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Discussion Starter #1
Getting the itch to put the taco in the dirt, but I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I'M DOING.

I've been to (the easy trails in) Hollister a couple of times, several years ago when I had my 4Runner. But that's about the extent of my off-road driving experience.

Then, along comes this post on the "california offroad" board re:

Esprit de Four 4WD Safety Clinic
Dates: 2005
May 21th or 22th; registration deadline is May 14th.
Sept 17th or 18th; registration deadline is Sept 10th.
Location: Hollister Hills SVRA

So my questions are:
1. Have any of you participated in/taken this clinic (or anything similar)?
2. How useful (or not) did you find it?
3. Is it worth the cost -- or am I better off just hooking up w/ some of you NorCal folks and learning "trial by fire"?

thanks,
-ryan
 

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The only way to become a skydiver is to jump out of a perfectly good plane. I'd say just go with the nor cal guys, and don't try to be first at anythig scandalous.
 

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sqwirlytaco said:
Getting the itch to put the taco in the dirt, but I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I'M DOING.

So my questions are:
1. Have any of you participated in/taken this clinic (or anything similar)?
2. How useful (or not) did you find it?
3. Is it worth the cost -- or am I better off just hooking up w/ some of you NorCal folks and learning "trial by fire"?

thanks,
-ryan
First off, let me say I have a lot of respect for you in regards in realizing and to admitting you have little experience. Many times people will get out on the trail thinking they are going to be the next Ivan Stewart without any training. They are the ones that are ill prepared and become a danger to themselves as well as others.

I agree with the others though, you do need to go out and learn. But don't spend the money to have someone teach you stuff you can pick up better from your TTORA family. Contact your local chapter and go out with them anytime they have a run. Maybe for the first run or so, see if you can find someone to ride with even.
 

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I believe (english) Mark in an instructor in that group. You will be in good hands and I recommend you go. Going on runs with the NorCal guys is also a great way to learn what you and your vehicle are capable of, but at the clinic, you won't have to ask specific questions. I believe they will volunteer most of the information you need. On a run, you would most likely have to ask questions.
 

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Just like when you got your driver's license, it's best to go out with a group of your high school buddies and learn from them. Who needs driver's ed. anyway? LOL. I think the off road clinic would be both fun and educational, and you wouldn't be put in any situations where you feel like you have to try something you're not comfortable with, or you want to ask a question but feel hesitant because you don't want the experienced guys to think you're a dork. I know a lot of TTORA guys would freely pass on their knowledge of off roading to you, but it would benefit you to learn from a class that is tailored to the noobies of the sport/hobby.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I was thinking the same, but I think I might benefit from "structured" learning. Still hemming and hawing, but I'll probably end up doin' both.

thanks for the feedback
 

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Discussion Starter #7
thanks bear -- I guess *I know I can be a knucklehead* so I figured I should probably learn the basics before I go and break my truck, or worse.

cheers!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Oppositeboy said:
I believe they will volunteer most of the information you need. On a run, you would most likely have to ask questions.
That's what I was thinking... and in my case, (like I posted in response to one of the other guys' comments) I could probably benefit from "structured learning"... I guess I'm still trying to figure out what questions to ask, and am just looking for a good 'jumping off point'.



Thanks for everyone's feedback!
-ryan
 

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Sorry I didn't see this post until now. I'm the "English Mark" that Brian (opp) refered to. I took this clinic in '99 and have been helping out with it in all the various capacities ever since.

To me, there are 2 ways to learn about wheeling. One is to get some kind of instruction from a clinic like this or from somewhere else, the other is to just hook up with other people to go out with and learn by doing and asking. We have a pretty good bunch of people here in the NorCal chapter, and they will help you out if you let them know you want help. However, some people are nervous that the advice they might get from a bunch of people (who they don't really know yet) would be something like "whoops, you shouldn't have done that". The clinic is a way of getting around that, the people running it have been dealing with newcommers a lot, and have developed an empathy for what is safe but would make a newbie nervous, and what is dangerous but a newbie may not realize until after they get into it. They have been getting feedback from students for many years and are continually refining the clinic to be both safe and yet challenging for the level of the student. They will adjust what they put you through if conditions change (but they can still be caught out, there are no 100% guarantees, but they will make a best judgement).

As to your specific questions: How useful is it? It will give you an appreciation of what your truck can do, but it won't give you an idea of exactly where it's (and your) limits are. It is designed to be safe and somewhat challenging for a variety of drivers and vehicles (although most of the challenges can be bypassed if that is appropriate for any particular driver/vehicle). You will have to explore the actual limits for yourself at a later date (preferrably without crossing them).
Is it worth the cost, or better learning the other way? That depends very much on the individual. Only you can judge, hopefully we are giving you enough information to decide.
 

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rojodiablo said:
The only way to become a skydiver is to jump out of a perfectly good plane. I'd say just go with the nor cal guys, and don't try to be first at anythig scandalous.
Are you trying to say I'm scandalous??!! :xdevil:
 

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BlingTaco said:
Are you trying to say I'm scandalous??!! :xdevil:
After Saturday, you big stud, I'd DEFINITELY say you are scandalous. But, built for it, big boy!!! John says you have the best truck in the whole wide world...that is, until he rode home in the bed from Big Bear for dissin' dad's no locker special!! Thanks for giving him a ride in a very special truck. He enjoyed it. :xdevil:
 

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sqwirlytaco said:
That's what I was thinking... and in my case, (like I posted in response to one of the other guys' comments) I could probably benefit from "structured learning"... I guess I'm still trying to figure out what questions to ask, and am just looking for a good 'jumping off point'.



Thanks for everyone's feedback!
-ryan
I wouldn't use the word 'structured' to describe most of our outings, but we are always glad to help people learn about their rig, and also learn how to take care of the trails so we can enjoy them for years to come. I'll spend as much time out on the trail as necessary helping people, as long as they aren't acting like asshats.

Lots of our runs are based around the more difficult trails, only because the avid wheelers in the club have mostly pretty built up rigs. This summer we are going to put together more easy to moderate trips to try to get a few more people interested in taking their rigs out.

I know a few trails nearby that have awesome scenery and camping, but won't kill your truck. :D

Later,
....Mike
 
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