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Journal Entries for 2008-02-20 RV Prescott
Summary: We met Scott and started our 4x4 training.

Wednesday, February 20th: We met Scott when he was our leader on the December El Camino del Diablo Expedition with the Roamer. We were so impressed with his professional manner and offroad knowledge and capabilities that we discussed some personal 4x4 training. We subsequently made arrangements to meet with him in Prescott for two days of 4x4 training. We had just had major modifications made to the Jeep (33" tires, a 3-1/2" lift kit and a winch), so we wanted to make sure we knew what we were doing and could make the most of our very capable vehicle!! We plan on doing a lot of offroading in the future!!!

We were hooking up the Jeep, getting ready to leave for Prescott, when we discovered that our 10" drop hitch was too low!!! We'd raised the tow bar ears on the front bumper of the Jeep about 6"!!! The towing spec is a maximum 4" difference in height between the two vehicles. The Jeep was 5" high with the 10" drop hitch and 5" low without the 10" drop hitch.So...we hooked up without the 10" drop hitch, stopped at Spanky's in Parker and bought a new 4" drop hitch. Now, we're almost perfect!!! At least we're within specs.

We left Parker with our new drop hitch and drove to Prescott (160 miles). We got all settled in our campground (recommended by Scott), Point of Rocks Campground ($20/night, full hookups) and called Scott to let him know we'd arrived. We made a plan to meet in our campground about 9:00 a.m. the next morning. That evening it started to snow!!!

Thursday, February 21st: It snowed most of the night and into the morning. We got some beautiful pictures the next morning with the moon still in the sky!!! The ground and trees were covered with snow!!! As we walked around the campground with our morning coffee (a routine when we're out in the Roamer), we got a picture of some prickly pear cacti covered with snow!!! What a contrast--cactus & snow!!!

Scott called to change our meeting time to 10:00 a.m. hoping the weather would clear by then. And...by 10:00 a.m. it was still very overcast, but the snow had stopped. Scott met us at the campground. After some initial greetings, we got right down to work.

Right there in the campground, we went over the pre-trip vehicle inspection list. This involves checking out the vehicle prior to leaving home!!! This is the time when any problems discovered can be easily corrected with a complete support system nearby!!! Great idea!!! Then we went through Scott's list of required equipment which includes food, water, jumper cables, phone, etc. We had everything!!!

We talked about vehicle capability and vulnerable spots. Scott was pleased with our modifications!! Guess we did things right. Carl really researched everything thoroughly!!! Did you know the most vulnerable spots are not the lowest parts under the vehicle, but are the tires??!? Come to think about it, I've heard more about flat tires on the road then damage to axles, oil pans, gas tanks, etc.

Then we followed Scott down the road through Chino Valley to the trailhead. We put the Jeep in 4WD when we got to the dirt road. Scott recommends 4WD immediately upon getting off the pavement. This is part of "mechanical sympathy". When the vehicle is in 4WD it's easier on the machine and people.

We went just a short distance to an area where we could pull off the road for the next step in our training -- vehicle awareness and wheel position. Scott pulled over to the side and got out a large orange cone. He set it up and then asked us to drive up to it, as close as we could get. Once the cone went out of sight, Carl and I both had trouble judging where the cone was in relation to the vehicle!!! I didn't get close enough and Carl ran over it!!! Then Scott put the cone behind us and we had to do it again. We both stopped about 3-4 feet from the cone. When making three-point turns, it's really good to know exactly where the obstacles are in relation to the vehicle. The key is to note landmarks in relation to the cone position that remain visible as the vehicle gets closer and closer to the cone!!! We're going to have to practice this!!!

Scott put the cone away and got out about 7 or 8 rubber bumps. He placed them in an irregular circular pattern. The object of this lesson was to judge the location of the passenger (we need to change from "right/left" to "passenger/driver") front tire. This was really hard!!! Carl did better driving on the bumps than I did. This was really hard and we'll have to practice this, too!! In the Jeep and in the Roamer!!!

Then Scott discussed hand signals. Carl and I have been using signals, but Scott's signals were much clearer to see from a distance and we plan to start using them!!! He also showed us some additional signals indicating a ledge, either up or down. This could really be useful!!! Then we used these signals to spot each other around the track with the bumps.

We didn't get any pictures of this because we were so focused on what we were doing!!!

001-Roamer & Jeep, Parker.jpg

002-New 4 in drop with tow bar.jpg

003a-Snow, morning moon, Prescott.jpg

005-Snow in CG, Prescott.jpg

007-Nancy, snow in CG, Prescott.jpg

009-Barrel cactus in snow, Prrescott CG.jpg

010-GPS Chino Valley map.jpg
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