Hit the Trail after 55

Photo by Denis Snow

Four wheeling is often looked at as a young man’s game. The perception is that you use a 4WD for hard core rock crawling, heart pumping, sweaty palm adrenaline charged terrain.

The fact is that there are hundreds and thousands of scenic sites, great camp grounds, old mines, and ghost towns to visit that require a 4 wheel drive. The difficulty rating is mostly 4 or less (out of 10). While many regular drivers are in their 20s and 30s, we are seeing a lot more folks in their 50s, 60s, 70s and even 80s.

A 4WD vehicle, and four-wheeling in general, offers a number of
advantages over other motorized activities for older folks.

Top Reasons

Here, in no particular order, are my top reasons why four wheeling could / should be a part of your life at age 55 and beyond.

  1. Easier on the body. Hiking, mountain biking, riding motorcycles and ATVs/UTVs off road can be tough on an older body. You end up with too many aches and pains. A 4WD vehicle offers a much more comfortable and less-strenuous ride.
  2. You have the resources. Generally at this age people can afford an off-road vehicle”the kids are gone and the mortgage is paid off. You can now indulge in that hobby you’ve been fantasizing about for years.
  3. Companionship. 4WD vehicles allow you to share the ride and experience with one or more companions. True, other vehicles can transport at least one buddy, but it’s not the same. With a 4WD vehicle you toodle along in the outback, enjoying the scenery and conversation. And it doesn’t stop with just the people riding with you. There is safety in numbers so you will be traveling with and meeting like-minded people. Many who are foot-loose and fancy-free just like you. Great comradely develops among 4-wheelers on the trail and around the camp fire.
  4. Interior comfort and protection from the environment. The enclosed cabins offer heat and air conditioning. The windows keep out the bugs, dust, brush and noise.
  5. Get more out of your RVing experience. Towing a 4WD vehicle adds a new dimension to your RV trips. Now you can go off-road as well.
  6. You have more time & flexible schedule. You have more time to visit old ghost towns, mines and scenic areas that you can only get to with a 4 wheel drive vehicle. Maybe there are a whole bunch of things you’d like to see. A 4WD vehicle will get you there.
  7. More room. A 4WD vehicle has more room to carry the kind and amount of gear you’d need while in those remote areas. Indulge your passion for camping, hunting, fishing, photography, astronomy; whatever you like to do while outdoors. Plus, you have the room to take along creature comforts like an air mattress, mini-fridge and extra clothing. Perhaps you currently may not be involved in a particular activity simply because you can’t get to those remote spots. Well, now you can. Your retirement years become that much more fun and memorable.
    Safer ride. Airbags, sturdy frames, independent four-wheel suspension and durable glass give 4WD vehicles an edge in safety.
  8. Versatile vehicle. 4WD vehicles are street legal, so you can use them on the roads as well as on the trails. No need to trailer them from one location to another, like you do with dirt bikes and some ATVs. Plus, 4WD vehicles are permitted in all national parks.
  9. Grandkids. A four wheel drive vehicle allows you to take them along and introduce them to the great outdoors, camping and your favorite sports. You have enough room needed to carry extra clothes and food.
  10. Longer drives possible. The longer range of 4WD vehicles, due to large gas tanks and spare gas can on board, give you many more options for going off road. You can plan longer and potentially more exciting expeditions.
  11. Cheaper than an RV and more versatile. As I mentioned above, you can take a 4WD vehicle on the roads or on the trails. An RV is driven somewhere and then parked. Plus, you need a place with utilities. A 4WD vehicle goes where you want to go.
  12. Four wheeling gives you a chance to needle your neighbors: This ol’ geezer ain’t spending his days in a rocking chair!

You’ll note that many of these concepts apply regardless of the driver’s age. They are, after all, some of the general advantages of off-road driving. However, if you are 55 or older, I hope you can see how this exciting hobby can be a part of your life.

Odds are you have the time, money and ambition. Why wait any longer? Grab a 4WD vehicle, pick up some instruction (I can help you there Click here), and then start enjoying the great outdoors as you’ve never done before.

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