Tuesday, September 25, 2012
THE "DOZER" IS A NEW 2012 JK JEEP WE ARE EXPERIENCING
Stacie and I have driven and owned several Jeeps, but now we have added a loaner JK to our inventory of off-road/backcountry rigs. The "Dozer" was loaned to us after Jeep brought several rigs to the Fall Conference of the Outdoor Writers Association of California (OWAC).
Our mission is to test, drive, wheel and learn the differences of the Jeep JK (4-door in this case), compared to other models of Jeep. First thing off the bat, we're headed home when we see a big wildfire alongside hwy. 395 near Lake Topaz, called the Coho Fire. Yup, that big cloud formation is a fire, creating its own weather system.
The fire blocked the highway for a couple days and we had to drive an hour out of our way to get around it. The good news is that the JK has tons of power and rides like "butter," to quote an outdoor writer friend of ours who also got to drive it.
Acceleration is crisp and responsive; passing is impressive; and the pavement ride is smooth.
Here we are enjoying the Tahoe Rim Trail above Lake Tahoe (CA/NV) with some NV friends. The JK handled the bumpy, rocky trail with ease, and we did use the push button sway-bar disconnect. Talk about simple and effective.
We tested the dash push-button built-in lockers and well, what can I say? They WORK.
All and all, our first impressions are excellent and impressive. We see why there are so many JK's on the road.
Thursday, September 20, 2012
Day 2 was spent going to Bodie State Park, CA, where a ghost town stands pretty much in tact at 9000 elevation in the desert mountains a couple hours south of Reno. Scott Brown from Jeep brought a couple JK's, a Grand Cherokee and a Ram Power Wagon for us to drive, enjoy and experience.
Our first stop was Mono Lake South Tufa where we enjoyed a tour of the tufa towers (calcium carbonate) standing in the salty lake, and even learned how to make Tufa.
Our tour guide, Bartshe Miller from the Mono Lake Committee showed us the wildlife that lives in the lake, like these brine shrimp. Birds by the millions come to Mono Lake which makes it a birders paradise.
More on the Mono Lake Committee and their work to preserve the lake and its wildlife here:
Lunch is always a good stop and this one is at the Tioga Lodge, overlooking Mono Lake right off Hwy. 395 south of Lee Vining. Gloria (middle) gave us the history and tour.
Gloria, the owner, explained how the lodge buildings are quaint and rustic, but very comfortable. Several of the buildings that make up the lodge were transported from Bodie during "the day."
More on Tioga Lodge and restaurant here:
We stopped to see some naturally formed fissures near Mono Lake on our way to Bodie. These were much like slot canyons, except they were formed under the lake in the distant past by an underwater volcanic eruption followed by rapid cooling of the ejected material.
Good thing we had Jeeps because the road to these babies was 4x4 only.
More on Mono County and the eastern sierra here:
The good folks at Mono County Tourism gave us a great day in the eastern Sierras.
More on Bodie at:
We ended the evening with an incredible dinner hosted by the Virginia Creek Settlement (restaurant, lodge and camp ground) just south of Bridgeport, CA. More on the Settlement here:
Many thanks to all the folks who put together this amazing Fall Conference of the Outdoor Writers Association of CA. More on OWAC here: http://www.owac.org/
Monday, September 17, 2012
We did the Board meeting and caught up with friends and fellow photographers and writers in the am, followed by a great lunch and plenty of Mammoth Mountain hospitality.
Gomez's serves up a selection of items, including:
Sugarcane Shrimp; Chimale; Fajitas; Ceviche, and the usual combinations you can't live without.
More on Gomez's at http://www.gomezs.com
The OWAC Board of directors were introduced and we enjoyed a relaxing lunch before heading back to the Westin hotel for workshops and craft improvement sessions.
Famed photographer, Jack Dykinga was one of the highlights of the workshops, with his breath-taking images of our natural landscapes. Jack was down to earth, real and personable while showcasing us a few highlights of his 40 years of photography experience. He is truly a pro with an eye for light.
The evening found us riding the gondolas up to the ski resort Parallax Restaurant for an incredible dinner with an unsurpassed view of Mammoth Mountain and the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The gondola ride was a thrill in itself.
Be sure to put a visit to Mammoth Lakes on your summer AND winter plans. This place is amazing ---- oh, did I mention they also have an OHV area, motorcross races and plenty of trails to explore?
Learn more at http://www.visitmammoth.com
And learn more about OWAC at http://www.owac.org
Saturday, September 15, 2012
VOTE NOW FOR YOUR FAVORITE BOARD MEMBER
BlueRibbon Coalition asking members to vote now online for Board members. Great folks like my buddy from Wheelers for the Wounded, Kevin Carey is one of the runners. He is also a charter member of Friends of the Rubicon. SWEET.
There are 4 openings and 5 candidates. It will be a hard choice, but we need to speak up and vote.
Dan Thomas, owner of Rocky Mountain ATV is another choice. Joni Mogstad, our current President is running again and she has been instrumental in helping BRC grow for years and years.
Danny Hale from the VT ATV Sportsman Assoc. is on the list as well. And we have Chad Booth of At Your Leisure TV show. Wow, what a list. Read their resumes and find your choice to help us make BRC, your BRC.
And don't forget to visit and support our Turn the Tide Tour going on now at www.WeAreBRC.org
So PLEASE VOTE now..
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
On their Moon Rocks, NV Customer Appreciation Run this past weekend, the Trail-Gear folks loaded up the participants and did a huge cleanup as part of their event. They picked up like 36 bags of trash, including an old couch dumped off by some thoughtless person, certainly NOT a four-wheeler/off-roader. Trail-Gear is dedicated to helping keep public lands open to the public, while making some awesome off-road products.
It's important that all of us respect our public lands and help folks like the BLM keep them clean and open. Thank you, Trail-Gear and all your customers. And thanks to all the hard-working government folks who help us manage our public lands -- for us.
(Photos courtesy of Trail-Gear)
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
YES YOU NEED A PERMIT ON PUBLIC LAND!
By Del Albright, Ambassador, BlueRibbon Coalition
Commercial, competitive or organized group events or activities ALL require a permit to be held on public land, and depending on the level of environmental review, REQUIRE at least 6 (six) and up to 12 (twelve) months to process.
Businesses and clubs/organizations need to pay particular attention to the permit process as it can sneak up on you quick! We’re talking BOTH public land agencies -- BLM and USFS. This blog will focus on the BLM permit process, but the USDA Forest Service (USFS) is about the same.
Depending on the scope of your activity or event, you might have to cover some healthy Cost Recovery to recover costs associated with monitoring, law enforcement, enviro-studies, inventories, travel, administration, etc. Again, the minimum time frame for submitting a COMPLETE permit application is SIX MONTHS ahead of time. Just figure on it and GET YOUR PERMIT started well ahead of time.
DO I NEED A PERMIT?
The Pre-application Interview Checklist for events on public land involving vehicular use typically includes the following questions:
· Are you charging a fee?
· Do you expect to make money on the event or is the fee to cover expenses?
· Will there be a competition?
· Will you advertise, have a public sign up page, take reservations?
· Will you mark a course?
· Will there be cash prizes?
If you answered yes to ANY of these, you NEED a permit. So yes, if you advertise on a website, have a sign up page (even if you are NOT charging a fee), you ARE advertising and must have a permit. I like to look at it in simple terms, you are using public land to your advantage or commercial gain, so get a permit.
You should note that if there will be any vending (selling on site), your permit just got more complicated (and will cost more).
These permits are called Special Recreation Permits (SRP’s) and depending on permit availability, are usually not hard to get; they just take planning well ahead of time!
Get your permit well in advance of your event – perhaps a YEAR before the activity would be a good target.
Here are some links for more research and information from my good land use buddy, John Stewart:
Ambassador, BlueRibbon Coalition www.sharetrails.org
Founding Trail Boss, Friends of the Rubicon www.rubiconfriends.com
Environmental Affairs, CA4WDC www.cal4wheel.com
Find us on Facebook here
Contact Del at firstname.lastname@example.org