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A Dream Vacation (2003)
By Bob Fleege

Now that this year's Maxxis 12 Hours of ATV America is behind us, I finally have some free time to actually write an article. (Editor's Note: Bob is the Media Relations person and more for the 12 Hours). By the way, congratulations to Team Hiper - Matt Smiley, Chris Borich and Mike Krachun for their victory at this year's 12-Hours.

During September my wife and I found some time to join some fellow Webster County Wheelers for a trip to the Rocky Mountain ATV Jamboree. If you have never experienced an event like this I highly recommend you try it.

Altogether about 15 of us met up at the Days Inn in Richfield, UT. The semi truck full of our ATVs left Webster City, IA on Friday night. One couple left Friday afternoon and the rest of us flew out of Fort Dodge early Saturday. What was amazing about the whole trip was that we all arrived at the motel within 15 minutes of each other.

About 15 members of the Webster County Wheelers (IA) loaded their 4-wheelers into a semi-truck and three fellow riders hauled them to Richfield, UT for the Rocky Mountain ATV Jamboree. Seven of us flew out, three drove the semi and one couple took their camper. We also met up with some ATVing friends from
California. It was a great time had by all. I suggest you try it some time.
Here we are relaxing and sharing friendships, both old and new, after another great day of enjoying our ATVs in some of the most beautiful country in the world. Thanks to the tremendous hospitality of the Days Inn in Richfield, UT, we were able to set up a base camp behind the motel. Well maybe base camp aren't the best words "a party camp" would better describe the activities around our little part of Utah.

I can't say enough about Steve and his staff at the Days Inn. They let us set up our own little oasis is the back part of the parking lot. We pulled in the semi and just behind the semi we setup our picnic table, grills and chairs and at the other end was the camper. We had everything we needed and it seemed like everyone at the Jamboree seemed to know where the group from Iowa was located. If you ever attend the Rocky Mountain ATV Jamboree I highly recommend the Days Inn which is located directly across the street from the city park where most the activities take place.

Over the years, I have heard so much about the Paiute Trail and the Great Western Trail. I couldn't wait to check them out for myself. They did not disappoint me. We elected not to participate in the organized rides. Instead, we chose to ride as our own group at our own pace. Each of us headed out and rode in different sections of the trail system, all of which presented different challenges and beauty. The people were friendly and the organizers of the Rocky Mountain ATV Jamboree did an absolutely fantastic job!

We did learn a very valuable lesson on our second day. Several of us had either a trail map or a GPS, most of us had our cell phones and others had their Talk-About two-way radios. We had snacks for the trail, plenty of water and spare gas so we thought we were prepared for any situation. We came to a section of trail that three of the members did not feel comfortable going on so we looked over the map and decided that if they took the main trail that we were on and we took the more challenging side trail that we would all meet up at a specific intersection.

Despite the wonders of our high-tech world, a map proved to be the most reliable way to find our way back.

Well, somehow the three riders followed the trail but missed a turn off, which everyone thought by looking at the map, would be clearly identified. Anyway, to make a long story short, we spent the better part of three hours looking for our three comrades. We tried the cell phones but all we could do was reach their voice mails and the radios were out of range. Dusk was quickly approaching so we made the decision to return to the motel and get help from the event staff. The Park Ranger was at our Days Inn camp and we had the map out and were preparing to head out in teams of three, each covering a different trail. The Park Ranger was almost certain that based on the information we gave him they would be on one of those trails. We began gassing up our ATV's when out of the sunset the silhouette of three riders were heading our way. Sure enough it was our fellow riders and they were grinning from ear to ear. Knowing that it would be dark soon and their gas was beginning to run low, the three kept their cool and followed one of the trails to a dead end, where they looked at the map and decided the fastest and safest way back to the motel. We were all very lucky that things worked out the way they did, but we learned a very valuable lesson and we never split up again, but more important, we never assumed anything again either.

Before leaving the Jamboree, we had already decided that a group trip like this would definitely become an annual event for us. Next year we are looking at going to the Black Hills and do some exploring there. Group ATV outings are an absolute blast. A word of advise, if you are a part of one, take some extra time and work out all the little details. In our case, everyone kicked in and consequently no one person was over burdened with overwhelming details.

This beautiful land of ours deserves to be open to everyone. Whether you are an ATVer, hunter, bird watcher, camper or hiker, with a little respect for each other and for nature itself -- we can all enjoy this wonderful gift that God has created for us all.

One thing that became very obvious to me was with the cooperation between The Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management (BLM), along with support from the local community, wonderful events such as the Rocky Mountain ATV Jamboree can exist along side of nature. By working together and respecting nature we can all enjoy the beauty around us.

So until next time, ride safe and support those who support our sport, but most important, take a few minutes and call your Senators, Congressmen and State Representatives and let them know that you expect them to support legislature that is supportive to ATV adventures like the Rocky Mountain ATV Jamboree and enhance this wonderful family sport.


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