Father/Daughter wheelin'

I grew up in the back of my family's Bronco, starting in a car seat. In September 2018, I revisited the Rubicon Trail, this time behind the wheel. My dad, Larry Stockton of the Joaquin Jeepers, is the best spotter I know and could guide me through anything day or night – which is what happened as we drove into the Rubicon Foundation property by headlights.

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Newbie says thanks for Niagara Rim Poker Run

I just got back from the Niagara Rim Poker Run and wanted to share some of the lessons this newbie learned. But first a thank you to all the blue shirts for running such a wonderful event.

If there is a social, try and make it I got there late (my bad), so missed a good chance to meet my fellow drivers.

If most people are going to camp I strongly suggest camping.  Again, a chance to socialize and allows you to relax after the run, at the socials or dinner without having to worry about driving. It also would have saved me time in the morning as I could have aired down the night before and not faced an hour’s drive. I stayed at a hotel, which had its bennies: a bed and a hot shower vs an inflatable mattress (unless Jackie decided otherwise sharp claws) and a cold shower if any. Maybe next time will investigate renting a trailer.

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Impressive base camp selection

How to choose a perfect basecamp

Because many 4WD excursions last two days or more, there’s usually the need to select a campsite arrangement. You can elect to go with a base camp, or set up camp at a different location each night (what I call a cruise or a moving camp).

Another option is a hybrid variety. This is handy for really long excursions, say in excess of seven days. Use a base camp for a few days, then a moving camp for other days in your trip.

There are no hard and fast rules. Select the arrangement(s) best suited to your trip, its location and the needs of your guests.

Before going further, we should review some fundamentals of campsites. Regardless of the style you select, it should:

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Hemet Jeep Club goes for a ladies' run

The birds were singing, the sun was shining, and we had eight brave women willing to follow me into who-knows-what-we-would-find on Saturday, April 8. Although this was a “women’s run,” we graciously allowed men to trek with us. We staged at the corner of Florida and Fairview and, after a brief drivers’ meeting, headed south: Anza or bust! We made it to Anza and didn’t bust; always a good sign. A shout-out to the Dairy Queen for opening early to those of us seeking restroom and ice cream — not necessarily in that order. Donna DeVore and Cari DeVore willingly traded off as TEC (Tail End Charlee-n)! Great job, by the way!

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Vehicles in snow

Off-Roading 101

Off-roading takes many forms.

It can be a remarkable adventure into the outback, or a simple drive to your favorite backcountry picnic spot.

It can be a hair-raising crawl over mountainous rocks or a family camping trip in the Sierras.

Wherever your 4x4 takes you, there are many important shortcuts and tips that can help make your adventure all the better.

That’s why land use warrior Del Albright and I wrote and published 102 Off Road Tips.

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An opportunity for a quick lesson in finding township and range.

Be a trail leader

You’ve driven the trails numerous times. Have hundreds of hours of 4WD experience under your belt (some of which, of course, is spent outside of the vehicle). You’re good with people, and feel your managerial skills are top notch. You’d like to be Trail Leader for an upcoming excursion. What’s next?

First, I commend you for wanting to take on a leadership role. As a certified professional 4WD Trainer with more than 40 years of off-road experience, I know the value of a good Trail Leader. Our hobby could use more people willing to step forward and fulfill this role.

Being a Trail Leader is not an easy task. It involves skills, personality and patience. Here are my Top 10 qualities of a great Trail Leader.

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Mojave Desert Tortoise

Desert Tortoise - Desert Survivor?

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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