Ranger Kathryn's Arches

April 15, 2011

“Speed is your enemy; gears are your friends”

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 9:47 pm
Tags: , , , ,

This vehicle is way older than I am. Perhaps it wouldnt have gotten stuck here if it had had a 4-Low.

The vehicle lurched into 4-Low as I moved the shifter thingy on the floor during our training. I cringed when the rear axle pumpkin scraped on a rock, but at least I didn’t high-center it. Please don’t laugh; I’m learning another new skill.

I know that if I’m off road and the conditions warrant the use of it, I can shift my work truck into 4WD. I know not to crank my wheels, and to please put the transmission in neutral before shifting into or out of 4-Low. I know the scraping sound that tells me I chose a poor line. I know not to slow down in soft sand, and that if I do get stuck I can let air out of my tires for about 15 seconds each to get better traction. In conversation I can casually mention “4:1 gear ratios” and “axle lock.” I can repeat the mantra that was the theme of our training, now the post’s title. Preparedness is good, although I’ll probably not need to drive much in 4-Low for the type of work I am doing this season.

With a backpacking trip to a remote wilderness area coming up next week, and the realization that 4WD opens up a great deal more backcountry to me than my Prius does, I have a new appreciation for specialized equipment that is designed to get you where ordinary wheels won’t.

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