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Discussion Starter · #1 ·

Well last Saturday I picked up my first jeep (also my first 4x4). I've sice had my first problem with it (my thread was the HELP -- I'm Panicking one last weekend). Now my Jeep is running great, I am ready to get out there. My question:

Does anyone have any tips for the first time off-roader?

Here's the situation -- I'm in Southern California, I'm driving out to Anza-Borrego desert State park this weekend. I'm driving a 1993 YJ 6 CYL -- Pathfinder tires 30 x 9.5. I'll probably be looking at alot of sand and gravel trails.

What do you guys think about:

1. Tire Inflation?
2. Driving in sand (what not to do)?
3. Are there any special tools/equipment that I may be overlooking?
4. Are there any special "rules of the off-road" I need to know about
5. Has anyone been out to Anza and have a favorite trail?

I'm going with a friend who has an Isuzu Trooper, but this guy has never been off-road before either.

I basically looking for any general advice. My plan is to take some of the lighter trails to get my feet wet. Kind of a tester trip.

As always I appreicate any input on this subject.

Wish me luck -- I am so ready to go Wheelin'

Dave Sramek

Oh yeah if you guys are interested in Anza-Borrego here's their 4 Wheel Drive Page

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4,757 Posts
when you gwet there, try to hook up with some people that know the area fairly well and ask if you can tag along.. unless they are attacking extremely difficult trails, they probably won't mind you tagging along.. you meet a lot of very nice people this way, and i have friends from all over.. next time you go you'll know whats up.. oh yeah.. make sure you have tow points front and rear on both your vehicles

it's sort of still a cj thingy....

Discussion Starter · #3 ·
If you got a way to air back up drop you tires to about 15psi, this will help you stay on top of the sand. Once you're on top of the sand keep you revs up. Carma is the key to fourwheeling, be nice to everyone you see as they'll be the ones towing you out if you have trouble. Make sure you have a jack, spare tire, and yankstrap. First time out I'd stay where a lot of people are and hook up with a group if you can. Hope you have a blast

Inquire about my witty original saying contest/wwwthreads_images/icons/crazy.gif

Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Anza Borrego-a great place to begin with. Here are a couple of places you might want to begin with. First go to the visitor center at the park headquarters and get a book by Lowell and Diana Lindsay "The Anza-Borrego Desert Region." It comes with a wonderful map, just what you'd be looking for. It very accuratley describes many trail, mileages and so forth. Remember in A/B there are very few places to air your tires back up. You would likely have to drive quite a way to find a station. Stick to the easier trails and you should not have much trouble with 20lbs. That gives you some edge and you can always go lower if you have trouble.

Maybe begin with a short trip to "Font's Point" - spectacular views, a little soft stuff and fairly short, popular trail.

One of the nicest places for what you are looking for is in the south/east area of the park, Split Mountain/ Fish Creek/ Sandstone Canyon. You can continue (west?)on this road beyond the turn to Sandstone Canyon and head for the bottom of the infamous "drop off." Going in from Split mountain, you would have a couple of challenging spots for a beginner but not too difficult nor too lengthy. You will know when you arrive at the bottom of the drop off and wonder how vehicles actually come down, much less go up the thing.

The book I referred to is really a great help. If you stand around the countere at the visitor's center for a short time and listen to advise the volunteer rangers give you can soon tell which ones know about and support off highway activities in the Park. Ask these folks where else to go. Some of the volunteers either don't know off highway areas or don't support the concept. They would make everything seem too tough to get to or suggest walking/hiking instead.

Lastly, there is a Off Highway Open Area - good hills, some soft, along the way to Split Mountain. Lots of buggies/and some hot 4 wheelers. Watch for awhile and decide for yourself. John


Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Dave, Anza Borrego is in my backyard. Nice place to go exploring. The only trail I'd not recommend for a first timer is Pinyon Mountain.
The first 8 miles from county S-2 are easy, then you get to the "squeeze", not really hard, but scary to a newbie. About a mile past that
is a steep dropoff called heart attack hill. Very scary for a first trip. This is the dropoff that John talked about. John's idea to get the book
on the park is excellent. Have fun.


Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Take along some basic hand tools so that you can disconnect your swaybar. Remove the rear track bar before you get there would be a good idea too.
If you get in a situation where you have one tire on each axle spinning and you're not moving, slowly apply the brakes. This will provide you with some forward movement, but you don't want to be racing your engine when you do this.

Once you've given it a try, you'll love it.
Send me an email at [email protected] if you're interested in a small upgrade in lift and tires. I have a 2" lift and some 31x11.50 AT's mounted and balanced on aluminum Jeep rims (15x7) that I'll let you have cheap.
Oh, and I'm right across the harbor from Long Beach.

95.5 YJ with "stuff"

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4,438 Posts
The MUST HAVE ITEMS, are a 1st aid kit,extra water,fire extinguisher,basic hand tools, shovel,jack,spare tire, a cell ph or CB radio is very handy also. Just remember you may leave in the morning but if you run into trouble may not get back untill evening, even if youve only planned to be out a couple of hours. So its good to put together a kit that has a flashlight, matches, emergency blanket,energy bars. If you have access to a good 12v compressor or a CO2 tank, then you will be able to air down your tires , this really smoothes out the ride and greatly increases traction. A CO2 tank can be rigged up very affordably and is one of the 1st purchases I suggest to newbies for the wish list. The earlier post was on the money, at about 15 psi you start to feel the bennefits. If youve got a stock jack it may not be very helpful in most off road conditions, and a high lift jack is good purchase soon also. If you must use the stock jack bring some 2' x 2' pieces of 3/4 ply wood to place on soft material, and a 4x4 or 6x6 block of wood in 1 ft and 2ft length to place between the jack and the Jeep on uneven surfaces. Start building up a collection of short chains and shackles, and a tow strap.
It is definitely a "Carma" activity. Offer to help whenever you can, even if you dont think you know much,or have many tools,or even if someone else is already helping, You may have the solution to a problem and not even know it.
My Grandpa taught me a long time ago,"Never, ever turn away from someone who stuck or broken on the trail" , Other peoples situations are where youll learn to solve your situations in the future.
Welcome to the fold,
89 Wrangler


Discussion Starter · #9 ·
David, I live in San Clemente, just move here from Dana Point, far move huh. Anyhow, let me know if you ever want to go wheeling and I would love to take you out. It doesn't matter what your vehicle level or your experience I just love to go and am up for it at anytime. I'm about 45 min. away and am with the Capo Valley 4 Wheelers. I know a few spots that are great for beginers that are close by and I also know some great spots if you really want to challenge yourself and you vehicle. Just let me know.

w/many mods

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571 Posts
The previous answers are on the money. Look around while you're out there and see what other people bring for "necessary" stuff. Big rule #1, don't even pick up tow straps with hooks on them to look at while you're in the store! Make sure you have at least one hook front and back bolted on your vehicle. If you have a trailer hitch, take the ball off before you get on the trail. The ball makes for an attractive place to throw the strap on, but they'll break. Use a clevis (D-ring) in the hitch where you would mount the ball, or better yet get one of those clevis brackets that slide in to the 2" receiver. BTW, the smaller (1 1/4") receivers will accept a Chevy front tow hook with just a little pursuasion from a grinder on the hook. Don't stand next to a strap when someone's getting unstuck. The first time you see one break or come loose you will understand the reason for the caution. For starters, you should have the strap, a first aid kit, a tire gauge and a friend in another vehicle. Stuff you'll want to add after the first couple of times out are a CB, some basic hand tools and a high lift jack. The main thing is that you're out there wheeling! Hope you had fun.

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