Happy Hour at Trails End

Happy Hour By the time I turned around to take the picture, this is all that was left!
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It’s such a treat to relax after a long day on the trail, a cold drink in one hand and a tasty appetizer in the other. (Come to think of it, that sounds good just about any time!) With all that’s involved in preparing for a four wheeling event, happy hour sometimes gets overlooked.

Appetizers can be simple or complex. (Note that I use the word “appetizer.” I don’t know how to spell “hors-d'oeuvre.” ) Chips and salsa fall into the first category. How much simpler can you get? You also have a choice of hot or cold varieties.

Munchies can come straight out of a bag or jar. You can prepare in advance or buy prepackaged food. What you decide to bring is up to you. Feel free to discuss with others, or just bring what you like. Chances are they will help themselves. An empty stomach isn’t too demanding.

The end of the day is usually pretty hectic. Tents need to be raised, gear reorganized, and the fire started. The later in the day that we arrive at our camp site, the more chaotic the scene is to beat darkness. Chips and salsa (or some other simple item) allow participants to grab a quick bite while going about their chores. Unless we get into camp early—say, around 3:30—plan on a simple appetizer to start.

Remember the basics about food safety.

Anything that needs refrigeration must stay chilled - especially any dips that contain mayonnaise. Eggs and raw meat are particularly susceptible to spoilage. For some items, you may consider cooking a big batch the first day. The leftovers, while requiring refrigeration, aren’t as sensitive as raw food.

Make sure you cook all food thoroughly. Any jars that are opened must be refrigerated. That’s why it’s a good idea to pack several smaller jars of an item. A big jar takes up a lot of space in the fridge.

Think dual purpose. Can a food item be used in multiple dishes? Most cheeses, for example, are good on crackers, burgers, and even in salads. This should make your grocery shopping more efficient and cost effective.

The basics of trail snack food

Because they’re so versatile, chips and crackers are the staple of any snack dish. Think about it: What doesn’t go with either chips or crackers?
Salsa and cheese spread are a given. Why not liven things up a bit? Try salami, kipper (herring that’s pickled and smoked), smoked clams or smoked salmon.
Here is a recipe from fellow ham radio operator Gabe, KK6ATH. He offers a neat twist on a basic snack.

Blue Cheese Crackers

  • Spread some Mascarpone cheese on a Breton Cabaret butter crackers.
  • Crumble some good Blue cheese on top of that, and drizzle with honey.
  • (Note that honey does not flow well below 30 degrees F.)
  • This snack is “definitely delectable with a good wine,” Gabe attests, adding that its “layers of flavor [are] appealing to even those with a less-sophisticated palate.”
Want to add a twist of Italian? Break out the bread and olive oil. Spike it with a vinegar dip made with garlic and fresh rosemary. Of course, that’ll have to be paired with a good wine. Consult your local sommelier for some suggestions.

Speaking of drinking, never mix alcohol and driving. Just because you’re in the wide open country, don’t think for a minute that you can’t get hurt or worse. Save the liquor for when you’re back in camp.

If you want to be more daring, you might consider meatballs, cocktail franks or sushi. One drawback, though minor, is that these (with the exception of sushi) must be heated. So this isn’t something that can be quickly served on arrival in camp. Make sure you keep the sushi chilled.

Veggie plates are nice, too, especially on hot, dry days. Purchase the veggies separately, and make up the serving tray in camp. The combo platter from the store is too large for most mobile fridges.

Slices of apple and other fruit are also a hit. They can be enjoyed during the ride and at the end of the day.

Other than that, remember to pack the necessary utensils and a cutting board/serving platter. It’s probably a good idea to have some water or Handi Wipes at the table. Some guys don’t bother to wash up before grabbing some eats.

I was trying to avoid a laundry list of snacks but if you are like me, I can never remember once I get to the grocery store. So a list might help.

Happy hour - Hors-d’oeuvres

  • Salsa dip & chips
  • Peanuts / mixed nuts
  • Cheese & crackers
  • Bean dip & chips
  • Salami on crackers
  • Cheese & salami plater
  • Jalapeno stuffed olives
  • Kippers & cracker
  • Smoked clam & crackers
  • Cream cheese & pepper jelly
  • Bread & olive oil
  • Grapes or apple slices with cheese plate
  • Blue Cheese Crackers (Gabe’s special)
  • Con Questa dip
  • Hot Sauce & pepper jack cheese on beget bread
  • Popcorn in Dutch oven
  • Chili cheese dip (Hormel no bean chili & cream cheese – hot sauce) (KK6NXP’s delight)
    • Happy Hour The only ingredient missing is TOBASCO sauce for Tim's Chili Dip Delight
      (Click picture for a larger image.)

      KK6NXP aka Tim's Chili Dip Delight

      • 1 can of Hormel no bean chili
      • 1 package of Philadelphia cream cheese (experiment with this - I think it needs 1.5 packages)
      • 1/2 oz. of TOBASCO sauce - or the normal cop out -season to taste
      • dump it all in a sauce pan at once - no need to cut up the cheese - stir until it is melted and blended
      • serve with chips

      Appetizers play an integral part in every 4WD experience. Put a little effort in your happy hour meal, and you’ll be rewarded with a very relaxing snack at the end of a long day.

Related Articles from Badlands Off-road Adventures

Did you miss the previous article?

Happy Hour It comes in many colors.
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Have you ever broken a tire bead while 4- wheeling and found that the hi-lift jack was barely operational due to dust, dirt and mud packed into the operating mechanism? Not only is it frustrating but dangerous as well. Since most of us bolt our hi-lift on the outside of the vehicle, it is not uncommon to find the mechanism less than functional.

A simple boot over the working parts of the jack to protect it and keep it clean is an idea that has been around for a while. The current offerings have not been very successful. At TDS this week, I discovered a new product for the hi-lift jack cover that looks promising.

Adam Woods has built a better “mouse trap” which he market under the name www.jackcovers.com The new cover marries a neoprene inner liner with a marine grade vinyl shell on the outside. It has a heavy duty - #10 Marine grade zipper, treated for mildew and antimicrobial, and available in 20 + colors. Since the product covers a number of holes on the jack upright, Adam explained to me he analyzed which holes most of us use to mount a hi-lift and offers two sizes of the cover - 11" and 15”- to allow several mounting combinations.

Some Upcoming Events

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Serpent Crossing the road - Borrego Springs, CA
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Summary of upcoming events.


Wilderness First Aid Course April 16 & 17, 2016

WFA Clinic Example

If you are interested in taking a Wilderness first Aid Course (WFA), Badlands Off-Road Adventures is sponsoring a 2 day class in April. We engage a professional medical instructor from Wilderness Medical Associates, the certifying agency.

Badlands Off-Road Adventures is sponsoring the Wilderness Advanced First Aid (WFA) clinic because we feel everyone should be prepared when they go outdoors. This will be the best first aid course you have ever taken. That is unless you go on to the Wilderness First Responder Class.

The WFA clinic will provide you with skills, knowledge and training to handle life threatening medical emergencies and allows you to be better prepared to protect your family in an emergency. Wilderness First Aid is a two day immersion into general medical concepts and Basic Life Support skills. This course teaches what to do with a medical emergency when help is miles away and calling 911 isn’t an option.

“The Wilderness First Aid was one of the MOST USEFULL clinics I have ever attended, due in large part to the effort you and Josh put in to make it all possible. " Joe de Kehoe.

The clinic will be held April 16 & 17, 2016 at the Hungry Valley State Vehicle Recreation Area (SVRA) near Gorman, CA. Please reserve the dates on your calendar or sign up today. (Note – you must be 18 years old to take the clinic.)

If you are interested follow these links.

More Details...

You can register directly at http://www.4x4training.com/calendar/calendar.php#WFA

I took this class two years ago. I can’t recommend it enough. I’ve since progressed through Wilderness Advanced First Aid, Urban Wilderness First Aid, EMR Training from Red Cross, and numerous other exercises. But it was my first WFA class under the auspices of Tom Severin that inspired me. Originally I received his email that said simply enough “when you’re off road, you can't call the auto club, AND you can't dial 911 either.” I signed up right away. Because I’m not a mechanical guy, so if something breaks off road, I probably won't be able to fix it. But if one of my friends gets in trouble, now at least I know how to give first aid. Jeeps can be fixed. People need more help.
If you spend any time off road…absolutely ANY…then this class is a must.
Arthur Nissman

Winch Clinic June 13

Winch Class Example

This one day clinic starts with the basics. If you are considering installing a powered winch on your vehicle, or have one already but need training to learn how to get the best from it and do it safely, you need to take this class. The one day course covers: safety related issues, basic operation of the winch, simple and complex riggings, stuck assessment, winch capability, and minimizing environmental impact. This is a hands on class. By the end of the day you will be safely rigging some complex recoveries. More Details...

You can register directly at http://www.4x4training.com/calendar/calendar.php#Winch


Rock Clinic June 20


If you are planning on doing the Rubicon, this is a good "shake down" or if you prefer a "warm up" clinic. It is great introduction to rocks even if you don't plan to do the Rubicon. The Class will be in Johnson Valley. It is an introduction to Rock crawling but it is not on "baby" rocks. We take our time and stress careful wheel placement. We use spotters for difficult sections. You learn by inspecting the obstacle and predicting the line; by watching others try their line; by experiencing it yourself; and by the coaching. We recommend you repeat the training several times. You will be much more relaxed the second time over the same obstacles and you will pick up on little details missed the first time. More Details...

You can register directly at http://www.4x4training.com/calendar/calendar.php#Rocks

Winch Recovery Bandana & Winching DVD

Winching Recover Bandana
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We have our new stock with many new colors (Red, Orange, Green, and Blue) on hand. The Bandana is packed full of useful information and is a quick reference in the field when no DVD player is available."

The Bandana layout follows the “Vehicle Recovery Plan” with pathways to more detail. A unique section of the Bandana, gives the steps for a “Winch Rigging Check: Walk through” so that you verify every element of the rigging before you commit to the pull. Stuff this in your recovery kit and you will always be ready!

Pick up or order the Winching DVD too! There is no substitute for hands on training. If you can, sign up for one of Badlands Off-Road Adventure’s Winching Clinics.

Warning – the Bandana and DVD are not a substitute for proper training and use of quality equipment that is used within the bounds of their safe working load. We advise you to use the information provided in both the Winching Recovery Bandana and the "Basic to Advanced Winching and Recovery DVD" at your own risk. We cannot control the quality and specifications of the equipment used and the methods actually employed.

Winch Recovery Bandana Order Button

Order a Basic to Advanced Winching & Recovery DVD too!

Winch DVD
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I hope to see you on the trails!
Tom Severin, President
Badlands Off Road Adventures, Inc.
4-Wheel Drive School
Make it Fun. Keep it Safe.
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Want To Use This Article In Your Magazine, E-Zine, Club Newsletter Or Web Site? You are welcome to use it anytime, just be sure to include the following author/copyright information: Tom Severin, 4x4 Coach, teaches 4WD owners how to confidently and safely use their vehicles to the fullest extent in difficult terrain and adverse driving conditions. Visit www.4x4training.com to develop or improve your driving skill.

Copyright 2016, Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Inc.

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