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Found 8 results

  1. If you ever get the chance, you have to make the drive up the Alcan! My first trip up was in 2003, when two friends and I set up a moose hunt about 30 miles north of Tok, AK in the 40 Mile area. My oldest son was stationed at Fort Richardson with his small family, and they were expecting a third child during the time my wife and I were up there. I hit the road at 4 am on a Friday morning, drove up I-15 from my home in SE Idaho, through Great Falls, one of my old stomping grounds, then on up through Calgary, Edmonton, and finally putting tires on the Alcan at Dawson Creek. Odometer said right at 2,700 miles traveled when I parked in front of the son's base housing unit on the following Monday morning. BTW, I made the trip up on the first of September, and by that time of the year, didn't suffer the frost heaves that can make the trip an abusive, excruciating drive earlier in the year. While there, the wife and I, and the son's family also drove down to Seward for lunch, and back to Anch for a great 'day trip', but we didn't get a chance on that trip to make it the rest of the way around the Kenai Penninsula to Homer, nor down to Valdez. Another trip, perhaps after the wife retires, and we can meander around and take our time doing what we want to without a compressed time schedule. Besides, I want to finally do some salt water fishing, and perhaps tie into a 'barn door'. I do love Halibut and Salmon!! I took the time to prepare the 'Burb by replacing anything, and everything that I could imagine might be worn or questionable. It paid off! I took along a full set of tools, two spare tires, u joints, bearings, well, pretty much what you'd prepare for any extended 'way-back-country' expedition. Pay for everything in Canada with a credit or debit card, and let the bank worry about the exchange rate. The locals I ran into along the way weren't really entertained when having to calculate the exchange rate between US and Canadian currency. I only took $200 cash through Canada, and stopped in Great Falls at a bank, and exchanged it there for Canadian currency. I spent the last two dollars on a bag of chips before we re-entered Montana on the way home. Oh, for those who might not have had the experience of engaging some of the Kanuks before, there's some things you absolutely must know. Do NOT ask who the ugly lady with the crown is in the photograph above the counter when you check in at the Canadian Customs! Especially not at 3 am!!! Do NOT try to keep pace with a Canadian when drinking! EVER! You will never learn the correct way to enunciate 'Canadian speak', so don't try to come off sounding like the boys in "The Great White North", eh? The Mounties WILL be behind a tree, no matter where along the way, if you try to go a couple of miles over the speed limit. (Remember to adjust you speedometer, or change your GPS to read kilometers per hour!) Also, they have NO humor for 'foreigners' trying to explain their way out of a ticket. There is no "seven miles an hour over the speed limit" rule up there, except on the major highways between and around Calgary and Edmonton, where your outfit had better be able to do the quarter in about twelve seconds, and be able to get to and maintain somewhere around 85 mph. Best comparison I know of is trying to merge into traffic around Dallas/Ft Worth, or Oklahoma City on I-40 or the business loop around OKC. ALL females northwest of Edmonton are absolutely gorgeous! Even if they have no teeth and weigh upward of 300 pounds or more. Also, they ALL have a huge, hulking male attached to them that will jealously protect them. The only thing that they value more than a woman is their sled dogs! Also, it is impossible for a mere American to come out ahead in a drunken altercation with a backwoods Kanuck! Do not try it. The speed limits are posted in kilometers per hour, you purchase gas and diesel by the liter, AND northwest of Dawson Creek, fuel up every chance you get, as it can be a VERY long walk or wait for help. Cell phone service, at least by 2005, my last trip, is spotty at best. Get the little card from your insurance company that specifically states that you are covered in Canada!!! Do it! Don't try to sneak or take a handgun of any sort through. The RCMP has absolutely NO humor. If in doubt, find someone in Alaska who has an FFL, and ship your guns up prior to traveling, pick them up there, and ship them home. Finally, remember to never, ever, disparage the Queen. Or hockey..........
  2. One of the best lessons learned from years of instructing and our forum discussions is the value of visual learning! Now, the innovative Vimeo On Demand streaming HD video program enables the streaming of 4WD Mechanix 'Tech and Travel' How-to Series HD videos covering a wide range of subjects. Under the 4x4 hood and chassis, on the motorcycle repair stand or from the work bench, I'll deliver step-by-step, close-up HD video details for shop technicians and serious DIY enthusiasts. As you would expect, the growing list of instructional videos will demonstrate best professional practices and proven procedures for each step in the process! 4WD Mechanix Magazine and 'Tech and Travel' Forums have become an online resource for reliable technical information, in depth 'how-to' coverage and off-road lifestyle content for Jeep®, 4x4 truck, SUV, OHV and dirt bike/powersports enthusiasts. Vimeo On Demand takes viewers to the next level with streaming HD video instructional step-by-step learning! By following the steps provided in each video, viewers can perform professional-level work, save considerable cost and gain valuable insights. Off-pavement, your 4x4 truck, Jeep® vehicle or dirt/dual-sport motorcycle must be reliable and safe. Performing your own work, the right way, can increase your self-reliance while enhancing your troubleshooting skills. Projects take time to complete. The Honda XR650R motorcycle upper engine rebuild project became the first Vimeo On Demand production. The work and filming experienced the customary parts delays, machine shop sublet time and unforeseen obstacles. For this reason, all rentals are for a generous 30-day period. This added value provides the time needed for viewers to perform quality work. The 4WD Mechanix 'Tech and Travel' HD Video Series at Vimeo On Demand brings select, highly detailed 'how-to' instructional videos and backcountry travel narratives to viewers. Streaming HD videos can provide close-up, professional insights and sharp HD 1080P detail—directly from your mobile device, laptop, PC or the latest big screen "Smart" television! Watch the growing playlist of available streaming HD videos at Vimeo On Demand! Moses
  3. A few years ago, i took a trip across Canada that actually started in Washington State and went across the lower part of Canada, through Vancouver, Winnipeg, Montreal, and on the way to Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. I was on my way to N.Y. for Coast Guard training, and since they were nice enough to let me drive, and i didnt have to be there for 5 weeks, i figured why not take the trip. I spent 3 days each in Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland, and i have to say, they are both very interesting places to visit. The people are pretty friendly, although a bit uppity, and the scenery is amazing. At the time, i didnt do much off road traveling, but with some of the roads through the region, at least back then, in the early 1990s, i didnt need to seek out back roads because even some of the main roads could have doubled as off road trails. While i was there, i got to see the vast Canadian and U.S. fishing fleets as well as meet a very diverse group of interesting people. Several languages are spoken in Canada, French and English being the main two, and it was interesting listening to people mix the 2 languages while speaking. Of interest to the off road crowd though, as i learned from the locals, is that there are literally thousands of logging roads, back country trails, unknown roads, and even whole villages and towns that aren't shown on a map. I know a trip to Canada isn't for everyone, but for those that can manage it, don't rule it out. I have family that moved there years ago to work in different industries, mainly oil and fishing, and they send me pics and tidbits about getting around in the less populated areas, and some of their stories make it seem like, at least in some areas, 4 wheel drive, and even mildly lifted trucks, are a must up there. Canada does have no trespass laws, but, in most places, as long as you don't tear up the property, and get permission from the owners first, even the logging roads aren't off limits, but the logging trucks have right of way. Another place i have been is the Yukon. This is another amazing place to get away from it all. There are towns and villages throughout the region, but some of those are 50 miles down back roads and trails between villages, through some amazing country that has lakes, rivers, forests, and abandoned settlements in places you wouldnt expect. The best way to get to the Yukon though is by rail through the mountains. That trip is one that i say everyone should take once in their life if they can. The train starts in Skagway, Alaska, and ends in Yukon, Canada, and goes over a mountain, one of the oldest standing span bridges in Canada, and over or next to several lakes. The trip can only be taken on the Yukon Rail Road, which has been in operation since 1898, or via a 33 mile hike. You used to be able to rent a car in the Yukon, but after having not been there in many years, i don't know if they still do that or not. They also offer a couple of different cruises. The one we took was on an old paddle wheel steamer that has been in continuous operation for almost 100 years. It goes through large lakes, as well as some very dense forested areas. None of these trips are inexpensive, but if you can afford it, they are well worth the money, if for nothing else, just as a new idea of places to get away from it all. Canada not only offers some amazing scenery, as well as places to get away from it all, but also offers unexpected and worthwhile vacation and trip ideas. It really is worth looking into.
  4. Now that school is quickly approaching, i thought i would share an idea that we use to get away for a day, or even overnight. This is something that is always for the most part unplanned. What we will do, usually on a weekend, is just take off and go for a drive. No destination in mind, no planning, and for the most part, no GPS or map. We try to travel to places we have never been, or maybe go somewhere that we have been, and then go from there. We pick an area of NY or PA that is within a few hours drive, so that we always know we will back for school and work in time, and head that way. If we don't make it to our destination, that is fine as well, and this is where the no GPS and no map come in, as well as making it interesting for everyone. We will head away from home, get to an area that looks like it might be interesting, and then try to get lost on as many back roads and out of the way places as we possibly can. We drive down a road, come to an intersection, and have someone pick a direction to turn. With 3 younger children, this also helps to keep them interested and cuts down on the "Are we there yet?" scenario. For us, we have found dirt roads that ended in seasonal use roads, found an old barely remembered fort, a hidden lighthouse, a defunct castle, a very old train bridge, a defunct and unused military base, a series of covered bridges, and even learned different ways to get back home. When you get tired in your travels, especially in the off season, hotel and motel rates are usually cheaper, which helps save money. Meals are sometimes a bit hard to find in some really out of the way places, but if you are truly lost, most GPS units will show you where lodging, fuel, and food are in relation to where you are at and your distance from those places. We have found over the years that in getting lost, you can find some interesting things you might otherwise never know in your area. A bit of caution, though. Always use your better judgement on these trips, because being that the area is new to you, you can get yourself stuck very easily. If you see a road that you dont think the conditions warrant traveling on, you can always turn around and try the next road. Getting stuck somewhere that you have no idea where you are can really put a damper on a trip! An example of this, a couple years ago, we took a trip like this, and after driving down a barely used seasonal road, instead of turning around when the road seemed to end, it looked to me like instead of the road ending, it just got narrower. Instead, we ended up driving on an ATV and snowmobile trail that was rutted and muddy, and had a couple very sharp turns, and almost got stuck, which in winter, in NY, would have been no fun at all. It also helps to find a local radio station, so that you can keep alert to weather and road conditions, accidents, impending storms, whatever the case may be. For the most part, though, it can fun a fun, interesting and rewarding way to get out of the house, and cure boredom, and if done right, isnt all that expensive depending on how far away from home you travel.
  5. Although it isn't a place for serious off-roading, some of the roads at Happy Valley can be a bit rough, especially in the early spring or late fall. Although 4 wheel drive isn't a necessity there, it is still a nice place to go and drive down some of the roads, check out the dam and the lake and maybe have a small picnic. It is perfect for people who just want a place to go that isn't full of crowds, like malls and shopping centers. Happy Valley is located on route 104 outside Mexico, NY, which is north of Syracuse, NY and south of Watertown, NY, off of route 81. According to the DEC website, the exit is exit 34, off route 81. The place is actually described as a protected state lands area, and there is a DEC office on the property. The property is about 9000 acres total, with roads, some old abandoned farm buildings, the lake, and a few campsites. They do allow overnight camping, but you have to reserve ahead of time. They don't allow alcohol on the site except by permit as far as I know. ATV's and UTV's are allowed in the summer, and snowmobiles are allowed in the winter once the snow gets deep enough. Also, for you adventurous fisherman, just north of Happy Valley, in Pulaski, NY, is the Salmon River that has salmon fishing in the late fall and steelhead from October to early spring. The NYS DEC website will have more information on when the season starts and ends for each type of fish. I know, I sound like a tour guide for Oswego County, but I lived there for quite a few years and loved it there because there were so many things to do summer and winter. Along with touring Happy Valley and fishing, it isn't very far from Lake Ontario, and a couple hours south of the Thousand Islands. There is also dog sled racing, hundreds of miles of snowmobile trails in the winter and ATV racing and trail riding in the summer, boating on Lake Ontario, and a bunch of historical areas for the history buffs—like Fort Ontario in Oswego, which has a very diverse history, or the lighthouses that are scattered up and down Lake Ontario. Oswego, NY also has a major boating festival in the mid summer, called Harbor Fest, that lasts for an entire week, but you don't have to own a boat to be a part of it. Harbor Fest isn't really an activity for kids, it's mostly to promote the boating and local alcohol-making establishments in the area.
  6. Adirondacks a couple weeks ago, we found a new place on the shore of a rather large but very shallow lake, that the deepest part was maybe 20 feet, and with all the big rocks and trees and whatever else was in the water, i didn't bother taking the jet-ski's off the trailer. Since i love to be on the water, i decided to take one of his kayaks, and he was right. I'm not saying im ready to sell the skis and the boat, but after taking 3 hours to row around the edge of the lake, i actually noticed a lot of things i missed with the power toys (what my father in law calls the boat and the jet skis).
  7. Want solitude without lakes and forests? We have the Black Rock Desert just 70 miles from home. Just don't plan a trip here during the Burning Man, as the quietude turns to a temporary swell of 50,000 people! The BLM and Burning Man have an agreement that after this event each year, the desert playa must be completely restored. The revenue from this annual event is more than sufficient to do so...At the week's end, thick alkaline dust of the Playa tracks its way down the asphalt from Gerlach to Fernley, Nevada, our town, then onto I-80 in each direction! The local Walmart, Starbucks and restaurants do a thriving business during the event week, catering to the ghostly looking participants! In addition to the Black Rock Desert, there's High Rock Canyon, where Oregon Trail wagons left their mark on the canyon walls at Fly Canyon—where they were lowered from the cliffs by ropes! This is the "oasis" after the treacherous desert crossing, and Mud Meadows' artesian springs spew cool water from the earth, feeding people, livestock and local wildlife! Moses
  8. Each of us has places and tales to share! What's four-wheeling or dirt motorcycling if not travel to places that create memories? It's not always the grandiose trip that leaves a lasting impression, either. Sometimes it's the convergence of time and place—in a most unusual way! I have four-wheeled since the mid-'sixties, and my appreciation for Jeep vehicles began with my folks' 1964 CJ-5, purchased new in the fall of 1964. On a chilly Friday night in the early spring of '65, we headed for Tonopah, Nevada in that four-cylinder CJ. It had the 1/3-2/3 seat, which accommodated all three of us, and we hunched toward the wafting heat from the dealer-installed heater...I drove with a learner's permit, so I was still fifteen years old and not ready to get my driver's license. The F-head four-banger droned along U.S. 95, and with Nevada's basic speed law, cars and trucks sailed by us at twice our speed, headed to Las Vegas. The Mizpah Hotel, a welcome sight, is a Turn-of-the-Century artifact with a gold town history and the first elevator in the State of Nevada...From Tonopah, we headed to the ghost towns of Belmont and Manhattan, then up the long Smoky Valley to Austin—in those years a hundred miles of dirt road, likely with no other vehicle in sight. Next was the Rubicon Trail in 1967, an evening campfire at Rubicon Springs with the Diablo Four-Wheelers, the Sluice Boxes, parking at Buck Island Lake to put on swimsuits and dive into the icy water...This was the trip when my folks thought I'd borrowed their CJ-5 for a "camping trip" with some folks I met—and it was—after all, we did camp overnight at the Springs! I drove prudently and did not damage the stock step plates that hung below the door entries—despite the 30-inch diameter tires...Worth noting, the Rubicon Trail was much milder in 1967, although an I-H Scout that passed through our Springs camp at dawn was later found stalled on the Sluice Box rocks, the engine's starter ring gear had been knocked off the flywheel. We towed the Scout to the top of the Sluice Box and freed the trail for traffic. In the mid-'70s, it was camping with wild horses in the Pine Nut Range after a winter deep freeze furloughed our work crew till spring. We were constructing the I-80 bypass of Winnemucca where the wind blew 30 mph and the temp dropped to minus-8 degrees F on the 10-hour night shifts. Unlike the Alaska Pipeline job, our heavy Cat equipment did not have the benefit of reverse fans, engine cowling and enclosed cabs. A scheduled two hour maintenance break between shifts one Sunday allowed the freshly spread, wetted and uncompacted fill material to freeze 18-inches deep, and the Nevada Highway Department shut down the job. Back at Carson City, in early January, I found the horse band roaming at 6,500- 7,000 feet elevation. Temperatures dipped well below zero at night. My body was still acclimated to extreme cold from the Winnemucca job—where I had worked night shifts in the open air and slept days in an unheated camp trailer. The SWB 1970 Chevy K-10 4x4 pickup had a canopy, so wind chill was not a factor. That April, I drove to the Operating Engineers' school over Highway 88 in a blizzard, discovering at Jackson that the road had been officially closed. I had pushed snow with the front axle of the K-10 from Hope Valley to 4,000 feet elevation on the westside, wipers caking with icy snow that required opening the driver's window and slapping the moving blade away from the windshield to dislodge the snow, all the while continuing to forge ahead. Carson Pass summit is 8,600 feet, and late season storms can lay down volumes of snow quickly. In the late '80s, I once again drove the Rubicon Trail with eight-year-old son Jacob and the Washoe County Search and Rescue group. I wheeled the first FJ40 Land Cruiser project built for OFF-ROAD Magazine. Taking two Geo Trackers on the Rubicon during the mid-'nineties was a deja vu and a successful publicity stunt for Chevrolet...By then I was guiding press launches, working with G.M. 4x4 SUVs and trucks at Moab and going coast to coast with Mercedes Benz for the ML320 debut. I could go on—in far more detail...You have your stories, too! Plenty of exciting trips to share, sometimes ordeals with a positive ending. That's what four-wheeling and OHV travel is all about, and that's why we do it! Share your experiences, details and insights with a community that can appreciate adventure!—Moses Ludel
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