November 1, 2017 at 4:46 pm #198877
Out of curiosity, and hoping that it will help me plan future NWOL trips, I’m asking:
What do you want in the way of NWOL trips?
We can split that into short trips, one/two/three day trips, and longer trips.
Do you want to see natural beauty?
Drive your rig in challenging conditions?
Camp with cool people?
See historical sites and learn something of the culture & history of an area?
Have fun/interesting activities in addition to driving our 4×4 rigs?
Add classes/training on various subjects like HAM radio, land navigation, vehicle retrieval, bear spray use, first aid, etc?
For NWOL trips I tend to focus on four areas, as follows:
1. The WABDR north of Ellensburg.
2. Liberty “Jeep” trails.
3. The area between my home in Wenatchee and the NW Overland Rally site in Plain – along the Entiat Summit.
4. Douglas County/Douglas Creek.
How much “four wheeling” do you want to do? How challenging do you want it to be? Should it challenge an experienced driver with a Jeep, big tires, low gears, lockers front and rear? Or should it challenge a stock SUV without any of those pieces of hardware?
How prepared are you to accept vehicle damage as a result of participating in a particular trip?
What other activities do you want to do on these trips? Hikes? Wildlife viewing? Photography? Snowshoeing? Kayaking?
I’m hoping this will guide me, and maybe other area coordinators. What I tend to do now, is make repeat trips to areas I really enjoy and know fairly well, and make them as family friendly/stock vehicle friendly as possible.
Thanks! GuyNovember 1, 2017 at 7:46 pm #198880
Ed AmdahlParticipantPremium Member
Guy – great question. I find that I like the terrain to be challenging enough that it requires at least modest suspension upgrades to navigate. My hope is to find places that most people can’t get to, or don’t want to spend the time to get to. Ideally avoiding campgrounds with numbered spots.
I’m not looking for rock crawling or climbing crazy verticals either. If I want that I can head over to Tahuya and get my fill. This is especially true when my family is along for the ride, as my wife is more risk adverse than I am. I prefer a slower pace over fast, and I prefer to avoid really long days driving where possible. I’d rather cover 50 miles and see the sights than feeling the need to do 200+ mile days, etc.
Looking forward to the thoughts of others, perhaps some discussion around the campfire this weekend.November 1, 2017 at 9:44 pm #198882
These are great questions.
For me, I would answer all yes/no questions with, YES
I agree on the trail difficulty too. Even to the point of needing to get and walk a section before driving it.
For me, extra adventures, cool destinations, and campfire time are important.November 2, 2017 at 8:41 am #198886
Jason VanderSluisParticipantBasic Member
I’d also answer yes to most of those questions also. Not too interested in rock crawling, and vehicle smashing, but I can sit those trips out easy enough.
Really I just like to get away and get outside for 1-3 days, and if it’s someplace new- even better!November 2, 2017 at 10:18 am #198888
One trip is never going to make everyone happy. I think mixing it up is the best bet. Do some scenic trips. Do some technical trips. Do some ancillary activity trips. The people who want to do that kind of thing will sign up and the people who don’t can sign up for something more their cup of oil.November 7, 2017 at 8:54 am #198980
John RussellParticipantPremium Member
As others have said, yes to all the above. For us, neat historical places, unique areas are always high on the list. Having some time in camp is also nice. Driving is always fun, but sometimes some down time relaxing and doing other activities (i.e. snacking, napping, more snacking) at cool spot is really appreciated. Having it challenging to get there can add to it.November 7, 2017 at 12:57 pm #198982
Otis RanhoferParticipantPremium Member
Guy, For us a Yes to all the questions.
Would like to see NWOL adopt a trail / trip rating system. Some members have vehicles that can handle rougher terrain, forge deeper water, other vehicles are not as capable. This would result in safer, more enjoyable trips for everyone. That said we have always felt welcome on NWOL trips. Particularly like that NWOL is a family oriented group of fun and supportive people. We would not have been as adventurous without NWOL’s encouragement.
Below is just one of many guides for rating trails https://www.trailsoffroad.com/technical_ratings
Today each public land authority, corporate guide service, and individual clubs have their own rating system to rate the difficulty of the trail. Here at Trailsoffroad we have adopted the Colorado 4 Wheel Drive Association rating system as we believe it best explains the degrees of difficulty.
Warning: All rating is subjective. Never go on a trail alone and never be afraid to turn around if it gets to difficult. Trail ratings can change as a result of a simple rain storm, heavy winter, or a big gnarly trail rig with 42” tires tearing it up on a wet day. Conditions change daily. Trailsoffroad is not responsible for the accuracy of the ratings listed here on this site and are only considered approximations.
Graded dirt road. Dry, or less than 3″ water crossing depth. Gentle grades. 2WD under all conditions except snow. No width problems, two vehicles wide.
Dirt road. Dry, or less than 3″ water crossing depth. Some ruts. Slight grades, up to 10 degrees. 2WD under most conditions. Rain or snow may make 4WD necessary. Usually one and a half to two vehicles wide.
Dirt road. Rutted, washes, or gulches. Water crossings up to 6″ depth. Passable mud. Grades up to 10 degrees. Small rocks or holes. 4WD recommended but 2WD possible under good conditions and with adequate ground clearance and skill. No width problems for any normal vehicle. Vehicle passing spots frequently available if less than two vehicles wide.
Rutted and/or rocky road. No shelves but rocks to 9″. Water crossings usually less than hub deep. Passable mud. Grades moderate, up to 15 degrees. Side hill moderate up to 15 degrees. 4WD under most conditions. No width problems, vehicle passing spots frequently available if less than two vehicles wide.
Rutted and/or rocky road. No shelves. Rocks up to 12″ and water crossings up to 12″ with possible currents. Passable mud. Moderate grades to 15 degrees. 6″ holes. Side hill to 20 degrees. 4WD required. No width problems.
Quite rocky or deep ruts. Rocks to 12″ and frequent. Water crossings may exceed hub depth with strong currents. Shelves to 6″. Mud may require checking before proceeding. Moderate grades to 20 degrees. Sidehill may approach 30 degrees. 4WD necessary and second attempts may be required with stock vehicles. Caution may be required with wider vehicles.
Rocks frequent and large, 12″ and may exceed hub height. Holes frequent or deep (12″). Shelves to 9″. Mud 8″ deep and may be present on uphill sections. Grades to 25 degrees and sidehill to 30 degrees. Water crossings to 18″ and may have strong currents. 1-1/2 vehicles wide. 4WD required. Driver experience helpful.
Heavy rock and/or severe ruts. Rocks exceeding hub height frequent. Shelves to 12″. Deep mud or uphill mud sections. Steep grades to 25 degrees and can be loose or rocky. Water crossings may exceed 30″ in depth. Side hill to 30 degrees. One vehicle wide. Body damage possible. Experience needed. Vehicle Modifications helpful.
Severe rock over 15″. Frequent deep holes over 15″. Shelves over 15″. Mud bog conditions (long, deep, no form bottom). Over 30″ water crossings with strong currents. Steep grades over 30 degrees. Sidehill over 30 degrees. May not be passable by stock vehicles. Experience essential. Body damage, mechanical breakdown, rollover probable. Extreme caution required.
Severe conditions. Extreme caution recommended. Impassable by stock vehicles. Winching required. Trail building necessary. May be impassable. Impassable under anything but ideal conditions. Vehicle damage probable. Personal injury possible. Extreme caution necessary.November 7, 2017 at 3:57 pm #198984
A rating system is a good idea Otis.
I suspect we could easily adopt an existing one, rather than come up with our own unique system too.
That’s something I try to describe when I create an “event” for NWOL. Route difficulty and vehicle recommendations – and I do try to keep most of my trips viable for a stock SUV with good tires.
Hmm… Something for us to toss around.
Thanks! GuyNovember 7, 2017 at 7:16 pm #198992
Otis RanhoferParticipantPremium Member
We are definitely up to challenge our ability and that of Otis. Never stop learning. Just do not want to hold anyone else back.November 7, 2017 at 7:23 pm #198994
Using a rating system is a great idea. Unfortunately when I am planning a trip, there is a good chance that I haven’t been there either. All I have to go on is what I can get from the rangers/forest service (if available) during a phone call.November 7, 2017 at 8:57 pm #198995
Ole HellevikParticipantBasic Member
I definitely enjoyed the trip to Douglas Creek last weekend. I liked seeing beautiful scenery, and old ghost town, Waterville & Douglas, and the area around Douglas Creek. The first water crossing was more fun than I expected, and I had a great time meeting a cool group of guys.
Camping a couple of nights is a great option for me coming from the we(s)t side. I didn’t get to see much of Swakane Canyon, but I’m looking forward to exploring it more next month. As an alternative for those days that get us to camp early, starting a little later in the morning makes it easier to come across the mountains the same day.
I will probably pass on some of the more technical outings, I don’t mind a few more pin stripes but I’m not looking to spend a lot at the body shop either… Seeing how others ahead of me approached challenges with more or less success was very instructive, so learning more skills is absolutely interesting. I expect I’ll also do a few trips on my own, so learning self-recovery and becoming aware of my limitations is very useful
Most of my outdoor activity has been hiking and backpacking, so I’d enjoy combining this with hikes as well. In the end it’s all about enjoying the great outdoors together with a great group!November 20, 2017 at 9:11 am #199083
Chris SherburnParticipantBasic Member
Seeing natural beauty & off the beaten (paved) path historical sites are the driving force behind finally buying a 4×4.
Being new to off-roading in general, I’ll be leaning towards the easier end of the trip spectrum as I feel out and get to know the capabilities of my rig (pretty much stock aside from tires). I don’t mind challenging myself (that’s how you learn), but I want to make sure I don’t jump in too deep and get in over my head. At the same time, I don’t expect anyone to plan trips around me. A good mix of difficulty would be best. I have no problems passing on some trips that may be beyond my (or rigs) abilities and wait for more appropriate ones.
I like the idea of camping trips…though my current work load will prevent that for a while. Day trips are the best in the near future for me.
Always down for classes/training seminars. I had a blast at the NWRally this year just attending various seminars trying to act like a sponge. I’ve got a lot to learn, and I know it.
I bought the rig with the realization that it’s likely to pick up some trail damage (part of the reason I didn’t want a new rig)…but I don’t want to beat & bash it every time out so that it winds up looking like a Saturday night Street Stocker. lol Most of this will just come down to me being selective about what I get into knowing I’m a bit limited on clearance due to my restricted tire size.November 20, 2017 at 3:58 pm #199086
Chris, your Grand Cherokee should do just fine on any of the trips I organize. It might have to work a little at the Liberty Jeep Trails when I venture there, but otherwise should be fully capable of handling any other “overlanding” challenge, well, the ones that I organize.
I’m not a fan of broken trucks! 🙂
Temporarily stuck is fine. Broken is bad. And nobody goes over the edge/off a cliff or anything… PLEASE!
GuyNovember 21, 2017 at 12:10 pm #199091
Brad BaconParticipantBasic Member
Seeing natural beauty & off the beaten (paved) path historical sites are the driving force behind finally buying a 4×4. Being new to off-roading in general, I’ll be leaning towards the easier end of the trip spectrum as I feel out and get to know the capabilities of my rig (pretty much stock aside from tires). I don’t mind challenging myself (that’s how you learn), but I want to make sure I don’t jump in too deep and get in over my head. At the same time, I don’t expect anyone to plan trips around me. A good mix of difficulty would be best. I have no problems passing on some trips that may be beyond my (or rigs) abilities and wait for more appropriate ones. I like the idea of camping trips…though my current work load will prevent that for a while. Day trips are the best in the near future for me. Always down for classes/training seminars. I had a blast at the NWRally this year just attending various seminars trying to act like a sponge. I’ve got a lot to learn, and I know it. I bought the rig with the realization that it’s likely to pick up some trail damage (part of the reason I didn’t want a new rig)…but I don’t want to beat & bash it every time out so that it winds up looking like a Saturday night Street Stocker. lol Most of this will just come down to me being selective about what I get into knowing I’m a bit limited on clearance due to my restricted tire size.
I’m about in the same boat. I’d hate to be the guy who couldn’t keep up. Don’t mind pinstripes but would hate to wrinkle my A pillar or bash out a window because my Safari is too fat.November 23, 2017 at 11:51 am #199122
I don’t think anyone wants to brake stuff. If I need to help someone through a section or two or three that their rig or skills are not quite up to the task, that’s ok with me. Sharing some knowledge or giving someone a little tug with a strap, makes for a great trip. If everyone just drives up the road we might as well just stick to the pavement. If we are challenged, as a group, to get all the rigs safely to the destination we all learn something. Some will learn their limits, some will learn when and how to ask for help, and most important, some will learn how to help and make people feel good about what they have accomplished. Not everyone can afford a rig with 35’s, a V8 diesel, and lockers that walks up everything without trying. The rest of us need to learn how to actually drive our rigs and work with others as a team to get from point a to point b.
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