• December 2014/January 2015 In Gear. Click to download your copy.
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  • Download the August/September 2014 In Gear
  • Download the June/July 2014 edition of the In Gear magazine
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Mission accomplished thanks to grant from TDS

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Thanks to a generous grant from the Tierra Del Sol Four Wheel Drive Club (TDS) of San Diego the 4x4 trails are now safer and more user friendly in the Inyo National Forest and surrounding BLM area. TDS supplied the money and the Eastern Sierra Four Wheel Drive Club (ES4WD) supplied the leg work and muscle to get the job done.

It started in the summer of 2013 when the TDS announced that due to a very successful Jeep Sweepstakes they would fund ground-level projects to benefit 4x4 trails. At that same time the ES4WD Club was having preliminary discussions with the Inyo National Forest about how to distribute the new California Trail Users Coalition (CTUC) maps. They are terrific maps and they need to be in the hands of the four-wheelers exploring the area. One of the primary goals of the map is to keep the OHVs on the legal roads and not create new ones. Furthermore, some of the information on the map, such as "Most Difficult" and "Difficult" sections of the trails needed to be on the ground in certain locations. The problem arises when a driver encounters a difficult trail and it is very hard to turn around or back out. 

Read more...

Get maps for your mobile devices

Need to know where you're going? Here's info about a free app that's available for both iOS and Android devices to help you get there. This info is straight from the developer's website:

PDF Maps is a mobile map application that enables you to download maps for offline use on your Apple iOS or Android smartphone or tablet. Use your device's built-in GPS to track your location on the map. Plot and record information about locations, import and export placemarks, measure distance and area, and even plot photos. You can easily browse and purchase maps from all over the world using the convenient in-app PDF Maps Store.

Forest Service motor vehicle maps (MVUMs) are available as a free download through the app.

Visit their website at pdf-maps.com to get more info and links to the app downloads.

Spotting 101: Good spotting makes a difference

Spotter guides a vehicle up Wheeler Ridge

A friend sent me a quick note asking if there are universal hand signals for the spotters. Every spotter may have a slight variation, but below is a sample of the most commonly used signals.

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10 axioms of four-wheeling

High desert landscapeFour wheeling, like any other activity, has its rules and principles. During my 40-plus years in this sport, I have seen and experienced a lot. The following axioms flow from all the wisdom I have picked up from others I respect. My list is actually longer, but I trimmed it to some of the better ones.

  1. Your instincts are wrong off-road, and you have to learn the correct ways. For example, if you’re going down the hill and the vehicle is sliding, the natural tendency is to step on the brakes. That just locks ‘em up and you slide more. If it’s wet and muddy, you will slide in the direction of off-camber. If you’re driving on a shelf road, you’ll go right off the edge. Learn the proper steps to take, and commit those to memory.
  2. Clearance and traction are basic tenets for dirt and rocks. You can get these by applying the correct driving technique and by mechanical means. The Technique comes from your driving skills, as well as your ability to read lines and chart the proper course. Mechanical means includes bigger tires and suspension to lift the body up. Traction is gained through better tires, lockers in the axels, and by airing down. Learn to drive without upgrading the vehicle with mechanical aids. You will develop better technical skills and improve your ability to pick lines.

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Geocaching: Something new to try

Geocaching is a great way to get off the beaten path

If you'd like to add some variety and adventure to your next 4x4 run, consider Geocaching along the trail. Geocaches are placed along trails to encourage others to visit the area, and often direct the searcher to something of interest that they might not have otherwise known about.

For those unfamiliar with Geocaching, it's an activity that uses a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver and other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers, called "geocaches" or "caches," anywhere in the world. A smartphone can also be used as a search tool, and there are Geocaching apps available for both iOS and Android devices.

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Clean up, clear out for new year

This is a good time to review the gear and equipment in your rig.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 childhood, is Horace Kephart. He was a writer for Field & 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 wordsmith 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.

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Latest News

  • Mission accomplished thanks to grant from TDS +

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    Thanks to a generous grant from the Tierra Del Sol Four Wheel Drive Club (TDS) of San Diego the Read More
  • Get maps for your mobile devices +

    Need to know where you're going? Here's info about a free app that's available for both iOS and Android devices Read More
  • Sierra Forest hosting open house December 11 +

    Comments on the forest's 2016 OHV grant applications due January 10 The Sierra National Forest is requesting public input for Read More
  • Bylaw proposed to change name of association +

    One of the important business items that we take care of during our annual convention is the consideration of proposed Read More
  • Date changed for January Central District meeting +

    January 17 is the new date for the Central District meeting. The meeting will start at 10AM at Kady's Kitchen, Read More
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