By NICHOL HOBSON
If you are the kind of person who thinks Rome could have been built in a day if the Romans had really worked at it, that mountains were made to conquer, and that suits and ties are made for people who want too much responsibility, there is a recreational sport for people like you.
If you have the courage, the time, desire, and a sports utility vehicle, then off-road four-wheel driving may be the activity that will make your adrenaline rush.
Four-wheel off-road driving allows a driver to take his or her vehicle to places where most vehicles have never been before, and it allows people to explore places that most people can’t get to.
“I like to four-wheel for the power and exhilaration of going up a mountain,” said Joe Schauerhamer, a sophomore majoring in construction management.
Utah is home to some of the most famous trails for four-wheel driving in the nation. It boasts of trails that make off-road enthusiasts’ engines purr. Four-wheelers can find off-road trails in Utah’s deserts, mountains or red rock country.
“It’s just a fun way to pass time,” said Dave Swope, a non-student from Wellington, Colo.
“You can go somewhere other cars can’t, and see things other people don’t get to see,” said Schauerhamer.
There are a few precautions all drivers should take regardless of their experience before they are ready to take on any trail that may come their way. Bill Burk on 4-Wheeling America’s Internet site, offers five safety tips to take when taking your vehicle off-highway.
(1) Drive as slow as possible, but as fast as necessary.
(2) Survey the trail ahead to avoid any “surprises.” When in doubt, get out and reckon.
(3) Drive directly up and down hills. Traveling diagonally may result in a sideways slide — worst case, a rollover. Do not turn around when on a hill.
(4) Reduce the tire pressure. This improves traction in all conditions, especially sand. Remember that ground clearance has been compromised. Reinflate before driving on the pavement for any distance.
(5) Cross ditches or logs at an angle so that one wheel at a time goes over the obstacle; the other three help the one wheel to climb over.
“You can damage your equipment of you fly up the hill take it slow and easy and know the abilities of your vehicle because once your stuck your stuck,” said Schauerhamer.
Those wishing to participate in off-road activities don’t have to brave the trail alone. There are several four-wheeling clubs in the Salt Lake and Utah valleys.
“We don’t have many from the Y coming (into our club) but they are definitely welcome,” said Arlyn Richards, president of the Lone Peak Four Wheelers Club.
The Lone Peak Four Wheelers are for the public use of land, rather than the environmentalist that want to close the lands to motorized vehicles. “We practice the tread lightly theory and stay on designated trails,” said Richards.
“We are a family-oriented club, sometimes clubs tend to be young adult type people who tear up the mountains. We go a little bit slower but tend to go over harder obstacles,” said Richards.
If you are interested in more information about the Lone Peak Four-Wheelers Club they meet every third Thursday in the basement of the American Fork senior citizens center. “We do a trail ride a month (that) can typically be handled with a stock four-wheel drive vehicle,” said Richards.
Even if you prefer to explore the off-road trails of Utah alone, you will still find it full of adventure and excitement.
“It’s an adrenaline rush and you don’t have to work the vehicle does the work for you,” said Swope.