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Found 12 results

  1. This is the "Plaine de l'Imbo". There I am front & center in the opening seconds. The Honda XR650R is in the background. I'm still a little dazed from the beast having bucked me off... We are starting to worry however about our ecological impact on the plain, so we might have to constrain ourselves to a more limited part of it. The black Yamaha Tenere you see in the video makes so much noise you could probably hear it in Nevada! But this is not the only riding venue we have - and this is not typical of most of the rest of the country. Here's another link that will give you an idea of more typical scenery. There are single and two-track trails of all sorts going from hill to hill. We basically live in a moto playground - just stay off the roads as Burundian traffic is dangerous for bikers! David
  2. This is actually a small town in northern PA, but they host a variety of events and activities. The town is a starting point to the Pennsylvania grand canyon, which by itself hosts amazing views as well as different activities, from short scenic train rides, to horse and buggy rides on the old rail bed in the canyon, to off road events, to a variety of history. The part i like best is that you can see quite a bit in just a day trip, which living 45 miles from there, we do frequently. The biggest attraction, the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon, is a few miles south of Wellsboro, but along the way, there are historic buildings, such as turn of the century (1900s) hotels, the town park, which has several monuments to the founders of the town, as well as a water fountain dedicated to the old Dutch children's story, Wynken, Blynken and Nod. It really is interesting to see. The entire downtown area of Wellsboro is full of old 1900s buildings, including a hotel, a restaurant that has been in business over 100 years, an early 1930s movie theater, and even a converted train car that now serves as a diner. A few miles north, there is a passenger excursion train that offers rides to a pair of man made lakes, known locally as Tioga Dam, or officially as the Tioga-Hammond Lakes Park. The excursion train offers everything from short, quick trips to the lake, to lunch and dinner trains. Tioga-Hammond lake offers boating, fishing, camping, day use picnic areas, as well as swimming areas, and even a 4th of July fireworks show over the water. The best part, at least for me, is that unlike most places, Tioga-Hammond lake, offers free parking for all their day use facilities, whereas most parks charge for that. If you come in from the north, from Pa route 15, and drive along PA 287, and are heading south, you can see, on the road that runs along the lakes, where miners in the early 1900s blasted through the rock to not only make the road, but also to run the railroad tracks. There are also rally events that are hosted by the Waste Management Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally. Their website is http://www.stpr.org/ You can find information on their site about not only rally and off road events, but other events in the area as well. While the rally events aren't actually full-on rock climbing, trail buggy style events, they are very fun to watch. A few miles away, there is also the town of Tioga, which hosts several events, from a county fair, to mud bogging, and even truck and tractor pulls. Now, on to the big one, the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon. As you head out from Wellsboro, on the way to the Grand Canyon, there is not only some very beautiful scenery, but also some historic sights, such as camps from the 1930s for the miners who built the railroad that went through the canyon, to a small zoo that although it isn't very big, does have a diverse array of animals and is a nice place to visit, especially, if like me, you have children who are fascinated with animals. A few of their attractions include a tiger, reindeer, and from time to time, an elephant. Before you get to the canyon top, the road winds through tree filled small hills, and offers some very impressive scenery. Once you get to the canyon, at the top, which unlike a big hike, you can pull into the visitors center and gift shop, right on top of the canyon. They do offer hiking trails along the top of the canyon that have some amazing views of the canyon and surrounding area. You can sometimes also see Bald Eagles, and Osprey in flight. The visitor's center also offers pay to watch ($0.25) binoculars, and if you know where to look, you can see the camps that are situated on the side of the canyon, from when the railway went through there. Once you are done hiking the trails, and spending time at the top of the canyon, you can then go to the bottom, and not only ride bicycles through the bottom, there are also a couple of companies that offer horse and buggy rides through the entire canyon as well. Motorized traffic, however, is not allowed, and is strictly prohibited in the bottom of the canyon. There are places that allow for picnic stops, and there are even hiking trails at the bottom of the canyon. Along the bottom of the canyon, you can see original and restored rail stations and also see the camps that are left from the days that the railroad was first built. According to the history, guys moved millions of tons of rock and dirt, with crude equipment, so that the railroad could be laid at the bottom of the canyon. All in all, it is a good place for a day trip, or even a week or two, because the area has so many activities and events.
  3. In this HD video, catch a glimpse of the magazine's neighborhood. Less than 40 minutes from the office, we were following wild horses at 6000 feet elevation the first week in March. Temperatures dropped into the teens that night, the wind blew 80 mph over the ridges. These tough horses make good role models! This video was originally filmed for the Q&A Vlog at the magazine. The video is now available at Vimeo as well, reaching a broader viewing audience. Enjoy! Moses
  4. Forum member Alberto from Colombia has a 1989 Jeep YJ Wrangler built at the Brampton, Ontario, Canada Plant. "Brampton" brings back great memories, Alberto! In 1988, the heyday of film photojournalism, I covered the Jeep Cup Rally Finals at Ontario. In those years, you could fly from the U.S. to Canada without a lot of fanfare (no passport required), and my flights took me from Southern California to Toronto. I competed at 1987 and 1988 Jeep Cup Rally regional events as a media driver. 1987 was the first-year of the EFI 4.0L Jeep XJ Cherokee 4x4. My co-driver was Chuck Williams, and we drove a spanking new model from San Diego to Placerville, California. My resulting cover story for OFF-ROAD Magazine depicted the new Jeep YJ Wrangler negotiating a steep and rocky, wheel off the ground turn on a Sierra Nevada trail. The next year, I did the Reno, Nevada Jeep Cup Rally Regional in a YJ Wrangler, scaling the rocks from Lockwood to Virginia City. Jeep® had just been acquired by Chrysler Corporation, and the rally finals would be held at Ontario, Canada. The finals included a visit to the Brampton Plant and chance to meet the enthusiast workforce that had come of age with AMC/Jeep® and now operated under the Pentastar banner. Our driving route for the Finals was the wooded wetlands, old mining and logging roads and stream crossings above West Nipissing. The competition day began awkwardly when my open 35mm camera case fell unceremoniously out the door of a new Jeep YJ Wrangler...The driver, unaware that I was standing outside the vehicle and reaching for a lens in the camera case perched on the passenger seat, let out the clutch to merge our Jeep with the procession. I used Nikon FE2 bodies with a full lens complement, and all of this rolled out and across the ground. Quite fortunately, nothing but one relatively inexpensive UV filter received damage. This camera equipment lasted for many years after this shoot... On assignment for three magazines, one in the U.S. and two abroad, made this a tight shoot. The country was rough, muddy and wet, and as the day unfolded, I forded icy streams afoot to catch memorable images, that eventually made covers and center spreads. One shot in particular captured a pair of controversial, square YJ headlamps that danced at the waterline of a swift moving north stream crossing. Following its magazine exposure, this color image came to life once more on the back cover of my Jeep Owner's Bible. These were 4.2L Jeep inline six powered 4x4s that never missed a beat—with their Carter BBD carburetors! We drove similar Jeep YJs over the Rubicon Trail and at other Jeep Cup challenges. As new models, the carbureted 4.2L Wranglers proved their mettle on challenging and tough two-track trails. The trip home from Canada was uneventful, though I did wonder about the images still undeveloped on Fuji 100 film. Those were the early years of X-ray baggage checks at airports, and our journalists' lead-lined film pouches got tested. There was no room for error with 3,000 miles of travel to the photo lab! All turned out well, the three publications each got unique images from that bell-to-bell assignment. The Jeep YJ Wranglers did well, too, and the journalists and drivers enjoyed the many challenges. This all shined through on the pages of magazines across the globe. Moses
  5. 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..........
  6. One sight that most folks enjoy is horses running free on their natural habitat. In the Far West, this has become more common since the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act, which originated at Nevada with the efforts of Wild Horse Annie and others. When I was high school age at rural Nevada, we four-wheeled in the Pine Nut Range east of Carson Valley, at Smith Valley and across northern Nevada. This feral horse country has been a big part of my outdoor life. The article that accompanies this HD video is available at the playlist for the magazine's 4WD Travel and Adventure Channel. We're fortunate with our ready access to wild horses. The 4WD Mechanix Magazine base at Fernley, Nevada places us within ten minutes of wild horse country. Some folks within the city limits see feral horses within their neighborhoods. Our family at Virginia City and Silver City avoid planting flowers—local feral horses will eat them! When we drive the local secondary highways at night, we're vigilant about watching out for wild horses crossing the road. Horses mixing with cars can be deadly. In a world of 24-hour news and "reality TV", there's something liberating about watching and filming wild horses in their habitat. Access to these animals has an affordable price of admission: some fuel, a reliable 4x4 or quieter dirt OHV and some decent hiking boots for a trek in the backcountry... Moses
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. I know this is already known as a popular tourist destination, but this post isn't so much about the tourist areas as it is the non traditional areas. While the 1000 Islands does offer exceptional boating, camping, lodging, food and even some hiking, what most tourist sites don't touch much on is the historical areas. One of the things that i did, when we went there a couple years ago, was to stay away from the traditional, known tourist areas, and instead, get caught up in the wilderness. I found not only many historical buildings, from old farm houses to an old school house, and even a fort left over from the french-indian war, tucked away on a road that wasn't even shown on my GPS. The state is supposed to have plans to restore it. Another thing i found quite a few of were lighthouses. Being that the 1000 Islands are right on Lake Ontario, and also near the St. Lawrence causeway, and also across from Ontario, Canada, there is a lot of boat and ship traffic. There was also an old boat yard that was built in the late 1800s, tucked away at the end of a road and still in operation. Most of these places you won't find in tour guides, but if you are like me, a bit of getting lost and you will find a host of interesting things to see and do. One tourist attraction i do want to mention, though, mainly because it is a sight to see, is Boldt castle. The only way to get to the castle is by boat, but it is worth the short trip. The castle is a bit of a tragedy, in that the original owner and builder, George C Boldt, who made his money building hotels, had built the castle for his wife. However, before the castle was completed, his wife passed away suddenly, and the day she passed, he told the workers to stop and abandoned the castle unfinished. I will add a small note here about the rest of the 1000 Islands. There are tons of websites about the area, but most of them aren't up to date on current events and happenings, so if you would like more info on the region, the best site is http://www.visit1000islands.com/visitorinfo/ They not only have info on the boating, camping, lodging, and food in the area, but also the most current and up to date information on special events and gatherings. For the folks who would like information on Boldt castle, with several pics and visitor info, that site is http://www.boldtcastle.com/visitorinfo/.
  10. 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).
  11. 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
  12. 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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