On March 5th, a group of students and instructors, departed from the Puget Sound area, Denver, Colorado, San Antonia, Texas, Portland, Oregon and Auburn, California for an epic road trip and a two day basic off-road driving skills class in Utah. Our ultimate destination would be Moab. We hit the road early on Friday and the day's goal was to make it all the way to Twin Falls, Idaho. From Tacoma, Twin Falls is roughly 11 hours of driving, including stops for gas and such. The drive, as some of you know, is not very thrilling, but necessary to get to where we would need to be for the training.
A brief pit stop outside of Pendleton, Oregon
After the night in Twin Falls, we made tracks towards Salt lake City, breaking off onto I-80 East and made our way to the nights' destination of Dinosaur National Monument outside of Jensen, Utah. This park is known for a huge confluence of petrified dinosaur bones, revealed by the geological movement of the nearby landscape. In 1909, explorer, Earl Douglas, discovered the exposed dinosaur bones at, what is now called, the "Quarry". A large excavation of the exposed and petrified dinosaur bones.
Our Camp Site at Dinosaur National Monument
An example of the nearby geology. Sedimentary rock, uplifted by the movement of the earth below thus exposing the dinosaur bone quarry after 65 million years!
Some nearby petroglyphs of the Northern Paiutes and Fremont People.
The visitor's center at DNM.
The confluence of bones at the Quarry in the DNM visitors area.
A fully intact Allosaurus jimmadseni.
The skull of a Allosaurus jimmadseni.
After our visit at the DNM Quarry, we had a brief snack in the parking lot and made our way to Dinosaur, Colorado, literally, right over the border of Utah where DNM straddles the two states.
Dan & Brian's rigs at The Quarry.
Ron's Jeep at the quarry parking lot.
Once we set foot in Colorado, we had to stop for the last booze supply before we hit Utah. No booze sales on Sunday in Utah.
Monday, March 8th. Day 1 of class. This class is intended to teach the novice off-roader, the basic skills of navigating your vehicle on approach angles, breakover angles, departure angles, navigating gullies, water crossings, sand stucks, recovering techniques, etc. Our classroom was a picnic shelter located at a group camp site, though it was pretty breezy (as you can tell by the bundled up participants in the shelter) the sun was out in full force and made the daytime temps, less frigid.
Brian, making introductions and getting to know our students.
Once the basics of the class were gone over, we had lunch and spent the reminder of the day doing vehicle walkarounds. Here, each vehicle owner would introduce their ride and talk about what equipment they are carrying.
Jerry, explaining his desire for a tear drop trailer.
Here, Ron is explaining where he is at with his 2011 Rubicon build.
Tony explaining how "Chase" his 2020 AEV Chevy Colorado Tdi came together.
Finally, we had a new Defender and the old school Defender and what a world of difference there is between the two!
End of day 1 class. Time for a little happy hour and trail talk.
Day 2 - Trail Runs.
Now that all of our highly educated but not well seasoned drivers were pumped with all the theoretical data they could possibly take, we now had the chance to get them underway and behind the wheel and test out their comfort levels.
Here, the explanation of the fine art of "Airing Down".
Here, Dan leading the first small obstacle while the class watches on.
Here is a 2020 Toyota Tacoma, keep an eye on his departure angle. The Tacoma has a longer deprture angle that most rigs.
Stay tuned for part 2 coming soon!