Who ever said off-road adventures were for guys never met the women of the Northwest…
If you hang out on any one of a dozen FJC forums you probably ran across MrsCheweys post that started the whole thing :
“Hey, are there any of you who love to ride in the rig while the boys drive off-road, but always wanted to kick them out and take the wheel?? I know I have (every time I get in the car with Chewey). So here is our chance, Wayne has agreed to lead a fun run in Tahuya for the ladies. Now boys, I know many of you would rather get a door ding then let your rig go on a run without you, so your are welcome to come along and ride in the passenger seat, THE LADIES GET TO DRIVE ON THIS RUN!!!!“
The idea was simple enough, the women who normally occupied the co-pilots seat with their significant other would trade places and take the FJ reins for their own off-road adventure. The guys would be supportive and ride along. The women definitely lived up to their end of the deal…
Wayne was set as the trail boss for this run. An experienced leader as well as search and rescue training, Wayne performed his roll on the trail with all the patients of a Buddhist monk in the attainment of Zen. At the trail head, the guys got the rigs ready, airing down and a few last minute checks, while Wayne held a drivers meeting explaining to all the women some of the basic functions of their rig, describing the trails we’d be running and covering how he would spot them through obstetrical. Heading into the forest, with Wayne in front, Hula Betty and I next on camera duty and Cassidy as tail gunner, the ladies pulled in line as we hit the trail.
The off-road trails at Tahuya are perfect for learning, lots of stuff to learn on. The hills, ruts, bumps and tight squeezes are perfect for getting the feel of the rig, its capabilities and finding where the rig’s corners are. At each obstacle, Wayne would drive through, run back to explain the line and than spot each driver through. And as expected within no time the rookie drivers got the hang of it.
The real growth can from the passenger seat… at the first break there were a lot of comments like
- “I had my hands over my eyes most of the time”
- “Can someone let my husband ride with them, he just won’t shut up”
- “How did I agree to this”
- “Someone needs a hug”
But by the time lunch was over the guys were cheering as they watched their significant other take their FJC’s through snakey off camber turns or pick their own lines up the steep rutted hills. But don’t think it was all that boring for the guys… One high-center episode in the water allowed the guys to get out the rubber boots and winch in order to unwedge the rig and get it back on track.
Although Hula Betty never took the wheel, after all she is stuck to the dash, this was by far one of the best runs in a long time. Getting an opportunity to help others learn to enjoy wheeling and meet new friends, put a little more spring in Hula Betty’s wiggle as we cruised through the trails of Tahuya Forest.
The really great thing about this run, was watching as these women helped breakdown the stereotype that off-road adventure driving is a guy thing. Hopefully before long, a posting for a “Lady’s Run” wont be necessary and guys will be asking if my daughter will let them drive her rig for a change.
Bonus pics on Flickr off-road adventure… just because.