“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first 4 sharpening the axe.” – Abraham Lincoln
Before I head out on a long trip into the woods, I make sure to thoroughly check out the truck, inspect my equipment, and pack everything short of a SnapOn tool chest (I mean who knows when you’ll have to do a trail side engine swap). Yet it wasn’t until I’d had a few bad experiences with groups that I realized I should be spending just as much time, if not more on choosing the right team for my trips into the back country.
On your typical weekend trail ride or quick run to the local off-road park, having the right team really isn’t a make or break situation. If you get stuck or broken down there’s usually plenty of people around to help you
and twice as many willing to tell you what you’re doing wrong. It’s when you’re miles from the closest paved road with no cell phone service that you really need to worry.
So why am I bringing all of this up? On our most recent trip out to West Virginia, Mark’s Tacoma suffered a catastrophic flat (i.e. his MTR managed to find the biggest stick possible to jam through it’s sidewall). This flat really couldn’t have happened at a worse time. We were backtracking after the road we had been traveling on came to an abrupt dead end, and to make things worse we were burning daylight. Admittedly I was tired after spending the previous 5 hours driving down tight trails and clearing out debris. I couldn’t wait to setup camp.
Despite the exhaustion, we all got out of the truck, assessed the damage, and no one missed a beat. While Mark got the Hi-Lift, Tax and I chocked the wheels, loosened the lug nuts, and grabbed the spare off the back of the Tacoma. After a “quick” 20 minutes, we had a fresh MTR on the truck, all of the equipment stowed, and we still managed to setup camp as the sun went down.
In this instance choosing the right team made all of the difference (having all of the right equipment also helps). While this could have been a pretty demoralizing moment, I didn’t see one frown or hear one complaint. I did have some trouble getting the spare tire onto the truck, but it was mostly due to the fact that I was using the socket and didn’t have a lug nut in it (hey I said I was tired). So I may have called myself a moron, and Tax was thinking it, but he’s too good of a guy to say it.
What’s the takeaway? Choose the right team; didn’t you read the title? We’ve got the ability to buy the best tools, and outfit our rigs with the best equipment, so there’s no reason to head out without choosing the right folks to accompany you.