When customers register for a class, they get detailed checklists of what to bring, and how to prepare their vehicle. I want to make sure that their vehicle is mechanically up to task. Beyond the obvious tow points and seatbelts, it is equally important that the vehicle does not have oil leaks or cooling issues. I want to make sure their exhaust is suitable and won’t create problems for our group. Years ago, I rode a trail behind the guy with a poorly tuned engine burning oil and blowing clouds of blue smoke in the air. What a miserable day for my family! Even if it’s a vehicle in-tow, there is no excuse for not doing the routine, regular preventative maintenance before you get on the trail.
These checklists also include recommended tools, supplies, and spare parts. I don’t expect everyone to carry everything on his or her first trip. It took me years to figure out what I needed and what could be left behind. Plenty of times I borrowed tools or parts from others to make it back out. It can also be expensive putting together a complete boonie box. One thing that doesn’t get left behind is the spill kit for trailside mishaps. The bucket (with tight fitting lid) contains nitrile gloves, oil absorbent pads, a thick garbage bag, and a Ziploc of Oil-Dry (or kitty litter). Try to catch as much leaking fluid right in the bucket (or a cup) as possible. Clean up the surrounding area with the pads and kitty litter, then shovel the mess right into the bag and put the back right into the bucket. Remember, green clean up includes complete pack out, and the tight fitting lid keeps everything inside.
Another good use for the shovel comes with proper sanitary waste disposal. Within the Iron Range OHV park we are lucky to have Port-apotties strategically located, but many places do not have these luxuries. Even though you might be outdoors, make sure you don’t do your business within 200 feet of water resources, and use that shovel to bury the evidence. No one else wants to discover what you left behind from your behind.
Finally, be sensible with your camera and internet use. We all have access to the postings of the vidiots who show their buddy blasting a mud hole and knocking down trees, or burning a junk vehicle to the ground way back in the hills. I know that it happens and I don’t condone it, and I sure don’t see any sense in glorifying it with a Youtube posting. You have the power to decide what to share with the world and what to keep to yourself. Use that power wisely to help further the cause for everyone who wants to use the back roads and trails of our nation responsibly. I know that the knuckleheads who do that probably cannot read these words anyway, but I’d like to think that enough good people who care could eventually overcome the antics of the bad ones who don’t.
Related – Catsailing with ‘Ol Rubi
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