Wednesday, August 31, 2016

What the Best Dressed ATV Riders are Wearing

Welcome to my first – and most likely last – fashion post.  But if ever there were an event where the right attire is paramount, ATV riding would be it.  So, without further ado, starting at the bottom and working up….

1.  Boots.  Your boots should have good tread and provide ankle support.  Remember, you’ll need good traction on the trails and on-foot sightseeing.

2.  Socks.  Your socks need to cover the space between your boots and the inevitable lift of your pants when you’re seated.  Why?  The heat from the ATV’s engine can make the sideboards near the footrests very hot.  Save yourself the burn.

3.  Long pants.  Covering your legs protects them from windburn, sunburn, insects, flying objects and again, the heat of the machine.  The best riding pants have lots of pockets.  Ladies, the trail is no place for your designer handbags.  You need a pocket for your camera or cellphone, a pocket for chapstick, a pocket for tissues, and anything else you really need.  Don’t pack a comb or brush.  Trust me on this one.

4.  Long sleeved shirt.  Covering your arms has the same benefits as covering your legs.  I use a white cotton shirt on hot days, a pullover windbreaker on cooler days, and a parka for cold days.

5.  Bandanna.  Or maybe 2.  One should be tied around your neck so you can slip it up to cover your mouth and nose if you’re riding in really dusty conditions.  They make official dust masks for ATV riders, but so far I’ve found the bandanna to work just as well.  I use a second bandanna around my hair.  It keeps most of the dust out and makes it a lot easier to brush when we’re finally back home.

6.  Helmet.  This is the most important fashion accessory in the ATV riders wardrobe.  The benefits of wearing a helmet are many:
- It's the law (in Utah) if you're under age 18;
- It keeps wind and bugs off your face;
- It keeps rocks and dust out of your eyes;
- It keeps your ears warm on cold days;
- It keeps low tree branches from hitting you in the face, and
- It can save your life.

According to Riders West, “Recent research indicates that wearing a helmet while riding an ATV reduces an individual’s risk of death by 42 per cent and of suffering a head injury by 64 per cent. Head and spinal cord injuries are among the most common injuries incurred by ATV users.”
Don’t scrimp on the helmet.  Buy the best helmet you can afford and make sure it fits you well.  And if you should have the misfortune of having the helmet do its job, replace it.

But as for the pants, shirts, and windbreakers – the best source I’ve found is my local thrift store.  After all, why pay big bucks for clothing you intend to get dirty?

Happy trails!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Pine Mountain – A Guest Post by Frank

Hi!  It’s me again, Frank.  If we haven’t met yet, you can read my story at The Story of Frank.

Shortly after my previous owner, Fred, passed away, his daughter and son-in-law purchased a 5-acre lot in Pine Mountain in Sanpete County, Utah, southeast of Mount Pleasant and just east of Spring City.  Paul and Cheri brought me there for the first time last weekend.

The property sits on top of a hill.  The views are amazing and sunsets are spectacular.  The owners have built several trailer spots, a lovely sitting area and dining area, a playground complete with sand, and two horseshoe pits – so far.  Fred’s kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids come up most weekends to enjoy the property and the nearby recreation.  There are several hiking trails and easy access to the Arapeen OHV trail system.  You can drive (or ride) to several ponds and reservoirs to fish, and can walk out onto public lands to hunt.

Or you can just sit back and enjoy the peace and quiet.  Pine Mountain is a gated community.  Only owners and their guests can even access the area, and our spot is at the end of a road that the kids are in charge of naming.  During the day you can watch the hummingbirds (and chipmunks) at the feeders, and in the evening you can enjoy thousands of stars and dozens of solar lights.

I came this particular weekend to participate in a Memorial Service for Fred and his wife, JoAnn.  Fred’s children had chosen Pine Mountain as the final resting place for their ashes, and on Saturday, August 13, they honored Fred and JoAnn and buried the ashes.  Most of the family, including adopted son Paul, were there and spoke of their fond memories.  There were tears of joy and tears of gratitude.

The gravesite is marked by a tree planted in honor of Fred and JoAnn.  A simple cross and angel guard the site with their colored lights.

I think Fred and JoAnn would have loved it here.

Friday, August 5, 2016

All In

 When we bought our first ATV – the very old, very small, very cheap one with the Queen’s chair – we did so deliberately with the idea that we would try it and see if we liked it before we invested any real money into the sport.

Or so we thought.  The downside of buying anything used is that you know something’s wrong with it.  What it is and when it will surface is a crap shoot, but something will break.  We put lots of hours and lots of miles on this used ATV – and lots of money on maintenance that never really got it working as well as we would have liked.

All the while, in the back of my mind, I started my list of requirements for the next one:

1. Power – it had to be able to go faster than 30 mph.

2. Foot rests for the passenger – the makeshift stirrups we used so I could brace myself riding downhill just weren’t the best solution.
2A. OK – we really needed a machine that was factory built for two.  The industry term is “two-up.”

3.  Built this century.  When I said the first ATV was “very old,” I meant “very old.”

When we brought the old ATV back from Hurricane, we immediately sold it for parts.  Then we spent a good deal of time deciding whether or not we really wanted to buy another ATV.  Were we ready to put both the time and money into the sport – for the next several years?

The decision was “yes.”  Last April we bought a brand-new, 2015 Polaris 570 Touring model.  It was a base model without power steering and without a built-in winch.  We bought a gun rack to hold fishing poles and walking sticks and pouches to hold whatever else.

We took it out in the west desert for its trial run and learned that I can drive with my husband riding as passenger.  (I would have never attempted this on the old ATV.)  We took it to the mountains and learned that it gets stuck in a foot of snow.  Thankfully we had another vehicle to pull us out.  We bought and installed a winch.  We took it camping and learned we could bungee chairs to the back, pack lunches and snacks in the pouches, and put fishing poles in the gun rack and go on all day adventures. 

It’s official!   We’re all in on this ATV thing!  Now if we only had a GPS…