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Deep Creek Hot Springs

The Moon is Waxing Gibbous (96% of Full)


Re: Dirt road to Freedom Trail and back

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November 10, 2013 01:42PM
Thought may be worth also sharing at least what I learned from my days on the 4x4 trails, although these are for the most challenging of trails and if you're going to do those, #5 is best recommendation below. First of all, I don't understand why anyone would buy an SUV and not at least have some fun offroad, aside from those that use it for towing or have another excuse. I got hooked after attending an auto show in Toronto, where they allowed you to test drive SUVs over logs and mud at the Sky Dome next door to the convention center. To put things into perspective, we regularly gave full mud baths to our trucks, in my case I joined a Range Rover enthusiast group. If you think it's insane to take a supercharged 400 hp $100K vehicle over big rocks and cross mud pits, the reality is they were designed for it. Get over it. That's like in high school or university being afraid to ask the most stunning girl on a date for fear that the outcome may be unfavorable, when in reality she may appreciate the gesture given that 99.9% of other guys are afraid to approach. Although after about 2 years of ownership, I can't recommend a RR to anyone, most unreliable vehicle ever owned. I also find it funny that during the Africa continent races, the Rovers always seem to break down and the team needs to borrow Toyotas to finish the race.

1. Go slow over the challenging parts. Means foot off accelerator and brake! Modern SUVs have either a low gear ratio or a "hill assist/decent" button. This means when going down a very steep grade, the vehicle will self-adjust to the correct speed and each time you press the accelerator or brake you override the electronics, potentially causing instability. If you're able to also lock the differential, it's such a nice feature to have over slippery terrain.

2. Protect the vehicle at all costs. I recall one incident where a guy was going up a hill and he took the side line tilting the vehicle sharply to the left. What can hurt you under the vehicle can also hurt you above. He impaled his windshield into a very strong tree branch. Very expensive lesson. Vehicle insurance doesn't cover offroad mishaps.

3. We were always taught that if you are going over terrain and the "stability control" light comes on, it means you have exceeded the physical limits of your vehicle and it's essentially a slap on the wrist to adjust your driving style (this is the feature on some SUVs that reduces or adds power to the wheels independently or applies the brakes to help you keep the vehicle in control). I recall my instructor had me climb one of the steepest hills on the trail, where the truck would slip backwards sometimes because of surface gravel and sand, and if the computer light came on, he would have me start again at the bottom of the hill until I got it right.

4. Use a spotter. This is your passenger. Have them get out of the vehicle and stand in front of you off center as you go over the most challenging stuff. Trust their hand gestures. They see things you cannot. I had the hardest time with this one. My ex at the time thought she knew better in the cockpit and ignored a few directions I was giving her along with a club buddy because the SUV "was tilting too much and scaring her" so she instinctively made a few maneuvers that made things worse. Now granted it was enough that when she looked out her driver window, she could almost touch the ground but from our perspective it was well within limits. Maybe it's a man/woman communication issue :-) Although arguably men are worse at taking direction.

5. Join a club or group. If anything happens, like if you cross a stream and somehow end up losing your vehicle, it's nice to have backup to take you back to civilization! Also, the guys and gals in those groups are awesome and the hard core enthusiasts will take time our of their day to offer help and instruction to show you what your SUV is truly capable of.

I wish I knew where I stored a few photos we took. I couldn't find them. A few were especially striking, like the back wheel of my SUV hanging four feet in the air as I was navigating an angled escarpment. If you were to have approached it at anywhere close to a right angle, you would hang the SUV. At a 45 degree approach, once you get over seeing the sky followed by the ground a few seconds later over your windshield, anything is possible.

Happy soaking.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/10/2013 02:09PM by mohave.

Dirt road to Freedom Trail and back

mohave1666November 10, 2013 03:33AM

Re: Dirt road to Freedom Trail and back

Paul P.697November 10, 2013 09:00AM

Re: Dirt road to Freedom Trail and back

jobe722November 10, 2013 08:41PM

Re: Dirt road to Freedom Trail and back

mohave664November 10, 2013 11:55AM

Re: Dirt road to Freedom Trail and back

mohave825November 10, 2013 01:42PM

Re: Dirt road to Freedom Trail and back

Paul P.598November 10, 2013 04:45PM

Re: Dirt road to Freedom Trail and back

mohave604November 10, 2013 05:09PM

Re: Dirt road to Freedom Trail and back

mohave708November 17, 2013 12:34AM

Re: Dirt road to Freedom Trail and back

jobe615November 17, 2013 06:38AM

Re: Dirt road to Freedom Trail and back

Paul P.1262November 17, 2013 08:34AM

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