Wednesday, December 23, 2015

ATV 101

When we made the decision to winter in Southern Utah, we also made the decision to buy an ATV.  Why?  The Southern Utah area, including parts of Nevada and Arizona, boasts some of the most beautiful red rock desert terrain on the planet.  And what better way to experience it than from the back roads?

We found both the ATV and the trailer in Lehi, Utah.  We actually bought the trailer first – at Cabela’s.  Really.  It was quite by accident.  I had pulled up to pick Paul up at the door after our annual holiday shopping trip, and there it was.  Right in front of us.  The trailer we were looking for.  I have to tell the world what a great experience it was.  Selling a trailer involves more than just running the credit card; the trailer has to be titled.  They don’t sell a lot of them at Cabela’s, but even so, the customer service there was above and beyond.  They even helped us put the new ball on the trailer hitch and put the trailer hitch on the car. 

We found the ATV on, offered by a family in Lehi.  It is a Yamaha Big Bear 350, and it already had the storage/passenger seat attached to the back rack.  I call it the Queen’s chair.  The bad news is that it’s manual transmission, but that sounds worse than it actually is.  It’s pretty easy to change gears.  The lever is operated with your left foot.  No clutch involved.

We brought it to Hurricane this past Monday.  That same day I walked over to the Willow Wind office and bought a laminated copy of the local ATV trails.  A fellow camper saw me walk out with the map, introduced himself, and just like that, we were hooked up with the ATV riders in the park. 

So far we’ve been on three rides and have had a wonderful time – well, mostly.  We’re learning from each ride.  Here’s what we’ve learned so far.

1.  ATV riding is a really dirty sport.  When you’re riding in open air on dirt roads, you’re going to get some of that dirt on your clothes, in your hair, and of course, on the ATV.

2.  Going downhill as a passenger is challenging.  Our ATV doesn’t have footrests for the queen.  Paul rigged some rope “stirrups” to help me brace myself.  We’ve tested these on minor slopes; still need to test on really steep downhills.

3.  Forty degrees is too cold to ride – even if the sun is shining.

4.  Willow Wind RV Park frowns upon washing your ATV at the dog wash.

More adventures to come!

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