Tuesday, November 30, 2010

GEO-tography: Minimalism

If you spend any time at all navigating around the web you will undoubtedly see that it is highly graphically oriented. And unless I miss my guess you will, on occasion, stumble onto a photograph which impresses you as being exceedingly fine. You may bookmark it so you can look at it again, or you may even get an idea how to take one like it of your own for your favorite offroad spot.

Sometimes, it's sort of like watching a movie – you may not be able to write a screenplay or know how to direct a film but you do know what a good film looks like and what plots seem hokey, even if you can't put it into words. Such is the case with the set of GEO-tographs that I've included below. Of course they are in focus, have good color and interesting content; but, they also have something else – lack of other things to go wrong!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Moab 4WD Backroads: Central - Part 4

Even though Moab isn't in either of its surrounding "national areas," it takes next to zero amount of "make-up" to change this area of the desert into a Disney-worthy spectacular extravaganza. They don't call this Canyonlands for nothing!

And even though it doesn't take much to turn the area from a peaceful ride into a life-threatening challange (think rain, flash floods and landslides) more and more of the "get-away-from-it-all" population is landing in this Coppola-esq city – some, even in the blistering summer.

As Offroading Home readers know, we have begun digitizing the trails found in Charles Wells' book "Moab, Ut Backroads & 4-Wheel Drive Trails" and this is the fourth and final post about those ATV and SUV trails in the central area whose base-camp is the town of Moab. Two other riding areas remain for digitizing into maps; but, we thought that you would rather see them as each area is finished rather than waiting until the whole map is done.   [A free Google Earth file of this route is available at: Offroading Home on the Utah tab under the file name: "UtahMoabTrailsystem.kmz".]

Friday, November 26, 2010

Moab 4WD Backroads: Central - Part 3

If you've been following along with these series of posts about the new "Moab Trail System" maps, you've got to be tired of exclaiming "wow!" There is some incredible country "down south."

And the most interesting thing is that many "tourist types" [you know – see the world from your car window] drive right by most of it not having a clue that there's anything there. In all fairness, when you look at the land from road level it does look kinda flat and non-descript. But that's because the much of the terrain is: under ground (i.e. below surface level.)

And that's precisely where many of the offroaders in the area have their most fun – finding a way down to the river along the ridges in the cliffs and down the washes. Erosion is what has made the Moab area, not tectonics like in much of the rest of the country.

Of the twenty trails mentioned in the book "Moab, Ut Backroads & 4-Wheel Drive Trails" by Charles Wells" as being in the Central riding area, a full 14 are rated "difficult" and require modified vehicles.   [A free Google Earth file of this route is available at: Offroading Home under the "Utah" tab and in the file "UtahMoabTrailsystem.kmz".]

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Moab 4WD Backroads: Central - Part 2

This is the second of four posts describing the trails in the central riding area described in the book "Moab, UT Backroads and 4-Wheel Drive Trails" by Charles A. Wells. Like the majority of riders into the Moab area – Wells is merely a "visitor"; but, he's done it a lot!

Offroading Home is digitizing GPS tracks for the trails he describes in the book. The fifteen trails in the Northwest area were published previously and now we are working on the 20 trails in the Central area, the majority of which are considered "difficult." Wells rode the trails in his Jeep (and therefore "street legal") but many should be rideable in an ATV with a bit of pre-planning.

  [The portion of the map for the "Central" riding area of the system is complete and ready for download over at the Offroading Home web site, under the Utah tab and entitled, of all things: "UtahMoabTrailSystem.kmz".]

Sunday, November 21, 2010


This year at the rodeo we heard all about the "tough enough to wear pink" campaign which supported women's breast cancer awareness month in October. It's only now that I've learned about MOvember – too late to participate in the growing, but not to to late to publish about.

The term "Mo" is the slang word around the english speaking world, especially Australia (and perhaps elsewhere as well), for moustache; and November is, well, November.   Put the two together and you've got: MO-vember, the month where there is a growing world-wide initiative to generate similar awareness for a plight of men: Prostate Cancer.   A manly approach to publicizing a manly problem using a "stache" instead of a froofy ribbon.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Moab 4WD Backroads: Central - Part 1

Three previous posts explained that we are digitizing trails in the Moab Utah area into a master map which will serve as a companion to the book: Moab, UT Backroads & 4-Wheel Drive Trails. The Northwest and Arches section was completed and received heavy amounts of downloads in its first week of offering.

Now, the portion of the map for the "Central" riding area of the system is complete and ready for download over at the Offroading Home web site, under the Utah tab and entitled, of all things: "UtahMoabTrailSystem.kmz". As usual, it's a Google Earth file and requires the program in order to be utilized. You may want to run on over there and load the file while we explain some of the trails – I'll wait.

There are twenty trails in this central riding area, immediately adjacent to Moab, which will be covered in four posts. If the Northeast section was predominantly "easy" trails, then the trails in this area are mostly for the experienced rider and modified rigs – most are really "hard"!

Monday, November 15, 2010

"Surfing" Around Utah

Having lived in several areas of California, I am well acquainted with the vagaries of "riding the waves" or "surfing" as they call it.   It's a bit too similar to snow skiing for me—basically throwing yourself off of something in one long (hopefully controlled) fall to a point far below you.

Surfing is called "volitional" (a 'choice') by most people; but, I swear that the very last actual "choice" you make is to flop yourself down on the board and start paddling toward Hawaii.   From that point on much more happens "TO" you than "BECAUSE OF" you until your deluged body spews out sodden and trembling (or frozen and stiff) upon the turf.

My experiences with skiing and surfing are indistinguishably congruent—except for the sole proviso that skiing doesn't start at sea level.   They used to call it "Snow surfing" you know; so, I wasn't much surprised to find that the activities, required skills and outcomes were pretty much identical.   AND, after this past week, I now also know much better why they call purusing the Internet – SURFING THE NET!

"Surfing" Utah - A Tribute

The odyssey began simply enough with me "Googling" – Utah, merely to see if anyone else had written a blog about the state recently.   There were 90 MILLION one hundred thousand results.   So large that Google had to add the disclaimer "about."   For grins, I thought I'd like to see the last item on the list, but as it turns out Google won't do that.   There is no "last" button, and when you try to do it manually, by clicking from page to page, it stops at about 700.

Friday, November 12, 2010

GEO-tography: Mountains

Black, white, red, blue, brown, rocky, smokey or superstitious – the one thing they all have in common is: they're mountains!

Continuing our series of posts about GEOtography, today we have a collection of photographs that we found on the web about mountains of all sizes, shapes and colors.

Despite their ubiquity around the globe, these photos pretty much tell the tale that: mountains are usually, really off-road.
[Remember, like always, these are full photographs so be patient while they load.]

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Moab 4WD Backroads: Northwest - Part 3

My guess is that these posts about the Moab Trail System Map which Offroading Home has produced will go on to become one of the all-time most downloaded before this is done.   From the looks of my "site analytics" either Google has finally found us OR there are an awfully lot of you who are planning a trip to Moab Utah in the next few weeks!

This is the third (of three) posts about the fifteen trails in the Northwest Moab area of those listed in "Moab, UT Backroads & 4-Wheel Drive Trails" by Charles Wells and includes those around the Secret Spire and Mineral Point section.   There are three other areas listed in the book which are under construction; but, this one being done, I felt like y'all would like to see it now and from the looks of things it was fairly timely.   [A free Google Earth file of this route is available at: Offroading Home on the "Utah" tab.]

You should be aware that Wells prepared his book of trails from the back of an SUV and a Jeep so they might not be directly transferable to ATV rides as they stand.   Looking at the satellite image however, there are definitely alternate trailheads for these trails which avoid paved roads.   Check with local shops for better details when you get down there – then please let us know if we need to change anything.   AND please turn on your GPS so you can send us your track which will allow us to verify the map.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Moab 4WD Backroads: Northwest - Part 2

Whoa… there must be a grundle of you guys heading for Moab in the next few weeks cause my blog "hits" went off the wall a couple of days ago when I posted about the "Moab Trails" offroad map. Good for you, it's a great place to ride – AND it's getting to be the best season to ride down there as well!

This is the second of three parts about the Google Earth map Offroading Home is producing as a compliment to Charles Wells' book "Moab, UT Backroads & 4-Wheel Drive Trails".   There are 15 trails in the "Northwest Moab and Arches NP" area and it is now complete.   The other areas are under construction even as we speak.   [A free Google Earth file of this route is available at: Offroading Home on the "Utah" tab.]

Wells is not a Moab native but he just as well could be with all the time he must have spend there riding and re-riding these 58 trails for his second edition of this book.   Originally trained as a graphic designer he moved to Colorado and became a printer come outdoorsman.   Not content with riding only Colorado trails he joined a club and began riding Moab – the rest, as they say is history.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Moab 4WD Backroads: Northwest - Part 1

When someone sends me a book full of offroad trails it's a bit difficult for me not to want to create a Google Earth map to go along with it as I analyze it for possible rides.   Such is the case with a book which I recieved as a donation some months back: "Moab, UT Backroads & 4-Wheel Drive Trails" by Charles A. Wells, published by FunTreks.   [A free Google Earth file of this route is available at: Offroading Home on the "Utah" tab.]

I've mentioned his books before in relation to the various types of "difficulty ratings" found between various sources.   There are 58 trails described in this book, all given difficulty ratings of: Easy, Moderate, Difficult or Extreme, and all found within close proximity to Moab in Utah's "Canyonlands."   Arches National Park is in the area in case you were wondering.

Some of the trails are part of the Easter Jeep Safari held every year down that way which draws hundreds of "jeepers" from all over the country.   Therefore the trails in his book are sort of based upon "street legal" vehicles; but, in most cases a little review will enable you to decide upon a slightly different trailhead which circumvents paved roads and will allow you to ride an ATV.

Wells has also written two other books called: "ATV Trails Guide" for both Moab and Colorado's central mountains (which I would greatfully receive as a donation or loan should someone like to see a map made of its trails – hint, hint… see the donation link "wish list.")