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The Importance of Off-Road Driving Safety

My passion for adventure travel started on two wheels. Once I bought my first bike, my dad and two uncles allowed me to tag along on weekend trips that explored the back roads of Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New York. I had absolutely no idea what I was getting into, but thankfully they did and had all the right gear if something was to go wrong. By wrong I don’t mean an accident either, it was normally wrong turns that got us lost with no cell service or a bad road that caused a tire,chain, or side-bag to need mending. Without the right gear and skill set, small things like this can ruin a trip or put you in harms way equally as bad as a major accident.

A few months ago I got an email from a guy looking for pictures for his new book. His name is Bob Wohlers, and he is the owner of the Off-Road Safety Academy. Interested in learning more about his business I gave Bob a call, and long story short I was invited down to attend a weekend course at the Prairie City OHV area outside of Folsom, California.

It was an entry level course called Beginning “Discovery” Off-Roading, but I soon found out that it was not just for beginners. It was about a 6.5 hour drive from EC Headquarters in Bend, Oregon to the OHV course, so I had a good amount of time to get excited about the weekend. I was preparing myself for steep hill climbs, muddy ditches, and tight rocky trails that would stretch the limitations of my 2018 Ram Rebel truck. However after meeting the other 10 attendees, I grabbed a coffee and settled into a comfy training room where Bob shared with us critical preparation techniques and gear if you find yourself traveling far away from civilization, by yourself, or in another country. He refers to this type of travel as Remote, Solo, and International… RSI for short.

By the end of the two day course I was pumped up from what I learned, and even got to test out the truck on a few rocky trails. What was most apparent was the things you don’t think about when you decide to get into off-roading. It’s easy to get inspired by beautiful photography of wildlife, the vastness of a desert, rock formations in the mountains, and how much the night sky comes alive when you’re far away from cities and towns. However it takes more than just a owning or renting a 4×4 vehicle to make sure you aren’t putting yourself or anyone else in harms way when traveling to these places. Anything can happen, especially during RSI travel, so it is critical you understand how and when to use the capabilities of your vehicle correctly, are confident and don’t travel beyond your skill set, and travel with the right gear to get out of a jam.

I would highly encourage taking an off-road safety course, and if you’re on the west coast Bob is a great guy to connect with. You can check out his courses at https://discoveroffroading.com. Safe Travels!

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