Off-Roading (Big Trucks)
I've never seen a novel based around technical off-roading, so I wrote one. Besides sharing the hobby I love I also wanted to show people to how far their stock 4x4 SUV will go with a little skill, as well as give a glimpse into advanced off-roading; the world of locking differentials, body lifts, suspension lifts, articulation, etc. While telling a story that made reading it worthwhile, of course.
For the Wright family, summer weekends are for running Colorado trails like Red Cone, Holy Cross City, Spring Creek, 7 Mile Creek, Iron Chest, and others. And once or twice a year you'll find me in Moab, Utah, running Poison Spider, Moab Rim, Steel Bender ... so many fine trails!
The trail the Archer family runs in the novel is a trail I wish existed, but is actually a composite of many great trails. And the off-roading challenges they face come directly from my own experiences ... with a little enhancement thrown in for dramatic effect. Though unfortunately the most dramatic situation is all-too-close to real life.
So if you own a 4x4 SUV -- the ubiquitous Explorer, Suburban,or anything with a 4low range -- and always wondered what it would like to tackle a serious off-road trail ... follow the link to Amazon and pick up a copy for yourself.
And here is a page with some pics of my truck, still stock but with a winch.
Chapter Six (excerpt):
I looked the direction he was pointing. After a moment I realized I was looking not at raw wilderness but a road of sorts – two ruts the width of a vehicle running straight across big rocks blackened by tires. Trees on either side bracketed the road with barely enough room to pass between and their branches touched overhead.
It would have been a beautiful scene of a narrow track into the wilderness. Except for the sick feeling that came over me as I realized that this was what they wanted me to drive my forty thousand dollar vehicle up. This was off-roading. Scratchy trees and big rocks.
As I looked further, the sick feeling grew stronger. About two hundred yards away the road appeared to go straight up. I couldn’t imagine that was possible, but there were tire tracks climbing up a slope that most people would consider a cliff. Or at least nothing a sane person would try to drive up.
Gary clapped me on the back. “C’mon, Man. Let’s air down, lock ‘em up and get this show on the road!”
None of those words meant anything to me. “What do you mean?”
“I mean,” Gary said, as he pulled what looked like a set of bright blue tire valve caps out of his truck, “it’s time to air down the tires and lock up the hubs. Except your truck, which doesn’t have hubs to lock up.”
“Yeah,” Dad chimed in, “that truck is too civilized to make someone get out and touch the wheels. Might get mud on their tuxedo.” He laughed at his own joke.
I walked behind Gary as he bent down to one of his over sized tires and screwed on one of the blue valve caps. The tire hissed as air rushed out.
“You’re flattening the tires?” Seemed weird to me.
“Nah. Just bringing down the air pressure. Not all the way flat.”
I thought of how much my tires had cost. “Is that good for the tires?”
Dad had walked up behind me. “Damned right it’s good for the tires. If you don’t want a flat, you’ll air ‘em down here.”
Gary occasionally checked the tire with his gauge. “Yup. Airing ‘em down lets the tire fold over sharp rocks and tree roots and stuff. Instead of getting a puncture. Spreads the weight out so sharp stuff doesn’t tear them up.” He turned to Dad. “You know, Dad … sometimes I forget what it’s like when you haven’t done this stuff before. You sure it’s a good idea to take Paully up this road?”
“Hell,” Dad snapped back, “I took my Bronco up there just about brand new. And those Jap rigs are better than you think. It’ll do it.”“Forget about the truck.” Gary looked for an answer in my facial expression, “I just don’t know if Paully’s ready.”
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