Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Jeep Wave

The Jeep Wave is a sacred tradition amongst Jeep owners, carried down through the generations from its origin with our military servicemen.  Camaraderie amongst soldiers carried over to civilian Jeep owners after the war, and as the respect and mystique surrounding the Jeep brand grew over the years, Jeep owners became a prouder bunch.

Since the very beginning, Jeep owners have been a breed apart from typical motorists.  Jeeps are driven by people who care about more than just a comfy ride and ergonomic controls; Jeeps are about fun, durability, and individuality.  Jeeps aren't just transportation appliances, they're toys.  We recognize other Jeep owners as members of an informal club of cool kids - when we see another Jeep coming our way, we can be pretty certain that its driver is someone with whom we'd get along well.  Hence, the Jeep Wave.

As the popularity of Jeeps and the vehicles they inspired has grown, the Jeep Wave has expanded to include other worthy offroad vehicles.

Before I became a Jeep owner, I built several very trailworthy Suzukis, Toyotas, and military vehicles.  I have always waved at well-built 4x4s, but now that I'm a Jeep owner, I wave at every Jeep I pass no matter how modified it is.  Sure, soccer moms aren't very likely to wave back, but that's not the point.

This YouTube video caught my attention as it discusses the Jeep Wave:

Not all offroaders drive Jeeps, but all offroaders are Jeepers who share the love and appreciation for our sport and the wonderful people who partake in it.  When you pass a nice 4x4, shoot your hand out the window and flash a smile - you never know whose day you'll make! 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Jeep JKs in BFGoodrich's Playground Earth

BFGoodrich came up with an entertaining short film advertisement for their Radial All-Terrain T/A-KO tires entitled Playground Earth.  They set up a series of five different extreme outdoor sports, and in place of a baton the teams passed a single set of tires from one vehicle to another to demonstrate how these versatile tires are designed to handle just about anything thrown at them.

Of note to Jeep owners is the fact that two of the five short films featured the Jeep Wrangler JK, one in short-wheelbase 2-door form and the other in long-wheelbase 4-door form.  You can watch the videos on BFG's website, or as a series posted below:

2013 Cantina for the 'Con

Lining up for the world's most delicious tacos!

Every year, the Rubicon Trail's biggest fundraiser Cantina for the 'Con gets bigger and more fun.  Numerous local and distant companies sponsor and exhibit at the event, while the Rubicon Trail Foundation cooks tacos and holds a gigantic raffle to earn money to be put towards keeping the trail environmentally-healthy and open to the public year-round.

This is an annual fundrasier for the 501(c)3 Non-Profit Mission: To enhance the future health and use of the Rubicon Trail while ensuring responsible motorized year-round trail access. Rubicon Trail Foundation advocates for your continued motorized access to the trail and surrounding public lands.

Rubicon Trail Foundation's website has a Cantina photo album.  GenRight Offroad also put together their own photo album from this year's event here on their website.  Bower Motorsports Media made this video of the event:

BFGoodrich's 2013 Outstanding Trails Winners

BFGoodrich® Tires, in collaboration with Tread Lightly! ® and United Four Wheel Drive Associations (UFWDA), today announced the winners of the  2013 Outstanding Trails program.  Nominated for uniqueness, terrain type and enthusiast following, the trails selected for this year’s program are:

    Dutch John Trail at the Uwharrie National Forest in Troy, North Carolina
    Kansas Rocks Recreation Park in Mapleton, Kansas
    Truckhaven in Salton Sea, California

Since its inception in 2006, The Outstanding Trails program has been dedicated to the responsible use and preservation of off-road trails. In the last eight years, Outstanding Trails has recognized more than 30 off-road trails throughout the country and has awarded over $115,000+ in grants in support of trail conservation efforts.

“The legacy of the Outstanding Trails program is a great source of pride for BFGoodrich,” said Duane Thomas, brand communications manager for BFGoodrich Tires. “We’re grateful for the efforts of the many four-wheel drive clubs and their volunteers for working with us in our quest to help maintain some of North America’s most beautiful trails.”

BFGoodrich Tires 2013 Outstanding Trails

During the course of the year, BFGoodrich Tires will be at club events associated with these trails to highlight the uniqueness of each location, educate off-road enthusiasts on the responsible use of the trails and present a $4,000 grant to each club to assist in the preservation of trail access.

Friday, December 20, 2013

CORVA Gives the OHV Community a Victory for Ocotillo Wells SVRA

Sacramento, California (December 13, 2013) - CORVA won an important victory this past Thursday. Earlier this year, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) filed suit against California State Parks to stop current operations at Ocotillo Wells State Vehicular Recreation Area. CORVA consulted with their attorney, Jesse Barton, and at his recommendation filed for intervenor status in the Superior Court of California. CORVA's demurrer supported State Parks and alleged to the court that the suit filed by PEER had no legal viability and must be dismissed by the court. Judge Timothy Frawley ruled in favor of State Parks and CORVA on December 12th, 2013 and upheld the right of State Parks to continue operations at Ocotillo Wells SVRA in the same manner enthusiasts around the state have enjoyed for over 30 years.

In a community that has seen so many attacks against off-road recreation, CORVA is very pleased to share this victory with all motorized enthusiasts in California. Thanks to our attorney and with the support of our members, CORVA is dedicated to striking back and hitting hard when off-road recreation is attacked. Court procedures allow PEER to refile their complaint within 20 days if they find additional arguments to be considered, and should that occur CORVA and our attorney stand ready to file another court action to ensure this suit is permanently stopped. We ask for everyone's support to continue our proactive strategies by joining us at www.corva.org and donating to our legal fund.

For over 40 years CORVA has been dedicated to keeping public land open by advocating of off-road access, educating off-road enthusiasts, and representing off-road interests with governmental agencies. CORVA has worked tirelessly to defend all types of off-road and off highway vehicular recreation including the initiation of many legal efforts aimed at protecting the rights of off-road to access and enjoy the deserts, mountains, and coasts of California.

You can always make a donation to help keep us there,
"On the ground and running!"

Do that by clicking here: Donate to CORVA

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Rebel Offroad's JK Wranglers at Moab 2013

Rebel Offroad is one of the fastest-growing Jeep Wrangler JK aftermarket companies, and they've been hosting a number of awesome trail rides around the country.  One of their favorite playgrounds is Moab, Utah and they've put together several videos from their trips there.  Their latest one shows a wide range of built Jeeps on some of Moab's most famous landmark trails from 2013's Easter Jeep Safari:

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Brazilian Jeep Wrangler - the Troller T4

The Troller T4 is a Brazilian-made offroad vehicle "inspired by" the Jeep TJ and JK Wrangler.  It is a fiberglass-bodied, turbodiesel-powered, Dana-axled jeep that fills a giant void that Jeep themselves have left wide-open in the Brazilian market.

Before you dismiss this vehicle as nothing more than a cheap wanna-be like the notoriously crappy Chinese knockoffs, you should understand that the Brazilian market demands tough vehicles.  The T4 is built with solid components, engineered for extreme offroad abuse, can be upgraded with offroad equipment such as lockers and lift kits, and has competed in the Dakar Rally.  The Troller T4 may not be the real deal, but it's a worthy Jeep replacement nonetheless.

Ford of Brazil seemed to be sufficiently impressed with Troller that they purchased the company in 2007 and have continued development of the brand's offroad vehicles.  As Fiat/Chrysler continue to expand the Jeep brand into foreign markets, it will be interesting to see what trademark conflicts may arise in Brazil and Africa where the T4 is manufactured and sold.

This first video shows the T4 in action off-road:

And this 2nd video is a Brazilian TV commercial for the Troller T4.  It uses actual news helicopter footage from the massive December 2009 floods in São Paulo:

Saturday, December 7, 2013

The Fight to Save Tahoe National Forest

I've written before about the ongoing fight to save Tahoe National Forest from the anti-access faux-environmentalists, and it's time to give an update on this precedent-setting issue of The Public versus Big Government:

Pacific Legal Foundation is representing outdoor recreationists in the case Friends of Tahoe Access v. United States Department of Agriculture.  As expected, the liberal activist District Court judge sided with the government land (mis)managers, so the planned appeal process is already under way, with hopes that this can be taken all the way to the Supreme Court so that every American can eventually be assured of their right to enjoy responsible access to all non-Wilderness Areas of public lands.

An example of the misinformed (or propagandizing) liberal media can be found in this article by the Tahoe Daily Tribune.  The article is so heavily laced with inaccuracies, untruths, and bias that I felt compelled to share it along with a response to the article from a resident of Tahoe National Forest:
[This article is] yellow journalism at its finest. Nevada County and other rural Sierra Nevada community citizens, you'd better listen up as this affects us all. Quick Cliffs Notes of the Tahoe National Forest route closures and then I will get on to the gross inaccuracies portrayed in this article from the Tahoe Daily Tribute:

-In 2012 the US Forest Service gated and closed off 90% (800+ miles) of the existing routes in the Tahoe National Forest after finally implementing a 2005 Travel Management Rule that the Forest Service had promised outdoor recreational enthusiasts would not close many, if any roads or trails.

-In July of 2012 the Pacific Legal Foundation sued the Federal Government for illegally closing 800 + miles of roads and trails in TNF and preventing any form of vehicular access to these roads, many of which have existed upwards, and over 100 years with no negative impact on the TNF.

-Nov 2013 Judge John A. Mendez of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California sided with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, supporting their closure of 90% of TNF.

Now, onto the [article's] inaccuracies:

•"....and denying Friends of Tahoe Forest Access in its attempt to preserve and expand access for off-highway vehicles."

-Incorrect. We are trying to PRESERVE the existing, 50-100+ year old routes still remaining in the TNF. We are not seeking to EXPAND these trails whatsoever.

•"The Wilderness Society, the Mother Lode Chapter of the Sierra Club and other environmental groups joined the lawsuit as an intervenor and argued through their attorney, Greg Loarie, that there is no way to adequately protect a forest while allowing motor vehicles to travel all over the forest without restriction."

-Incorrect. Slimy wording, at best. Obviously these environmentalists have never been to the Sierra Nevada, or they would understand that beyond the established roads and trails, penetrating the Sierra Nevada "without restriction" in a motorized vehicle is no easy task, if not impossible. We (The Friends of Greenhorn, Friends of Tahoe National Forest, etc) are absolutely not advocating to "travel all over the forest without restriction", in fact it is against our core mottos of TREAD LIGHTLY and STAY ON THE TRAIL. To suggest we are suing to preserve the "right" to trash nature wherever we want is cowardly and immoral, and shows the true integrity of organizations like Sierra Club and the Wilderness Society. Not to mention if these roads were not maintained largely by forest users, they would disappear back into nature in a matter of years.

The rural communities of the Sierra Nevada rely on outdoor recreation year round to survive. In the spring, summer and fall, camping, hunting, fishing, boating, mountain biking, four wheeling, ATVing, bird watching, hiking, horseback riding, etc etc provide vast amounts of income to our communities. In the winter, skiing, snowboarding, innertubing, snowshoeing etc etc get us through until the next season of outdoor activities begins. With 800 miles of roads closed to motorized travel, access to favorite camp sites or fishing holes is reduced to non-motorized traffic. This directly affects families with small children, the elderly, and the disabled, as well as anyone else that doesn't want to be restricted to KOA campgrounds to enjoy nature.

Driving down existing dirt/rock roads surrounded by millions of acres of pristine forest is not harming anything.

Half of you grew up with me in the heart of the Sierra Nevada. We all got to experience the beauty of the Sierra by exploring the winding trails that penetrate deep into the woods as we grew up and as adults. Imagine a future where under the guise of "saving the planet", your children and grandchildren cannot even explore our own backyard. That is the future we are headed towards if we do not continue to fight these massive public land closures. This is our backyard, people, and radical environmental organizations are pressuring the Federal government to close as much of it down to keep people out of nature once and for all.

Keep public land open to the public. Immerse future generations in nature by taking them to nature and instilling the desire to enjoy, preserve and protect, not gate and exclude. As John Muir once wrote in a letter to President Theodore Roosevelt in 1908:

"I am anxious that the Yosemite National Park may be saved from all sorts of commercialism and marks of man's work other than the roads, hotels, etc., required to make its wonders and blessings available. For as far as I have seen there is not in all the wonderful Sierra, or indeed in the world, another so grand and wonderful and useful a block of Nature's mountain handiwork."
John Muir's letter to President Roosevelt

Public lands should be accessible to ALL nature-lovers, not just to a select group of elitists for which we've already locked up over 14% of the State of California within the boundaries of our Wilderness Areas.  Recreational opportunities within remaining National Forest land should be open to all Americans.  Motorized recreation is the primary means by which families, the elderly, and the disabled can reach our backcountry, yet every day we find more and more gates and signs erected by our land (mis)managers.  The Pacific Legal Foundation is working to ensure that public lands are preserved FOR the public, instead of FROM the public.

Trash on the Trail - Pick it up!

Anywhere people go, you can find trash that they've left behind; it's unfortunately human nature.  Not everyone who visits our backcountry areas are litterbugs, but it's everyone's responsibility to haul out more than they brought in.  Most responsible 4-wheelers automatically pull over and pick up any trail trash that they happen to come upon.  In fact, it's such an expected behavior that a Trasharoo is found on the back of most trail rigs these days:

My Rubicon Trail Foundation special edition Trasharoo
Accidental littering still happens, and there will always be "bad apples" who leave trash behind, so trail trash will always be a reality.  Unfortunately, trail litter is some of the ammo that the anti-access people use to get public lands closed to everyone but hikers, so we must remain vigilant about keeping our trails clean.  I continue the tradition I was taught as a Boy Scout to always leave any campsite or trail spotless, no matter how messy it might have been before my arrival.  I keep two bags in my Trasharoo (one for recycle materials, the other for trash) and I never pass by any trash I spot in camp or on the trail.

One of my friends recently posted on Pirate4x4 a good lesson to share with kids, litterbugs, and trail-closure people regarding the reality of trail trash.  I've reprinted it here:

Here is my take on the Trail Trash issue, whether it be Rubicon, Fordyce, Slick Rock, Greenhorn, or Johnson Valley:

NO ONE who comes to this forum can claim ignorance. Facts are we have been resting on OUR Laurels. Education never stops. EVER. We all have to continue to pull together to keep the trail clean, in good shape, and functioning.

I had a friend tonight (MC guy) complain to me about his cohorts. How the trails were looking trashed.

I've always said - "It's like being a Mom (or Dad), and mopping the kitchen floor. You scrub that floor, pay particular attention to the corners, under the cabinets, you pull out your good, HD floor cleaner tech and kick some azz on that dirt. You take a moment to stand back and admire your work, it looks clean and sparkly, 10 seconds later the boys come in from outside, spend 5 minutes getting a snack and heading to the living room to play video rock crawling. You turn around after the very brief whirlwind of activity is over, your kitchen floor is TRASHED".

What do you do? Do you go online and air the very same dirty laundry that everyone else in this world experiences, or do you pick up your mop and DO IT AGAIN?

You calmly - with a smile on your face, grateful to have a kitchen floor to mop - pick up your swiffer wet jet and DO IT AGAIN

My point is - even if you spent the time to educate your torrid teens/pre-teens, you're never going to stop needing to MOP THE FLOOR. It needs to be done daily whether you think so or not.

Regular attention needs to be paid to all our trails. ALL OF THEM.

Like I also said to my MC friend, you don't clean/maintain that trail for only yourself, you do it for the dumb jerks who you didn't get to educate, you do it for the criminals, and you do it for the responsible folks. You just do it because YOU want to ride again.

Please let's take the narcissism out of why we do what we do and JUST DO IT.