Your Very First Off Road Experience

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JandAOffRoad

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What was your first off road experience like and what advise would you give to the beginner off road enthusiast.

My first experience was with my 1994 Toyota SR5 4X4 in Mammoth. We took some fire road off Highway 395 and just followed it up into the hills. The fire road eventually ended and branched into other roads through June Lake area, some light water crossings and some minor hill climbing in 4L. Luckily nobody got stuck because to be honest, none of us were prepared with recovery straps, winches, etc.

This time around my OV is going to be outfitted with proper equipment before hitting the trails. You just never know.
 

Quicksilver

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It's been so long ago, I don't remember. My first car (in the mid-80's) was a '77 Ford Pinto. Took it on forest roads and such all the time. It got me through high school, but I pretty much destroyed the suspension on it. I made sure my next vehicle was a 4x4, and with a few brief exceptions, I've had one ever since.
 

PCO6

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My first off roading was in the early '70s when I raced in the C.O.R.R.A (Canadian Off Road Racing Association) series. I started during my last few years of college. Myself and 2 friends built cars during the winter and raced all summer. The race club organizer listed us the "Big Three Racing Team" in the race program which was kind of funny as we were among the youngest on the track. It was a LOT of fun!

I left racing to restore cars and eventually got into Jeeps. My current off roading is a bit "tame".



 

Phildirt

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My first and almost all of my early off road experiences were in the woods in /around North Florida and involved beer/girls. Never really considered it a hobby. Now I just cruise on the beach and in some moderate to easy trails around Northeast FL/SE Georgia. I'd say the biggest difference now is I have recovery equipment, a first aid kit, no beer, and the girls are my daughters.

I will add if I had the truck I have now when I was younger I would probably have destroyed it pretty quickly doing something stupid.

I've owned several trucks but only 2 4X4s, a 1980 Dodge w100 and my current 05 Burb. I had a 92 S10 on 33s with too much lift that I drove like an idiot back in the day. I called it Swamp Donkey. I thought it was really cool but looking back I probably made more than a few people shake their heads.
 

Kent R

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Year 70-71? in a VW bug and yes they do get airborne. My advise is just go and do! it if you get stuck you will learn, if you break something you will learn, you might get lost you learn. Have fun see new things, and always learn from every off road experience.
And one last thing always help new people to the sport remember you were new at one time.
 
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theorangekl

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My first off-road expierence was when I didn’t even have a drivers license. I had a learners permit and wanted to bring my mother on some trails. I ended up having a blast and my mother ended up crying in fear. Good times. Good times


Sent from my iPhone using OB Talk
 
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VCeXpedition

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1981, I owned a 1974 Dodge power wagon step-side, lifted, huge (31") tires, almost no suspension, doing donuts in some church parking lot, I learned that 4 wheel drive behaves very differently than rear wheel drive (because nobody drove a front-wheel drive in 1981!).

Almost all of my early off-road and 4 wheel driving experience was related to snow driving, getting to work on the hill, pulling people out of ditches, lots of fun.

It wasn't until I bought a 1975 Toyota Landcruiser FJ40 that I became really interested in backcountry exploration, it was more fun in a smaller car than a big truck for me. Packing up all the needed stuff in the back of the '40 and going out for a couple days with friends in the mountains, good times. Evolution after that, one 4x4 after another including a short stint with a Subaru Brat that was extremely capable especially in the snow.

If I were to give anyone here that was just getting into serious backcountry experiences, it would be to get some good advice and training about how to drive, how to self-recover, what are some driving techniques, what to expect, and most of all get some experiences of their own in their own vehicle.
Then, go out with someone, don't go alone, at least to begin with, and preferably with someone with more experience than you so you can learn stuff and overcome fears associated with risking your life in a car.

My 2 cents.

Dan.
 

Jrfelkins

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1981, I owned a 1974 Dodge power wagon step-side, lifted, huge (31") tires, almost no suspension, doing donuts in some church parking lot, I learned that 4 wheel drive behaves very differently than rear wheel drive (because nobody drove a front-wheel drive in 1981!).

Almost all of my early off-road and 4 wheel driving experience was related to snow driving, getting to work on the hill, pulling people out of ditches, lots of fun.

It wasn't until I bought a 1975 Toyota Landcruiser FJ40 that I became really interested in backcountry exploration, it was more fun in a smaller car than a big truck for me. Packing up all the needed stuff in the back of the '40 and going out for a couple days with friends in the mountains, good times. Evolution after that, one 4x4 after another including a short stint with a Subaru Brat that was extremely capable especially in the snow.

If I were to give anyone here that was just getting into serious backcountry experiences, it would be to get some good advice and training about how to drive, how to self-recover, what are some driving techniques, what to expect, and most of all get some experiences of their own in their own vehicle.
Then, go out with someone, don't go alone, at least to begin with, and preferably with someone with more experience than you so you can learn stuff and overcome fears associated with risking your life in a car.

My 2 cents.

Dan.
I know this isn’t a step side but I saw it last week in Utah and thought it was so cool. A diesel in this would be sweet.



Sent from my iPhone using OB Talk
 

VCeXpedition

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I know this isn’t a step side but I saw it last week in Utah and thought it was so cool. A diesel in this would be sweet.

Sent from my iPhone using OB Talk

Oh Man! that was it, great memories of that truck. It was all that same yellow too, no fancy stripes.

Mine had the white spokes and 31" Cepek's, which were the biggest tire you could reasonably get at that time.
W100, short bed, bench seat, 318 cu.in V8, 4 speed with super-low 1st, manual hubs, thing was an animal and I didn't care about fuel economy 'cause i was killing it in construction at that time!
And this girl I was dating at the time, she... well, nevermind



Thanks for the memories!


Dan.
 

MOAK

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I had a 1966 VW set up very similar to this. However, mine was red and did not have the lights up top. I ran simple fog lamps on the front bumper. I was all over the mountains and the Mojave back then and well down into what is now Joshua Tree NP. My safety kit did include a fire extinguisher, a tow chain, my tow bar, a small tool kit and a couple of compress bandages, just in case. I'd carry a few gallon jugs of water and dry food. cheap tent and cheaper army surplus sleeping bag. No Pads, No cooler, No conveniences. Once, and maybe my first time out, I was a few miles north of the foothill freeway in the Big Tujunga canyon. I flooded the engine during a water crossing. Some gals came along in a K-5 and pulled me out.. I spent the rest of the afternoon pulling all my plugs, took the rotor cap off, and laid that along with the wiring and the plugs out in the sun to dry . I cranked it over a few times and water was spurting out the spark plug holes. I waited. About dusk I put everything back together, tuned the key, and it fired right up. I do miss the simplicity of those reliable old bugs.
images.jpg
 

Bouncer

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My first experience was when I bought my then girlfriend (now wife of 10 years) a 94 YJ from Rockford IL sight unseen for $2,000 and towed it back to Oklahoma. It was red, rusty, rattled, and stock(cant decide what was the worst trait). It was the I4 with a manual tranny. We took it off-road under a bridge in Jones OK with the top down and drove in the sand/mud with bald tires and no recovery gear. We got stuck in about 2 feet of soupy mud. We were the only ones down there and over a mile back to the road. It took over an hour of taking turns pushing/ reversing and first gear. In the end we were filthy, carpet got pulled, synchros were gone, and I was hooked.
 

old_man

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My first overlanding was on a horse. I rode alone from our ranch in Walden, Colorado up over the Continental Divide and spend three days knocking around before coming home. I was 12 and that was 1964.

Things like that would get someone thrown in jail these days. But when you were raised on the farm, things were different. From there I graduated to a 1962 Ford Pickup the next year.
 

Smileyshaun

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had to ask my parents on this one. Earliest was when I was about 6 months old and my parents went out with the jeep club my dad was joined up with. The earliest one I remember is about 5-6 years old with my dad and the jeep club out at sand lake in Oregon , I remember rippin v8s with either open headers or side pipes just blasting in the sand and my dad tying one of those long whip looking pieces of seaweed to the bumper and other guys trying to run the end of it over .
 
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JandAOffRoad

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I had a 1966 VW set up very similar to this. However, mine was red and did not have the lights up top. I ran simple fog lamps on the front bumper. I was all over the mountains and the Mojave back then and well down into what is now Joshua Tree NP. My safety kit did include a fire extinguisher, a tow chain, my tow bar, a small tool kit and a couple of compress bandages, just in case. I'd carry a few gallon jugs of water and dry food. cheap tent and cheaper army surplus sleeping bag. No Pads, No cooler, No conveniences. Once, and maybe my first time out, I was a few miles north of the foothill freeway in the Big Tujunga canyon. I flooded the engine during a water crossing. Some gals came along in a K-5 and pulled me out.. I spent the rest of the afternoon pulling all my plugs, took the rotor cap off, and laid that along with the wiring and the plugs out in the sun to dry . I cranked it over a few times and water was spurting out the spark plug holes. I waited. About dusk I put everything back together, tuned the key, and it fired right up. I do miss the simplicity of those reliable old bugs.
View attachment 62970
I'm guessing this bug was a BLAST to drive. Very cool post and love the story you told! Awesome...

I too had a bug, but not Baja style. Had a 1963 bug and was a fun car to drive in general.
 
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Kent R

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I had a 1966 VW set up very similar to this. However, mine was red and did not have the lights up top. I ran simple fog lamps on the front bumper. I was all over the mountains and the Mojave back then and well down into what is now Joshua Tree NP. My safety kit did include a fire extinguisher, a tow chain, my tow bar, a small tool kit and a couple of compress bandages, just in case. I'd carry a few gallon jugs of water and dry food. cheap tent and cheaper army surplus sleeping bag. No Pads, No cooler, No conveniences. Once, and maybe my first time out, I was a few miles north of the foothill freeway in the Big Tujunga canyon. I flooded the engine during a water crossing. Some gals came along in a K-5 and pulled me out.. I spent the rest of the afternoon pulling all my plugs, took the rotor cap off, and laid that along with the wiring and the plugs out in the sun to dry . I cranked it over a few times and water was spurting out the spark plug holes. I waited. About dusk I put everything back together, tuned the key, and it fired right up. I do miss the simplicity of those reliable old bugs.
View attachment 62970
Very cool! Brings back memories
 

Nickzero

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This one dates back to when I owned the '00 TJ. I bought her in Western NC and drove her down to FL where I outfitter her with a 2'' RE budget boost and 31'' BFG A/T tires. This was a virgin Jeep Wrangler and it definitely started my passion for Jeeps and the 4x4 life. I loved this Jeep! I ended up driving to Ocala with about 20 Jeep club members where I first got the true off road experience. She tackled every thing Hard Rock through at it. It was one hell of a day!
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JandAOffRoad

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My original post needs to be modified. I had mentioned my first 4x4 experience being in Mammoth with my Toyota SR5. I was incorrect. I actually forgot about when I was in the service and stationed in Hawaii. The post above with the Jeep jarred my memory !

I purchased a Rengage Jeep 4x4 (don't ask me the year because I don't recall..was a LONG TIME A GO, thus why I forgot..hahaha) and we use to go out camping and trailing in some of the hills of Hawaii. Most of us had Jeeps and there were a few trucks. Had a blast!
 

Nickzero

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My original post needs to be modified. I had mentioned my first 4x4 experience being in Mammoth with my Toyota SR5. I was incorrect. I actually forgot about when I was in the service and stationed in Hawaii. The post above with the Jeep jarred my memory !

I purchased a Rengage Jeep 4x4 (don't ask me the year because I don't recall..was a LONG TIME A GO, thus why I forgot..hahaha) and we use to go out camping and trailing in some of the hills of Hawaii. Most of us had Jeeps and there were a few trucks. Had a blast!
Diggin the Rig! I'm glad I could be of assistance, haha!
 
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Jeepsies

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My first off-roading experience was right after I bought my Jeep in Portland, Oregon. Didn't have a clue what I was doing, had no recovery gear and went alone. Boy have I learned since then. I took my Jeep to Leavenworth, WA with my wife and kids of course. Found a random forest service road that went up the side of a steep hill with very little room to give off the ledge. Scared the crap out of my occupants, and myself a little. Eyes were as big as golf balls! Definitely don't recommend doing what I did for a first timer.

Now as a more seasoned off-road enthusiast, having run some of the more difficult trails in the nation, my recommendations for newbies is as follows.

1. Bring plenty of water regardless of the trail, climate, or duration of the adventure. You never know what will happen. Water can, and will, save your life.
2. Never wheel alone. I'm talking about wheeling and rock crawling here. Not 2WD forest trail driving.
3. Regardless of the difficulty level of your off-road experience, make sure you always let someone know where you are going and when you plan to be back. Inform them that if they don't hear from you by a certain time and date to raise an alarm and provide the route or location to the appropriate authorities.
4. Don't forget to air down your tires to an appropriate level for the terrain and have a plan for airing them back up.
5. If you don't think you want to attempt something, don't let anyone talk you into it. Your off-road vehicle is probably more ready for the adventure than you are at that point. But since you control the vehicle, you AND ONLY YOU make the call.
6. Trail guides are guides. Use discretion when listening to anyone else.
7. When in doubt, stop your vehicle, get out and have a look around. Take your time choosing your best lines.
8. It's called crawling for a reason. If you are doing over 10 mph on a rock crawl you are probably doing it wrong. Slow down.
9. Use your gears, that's what they're there for.
10. Have fun, enjoy the ride! Take photos! But always remember to err on the side of caution.

Eric AKA Jeepsies
 

Bilbo

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My very first offroad experience was when I was 16 in my 1963 completely stock VW Bug. My buddy had a Willys and we would go to the gravel pits in Kirkland and challenge ourselves to climb the hills. That VW did pretty well!
 
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