Imagine yourself sitting in the cab of your truck, bouncing around on an off-road trail. You are surrounded by an abundance of nature, with sunshine trickling in through your window. You’re feeling good; you feel alive.
Even if there’s no one else around, you will still be able to talk yourself into thinking you’re not alone. A squirrel scurries up a tree, a deer runs across the trail in front of you, or maybe you even see a snake slithering next to your tire.
As you continue to bounce along the terrain, your truck is climbing small hills and descending steep canyons as though it’s nothing, through puddles as big as small ponds and over bumps as tall as Mount Everest.
You feel like this is something you were meant to do; biking through trails was put on this earth for someone like you to experience. It’s at that moment when you realize why so many people are drawn towards off-roading every weekend–it’s because it’s fun!
WHAT IS OFF-ROADING?
Off-roading can be described as any kind of driving with your vehicle which is not on a paved road. This includes but is not limited to mountain trails, woods trails, or even farmland where you are completely surrounded by nature for an entire day instead of being stuck in traffic or confined to a cubicle all day long.
People who are off-road will often tell you about the convenience of it. For example, why drive five miles down the road to go grocery shopping when there is a perfectly good forest less than half a mile from your house that has deer running through it? You may also discover new things such as secluded lakes or hiking trails that you didn’t know existed before just because your vehicle was able to drive you there.
It is the thrill and excitement that makes driving your vehicle off-road so alluring. Not only will it be a new experience every time, but there’s also the fact that you will not know how your vehicle will handle any given obstacle until you actually encounter it and attempt to pass it. For example, if one of your tires slips off the side of a rock while climbing up a steep hillside, does your truck have enough traction to pull itself back up? Or do you need to roll backward down in order to try again? These are just some of the little questions that go through everyone’s mind on an off-roading trip.
This new and unfamiliar environment you are in will make you feel more alive. You can’t help but to be curious even if it is a dirt road off the side of the street–anything not traveled on is interesting. Whether you see a caterpillar crawling up a tree trunk, or a snake slithering next to your tire as you drive through the woods, it just makes you want to know more about that specific piece of nature and about what else is living around you.
In addition, with every new turn comes the possibility of discovering something amazing. On an average day, it’s possible for someone who frequents off-road trails to find a crystal-clear lake nestled amongst the trees with no one else around, or maybe they’ll happen upon a rare species of bird that they’ve never seen before. There’s simply no way to know what’s around the next corner, and that is an alluring aspect to off-roading as well.
DRIVER SKILL SET NEEDED TO GO OFF-ROADING:
Cautiousness – You don’t want to roll your vehicle or crash into a tree.
Dependability – It is crucial that your vehicle works well and does not break down during the trip. Also, you need to know when it’s time for an oil change and how to check the fluids.
Planning ahead – You need to know where you’re going and what obstacles lay ahead of you on the trail. For example, what types of surfaces will be under/behind every rock or hill? Is there a steep drop after the curve in front of me? How deep is this stream I’m crossing? Was there a phone number on that sign for a tow truck company if my car breaks down? Etc.
Discipline – You need to be able to stick to your plan and not drive faster than you should, as well as know when you should turn around if the conditions are too hard for your vehicle.
Responsibility – Your safety is important, so being careful on the road cannot be stressed enough.
Patience – You can’t just jump out of a car and go straight into a mud pit up to your knees without getting yourself dirty. Also, this type of driving is not just about going fast–you have to enjoy the small things such as being surrounded by trees instead of buildings or walking from car to car with no one else around at all. One must be patient enough to enjoy that before moving onto more difficult terrain.
Self-reliance – You could get stuck in mud or lose your way while you’re driving to the trail, so it’s important that you don’t rely on others for help because they may not be able to assist you.
Preparedness – Every vehicle should carry an up-to-date first aid kit and survival essentials such as matches, a flashlight, etc. This is very necessary, especially when no one else is around if something goes wrong. No one wants to risk getting lost in the woods without any supplies. Also, make sure your car’s engine has enough oil and water before leaving!
Safety equipment – If your off-road vehicle does not come with safety features like seatbelts or airbags, you should have those installed before going off-roading. Also, bring a radio to keep in contact with others and a CB to communicate with other drivers on the trail who might be able to assist you if your car breaks down or your tires get stuck.
Having a friend accompany you – It’s always good to have one person who knows the route and can navigate to make things easier, as well as someone else who can help push the vehicle free from mud/sand/etc.
The vehicle you use to go off road also plays a huge part in your experience. Ensure you learn more about which vehicle would be perfect for just such an adventure.
THERE YOU HAVE IT!
With so much excitement and unfamiliarity coupled with a sense of wonder about the world around you, it should come as no surprise why people enjoy off-roading so much. It’s because it’s fun!
Photo Credit: Newspress