Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Colorado Backroads & 4WD Trails: Grand Junction - Winching

This is the fifth and final post in the series about the new map we've digitized from a book we've come across: Guide to Colorado Backroads & 4-Wheel Drive Trails, Vol. 2by Charles A. Wells.

You remember, the absolutely prolific offroading author who feels it a badge of honor to have never used any of "those new-fangled GPS gadgets." His books are a dichotomy of usefulness. On the one hand they bulge with useful "color" and information about every area he talks about; but, on the other, much of the time you can't find what he talks about on any map or globe.

None-the-less, I've (for reasons which escape me now) undertaken the task of hand-digitizing his descriptions into Google Earth map files - twice. And both of them are available for free (see below).

He divided the Colorado back roads into five general areas which we have already posted about: the Ft. Collins, Grand Lake, Winter Park and Steamboat Springs areas. Today it's the riding areas around Grand Junction and Battlement Mesa, the area's two basecamps.

If You're Going To Get The Book?

If you are planning on purchasing this book, I'd like to entreat you to do it via this link to Amazon: Guide to Colorado Backroads & 4-Wheel Drive Trails, Vol. 2.   This way you will still pay the same price; but, Amazon will "donate" a small portion of its profits back to us which will go toward keeping Offroading Home "on the air." Thanks!

The combination of these FREE Google Earth maps along with the original descriptions from the book – well, that's simply the best of both worlds.

Backcountry Driving Techniques

The Wells book is great for the 10 pages that talk about backcountry driving techniques. Perhaps the list of the topics will whet your appetite: Basics, Low and Slow, Going Clutchless, Rocks and high points, "clunking sounds," crossing a log, crossing large rocks, getting high centered, looking in ALL directions even up, scouting ahead, anticipating, blind curves, driving up hill driving down hill, parking on a steep hill, driving side hills, crossing streams and water holes, mud, ruts, gullies and washouts, ravines, sand, snow and ice, Dust and washboard roads, thumbs up, airing down and winching.

At least one of those topics should nag at you for a better understanding. They did for me.

Wells calls these the The Big Three: tow points, skid plates and a winch. And he says "If you don't have one (a winch) - travel with someone who does. if you can't or won't buy a winch, at least travel with a high-lift jack or come-along.

Along with the winch you should have: Heavy-duty work gloves, A tree strap (shorter strap with loop on each end), A snatch block (A pulley that can be slipped over winch cable) and A clevis (U-shaped bolt with pin that screws across one end) to connect straps to things.

Using A Winch Safely

  • line cable straight with pulling vehicle. If impossible use the snatch block to a tree to form an angle.
  • If cable bunches up at one end of the spool, let it go and rewind it later.
  • Attach winch line to largest tree possible using tree strap and clevis. Or wrap several smaller trees as low as possible on the tree.
  • Keep engine running while winching for maximum electrical power.
  • Can help winch by driving stuck vehicle slowly in lowest gear. Don't allow slack or jerking.
  • If not enough power, attach snatch block to stuck vehicle and double winch cable back to starting point - this effectively doubles the pulling power.
  • Set emergency brake and block the wheels of the anchor vehicle. May need to anchor to another vehicle or tree.
  • Throw a blanket or heavy coat over the winch cable while pulling to slow it's end if it breaks and whips back at you.
  • Make sure there are at least 5 wraps of cable left on the spool.
  • Never hook the cable to itself. Use a tree strap and clevis. Never allow it to kink.
  • If tow points are not available on stuck vehicle, attach to frame and not the bumper.
  • Make sure that any stranger you are helping knows that you are not responsible for damage to his vehicle.
  • Never straddle or stand close to the cable while it is under stress.
  • If stuck alone with no place to attach to, bury your spare tire in the ground as an anchor point. Then, after you are free, replace your divot.
  • When finished, don't let the end of cable wind into the spool. Attach hook to some other part of your vehicle like a tow point.

Area Five: Grand Junction

Base Camps: Grand Junction and Battlement Mesa

Trails: Battlement Mesa (D), Grand Junction Desert (D), Rattlesnake Canyon (M), Bands Canyon (D), Long Slough Res. Road (D), and Kenney Creek Res. Road (M)

Free Google Earth File

The free Google Earth file for the Guide to Colorado Backroads and 4WD Trails - Volume 2 is available at: Google Earth Trail FileOffroading Home on the specialty map resource page. Click to arrive at the page and select the "Wells Colorado, V-2" map. It is a .kml file which is utilized by Google Earth. You can either save the map on your computer or click "open" to have it open directly inside Google Earth.

Are You Going To Get The Book?

If you are planning on purchasing this book, I'd like to entreat you to do it via this link to Amazon: Guide to Colorado Backroads & 4-Wheel Drive Trails, Vol. 2. That way you'll still pay the same price but a portion of it will go toward keeping Offroading Home "on the air." Thanks!

Learn A Little More

I don't know where this guy was back when I was learning Biology - well, perhaps I can guess. He might have been lying on his parents floor, playing with his toes and cooing - but it sure would have been a whole lot easier for us if we had access to what he's created on his computer.

Drew Berry: Animations of unseeable biology


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