ATV Television's Blog

The Latest News and Doug's Ramblings & Ravings.
Including Doug's "Here's what I think!" and "What were they thinking!"

Friday, February 26, 2010

Adventures of a lifetime

Being in this business since 1995 and maybe more importantly being an off road enthusiast all my life has given me the opportunity to ride some pretty good adventures. I’m a lucky man for sure!

I loved the years I spent riding the sand dunes, and of course the years I spent racing across the desert as well, but when it comes to my fondest memories, great adventures are the best. For ATVs, two incredible adventures stick out in my memory.

One is the trip up Surprise Canyon. I first heard of this adventure back in the October 18th issue of Autoweek. Yes, as odd as that sounds, Autoweek, a predominately race-oriented weekly car magazine had a feature by Mark Vaughn as he followed Rick Russell and a rag tag group of off roaders up an incredibly amazing canyon to the ghost town of Panamint. It was an incredible adventure. The Jeeps had to be winched up the slippery waterfalls along a trail that continued to be washed out. The Surprise Canyon ball quickly started rolling. The next month’s issue of 4 Wheel Drive & Sport Utility had another article by Phil Howell going up the trail with Rick.

Well I, unfortunately never had the opportunity to take a Jeep-type rig up there, but I was certainly way more fortunate to be the first to take an ATV up the canyon in 1995. At that time I was writing for several magazines including ATV Magazine. But I no doubt am giving you more information than you desire here ;-) What you want to know about is the trail!

The approximately 10-mile long trail up Surprise Canyon is highlighted by the ½ mile section of the canyon that was steep, narrow, rocky, and flowing with water. Very slippery water. Well, actually it was the rocks that were slippery from the year-round water flow. And that was one of the highlights of the adventure – getting up the falls. The second part of the adventure was the remote town of Panamint at the top. Because the town couldn’t be reached by any other way than this extremely difficult trail, it remained very well preserved.
It was an incredible adventure of a lifetime, and one that we captured on video for ATV Television when we found out that the trail would be closed down. We just uploaded that video to our website and you can watch it right here: Surprise Canyon – An Ultimate Adventure!

The other great “Adventure of a Lifetime” was my first circumnavigation of the Paiute Trail. This was also done in 1995 for a feature article in ATV Magazine. We later did it all again for ATV Television. It took us a whooping 7 days and rode over 700 miles! We explored side trails and camped under the stars every night.

These two trips started a love affair with the Utah mountains that started almost yearly trips to the area to ride and to film. You can watch many of those trips on the Adventure section of our website. It’s the Paiute Trail and nearby Moab Utah that helped me to coin the phrases, “the adventure of a lifetime”, and “once you ride here, once won’t be enough!”

The Paiute Trail is an approximately 250 miles in length and goes from around 5000 feet in elevation in the lower plains, all the way over 11,000 feet at the highest passes. It is an incredible trail, and better yet, part of an even more incredible system of trails in Utah where you can literally ride thousands and thousands of miles on your ATV. Some of the towns along the trails even allow you to ride into town to fuel up and get supplies.

One reason I bring these two adventures up is that I'm considering taking some time off from 'work' this summer and guiding a few trips exploring this area. Perhaps another loop of the Paiute Trail and perhaps maybe some day rides along some of my favorite trails.

I'll keep you posted as to the possibilities. Keep an eye out on the website as well for an invitation!

Happy trails,

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

NOHVCC February Newsletter


By Russ Ehnes

In last month's NOHVCC Newsletter I wrote an article describing the history of the lead ban that has severely limited the availability of youth size ATVs and motorcycles. I told you that the time was coming soon when we would need to mobilize our grassroots networks and take action to end the senseless ban on kids' OHVs, which rather than protecting our kids, has put them at greater risk of riding OHVs that are adult size. Our time to act is now!……………...Read more

GAO Report on OHV Use on Federal Lands

By Karen Umphress

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) was directed by Congress to evaluate the use of Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) recreation on federal lands. The agency looked at the use of OHVs on US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and National Park Service lands. They also interviewed various stake holders and traveled to several locations to view the areas. Their report was released at the end of July and the results are surprisingly positive. The report was released at the end of July 2009 and is report GAO-09-509……….Read more



Positive Economic Impact of OHV Recreation

By Jack Terrell

The Colorado Off-Highway Vehicle Coalition (COHVCO) has released a new study of the positive economic impact of off-highway vehicle recreation in Colorado. The study, entitled "Economic Contribution of Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation in Colorado", was conducted by the Louis Berger Group, Inc., an independent global environmental engineering and planning firm. The study provides detailed analysis of direct gross sales (jobs, labor income, other property income, and business taxes), additional economic activity, and total contribution of motorized recreation to Colorado's economy……. Read more

Prevent Trail Funding from Being Slashed in Budget

Submitted by American Motorcyclist Association                                                     
President's Budget Proposal Would Slash Trail Funding Write your Senators and Representatives Today!
On February 1, President Obama submitted his proposed budget for fiscal year (FY) 2011 to Congress. One proposed cut could be disastrous for motorized trail users.
Buried in the nearly 200-page document is one paragraph dealing with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Capital Improvement and Maintenance (CIM) program. The CIM program funds improvements, maintenance and the operation of U.S. Forest Service roads, trails and recreation infrastructure.………… Read more


Training Resources with a Click

Submitted by Royce Wood, AMA

The National Trails Training Partnership (NTTP) is "an alliance of Federal agencies, training providers, nationwide supporters, professional contractors, and providers of products and services". Of course, all of these are trails related.
NTTP was created to address challenges shared by all trails advocates: the need for well-trained, effective volunteers and staff. Some trail groups have relied on experienced trail builders from the federal agencies, but the old-timers are fast retiring and new people with trails skills aren't necessarily being hired. In the same way, volunteers don't always stick around for years, and training new people is hard work in itself.….……. Read more

Rubicon Trail Updates

Submitted by Friends of the Rubicon and the Rubicon Trail Foundation

Placerville, CA January 26, 2010: El Dorado County Board of Supervisors voted to formalize the alignment of the world-famous Rubicon Trail. This decision includes a handful of important bypasses around some of the more difficult sections of trail, providing trail users the option of taking a less difficult route around the toughest segments of trail. In a meeting which lasted well into the night, the Board of Supervisors heard arguments from county residents, off-highway vehicle enthusiasts, environmental activists, the U.S. Forest Service, and the State Parks OHV Division about how to best define the trail which winds through the scenic Sierra Nevada west of Lake Tahoe.….……. Read more

Monday, February 22, 2010

A 'Shout Out" to Polaris (I hope that's not a stupid term to use?)

Is it just me, or is Polaris the only manufacturer that continues to forge ahead improving on their products and even developing new products while everyone else is sitting in their offices waiting for the good times to roll again?

Okay, so everybody put power steering on their quads! Wow. Yamaha had it for how many years before anyone else? And speaking of Yamaha, there were the leaked photos back in February of 2009 showing that they had a new 4-seat, 950cc, V-twin (Pure speculation on that part) ready to hit the showrooms that same year. What happened? My guess is not only did the economy affect their decision, but so did all the frivolous Rhino rollover lawsuits from the idiots not man enough to take responsibility for their stupidity or lack of respect for the machine. But perhaps that’s best left to discuss at another time. My point is Yamaha had a 4-seat UTV ready and didn’t bring it out!

And of course, the rumors have been circulating for a couple of years now about both Suzuki and Can Am having UTVs ready. But where are they?

In the meantime, Polaris comes out with the new XP, an ATV that fixes a whole lot of the problems we’ve had with Polaris’ of the past. They also came out with the electric Ranger and the 4-seat RZR 4. I’m sure there’s more, but my point is not to list the number of new Polaris’ but merely to highlight the fact that while everyone else is laying low, Polaris is pushing ahead - at fast forward!

So I say, “Hurrah Polaris!” They are made right here in America, by Americans. (And this might be a good time to point out that so are many of the ‘so-called’ Japanese ATVs!) Yes, the plants are here and the workers are here. Oh, profits you say. That’s a small percentage of the total investment, and oftentimes the profit goes right back into more manufacturing facilities right here in the grand ‘ol US of A!

But back to my point. Anything new from Honda? No. Yamaha? No. Suzuki? No. Kawasaki? No. Can Am? No. And Arctic Cat? No again. Only Polaris keeps bringing out the new models.

Let me be very honest here. Do I think that Polaris’ the best there is? No. I (and that ‘I’ only means “I”) prefer separate front and rear brake controls. I prefer a 4wd system that I control – that means I can choose between 2wd, 4wd, and 4wd with a locked front differential. And (especially) I want the engine braking to go to all 4 wheels without having to flip a switch – and then it goes to all 4 wheels only when you are going under 15mph and not applying any throttle.

But I applaud Polaris not just for what they are, but more importantly for what they are doing in the industry. And as I look back I see Polaris as the first with a CVT transmission. The first IRS (not a swing axle – that’s for all you old King Quad fans ;-). First to put good tires on an ATV. First (and still the only) 50” wide UTV. First 4-seat sport UTV. First electric UTV. I’m sure there’s more but I think I made my point.

If not, you’ll never get it.

I love ATVs (and maybe especially UTVs!). There are good models by every manufacturer. I have my favorites that suit what I like in an ATV (or UTV), but I like Polaris because whether or not they make everything just like I want, they operate their company just like I would if I was the CEO.

And that my friends is the difference between American companies and Japanese!

Friday, February 19, 2010

The encounter with the slippery log.

Well, here's the picture worth a thousand words. It's been a long time since I've fallen off of an ATV but I did during a trip up into the snow testing the 550XP Touring. We took it and the long term Outlander Max 800. We could talk a lot about the advantages of power in deep snow, or the advantages of Carlisle's great ACTs in the snow. But this is about 2 things; always being aware of the dangers of slippery surfaces, and always being ready should the unexpected happen.

As you can see from the tracks, I was only clipping the very end of this downed tree. Unfortunately as soon as the tire hit the frozen surface it slipped to head up the log. Then, once it did that, the lower a-arm made contact with the frozen tree and the party was over. Or was that just starting ;-)

Fortunately I wasn't going very fast, but it didn't take long for the XP to make the trip up the tree. I was doomed. Fortunately I was also prepared. Once I saw what was happening and that I had few choices, I prepared to abandon ship. What I mean was that I loaded the muscles in my legs to spring clear of the ATV. I also looked at the area where I would most likely land. So, as the ATV began to tip over I was ready to leap off safely. I did.

My point is that while riding, the unexpected can happen, no matter how good of a rider you are, or how much experience you have. So always be ready for it. Have the muscles in your legs geared up and ready. You never know when you might need them ;-)

Another interesting thing about this is I was leading. Kenny, the other tester, was back down the trail by a stream taking some beauty shots - that's of the snow, the creek, and the trees, not of him ;-) So, it took him a while to get to me. Although I was just fine, I was standing there looking at the ATV and realizing that the only way to lift it back on its wheels was uphill, and the XP out-weights me almost 5 to 1. I wasn't going to budge it. 

Amazingly enough it just laid there on its side idling away. Oh yeah, the beauty of fuel injection. I shut it off when I realized that there is no injection system that assured the oil would circulate at angles 90 degrees from what they were intended to do.

I unzipped the bag, grabbed my camera, and took the pictures (one of which you see here). And I waited wondering what I'd do if I had been here by myself. I guess this is a good reason why you should never ride alone. Or with another rider no younger, bigger, or stronger than me. Kenny was no help in tipping the XP uphill and onto its wheels. 

But the Outlander was an XP. That means it had a winch, and that proved to be the saving factor.
Always ride with a friend.
Always have an ATV with a winch.
Always stay clear of slippery trees.

Later my friends —

Welcome to the 'Blog'!

Welcome to the latest addition to ATV Television! I've been wanting to have an avenue to where I can tell it like I see it, or ask, "What the heck were they thinking?" So here we are. I'll be adding information to this at random so the best way to keep up would be to subscribe. Stay tuned . . .

Bear with me as we get this and some other new items on the website up and running!