A Good Rendezvous isn’t a Secret

Family Style
A rendezvous point near a gas station and convenience store is a real plus.
(Click picture for a larger image.)

While many four wheelers view the trailhead as the starting point of any trip, in reality all the fun begins at the rendezvous point. That is where all drivers congregate initially. Final supplies are purchased if necessary, and trip plans are reviewed. A lot of thought should go into the selection of a meeting place. If the rendezvous spot isn’t chosen properly, the trip may not get off to a good start.

A good rendezvous point looks like this:

  • Close to the trailhead, though that’s a relative term, as we will see.
  • Offers lots of parking.
  • Easy to find.
  • Near a gas station and convenience store.
  • Offers cell coverage.

  • How close you can get to the trailhead varies a lot. A prime location could be 50 miles or more from the trailhead. It all depends on how remote your off-road destination is—and how far away the other drivers are.

    Depending on the size of your group, you may need a lot of room. Select a spot that is large enough for everyone to meet—including those with trailers—but that still has enough room for regular customers of that establishment. (Be a good sport. Don’t hog the parking lot.) Big box stores always have large lots, but they aren’t very common in rural areas.

    I have used parking lots for grocery stores, restaurants and BLM field offices. Truck stops are nice, too. The parking lot for an office building might work on weekends when the business is closed.

    The rendezvous spot should be easy to find. This, too, can be relative. A location near a city should be more convenient than one out in the country. Also, the mapping format your guests use plays a big part. Don’t assume everyone uses GPS. (And that GPS is always accurate.)

    Determine which kind of directions each driver is comfortable with. Some people prefer GPS coordinates. Others like a map (whether official variety or hand-drawn). Still others will ask for the address so they can type that into their GPS units. This last option has a potential downfall: In more rural settings, GPS can be less accurate.

    Remember that the more remote your rendezvous point is, the more likely you’ll need more than one type of mapping format. Be as clear as possible when you provide directions. You are probably more familiar with the area than your guests are. Don’t be shy with details and directions.

    Family Style
    The rendezvous spot should be easy to find.
    (Click picture for a larger image.)
    A rendezvous point near a gas station and convenience store is a real plus. In fact, I want to say that it’s a necessity. Why? Some—maybe all—of your guests will need to stock up on something. It’s usually gas, food or firewood—maybe all three. Plus, you can pull a 10-100 visit in the meantime.

    In remote, rural areas you don’t have a choice. Your rendezvous point is the last location that offers gas and convenience items. Your guests could be 50, 100 or more miles from home. Of course they will have to top off their tanks. Therefore, a gas station/convenience store combo is the ideal location.

    But here’s the rub: Last-minute purchases take time. Those precious minutes come out of your day. Knowing this, it might be a good idea to arrange your rendezvous 15 to 30 minutes earlier than you originally planned. (Remember that you’ll have down time at the trailhead, too.)

    It’s also important for drivers to bring along extra gas. Once off-road, you could be long distances from any gas station. Take Nevada, for example. Esmeralda and Mineral Counties are quite remote. Total surface area is some 7,400 square miles. Esmeralda has one gas station in the entire county and it is not even in the county seat which has no gas station. There are three gas stations in Mineral County, but all are in Hawthorne. Many of the rural gas stations have only 2 options for fuel: 87 octane and diesel. If you need a higher octane, bring more gas with you or add an octane booster.

    Gas isn’t the only necessity in short supply. Cell coverage can be spotty, even nonexistent when off road. Make sure cell phones operate in and near the rendezvous point. Your guests can contact you while en route.

    When selecting a rendezvous point, the location might be obvious. It could be the parking lot, intersection or other noteworthy stop nearest the trailhead. In other cases, you may have a choice. Always recon those locations so you’re familiar with them. Provide your guests detailed directions—in whatever format they prefer—and implore on all to arrive on time and ready to go.

    Once you leave the rendezvous point, you can focus on the trailhead and four-wheel excursion ahead.
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Related Articles from Badlands Off-road Adventures

Did you miss the previous article?

Some Upcoming Events

(click on the link for details)

Badlands Off-Road Adventures on Bull Frog Trail in Johnson Valley
Photo by The Adventure Portal
(Click picture for a larger image.)

We are in the process of compiling the Badlands Off-Road Adventures 2017 calendar. Our goal is to have it finalized and on the web by the end of October. If you have any requests or suggests for clinics and events for next year, we would be happy to hear them.

We have two adventure trip scheduled before the end of the year: Death Valley & the T&T Railroad.

The women only class is already half full. Sign up soon if you wish to attend.

October marks the beginning of our class schedule in Borrego Springs. The first clinic is Oct 29th.

Summary of upcoming events.

Death Valley October 21-24

Death Valley

This is a 4 day trip on the back roads in Death Valley. We will drive the Panamint Mountains, drive past Badwater Basin (lowest spot in North America), visit Chloride Ghost town, Titus Canyon, check out Ubehebe Crater, Teakettle junction, The Race Track & Lippencott Mine Road, camp at the Warm Springs and leave via Steal Pass up to the high meadows, then take Dedeckera Canyon down to the Eureka Sand Dunes. All four days will see some light to moderate 4-wheeling. Much of the trip is quite remote with random or no cell service. We don't plan to stop at tourist sights you can get to in a passenger car.
Check out the details and sign up on the website: http://www.4x4training.com/Adventures/Deathvalley.html
August 2013 Off-Road Adventures Magazine: Death Valley Excursion by Denis Snow

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


T&T Rail Road Adventure in November

Death Valley

Our goal is to cross through Johnson Valley, enjoying what it has to offer, and making our way North along the old Tonopah & Tidewater (T&T) Rail Road bed to the Rasor OHV, Afton Canyon and the western edge of the Mojave Preserve. On the way we will skirt the Rodman Mountain Wilderness and cross I-40. This adventure is 2 days of scenic, historical, light wheeling and a night ( 2 if you prefer) of primitive camping under the stars. We can plan a Dutch Oven pot luck for our evening meal.
Check out the details and sign up on the website: http://www.4x4training.com/Adventures/TTRailroad.html

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

May 5, 2016 - ALL COLORS BACK in STOCK

Winching Recover Bandana
Click for higher resolution image
We now have all six colors of our winch bandana back in stock!

The Orange and Red went fast last time with blue not far behind so if you want a specific color order now while we have them all 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.

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

The original press release with larger graphics is on the website

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.
If you find this information valuable, please pass it on to a friend. You can forward them the email. If you received a forwarded copy of this newsletter and would like to subscribe for yourself, go to: www.4x4training.com/contacts.html and follow the instructions to join our mail list.
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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