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EPA and Army Corps of Engineers Clarify Protection for Nation’s Streams and Wetlands

MuirNet - Tue, 03/25/2014 - 12:59

Agriculture’s Exemptions and Exclusions from Clean Water Act Expanded by Proposal

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Army Corps) today jointly released a proposed rule to clarify protection under the Clean Water Act for streams and wetlands that form the foundation of the nation’s water resources. The proposed rule will benefit businesses by increasing efficiency in determining coverage of the Clean Water Act. The agencies are launching a robust outreach effort over the next 90 days, holding discussions around the country and gathering input needed to shape a final rule.

Categories: Legislation

Post-Fire Stabilization Seedings Have Not Developed Into Sage-grouse Habitat

MuirNet - Tue, 03/25/2014 - 12:40

BOISE — The practice of emergency post-fire seeding in sagebrush landscapes of the Great Basin, which was meant to stabilize soils, has not resulted in restored habitats that would be used by greater sage-grouse according to U.S. Geological Survey and U.S. Forest Service researchers who published their results today in the journal Ecosphere.

The new study examined the habitat that was present 8-20 years after the seeding projects occurred. These aerial or rangeland drill seeding projects did not always include sagebrush seeds and were not intended to restore wildlife habitat, but instead were designed to mitigate the effects of fire on soil and vegetation. Yet they provide an opportunity to reverse habitat degradation for sage-grouse, a species being considered for protection under the Endangered Species Act.

Categories: Legislation

Carry Three Ways to Make Fire

Badlands Off Road Adventures - Mon, 03/17/2014 - 23:00

Carry Three Ways to Make Fire

(Click picture for a larger image.)
Four wheelers know it’s critical to be prepared when they go off road. One area that sometimes gets taken for granted is the ability to start fires. We just assume that a book of matches or lighter will be handy when needed.

That’s usually the case while in camp or in the vehicle. But what happens when you’re alone in the wild? Could you start a fire if you had to? Hikers, campers and just plain vacationers occasionally get lost and find themselves in a dangerous situation. It may never happen to you, but it’s always good to be prepared.

I suggest you always carry three forms of fire-starting methods on you along with some tinder, and practice with them throughout the year. Why three methods? Redundancy, as NASA will tell you, is good. In fact, it could save your life. By carrying three forms of fire-starting material, you essentially eliminate the possibility of not being able to at least create a spark. (You still need tinder and a supply of fuel.)


The importance of fire-building capability can’t be understated. Fire can be used to:

  1. provide heat
  2. cook and preserve food
  3. purify water & sterilize wound dressings
  4. act as a signaling device


As important as the uses of fire listed above are perhaps the most important use is for comfort and companionship. Humans have been staring into a fire forever during long nights. A fire helps maintain a positive mental attitude and chase away boredom, loneliness and fear.

A fire could literally save your life. Granted, only a tiny number of people get caught in survival situations each year. But those incidents can occur in many areas and in any climate.

Light My Fire Swedish Firesteel
(Click picture for a larger image.) There are several methods to start a fire that we all can master without resorting to primitive methods like a bow drill. They include:
  1. Butane lighter
  2. Matches (kept in a waterproof case)
  3. Magnesium bar with built in flint and your knife. I like Doan Magnesium Starters because of the quality. There are other metal bars out there; look for pure magnesium. The magnesium burns quickly, so make sure the magnesium powder is on top of your tinder. Add a short piece of a hacksaw blade on the chain on the bar so you always have a scraper/striker even if you lose your knife.
  4. Light My Fire Swedish Firesteel. This is a manufactured magnesium fire stick that produces an incredible spark. It includes the stainless striker tools you need to create a spark. There are several sizes. I like the smallest one, because I can carry it in my pocket. (The size determines the ultimate number of strikes - from 1,500 to 12,000.) The manufacturer claims it creates sparks in any weather and at any altitude.
It’s also a good idea to carry tinder. Then you don’t need to go scrounging for tinder, which naturally will be damp during wet weather. There are numerous commercially available products. Many are well engineered to catch a spark and fire up quickly. A small package of 5 or 6 is only a few dollars. If they are compressed, pull one end apart or use a rock to break up the fibers. You might even be able to reuse one if you can transfer the fire to your kindling and extinguish it before it is all gone.

Ready to make some cotton fire balls.
(Click picture for a larger image.) My favorite homemade tinder is cotton balls smeared with a dab of Vaseline. These catch a spark in most conditions, and the Vaseline provides a sustained burn which is needed to start larger tinder. Don’t overdo the Vaseline. Some cotton fibers are needed to catch the spark.

Make up about a half dozen cotton balls and pack them in a little container. 35 mm film canisters are perfect, if you can find any. You can also use pill or aspirin bottles; many outdoor stores sells small plastic bottles that work as well.

Other ways to start a fire include:

- Steel wool and a battery. Fine grade (00) steel wool and a D cell work nicely. If you don’t have a D cell, try two AA batteries. You’ll drain the battery rather quickly. Assume one shot with a AA battery and maybe a couple tries on a D cell.

- Magnifying glass - Easy to slip into a pocket. You need sun, however.

Whatever methods you choose, make sure you practice them several times a year and under various conditions. Don’t wait until disaster hits. Between your emotional state and the weather conditions, you’ll have a heck of a time making it work.

Carry your three fire starters and tinder in your pocket. While you may have extras in your vehicle, backpack and tent, you need to keep these tools on your person. You could be separated from your vehicle, backpack and even fanny pack. Tuck your materials in a pants or shirt pocket each time you step outdoors.

Remember to replenish any supplies you use. Also, add a category on your preparation checklist http://www.4x4training.com/Articles/Camping/Checklist.html for “pocket fire starter.” That will remind you to add this important outdoor gear each time.

Going forward, you will always be prepared to start a fire if need be.

# # # #



______________________________________ End google Ad _____ -->
Mojave Desert
(Click picture for a larger image.) Related Articles from Badlands Off-road Adventures Did you miss the previous article? Some Upcoming Events

(click on the link for details)

Lone Pine Visitor Center
(Click picture for a larger image.)

Here is a quick summary of upcoming events.
  1. March 21 Death Valley National Park Expedition:
  2. March 29 Off-Road Driving Sand and Dunes:
  3. March 30 Tire Repair & Hi-Lift Mini Clinic - Pismo

  4. April 05 Getting Started Off-Road - LA area:
  5. April 06 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road Clinic- Mojave:
  6. April 07 Tire Repair & Hi-Lift Mini Clinic - Mojave
  7. April 26 Getting Started Off-Road - San Diego area:
  8. April 27 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road Clinic- San Diego area:
  9. April 30 Guide Book Exporation:

########################## Death Valley March 21-24

This is a 4 day trip on the back roads in Death Valley. We will drive the Panamint Mountains, drive past Badwater Basin (lowest spot in North America), visit Chloride Ghost town, Titus Canyon, check out Ubehebe Crater, Teakettle junction, The Race Track & Lippencott Mine Road, camp at the Warm Springs and leave via Steal Pass up to the high meadows, then take Dedeckera Canyon down to the Eureka Sand Dunes. All four days will see some light to moderate 4-wheeling. Much of the trip is quite remote with random or no cell service. We don't plan to stop at tourist sights you can get to in a passenger car.
Check out the details and sign up on the website: http://www.4x4training.com/Adventures/Deathvalley.html
August 2013 Off-Road Adventures Magazine: Death Valley Excursion by Denis Snow

You can register directly at http://www.4x4training.com/calendar/calendar.php#Deathvalley


########################## Guide Book Exploration April 30- May 4

The plan is to select one of the many Guide books and do a number of the trails it describes. Most guide books are regional in nature. That allows us to link multiple trails together while reducing the amount of time on the highway. We can do mountain regions in the summer and desert regions in the winter.
Check out the details and sign up on the website: Guide Book Exploration

You can register directly at by clicking here.


##########################
Sand Clinic March 29, 2014 If you have been waiting for the next Sand Driving Clinic, put it on your calendar for March 29th and sign up now. This day-long clinic will expose you to a variety of driving conditions and levels of difficulty. Driving on sand is challenging and different than dirt, so we’ll progress slowly as you learn the proper techniques. As your confidence grows, you will master increasingly more challenging dunes. Along the way you will be exposed to the beauty of SVRA and the thrill of the windswept dunes. This is a rare opportunity to cruise the only beach in California open to vehicles.
More details...



Register for the Sand Clinic using this link.

http://4x4training.com/calendar/calendar.php#SandPismo

Tire Repair & Hi-Lift Mini Clinic March 30, 2014

The March 30th clinic will be held near Pismo, CA. This 3 hour clinic will provide you with the knowledge and skills to repair the most common tire problems and to use a Hi-lift jack safely to aid you in the process. To drive confidently off-road learn how to:
  • Fix a bead
  • Plug a puncture
  • Break a bead
  • Replace a valve stem


You can find out more details on line at Tire Repair & Hi-Lift Mini Clinic:.

And register on line at http://4x4training.com/calendar/calendar.php#TireRepair.

Winch Recovery Bandana & Winching DVD
Click for higher resolution image We have our new stock with many new colors (Red, Orange, Green, and Blue) on hand. The Bandana is packed full of useful information and is a quick reference in the field when no DVD player is available."

The Bandana layout follows the “Vehicle Recovery Plan” with pathways to more detail. A unique section of the Bandana, gives the steps for a “Winch Rigging Check: Walk through” so that you verify every element of the rigging before you commit to the pull. Stuff this in your recovery kit and you will always be ready!

Pick up or order the Winching DVD too! There is no substitute for hands on training. If you can, sign up for one of Badlands Off-Road Adventure’s Winching Clinics.

Warning – the Bandana and DVD are not a substitute for proper training and use of quality equipment that is used within the bounds of their safe working load. We advise you to use the information provided in both the Winching Recovery Bandana and the "Basic to Advanced Winching and Recovery DVD" at your own risk. We cannot control the quality and specifications of the equipment used and the methods actually employed.





Winch Recovery Bandana Order Button
Colors Orange Red Blue Natural Green Natural


Order a Basic to Advanced Winching & Recovery DVD too!


(Click picture for more details)



I hope to see you on the trails!
Tom Severin, President
Badlands Off Road Adventures, Inc.
4-Wheel Drive School
310-374-8047
http://www.4x4training.com
Make it Fun. Keep it Safe.
#####
If you find this information valuable, please pass it on to a friend. You can forward them the email. If you received a forwarded copy of this newsletter and would like to subscribe for yourself, go to: www.4x4training.com/contacts.html and follow the instructions to join our mail list.
Want To Use This Article In Your Magazine, E-Zine, Club Newsletter Or Web Site? You are welcome to use it anytime, just be sure to include the following author/copyright information: Tom Severin, 4x4 Coach, teaches 4WD owners how to confidently and safely use their vehicles to the fullest extent in difficult terrain and adverse driving conditions. Visit www.4x4training.com to develop or improve your driving skill.

Copyright 2014, Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Inc.

Categories: Badlands Off Road Adventures

Arizona Game and Fish comments on recent jaguar critical habitat announcement

MuirNet - Thu, 03/06/2014 - 14:10

On March 4, 2014, the Southwest Region of the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) notified the public that the Service had designated 764,207 acres of land in Southern Arizona as critical habitat for the rarely-present jaguar. This action completed the third review by the Service that examines the need for jaguar critical habitat in Arizona. The two prior reviews found that designation of critical habitat in Arizona-New Mexico was not warranted. The Arizona Game and Fish Department does not support the latest finding of the Service that designating critical habitat is essential to the conservation of the jaguar.

Categories: Legislation

Service Designates Jaguar Critical Habitat in Arizona and New Mexico

MuirNet - Wed, 03/05/2014 - 14:24

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced the final designation of approximately 764, 207 acres of critical habitat for the jaguar (Panthera onca) under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). This habitat is found within Pima, Santa Cruz and Cochise counties in Arizona, and Hidalgo County in New Mexico. The final rule takes effect on April 4, 2014.

Categories: Legislation

Barred owls replacing spotted owls in Pacific Northwest

MuirNet - Wed, 03/05/2014 - 13:57

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – An increase in the barred owl population is contributing to the decline of threatened Northern spotted owls, according to models developed by U.S. Geological Survey and U.S. Forest Service scientists.

The larger barred owl is considered to be a more aggressive competitor, with higher reproductive capacity as well as a more diverse diet and use of habitat. In the face of increasing barred owl populations and declining habitat, the medium size Northern spotted owl, which lives in old growth forests of northern California and the Pacific Northwest of the United States, is declining.

Categories: Legislation

Hit the Trail after 55

Badlands Off Road Adventures - Wed, 02/12/2014 - 00:00

Hit the Trail after 55
Photo by Denis Snow
(Click picture for a larger image.)



Four wheeling is often looked at as a young man’s game. The perception is that you use a 4WD for hard core rock crawling, heart pumping, sweaty palm adrenaline charged terrain.

The fact is that there are hundreds and thousands of scenic sites, great camp grounds, old mines, and ghost towns to visit that require a 4 wheel drive. The difficulty rating is mostly 4 or less (out of 10). While many regular drivers are in their 20s and 30s, we are seeing a lot more folks in their 50s, 60s, 70s and even 80s.

A 4WD vehicle, and four-wheeling in general, offers a number of
advantages over other motorized activities for older folks.





Top Reasons Here, in no particular order, are my top reasons why four wheeling could / should be a part of your life at age 55 and beyond.

  1. Easier on the body. Hiking, mountain biking, riding motorcycles and ATVs/UTVs off road can be tough on an older body. You end up with too many aches and pains. A 4WD vehicle offers a much more comfortable and less-strenuous ride.

  2. You have the resources. Generally at this age people can afford an off-road vehicle—the kids are gone and the mortgage is paid off. You can now indulge in that hobby you’ve been fantasizing about for years.

  3. Companionship. 4WD vehicles allow you to share the ride and experience with one or more companions. True, other vehicles can transport at least one buddy, but it’s not the same. With a 4WD vehicle you toodle along in the outback, enjoying the scenery and conversation. And it doesn't stop with just the people riding with you. There is safety in numbers so you will be traveling with and meeting like-minded people. Many who are foot-loose and fancy-free just like you. Great comradely develops among 4-wheelers on the trail and around the camp fire.

  4. Interior comfort and protection from the environment. The enclosed cabins offer heat and air conditioning. The windows keep out the bugs, dust, brush and noise.

  5. Get more out of your RVing experience. Towing a 4WD vehicle adds a new dimension to your RV trips. Now you can go off-road as well.

  6. You have more time & flexible schedule. You have more time to visit old ghost towns, mines and scenic areas that you can only get to with a 4 wheel drive vehicle. Maybe there are a whole bunch of things you’d like to see. A 4WD vehicle will get you there.

  7. More room. A 4WD vehicle has more room to carry the kind and amount of gear you’d need while in those remote areas. Indulge your passion for camping, hunting, fishing, photography, astronomy; whatever you like to do while outdoors. Plus, you have the room to take along creature comforts like an air mattress, mini-fridge and extra clothing. Perhaps you currently may not be involved in a particular activity simply because you can’t get to those remote spots. Well, now you can. Your “retirement” years become that much more fun and memorable.
  8. Safer ride. Airbags, sturdy frames, independent four-wheel suspension and durable glass give 4WD vehicles an edge in safety.

  9. Versatile vehicle. 4WD vehicles are street legal, so you can use them on the roads as well as on the trails. No need to trailer them from one location to another, like you do with dirt bikes and some ATVs. Plus, 4WD vehicles are permitted in all national parks.

  10. Grandkids. A four wheel drive vehicle allows you to take them along and introduce them to the great outdoors, camping and your favorite sports. You have enough room needed to carry extra clothes and food.

  11. Longer drives possible. The longer range of 4WD vehicles, due to large gas tanks and spare gas can on board, give you many more options for going off road. You can plan longer and potentially more exciting expeditions.

  12. Cheaper than an RV and more versatile. As I mentioned above, you can take a 4WD vehicle on the roads or on the trails. An RV is driven somewhere and then parked. Plus, you need a place with utilities. A 4WD vehicle goes where you want to go.

  13. Four wheeling gives you a chance to needle your neighbors: “This ol’ geezer ain’t spending his days in a rocking chair!”
You’ll note that many of these concepts apply regardless of the driver’s age. They are, after all, some of the general advantages of off-road driving. However, if you are 55 or older, I hope you can see how this exciting hobby can be a part of your life.

Odds are you have the time, money and ambition. Why wait any longer? Grab a 4WD vehicle, pick up some instruction (I can help you there Click here), and then start enjoying the great outdoors as you’ve never done before.

# # # #



______________________________________ End google Ad _____ -->
On the way to Titus Canyon
Death Valley National Park
(Click picture for a larger image.) Related Articles from Badlands Off-road Adventures Did you miss the previous articles? Some Upcoming Events

(click on the link for details)

Saline Valley is part of Death Valley National Park
(Click picture for a larger image.)

March is just packed full of training. We are offering everything from basic driving to rocks, sand, winching, and tire repair plus a trip to Death Valley.

The clinic schedule for March:
  1. February 28 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road Clinic- San Diego:

  2. March 01 TDS Tierra Del Sol 52nd Annual Desert Safari
  3. March 02 Winch Clinic - Borrego
  4. March 08 Getting Started Off-Road - LA:
  5. March 09 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road Clinic- Mojave:
  6. March 10 Winch Clinic - Mojave
  7. March 15 Getting Started Off-Road - San Diego:
  8. March 16 Starting Rock Crawling Clinic:
  9. March 21 Death Valley National Park Expedition:
  10. March 29 Off-Road Driving Sand and Dunes:
  11. March 30 Tire Repair & Hi-Lift Mini Clinic - Pismo

########################## Rocks Clinic March 16

The Class will be in Johnson Valley. This is an introduction to Rock crawling but it is not on "baby" rocks. We take our time and stress careful wheel placement. We use spotters for difficult sections. You learn by inspecting the obstacle and predicting the line; by watching others try their line; by experiencing it yourself; and by the coaching. We recommend you repeat the training several times. You will be much more relaxed the second time over the same obstacles and you will pick up on little details missed the first time. More Details...


You can register directly at http://www.4x4training.com/calendar/calendar.php#Rocks


########################## Death Valley March 21-24

This is a 4 day trip on the back roads in Death Valley. We will drive the Panamint Mountains, drive past Badwater Basin (lowest spot in North America), visit Chloride Ghost town, Titus Canyon, check out Ubehebe Crater, Teakettle junction, The Race Track & Lippencott Mine Road, camp at the Warm Springs and leave via Steal Pass up to the high meadows, then take Dedeckera Canyon down to the Eureka Sand Dunes. All four days will see some light to moderate 4-wheeling. Much of the trip is quite remote with random or no cell service. We don't plan to stop at tourist sights you can get to in a passenger car.
Check out the details and sign up on the website: http://www.4x4training.com/Adventures/Deathvalley.html
August 2013 Off-Road Adventures Magazine: Death Valley Excursion by Denis Snow

You can register directly at http://www.4x4training.com/calendar/calendar.php#Deathvalley


Winch Clinic March 2nd or March 10th, 2014

You have an opportunity to attend Tierra Del Sol 52nd Annual Desert Safari on Saturday and then stay in the area Sunday March 2nd for this one day clinic. Or take the Getting Started Clinic and Day 2 Clinic then stay over in the Mojave CA area for the Winch Clinic.

It starts with the basics and builds into complex riggings. If you are considering installing a powered winch on your vehicle, or have one already but need training to learn how to get the best from it and do it safely, you need to take this class. The one day course covers: safety related issues, basic operation of the winch, simple and complex riggings, stuck assessment, winch capability, and minimizing environmental impact. This is a hands on class. By the end of the day you will be safely rigging some complex recoveries. More Details...


You can register directly at http://www.4x4training.com/calendar/calendar.php#Winch


##########################
Sand Clinic March 29, 2014 If you have been waiting for the next Sand Driving Clinic, put it on your calendar for March 29th and sign up now. This day-long clinic will expose you to a variety of driving conditions and levels of difficulty. Driving on sand is challenging and different than dirt, so we’ll progress slowly as you learn the proper techniques. As your confidence grows, you will master increasingly more challenging dunes. Along the way you will be exposed to the beauty of SVRA and the thrill of the windswept dunes. This is a rare opportunity to cruise the only beach in California open to vehicles.
More details...



Register for the Sand Clinic using this link.

http://4x4training.com/calendar/calendar.php#SandPismo

Tire Repair & Hi-Lift Mini Clinic March 30, 2014

The March 30th clinic will be held near Pismo, CA. This 3 hour clinic will provide you with the knowledge and skills to repair the most common tire problems and to use a Hi-lift jack safely to aid you in the process. To drive confidently off-road learn how to:
  • Fix a bead
  • Plug a puncture
  • Break a bead
  • Replace a valve stem


You can find out more details on line at Tire Repair & Hi-Lift Mini Clinic:.

And register on line at http://4x4training.com/calendar/calendar.php#TireRepair.

Winch Recovery Bandana & Winching DVD
Click for higher resolution image We have our new stock with many new colors (Red, Orange, Green, and Blue) on hand. The Bandana is packed full of useful information and is a quick reference in the field when no DVD player is available."

The Bandana layout follows the “Vehicle Recovery Plan” with pathways to more detail. A unique section of the Bandana, gives the steps for a “Winch Rigging Check: Walk through” so that you verify every element of the rigging before you commit to the pull. Stuff this in your recovery kit and you will always be ready!

Pick up or order the Winching DVD too! There is no substitute for hands on training. If you can, sign up for one of Badlands Off-Road Adventure’s Winching Clinics.

Warning – the Bandana and DVD are not a substitute for proper training and use of quality equipment that is used within the bounds of their safe working load. We advise you to use the information provided in both the Winching Recovery Bandana and the "Basic to Advanced Winching and Recovery DVD" at your own risk. We cannot control the quality and specifications of the equipment used and the methods actually employed.





Winch Recovery Bandana Order Button
Colors Orange Red Blue Natural Green Natural


Order a Basic to Advanced Winching & Recovery DVD too!


(Click picture for more details)



I hope to see you on the trails!
Tom Severin, President
Badlands Off Road Adventures, Inc.
4-Wheel Drive School
310-374-8047
http://www.4x4training.com
Make it Fun. Keep it Safe.
#####
If you find this information valuable, please pass it on to a friend. You can forward them the email. If you received a forwarded copy of this newsletter and would like to subscribe for yourself, go to: www.4x4training.com/contacts.html and follow the instructions to join our mail list.
Want To Use This Article In Your Magazine, E-Zine, Club Newsletter Or Web Site? You are welcome to use it anytime, just be sure to include the following author/copyright information: Tom Severin, 4x4 Coach, teaches 4WD owners how to confidently and safely use their vehicles to the fullest extent in difficult terrain and adverse driving conditions. Visit www.4x4training.com to develop or improve your driving skill.

Copyright 2014, Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Inc.

Categories: Badlands Off Road Adventures

ESA Working Group Releases Final Report and Recommendations

MuirNet - Tue, 02/04/2014 - 11:03

The Endangered Species Act (ESA) Congressional Working Group has released its final Report, Findings and Recommendations.

The report is the culmination of an eight-month effort to examine the ESA from a variety of viewpoints and angles, receive input on how the ESA is working and being implemented, and how and whether it could be updated to be more effective for both people and species.  The report reflects hundreds of comments from outside individuals and testimony from nearly 70 witnesses who appeared before a Working Group forum and House Natural Resources Committee hearings.

Categories: Legislation

Clean Up, Clear Out For The New Year

Badlands Off Road Adventures - Wed, 01/15/2014 - 00:00

Clean Up, Clear Out For The New Year
This is also a good time to review the gear and equipment.
(Click picture for a larger image.)
January is a time for resolutions: lose weight, eliminate bad habits, be a better person. Perhaps you made a list for this year (and are already finding it difficult to follow). This is also a good time to review the gear and equipment used in off road driving. Does any need replacing or repair? Are any pieces missing? Perhaps you need to brush up on some skills.

A favorite author, since child hood, is Horace Kephart. He was a writer for Field and stream Magazine from 1904 to 1906. In 1917 he published Camping and Woodcraft. I have a MacMillian Company 1968 reprint. It would be difficult to purchase this book today (more outdoor books). Kephart was a master word smith and could capture the heart of the outdoors mentality perfectly. Here is a quote from Chapter II - Outfitting that sums up the theme of this article.

" It is great fun, in the long winter evenings, to sort over your beloved duffel, to make and fit up the little boxes and hold-alls in which everything has its proper place, to contrive new wrinkles that nobody but yourself has the gigantic brain to conceive, to concoct mysterious dopes that fill the house with sanctimonious smells, to fish around for materials, in odd corners where you have no business, and generally to set the female members of the household buzzing around in curiosity, disapproval, and sundry other states of mind." - Horace Kephart.

This list will help you start the driving year in good shape.

Incidentally, these are great tasks to work on during those dreary winter Saturdays. Let’s begin!

  1. Create or buy a first aid kit. You can read my column on building a first aid kit here. If you already have a first aid kit, review the contents for any products that should be replaced. Heat and cold is hard on drugs, band aids and other items in your first aid kit. So is riding around for a year or more in your off-road vehicle. Packets break and dry out; Bottles leak; drugs expire, etc. Inspect anything a year or more old. (It’s a good idea to mark your supplies with the purchase date.) After refreshing your kit, transfer the displaced supplies to your home or other places where they’ll be used up quickly.

  2. While you’re at it, make a pocket survival kit. Here is how! Get the kids involved in this project. They will love all the small items.

  3. Restock your go bag. Like the first aid kit replace any missing or old supplies. Wet Ones, even those in foil packets, can dry out over time. Swap in some new ones, and use the others at home. Make an inventory of the contents of your bag if you do not have an inventory. Include on the inventory the date last stocked / or expiration date for each item, and minimum quantities you always want to keep in the bag.

  4. Clean up and restock your camp box. Not sure what to include? See my article here. This might be a good time to empty it out and scrub the shelves, drawers, etc. you might even need to put a fresh coat of paint on the outside. The spices, sugar, flower and many other supplies in a camp box do not get used up regularly. Inspect and refresh everything. Make sure the match box still has matches in it.

  5. Sharpen all your knives. Buy a sharpening kit if you don't have one. The only way to really get a good edge is to maintain the correct angle. Without a sharpening kit guide most people cannot hold a consistent angle. Lansky produces a good quality compact knife sharpening system. It is compact enough that you could take it to camp with you. Replace any knives that are chipped or rusty. Here is our article on Keeping a Sharp Edge and another high end sharpening system.

  6. Inspect your firearms to see if they need cleaning. Repair and replace slings, messed up scope mount screws, missing scope lens protectors, etc. Buy a new hard side, lockable gun case to meet any new state rules or to travel on airlines. Check your ammo supply, and replenish as needed. Something you might add to your actual New Year's resolutions list is to acquire a CCW this year. If not possible in your home state, see if you can get one in one of the many states that have broad reciprocal arrangements.

  7. Condition your boots if you haven’t in the past 3 or 4 months.

  8. Check the chemicals in your water filter. Replace if needed.

  9. Recycle stored gas and water. Both can go bad over time. Use up at home. Add Sta-Bil to the fresh replacement gas. It will extend the shelve life considerably. The manufactures suggests that it will extend it as much as 12 months. I have used gas treated with Sta-Bil well beyond 12 months of storage (forgot to rotate) with no issues. You only need 2 ounces for a 5 gallon can of gas. If you purchase it in the 32 oz. bottle, the price is quite reasonable.

  10. Restock the bird feeder. (OK. Just checking to see if you’re reading this column.)

  11. Stock up on any worn out winter gear. Stores tend to put that stuff on sale right about now. Donate your old clothing so others can make use of it.

  12. Inspect your repair kit (for tents, sleeping bags, and such). Replace any missing materials. Read my related article on the subject for more information.

  13. Inspect your tent, sleeping bag and other gear for rips. Replace any items that are in really tough shape. This being the off season, you should be able to find camping gear on sale. Also, make sure you have enough lantern mantels and other replacement parts.

  14. Change batteries in portable devices used off road. They can leak and ruin your unit. Use the batteries in appliances at home. Most batteries today have date on them. They are guaranteed not to be fresh and not leak until that date. If you have had a backup package of batteries for some time check the date. If the date is past, throw them away. It is not worth risking expensive electronics and gear with old batteries. View it as the cost of being insured with back up batteries.

  15. For you ham radio operators, verify that the proper simplex and repeater frequencies are programmed into your radios. This is a great time to research and load in repeaters for your trips this year. While you are at it, buy a programmer to make the job easier. Then reorganize all the repeater frequencies you have tacked onto the memory as you need them.

  16. Sort through your file of product warranties and user manuals. Toss out any for products that you no longer have.

  17. Make a calendar of events for 2014. By putting your 4WD trips on the calendar, you are more likely to actually take them. Need to brush up on some skills or add new ones? Sign up for courses, and put them on your calendar as well. You can view my schedule here.
I’ve always found that engaging in these types of activities gets me really fired up. I imagine all the fun I’ll have during my trips.

I think you’ll agree that as you start tackling the list above, you’ll get revved up about four wheeling this year.

# # # #



______________________________________ End google Ad _____ -->
On the way to Titus Canyon
Death Valley National Park
(Click picture for a larger image.) Related Articles from Badlands Off-road Adventures Did you miss the previous articles? Critical Information
Easter Safari Moab, UT March 25, 2013

Moab, UT

Sign up now for Easter Safari April 14 – April 18, 2014.

It seems a long ways away, but all the trail rides are assigned on a first come first served basis. The first date to sign up for the trails is January 21st this year. Hotels, RV parks and camp grounds need to be reserved this month. They are all close to being sold out.

So if you think you might want to go to the Easter Safari this year with Badlands Off-Road Adventures, you need to register right away. Once we have your registration; we will tell you which trails to sign up for.

http://4x4training.com/calendar/calendar.php#EJS.

A few pictures: http://4x4training.com/images/Moab/Moabpicture.html

Check out http://4x4training.com/Adventures/EasterSafari/EJSMain.html

You can register directly at http://www.4x4training.com/calendar/calendar.php#EJS
Some Upcoming Events

(click on the link for details)

Winter is a great time to be in Southern California


The clinic schedule for January & February:
  1. January 25 Getting Started Off-Road - San Diego:
  2. January 26 Advanced Beginner Clinic- San Diego:

  3. February 01 Tire Repair & Hi-Lift Mini Clinic - Hawthorne
  4. February 08 Getting Started Off-Road - LA:
  5. February 09 Winch Clinic - Mojave
  6. February 15 Advanced Beginner Clinic- San Diego:
  7. February 16 Tire Repair & Hi-Lift Mini Clinic - Borrego
  8. February 28 Advanced Beginner Clinic- San Diego:

  9. March 02 Winch Clinic - Borrego

Winch Clinics March 09 and February 02, 2014

You have 2 opportunities to attend this one day clinic. It starts with the basics and builds into complex riggings. If you are considering installing a powered winch on your vehicle, or have one already but need training to learn how to get the best from it and do it safely, you need to take this class. The one day course covers: safety related issues, basic operation of the winch, simple and complex riggings, stuck assessment, winch capability, and minimizing environmental impact. This is a hands on class. By the end of the day you will be safely rigging some complex recoveries. More Details...


You can register directly at http://www.4x4training.com/calendar/calendar.php#Winch


Tire Repair & Hi-Lift Mini Clinic February 1 and February 16, 2014

The February 1st clinic will be held in Hawthorne, CA and the February 16th Clinic will be held near Borrego Springs, CA. This 3 hour clinic will provide you with the knowledge and skills to repair the most common tire problems and to use a Hi-lift jack safely to aid you in the process. To drive confidently off-road learn how to:
  • Fix a bead
  • Plug a puncture
  • Break a bead
  • Replace a valve stem


You can find out more details on line at Tire Repair & Hi-Lift Mini Clinic:.

And register on line at http://4x4training.com/calendar/calendar.php#TireRepair.

Winch Recovery Bandana & Winching DVD
Click for higher resolution image We have our new stock with many new colors (Red, Orange, Green, and Blue) on hand. The Bandana is packed full of useful information and is a quick reference in the field when no DVD player is available."

The Bandana layout follows the “Vehicle Recovery Plan” with pathways to more detail. A unique section of the Bandana, gives the steps for a “Winch Rigging Check: Walk through” so that you verify every element of the rigging before you commit to the pull. Stuff this in your recovery kit and you will always be ready!

Pick up or order the Winching DVD too! There is no substitute for hands on training. If you can, sign up for one of Badlands Off-Road Adventure’s Winching Clinics.

Warning – the Bandana and DVD are not a substitute for proper training and use of quality equipment that is used within the bounds of their safe working load. We advise you to use the information provided in both the Winching Recovery Bandana and the "Basic to Advanced Winching and Recovery DVD" at your own risk. We cannot control the quality and specifications of the equipment used and the methods actually employed.





Winch Recovery Bandana Order Button
Colors Orange Red Blue Natural Green Natural


Order a Basic to Advanced Winching & Recovery DVD too!


(Click picture for more details)



I hope to see you on the trails!
Tom Severin, President
Badlands Off Road Adventures, Inc.
4-Wheel Drive School
310-374-8047
http://www.4x4training.com
Make it Fun. Keep it Safe.
#####
If you find this information valuable, please pass it on to a friend. You can forward them the email. If you received a forwarded copy of this newsletter and would like to subscribe for yourself, go to: www.4x4training.com/contacts.html and follow the instructions to join our mail list.
Want To Use This Article In Your Magazine, E-Zine, Club Newsletter Or Web Site? You are welcome to use it anytime, just be sure to include the following author/copyright information: Tom Severin, 4x4 Coach, teaches 4WD owners how to confidently and safely use their vehicles to the fullest extent in difficult terrain and adverse driving conditions. Visit www.4x4training.com to develop or improve your driving skill.

Copyright 2013, Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Inc.

Categories: Badlands Off Road Adventures

Avoid Off-Road Lockout

Badlands Off Road Adventures - Thu, 12/12/2013 - 00:00

Avoid Off-Road Lockout
Use BOLT brand locks. http://www.boltlock.com. They operate with your ignition key
(Click picture for a larger image.) Picture this: You drive for hours to a destination, and then realize that you left a really important piece of gear back home. It’s so important that your off-road excursion is kaput without it. Has that ever happened to you?

There are numerous ways a 4-wheeling adventure can be thrown off kilter. One cause is a secured object that you can’t get to. It could be because the lock is rusted, you lost the key, or you left the key at home. In any case, you’re up the proverbial creek without a paddle unless you’re able to resolve the matter.

Your vehicle and gear spend the majority of the time in an urban setting where theft is common. We’re so used to seeing the locking mechanisms on our vehicles and gear, we sometimes fail to account for them as we plan for the off-road trip. But then we go off road for miles and need whatever it is that’s locked down. That is when we realize there’s one thing we forgot about – the key.

As part of your preparation, make sure you review all the items that use a lock. You may find it helpful to list them on your prep checklist.

Some items typically locked down include:

  • Rims (with special wheel lug lock)
  • Gas cans
  • Hi-Lift jack
  • Shovel and ax
  • Vehicle hood
  • Trailer hitch
Avoid getting locked out Some simple steps you can take to prevent a lockout from ruining your four wheeling experience:
  1. Cut extra copy(ies) of your keys. Hide them somewhere in your vehicle. Sometimes one key as backup is not enough. If you have more than one off-road vehicle and switch gear between them, one day you will leave the backup key in the wrong vehicle!

  2. Remove all locks when you hit the trail head or better yet at home just before leaving. At home you have access to tools or professionals to cut off a lock. Of course if the lock is integral to the device (like a lug nut), you can’t remove it.

  3. Inspect and test all locks at least every few months. If any are rusty, clean and oil them. The regular use of the lock keeps it freed up. Replace any that are questionable or being difficult.

  4. Oil the locks. A drop or two of 10w30 (or similar) in the mechanism is sufficient.

  5. Use combination locks if possible. You’ll never have to worry about losing a key. But of course they can become rusted and gummed up just like any other lock. Test them frequently as well.

  6. Use BOLT brand locking mechanisms http://www.boltlock.com. Designed for a variety of accessories, they operate off your ignition key which has a high probability of being with you. Insert and turn the key, and the BOLT technology remembers your unique ignition key. These sturdy locking mechanisms are designed for Ford, GM and Chrysler vehicles. They are available for Toyota vehicles now but mostly for later models. Check the application chart before you buy one. BOLT also has cable locks and trailer hitch locks that can retain the imprint of your ignition key. They are a bit pricy.

  7. Close up of the rim with one lug nut partially removed so you can see the splines.
    (Click picture for a larger image.) A standard 19mm lug wrench will not clear the opening in the rim.
    (Click picture for a larger image.)
  8. Recently, I am seeing vehicles with rims where every lug nut is fully embedded and surrounded by a narrow opening in the rim. The lug nuts are smaller in diameter than the standard ones we are familiar with and are splined on the outside. A long deep socket-like key is needed to take all the lug nuts off. Security is achieved both by the splined lug nuts and the fact that there is no space to even insert a standard lug wrench or socket.

    Carry a second lug nut key. This applies if you have placed one of the special wheel lock lug nuts on your rims or you have the special rim with splined lug nut system.
Last Resort Plan Despite your best efforts above, Murphy's law is in full effect. You or someone traveling with you will find yourself out of gas miles from anywhere and that 5 gallon can is not coming unlocked from the vehicle. Substitute gas can (in the statement above) with any of the other items locked on your vehicle. Any of which your salvations depends on removing a frozen lock. It is time to resort to your “deep” backup plan.

And that plan is to cut off the lock!
  1. Pack a bolt cutter to get past the cable or other part of the locking mechanism.

  2. Another option is a Sawzall and an inverter. Make sure the inverter has enough wattage to run the Sawzall. The added benefit of carrying a Sawzall is all the other uses. It makes quick work of a bent tail pipe. With the right blade you can cut firewood too!

  3. Carry some welding capability. This might consist of a few rods and jumper cables if you are going to use batteries. Or install a Premier onboard welder http://www.premierpowerwelder.com. With the welder you can burn through a lock or cable. You can possibly weld a bold onto the end of a wheel nut lock and use standard tools on the bolt to remove the lug nut. If you have the new small diameter rim openings and splined lug nuts, you need to carry a full set of new lug nuts. Once you have welded a bolt to each one and destroyed it, you need new ones to put the spare tire on.

  4. If you have an on board compressor and tank, carry a 3” cut off tool. It might be slow going as the compressor tries to keep up with you, but you have a chance of cutting the lock off. A battery powered cut off tool is another option.
Don’t get locked out of your next off-road experience. Take a few moments now to review all your locking mechanisms. Make sure all work properly, and also make sure you’ll have any keys with you the next time you go four wheeling. Stock up on your “deep” backup plan!

# # # #



______________________________________ End google Ad _____ -->
On the way to Titus Canyon
Death Valley National Park
(Click picture for a larger image.) Related Articles from Badlands Off-road Adventures Did you miss the previous articles? Some Upcoming Events

(click on the link for details)

Winter is a great time to be in Southern California


The schedule of events for December and January:
  1. December 07 Getting Started Off-Road - LA:

  2. December 08 Tire Repair & Hi-Lift Mini Clinic

  3. December 14 Getting Started Off-Road - San Diego:

  4. December 15 Advanced Beginner Clinic- San Diego:

  5. January 11 Getting Started Off-Road - LA:

  6. January 12 Advanced Beginner Clinic- LA:

  7. January 25 Getting Started Off-Road - San Diego:

  8. January 26 Advanced Beginner Clinic- San Diego:

  9. February 01 Tire Repair & Hi-Lift Mini Clinic

Started thinking about Christmas gifts? - A Winch Recovery Bandana is a good stocking stuffer.
Click for higher resolution image We have our new stock with many new colors (Red, Orange, Green, and Blue) on hand. The Bandana is packed full of useful information and is a quick reference in the field when no DVD player is available."

The Bandana layout follows the “Vehicle Recovery Plan” with pathways to more detail. A unique section of the Bandana, gives the steps for a “Winch Rigging Check: Walk through” so that you verify every element of the rigging before you commit to the pull. Stuff this in your recovery kit and you will always be ready!

Pick up or order the Winching DVD too! There is no substitute for hands on training. If you can, sign up for one of Badlands Off-Road Adventure’s Winching Clinics.

Warning – the Bandana and DVD are not a substitute for proper training and use of quality equipment that is used within the bounds of their safe working load. We advise you to use the information provided in both the Winching Recovery Bandana and the "Basic to Advanced Winching and Recovery DVD" at your own risk. We cannot control the quality and specifications of the equipment used and the methods actually employed.





Winch Recovery Bandana Order Button
Colors Orange Red Blue Natural Green Natural


Order a Basic to Advanced Winching & Recovery DVD too!


(Click picture for more details)



I hope to see you on the trails!
Tom Severin, President
Badlands Off Road Adventures, Inc.
4-Wheel Drive School
310-374-8047
http://www.4x4training.com
Make it Fun. Keep it Safe.
#####
If you find this information valuable, please pass it on to a friend. You can forward them the email. If you received a forwarded copy of this newsletter and would like to subscribe for yourself, go to: www.4x4training.com/contacts.html and follow the instructions to join our mail list.
Want To Use This Article In Your Magazine, E-Zine, Club Newsletter Or Web Site? You are welcome to use it anytime, just be sure to include the following author/copyright information: Tom Severin, 4x4 Coach, teaches 4WD owners how to confidently and safely use their vehicles to the fullest extent in difficult terrain and adverse driving conditions. Visit www.4x4training.com to develop or improve your driving skill.

Copyright 2013, Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Inc.

Categories: Badlands Off Road Adventures

This Week's Net topic


Click here for this week's net preview.

OAUSA 2014 Calendar & Ham Radio Test Dates


OAUSA will host 4 events this year.  At each event we conduct Amateur Radio testing for all levels.  When highlighted, you can click on the title below for specific information concerning both the event and the testing.

OAUSA Ham Radio Net


Our weekly Amateur Radio Net is held every Thursday evening at 7:30.  You may access the Net as follows:

  • Anywhere in the US via the Western Reflector at IRLP node 9251
  • In the Southern California area via the Keller Peak Repeater (KE6TZG) at 146.385, (+), 146.2
  • In the San Diego area via the KA6UAI Repeater at 449.300,(-), 100.0
  • Via Echolink node 262484- KE6TGR-R
  • Via Echolink - connect to *World* (Ref: IRLP 9251)

All Amateurs are welcome.  If you would like your local repeater linked to the Nets, just drop us a line by using the contact us button at the top of this page.

 

View a list of upcoming Net Topics.