I’ve always felt that the presence of motors and dusty trails was an important part of my life. From my very first memories I recall riding in the middle of a bench seat, squeezed between my mom and dad, watching the world through the windshield as we explored back roads in the mountains that surrounded my home town. As I got older, I spent lots of summer afternoons exploring trails with my cousins while the wind of a wide open throttle hopelessly tangled my hair and dirt found its way into parts of my nose I never knew existed.
Many of my fondest memories of both child and adulthood are based in the outdoors, on the back of a quad, or leaning on the edge of a bed of a pick-up truck recounting the day’s adventures with the people I love. In a world where we often overlook the little things, it has become clear to me that off-road recreation is more important now than ever before. And here’s why:
1. There’s No iPhone in Off-Road:
I love a game of Angry Birds just as much as the next gal. But I refuse to let technology rule my life or that of my family. We live in a society that lets kids watch movies on a phone while their parents eat in silence at a restaurant. However, when we put down our devices and get behind the wheel (or handlebars) of a technology that puts us in touch with the great outdoors, rather than a glowing screen, it’s amazing how quickly we also re-connect with the people around us. Besides, if you get far enough out to lose service, you can’t text anyhow. So just forget the rest of the world and focus on the people riding next to you and the grand land God has laid out before you.
2. On Road Driving is Changing:
As much as I appreciate new technology in vehicles and saving the earth and all that jazz, there are some things about new vehicles that absolutely chap my hide: computer screens in the dash, buttons to start them instead of a key, and cars I can’t hear when they’re on. Driving ain’t what it used to be. But out on the trail, rock obstacles and mud puddles haven’t changed a bit. And no matter how advanced my quad gets, I know it’s probably never going to be able to parallel park itself…Which provides me comfort as someone who truly loves to drive.
3. Nature Provides Solace:
Sure, we may be out there making some noise, but for people who thrive on the smell of fresh pine and crisp air, there is nowhere more sacred than the path less traveled. We move to fast, take too little time to rejuvenate ourselves and spend too much time under a roof. Off-roading is a stellar excuse to get out, get moving and get back in touch with simply having some fun.
4. There are Men Alive Who Can’t Change Their Own Flats:
Being out on the trail requires an ability to use your own skill, ingenuity and logic to take care of your ride. If something goes wrong out there, it’s up to you and the buddies you brought to be prepared with the proper tools and come up with a plan to get you safely back to where you started. In a world where there are fully grown men who call a tow truck to change a flat tire, off-roading is an unparalleled opportunity to teach yourself, and your kids, about basic ability when it comes to motors – and having the confidence that the world would continue to turn without AAA.
5. Tomorrow Isn’t Promised:
I know far too many people who have departed this earth far too early; leaving me wishing that I had spent just one more day out there with them. To this day, I have clear images of my own grandmother riding a quad around our family cabin, and my papa racing her to the pond and back. What I wouldn’t give to judge that race one more time, but it won’t happen until we meet again one day on the other side. So use that paid time off, forget cleaning the house tomorrow, tell your kids that you’re going to the woods this weekend instead of the mall and enjoy. We’ve only got so much time, and it goes by much too fast these days, so why not spend that time with the wind in your face? I promise it will be more fulfilling than spending it on the couch. Pinky swear.