Molina Ghost Run 2016 safety check

Vehicle Requirements

  • Safety is a top club priority. Vehicles must be in good working condition and meet club minimum vehicle requirements for each run. Vehicles with known mechanical or safety problems are discouraged from attending runs and may result in a Club Officer or run Trail Boss not allowing a vehicle to be part of the club run occurring.
  • Have current vehicle registration and be street legal or current “Green Sticker” for strictly off-road vehicles.
  • Maintain current valid vehicle insurance.
  • Have front and rear recovery points.
  • Have a jack capable of lifting the vehicle.
  • Have a full size spare tire (within two sizes). No “temporary” or “donut” spares allowed.
  • Tires 37″ or larger and carrying no spare may get an exemption from a Club Officer or run Trail Boss if carrying an approved tire plug kit. If your bolt pattern is not common it is highly recommended that a wheel adapter to a common bolt pattern be carried.
  • Have properly functioning seat belts or restraints for all occupants of the vehicle.
  • Have a fire extinguisher on board.
  • Have an approved recovery strap (Regular rope, chains, or tow straps with steel hooks are not considered an acceptable alternative to an appropriate recovery strap).
  • Tires that are uniform in size and have legal tread. Tires should be of the proper type for the run being attended.

Additional Vehicle Recommendations (but not required):

  • First Aid Kit (encouraged)
  • Hi-Lift type jack
  • Winch
  • Air system capable of inflating a tire to street pressure.
  • Tool set
  • CB Radio (strongly encouraged)

 

Trail Rating System

To make it easier for you to determine if a run will be suitable for your vehicle and/or family, below you will find our general trail rating system. If a trail is new to us, we will indicate so on the run announcement, and include whatever information we have about it. Naturally, weather conditions and other forces can change the difficulty level of a trail from day to day. If you still have questions about a particular trail please post your question on the Club Forum (do you want one??) and we will be glad to answer.

 

Easy

A logging-type trail or easy off road trail. 4wd required with occasional low range possible. Body damage is very unlikely. Some trails that fall into this category are Gold Lake, Long Canyon, and Barney Riley.

Difficult

Low range, lockers, and 35″ tires required. Body damage is highly possible, drive train damage possible. Four-wheeling experience needed. Trails in this category include Rubicon, Barrett Lake, and Fordyce.

Moderate

Four-wheel drive and low range required. Body damage unlikely but possible. Some wheeling experience helpful. Some trails in this category are Strawberry, Hell Hole, Deer Valley, and Slick Rock Trail.

Very Difficult

Highly modified vehicle required with 35″+ tires, lockers, strong axles and body protection. Body and drive train damage almost guaranteed. Experienced drivers only. Trails and obstacles in this category include Hammers, Soup Bowl, and Little Sluice.

Technical

Below are some helpful tips for every trail run.

Tips on “Leading a Club Run”:

  • Post the run in advance in the Trail Runs / Events forum:
    • Set the expectation based on the club Trail Rating System.
    • Designate a meeting location, meeting time, and departure time.
    • For club related runs remind drivers to sign a Club Wavier Form.
    • Include any additional vehicle requirements beyond the club minimum vehicle requirements.
    • Minimum driver age is 18.
    • Check the weather.
  • Before departing on the run have a drivers meeting:
    • Give an overview of the run including location and objective. (Trail Run vs Maintenance Run)
    • For club related runs ensure drivers have signed a Club Waiver Form.
    • For USFS related runs ensure everyone has signed the sign-in sheet.
    • Verify that all vehicles meet the requirements for the run. If available, a Club Officer can assist.
    • Designate a lead vehicle and tail vehicle.
    • Choose a CB channel. Vehicles without a CB should remain between other vehicles with a CB.
    • Remind drivers to keep the vehicle behind them within sight.
    • Remind drivers not to tailgate or speed.
    • Remind drivers to turn on headlights if weather is poor.
    • Remind drivers that they are responsible for their own safety and to choose a spotter they are comfortable with if they need a spot in a section of the trail they are not comfortable with.
    • Remind everyone to have plenty of water (important for runs at high elevation).
    • Remind everyone to have fun!

Trail Etiquette and Safety Tips:

  • Be courteous and considerate of others on the trail.
  • Know your vehicle and be sure your vehicle is in good mechanical condition.
  • Know your own limits as well as the limits of your vehicle.
  • Be prepared for the unexpected and carry the minimum items needed for the terrain you are traveling.
  • Keep the driver behind you in sight, and do not tailgate the driver in front of you.
  • Maintain communications with others in your group while on the trail.
  • Be aware of the weather forecast, especially ice and snow conditions.
  • Always yield to uphill traffic, and stay to the right when passing.
  • Ride only where permitted and never venture out alone.
  • Do NOT modify a trail in any way that would change its difficulty level or change its path.
  • Leave gates as you find them.
  • Full tank of full is recommended as is spare gas.
  • Carry out what you carry in.
  • Keep hands and arms inside the vehicle. You are not strong enough to support the vehicle’s weight.
  • Keep thumbs on the outside of the steering wheel to prevent a broken thumb.
  • Tread Lightly!
Image of Jeeps using tow strap in Imperial Sand Dunes

Recovery Points & Equipment

Vehicle recovery is a reality on most trips and the Club takes our safety and yours seriously. Our by-laws require that your vehicle be equipped with front and rear recovery points. The discussion below outlines recovery points that we consider acceptable.

Image showing off-road recovery gear
Photo courtesy of posse.org

Front and Rear:

A shackle mounted to either a sturdy bumper or receiver hitch is the most common among club members. Stock tow hooks are acceptable but we have found that hooks tend to rip straps and in general do not think much of them. A number of after-market replacements are available and range in both cost and ease of use. In general, they are all acceptable.

Items NOT considered acceptable include the following:

  • Under no circumstances will a towing ball be considered an acceptable recovery point.
  • Tie down eyes used to secure the vehicle during transport.
  • Using leaf spring hangers as a wrap for a strap.
  • Wrapping a bumper with a strap.
  • Using axle housings as a recovery point.
  • In general a stock bumper is not acceptable.
  • Regular rope, chains, or tow straps with steel hooks are not considered an acceptable alternative to an appropriate recovery strap.

If you are not sure if the recovery point or strap you are planning to use is acceptable, take a picture, post it on the forum, and ask. We know that there are a lot of creative solutions that will work. Some of our ideas of what is acceptable are shown on this page. Keep in mind that YOU are responsible for any damage to your vehicle that occurs during a recovery. A driver may refuse to recover your vehicle if recovery points are found to be insufficient. You may also refuse recovery from a vehicle with insufficient recovery points. We will do our best to get you home, we expect you to do the same.

 

Meetings are held the second Tuesday of each month
Mountain Mike's Pizza
6626 K Clark Road
Paradise, CA 95969

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