In today’s world and society everything is faster, more available, and all at the push of a button. Off-roading for some people is done with a group of their friends, while sometimes it is done solo.
For us heading on a dirt road adventure solo was something we had done before and enjoy. The ability to be out in nature and take a break from the fast-paced life can only be achieved off the beaten path.
Off-roading solo, while it can be enjoyable, can be dangerous if caught in the wrong spot at the wrong time. A lesson that is learned all the time, but with today’s technology it may not be as bad as it used to be.
Social media keeps us connected and close to our circle of friends, but it also is a place that allows us to be apart of groups that have the same interest. Off-road is a universal term that connects strangers daily, from a wave of the hand down a dirt road to lending a hand in a sticky situation.
Through Facebook, we have connected with many groups and one, in particular, came in handy on a solo off-road adventure. Being apart of the SoCal Off-Road Recovery (SCOR+) and SoCal Off-Road Recovery SOS groups on Facebook we would see rescues of stuck vehicles all the time.
A member posts an SOS with a map pin drop or coordinates, some pictures, and details of what the situation is. From there local members try to assist the member in trouble or head out in their vehicle to help them out.
Hitting Rock Bottom
In one of our recent adventures, we came to a point where we needed to pull out our phone and put our pride down to ask for help. Heading down a wash near the Colorado River on an evening that was supposed to be used to spot local wildlife turning into a night in a sandbox.
We got out Silverado stuck in the soft sand in the wash. It was an area and terrain that we had gone over the days before with no problems, this time the momentum needed was not there.
With the back end of our truck sinking to the point, we were axle-deep in the sand. At first, the thought of needing help didn’t cross our minds as we had everything we thought we would need to get out.
As the sky started to get dark above us, the animal noises became louder. The wild horses eating and running nearby, the wild burros talking in the distances, and the coyotes howling after the latest catch were all things we heard while our situation became worse.
We dug around our tires, axle, and the spare tire as we tried to go back and forth in the hole did nothing but get us deeper. We attempted to get under the tire enough to place our recovery ramp, but even then we couldn’t get the traction we needed to get out.
Regardless of what we tried the sandman was not going to let us go. As the night grew darker we came to the realization that our bed was now in the front seats of the truck.
Sitting there frustrated and defeated we pulled up the recovery group to put our SOS in. Some things mentioned were tried already or not plausible and before long it was time to get some rest before restarting in the morning.
Come sunrise the group started to respond with members all over the place with suggestions and tips to people saying they could come to lend a hand. One member in the morning, James Atwood, had reached out and let us know that he was on his way to come help.
While waiting for him we continued to try and self recover. Using firewood from out camp that was at the end of the wash to digging more of the truck out was all continued.
In the end, with some wood under the tires along with our recovery ramps, tires aired down to 8 psi, and some pushing help from our 16-year-old son, we had managed to get out of the hole we were in, literally.
Even though we had got out right as James showed up, it was the helping hand on the way we were counting on to get us out. It is members like them that will go out of their way to give a total stranger a hand when they are at their weakest off-road moment.
More Than A Helping Hand
In today’s world, it is better to get a helping hand from someone familiar with the situation you are in or had been there themselves. With technology, it is easier than ever to be apart of a group with the same passion.
From recovery groups like this to 4×4 clubs, everything has shifted to the digital age. Many areas already have local groups set up to be apart of local trail rides or to help people with situations like the one we were in.
“SCOR means to me that there will be people there for me when I need help yet at the same time when I don’t have anything going on I should be there off others,” James said. “Besides being able to do a recovery is fun as well.”
“My first in counter with SCOR is a long story,” James continued. “My friend asked me to help him with recovery, I agreed. We tried two ways to get there. The first way we abandoned, but on the second attempt, we both got stuck. I was mad because my girlfriend who was with me that night was pregnant. The group that came to help with the original rescue ended up getting him free and gave us a ride out. We came back for my rig the next day.”
Many of the recovery groups, if not all the ones we have seen, do not cost anything to be a member or to be recovered. The members recover and do what they do because of the type of people they are and because they enjoy off-roading.
In addition to being part of a group of people with a common interest, there are ways that you can pay it back or lend a hand to other members. There is also the financial part of having someone from a local group lend a hand, as having to find or pay for a tow service to get to you can be expensive or completely unavailable.
Whether you are being recovered or doing the recovery being apart of the off-roading in the 21st century is different than it used to be while providing people with an option when the situation turns south.
Have you had to be recovered? Are you part of a recovery group? Tell us in the comments below!