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Desert Tortoise - Desert Survivor?

Mojave Desert Tortoise

Ever wonder why there is such uproar when there is something that involves the Desert Tortoise (AKA gopher tortoise)? After all it’s just a turtle, you can buy them at the pet store, right? In this case, WRONG. There are significant differences between the two. Both reptiles are from the order of Testudines, but with different family classifications. The major difference between the two is that tortoises are land dwellers, whereas turtles live in or very near water at all times. The bodies of both tortoises and turtles are shielded by a shell, the upper part is called a carapace, the lower portion is called plastron. These two parts of the shell are attached by a bridge, meaning that the head and limbs of both the tortoises and turtles may be withdrawn from the shell; the whole body can never be detached from the shell.

Both tortoises and turtles lay eggs on the ground. The mothers will dig a burrow and lay two to twelve eggs. It takes from 90-120 days for the eggs to hatch. Once the hatchlings emerge from the shell, they dig their way to the surface. The annual death rate of adult tortoises is typically only a few percent, but it is much higher for the young. Only 2-5% of hatchlings are estimated to reach maturity. Estimates for the desert tortoise hatchlings to reach 1 year of age is 47-51%. And survival from 1-4 years of age is 71-81%. In a laboratory experiment, temperature influenced hatching rates and hatchling gender. Incubation Temperatures of 88 degrees or less resulted in all males. Temperatures above 91 degrees resulted in all females. No mortality rates were available for turtles.

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To incorporate or not to incorporate - an important question

The following question was posed to Cal4Wheel:
I see where several clubs are non-profit; is there a reason for this other than taxes and if so, do you know what classification they are using for their non-profit status?

Answer:
Thanks for contacting Cal4Wheel with your question.

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Deadly Mistakes: Spinning Tires

Jeep spinning tires

Getting stuck is a common occurrence among four wheelers. After all, we intentionally drive in difficult areas. Every situation is different, but one common trait I see is the inappropriate use of power to get through. It seems logical enough: I’m stuck or losing momentum; why not just hit the gas? In reality, you want to throttle back or back out in most situations.

Hitting the gas (throttle) often just causes the wheels to spin. Without traction, you begin to drift or slide. Because the ground is never level, you’ll slide in whatever direction is off camber. You could slide into a pile of rocks or worse—go off the edge of a cliff.

You could go from being merely stuck to a life-threatening situation.

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Adventures of replacing a CV joint on my driveshaft

Let me share a repair I recently performed on my 1998 Ford Ranger 4x4. I noticed one day that I had a noise coming from my truck as I drove it. This lasted for about a month, kept getting louder and started to pick up a small vibration. I quickly found the source of the noise, the CV joint on the front driveshaft was failing.

Upon looking at the driveshaft I was somewhat perplexed. I had never seen a driveshaft with a CV joint in it. I have replaced many a driveshaft with the traditional cross type universal joint. I mean, how hard can this be? I’ve replaced front half shafts on front wheel drive cars and torn the shafts apart to “see how they work.”

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Camping hygiene

Four-wheeling presents a host of challenges in any environment. Drivers naturally focus on terrain and techniques. Therefore at the end of long day, food safety and hygiene don’t always get the attention they’re due. Let’s review some basics.

Safe food handling and storage

Keeping food chilled properly can be a real chore. A long trip to a remote destination during hot weather puts a strain on any cooler. Eggs, milk and raw meat, in particular, must be kept chilled. A cooler is OK for a day or two, but you’re better off buying a 12 volt on board refrigerator/freezer. I have used one for many years, and highly recommend it. They’re not cheap — good ones run $800 - $1,000 — but the convenience and peace of mind they provide is worth it. Make sure you buy a top model. Reliable brands to consider include ARB, Engel and SportFridge. A good 12 volt fridge/freezer is compact, energy efficient, and easy on your battery. Energy consumption varies, but they typically draw about 2 or 3 amps. That may sound like a lot, but it’s not. You could get by for at least a day or more without charging your battery. Remember that the fridge draws power only when it’s cycling. You can minimize cycling by parking in shaded areas when possible and limiting your access to the fridge. Night time is easier on the unit. It’s naturally cooler, and the fridge doesn’t get opened as frequently. Even though the fridge/freezer runs efficiently, it’s a good idea to have a back-up plan. You could install a second battery—to run the fridge/freezer—or pick up a Micro-Start personal power supply. Though small, the Micro-Start packs a punch, and will jump start your engine.

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What's on your 4WD bucket list?

Maybe this vehicle is on your bucket list!Have you seen the movie, “The Bucket List”? If not, you’ve probably heard about it. Briefly, it’s the story of two terminally ill men (played by Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman), who try to atone for their lives by making the best use of their final days. As they travel the country—ostensibly while terminally ill, though they appear quite healthy—they enjoy all sorts of experiences.

The term “bucket list” stems from that movie, though people don’t feel they need to be dying to create a wish list. Instead, a bucket list is a collection of goals to be accomplished before the person “kicks the bucket.”.

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  • Desert Tortoise - Desert Survivor? +

    Mojave Desert Tortoise Ever wonder why there is such uproar when there is something that involves the Desert Tortoise (AKA gopher tortoise)? After Read More
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