 yellow sign at Arrowhead Camp warning of the dangers of the uranium mines present, we held a short powwow. Two decisions were made. First, we would run the Calamity Mesa Loop backwards. The normal route takes you clockwise around the mesa. We would be going counterclockwise. Second, because all but two of us had never been there, we would take another short loop around the northeast corner of Calamity Mesa. This loop takes you by the Maverick mines and camps with some awesome views and quite challenging trail conditions. This loop intersects the Calamity Mesa Loop a few miles down from Arrowhead Camp at the yellow sign. It would add a couple hours to our trip, but would be a welcome change. Rounding the mesa, we came to one of the old cabins near one of the Maverick mines. Its condition is rapidly diminishing from the harsh weather of this high country. The inside ceiling has begun falling in and the floors are dangerously full of holes and exposed rusty nails. A root cellar and other structures are nearby and require some exploration.
Further down the trail, another older camp is still present. Dilapidated log cabins give a bleak picture of what life was like for the miners. They had to be some tough, rugged, and resourceful people.
Joining the Calamity Mesa Loop road again, our fearless leader (me) made one of the two errors of the day by taking a wrong turn down a gnarly stretch of eroded trail. It was a fun but time wasting short jaunt.
The rest of the trail to the intersection with the bigger loop showed no signs of use yet this year. The trail itself was in fair condition for a primitive Jeep trail. Luckily, we all were able to make the loose, rocky hill climb that has stymied others in the past.
Coming to “The Squeeze” obstacle from the opposite direction was a new experience. We all made it through and found ourselves at “Tippy Rock” soon thereafter. Here we had to do some slight alterations by stacking rocks to get some up and over without bringing out the winch cables. Next was the “Overnight Wash”. The upper roadside bank has sloughed off more material making it narrower and off camber, but we made it through with no fatalities. This is the obstacle that necessitated an unplanned overnight stay on the first trip around this trail in an estimated 25+ years. Mother Nature had physically closed the trail and nobody seemed to care until Jerry came along in 2008. What a waste of a great 20-mile Jeep trail. The next major obstacle is “DropOff Corner”. Coming from this direction, it didn’t seem that bad to me, but others didn’t see it that way and began pushing rocks off the road. My reaction was maybe a bit rude when I told them; “THIS is a Jeep trail. If you want to drive an interstate, stay down on one!”
If this sounds “over the top” --- sorry, but tough! When YOU find a Jeep trail that hasn’t been used for years due to closure by Mother Nature and reopen it, you gain a certain special attachment to it. It becomes “your trail”!! (MY trail) Ruining a “good” (difficult) Jeep trail by removing every obstacle just makes it another county road to take for a Sunday drive. We have an abundance of county roads for that kind of driving experience. Finding a primitive road with several challenges is not easy. Just try to find another one yourself!! Moving or stacking rocks to allow forward motion is allowed when you’re out on a perfectly good Jeep trail. An unsafe obstacle can be altered of course. Minimizing mechanical breakage is smart. Removing small obstacles before you even attempt them is blasphemous and intolerable in my not-sohumble view. When I say; “THIS is a Jeep trail. If you want to drive an interstate, stay down on one!” I am not joking. If the trail is too tough for your liking, please don’t go on it! There are many easier ones for your pleasure. I won’t come to your house and rearrange your garden to MY liking. Please don’t come to my rock garden and change it. We made short work of the other obstacles until we came to “Twisted Drop”. Here, the obstacle is difficult coming DOWN. Going up would prove to be very difficult… at least for most of us. Coming from the other direction, I always recommend people get out and look before they leap. As you pull up to Twisted Drop from the other
direction, you lose sight of the entire trail over your hood. The break over is steep and there are significantly large rocks that protrude from the trail in such a way as to cause your suspension to twist and gyrate to the max. The trail also narrows to barely wide enough. Going up is another dilemma. Now gravity is working against you as your suspension works hard to keep up the rhythm and your tires claw at the tall rounded rocks. There is a certain “automatic reject feature” that slows your forward progress. After some tire spinning, dust spraying, gyrating, definite concern, and a few rejections, we had all conquered another obstacle on Calamity Mesa. The next obstacle on the trail has yet to be named, but it likely should be. This is a long chute-like gulch lined with boulders. The chute is a long wash that twists and turns while you evade the rocks and lean from one side to the other severely off-camber. Many of the rocks will thump your axles if great care is not given. The last few feet of the chute are steep and mega rocky with plenty of headshake. The reward for getting to the bottom is an overlook that is spectacular. As you stand on the edge of the cliff, six hundred feet below your feet is a flat bench. At the edge of that bench is another 300-foot vertical drop into the dark, narrow Blue Creek gorge. Down stream, Blue Creek dumps into the Delores River that runs down its own 600 to 800 foot vertical walled canyon. On the other side of the Delores River is Sewemup Mesa – a Wilderness Study Area.
During the times of the old west cowboys, rustlers would run stolen cattle there. To cover up their crime, they would surgically remove the brand, sew up the wound, and rebrand the cattle. Thus the name; “Sew-em-up” Mesa. Most of the rest of the Calamity Mesa Loop is fairly easy going… till you come to “Gyration Wash”. This wash has twisted two suspensions to the point of breaking the rear sway bar. And THAT’S the good part!! The wash changes every year depending on the use and the amount of spring runoff. For a while, there was a four foot rocky waterfall, but much of it has washed away leaving a severe loose offcamber while you climb up, over, and around some large rocks. We all gave Paul’s YJ with no lockers “no chance” of crawling this obstacle, but he fooled us all. Arriving at the New Verde mine site, we encountered some big time vandalism. The old compressor and shop building has been showing signs of the harsh winters for years. But some less than human individuals have been literally tearing the place apart.
All the nuts and access plates to the compressor, engine, and other components have been removed and taken. As if that were not enough, the wooden walls and workbenches have mostly been stripped away. The historical values of this old site have been sadly diminished by uncaring and destructive #$%^ people. The rest of the trip was on graded, but dusty, county roads. This was another fun day in the Great American BackCountry. Some historical areas seen, a little trail maintenance done, and a whole lot of superior Jeeping all in the same day, is always a good time. One more bit of history that you might have heard before… “One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree. “Which road do I take?” she asked. “Where do you want to go?” was his response. “I don’t know,” Alice answered. “Then,” said the cat, “it doesn’t matter.”” -- Lewis Carroll, author. I always say; “When you come to a fork in the road… Take it!!”
4X4 manufacturers need to get their advertising right By Robert Pepper A bold statement by a motoring writer! [Editor]
Some people may say they take no notice, saw nothing, just a simple recovery. But you do notice, subconsciously. It’s what marketing is all about, building brands, subtly and slowly. Marketing people fuss about the use of logos, the right people being seen with the car, the exact way the Name is WriTTEn, all the details… so don’t tell me that even a short video clip doesn’t contribute that little bit towards instilling the wrong picture in people’s heads.
4X4 TV ads often show environmentally unsound behaviour and recovery techniques that are potentially deadly…
Ah, but surely it’s just advertising, car makers have creative license? What’s the difference between these 4WD ads and those showing a car being driven really fast on public roads? Or other fantasy ads?
What’s the problem?
The big difference is that everyone, without exception, knows it is unsafe to drift or race on public roads. You can argue such fast-car ads encourage drivers to drive dangerously, but it’d be hard to argue people don’t know it is wrong. In the case of 4×4 ads, how is Joe Average meant to know not to snatch with a chain, and not to use a towball as a recovery point? How are they meant to know that snatch recoveries should not be done driving backwards, and not at high speed? Do they know of the evils of salt water? The students I teach don’t, and they’re not stupid, just inexperienced. Like the people that see these adverts.
Most 4X4 ads show a 4X4 bouncing at speed over rough terrain, which is bad enough as the vehicle and environment wouldn’t last long if everybody drove that way. I’d like to see a warranty claim backed up with video evidence similar to what you see in the typical 4WD advert, and I know what I’d do if I was the warranty manager. Be interesting one day for someone to test that in court…but I’m getting off the topic. The real problem is with 4×4 TV ads that depict off-road recoveries. that’s because recoveries are inherently dangerous situations, so showing anything other that the ideal technique leads to potential danger in real life. Two examples come to mind, and I won’t name names as the problem is not confined to just one manufacturer. The first TV ad depicting the wrong way to do something was a few years ago and showed a snatch recovery… with a chain. Hooked over a towball. The second, more recent, shows a recovery executed by having the ute in question drive backwards, way too fast, with a muddy strap not properly laid out – among other errors. Why is that a concern? Because people can and do get killed in 4WD recovery operations. Now I’m not suggesting that a single advert can be held responsible for any particular incident. But I am definitely saying that every time a poor or incorrect practice is shown then it is subtly promoting unsafe methods, and losing an opportunity for positive reinforcement by not showing safe techniques.
Unless you know something of off-road recovery you just wouldn’t know. I won’t expand here on why it’s dangerous, other than to say it’s roughly equivalent to crossing a road without looking or using chainsaws without safety gear. But it’s just a little advert… Think about an engineering company with a target zero for workplace injuries, as all do these days. Would they ever have videos that show people messing around with forklifts, chainsaws or plasma cutters and then dismiss it as “well it’s just an advert”? Can I be there when the advertising people suggest that to the safety manager, please! Bottom line – Ads of these nature are encouraging and demonstrating behaviour that may get people injured or worse, and it’s time the manufacturers acknowledged the problem and ensured their creative agencies produce content that meets their advertising needs but is also safe. Read Robert Pepper’s full article in Practical Motoring
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Why We Go Four Wheeling Staying with a Colorado theme.... 2015 All-4-Fun Images sourced from Facebook
These results are a series of direct downloads from the online survey and address some of the questions that many of us in 4x4 recreation have pondered over.
Did you forget something?
Words and pictures; Michael Timm
Winches, lights, electric fans, radios, electric heaters, if you’re a Jeep owner you most likely have added at least one or more of these devices to your rig. These are great item’s to add to the capability of your rig, but did you forget something? Did you forget about your stock electrical system? Did you forget about your battery? Let’s just pick on your nice new shiny, never been used 8,000lb winch that you just installed. As a general rule, most Jeeps are equipped with an alternator that is capable of creating between 45 to 90 continuous amps; a typical stock battery is designed to create 500 to 750 Amps for at least 30 seconds. This is the CCA rating of the battery, used to START your Jeep. That’s nice, but when your winching your buddy out of that “hey watch this” moment you need a long running battery to run the winch, not to start your Jeep. Let’s look at the amp draw of your 8,000lb winch and you will see that it can draw up to 260 constant amps. With just one or two minutes of winching you can use up the reserve capacity of your battery and have surpassed the ability of the alternator keep up to the draw of power. Add an electric fan and a light bar and you can see that you are in for trouble. In heavy use, you may think your winch is failing, when it more likely is that your electrical system cannot keep up. A drop in the amp. output of your battery will cause your winch to OVERHEAT and not produce the pulling power you need. Don’t blame the winch, look at the battery and alternator. The addition of heavy draw electrical items means that you should take a look at the electrical system and the battery, which is the heart of it all. There are two ratings and two battery types that you need to look at when purchasing a new battery. CCA - Cranking Amps the amount of amps produced when tested at sub zero temps. RC- Reserve Capacity, A measurement of how if takes a battery to discharge when loaded with a given load. When choosing your next battery, don’t just let the guy at the counter tell you what you need, take some time and learn. Look at the CCA and the RC ratings of the battery you are considering. The best choice is to get the highest rating on both, but there is a catch! In battery design, there is a trade off. In a given physical size of battery (you only have room for of a battery of so big) when you increase the
CCA you give up RC. The same is true in the other direction, the higher the RC, the lower the CCA. So how do you choose? Consider the largest rated battery you can fit in your space, and then consider a DUAL PURPOSE battery. The dual battery for most Jeepers is a great choice. Sometimes call a Marine or RV battery; they lower the CCA to get a much higher RC which is just what you need to get your buddy out of the spot. Most of our rigs will start just fine even on the nasty cold mornings with a good 500 CCA battery, what we want is the higher RC to handle all the upgrades. Next time let’s talk about alternator and dual battery upgrades. For further information, please feel to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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