Four wheeling, especially when multiple vehicles are involved, requires teamwork to be successful. Everyone must be on the same page for the trip to come off without a hitch—or as flawlessly as possible. Something as basic as vehicle spacing can affect parts of a trip.
They were strung out in Gohler Gulch wash in California one summer day. It was a large group, some 10 vehicles of various types. At one point the group reached a particularly challenging patch.
The trail cut through a boulder-strewn waterfall. To the left was a big swirly hole seven feet wide and six feet deep. On the right side, just at the base was a two-foot drop off. That portion of the trail was about 25 feet long, with a drop of about five feet in elevation. Each vehicle had to carefully navigate right down the middle of the "water fall".
The lead vehicle, driven by the trail guide, slipped past the waterfall and stopped about 400 feet away. As the guide got out to spot for the others, vehicles started through the obstacle. After exiting, though, many stopped so far back from the vehicle ahead that the last three vehicles didn't have room to clear the rough spot.
This is a perfect example of the need to bunch up as you’re stopping. Simple math shows that a caravan that long can cover a lot of trail.
Let’s say that each vehicle is nearly 20 feet long, and that each stops about 20 feet behind the guy ahead. With 10 vehicles on the trail, you’re looking at upwards of 400 feet—nearly one-tenth of a mile—from the trail guide to the tail end.
Whenever one of your vehicles stops, pull up close behind (but not so close the guy can’t open his tailgate). If everyone does the same, you’ll have nice, compact group. It’s a lot easier to assemble everyone for a discussion. Or to spot for someone.
Trail tips and protocol
This is a good time to review some general principles of four wheeling.
Four wheeling is sometimes likened to a dance. All those vehicles need to operate in unison for a successful adventure. One “step” occurs when everyone is stopping. Do your part, and pull up close to keep the gang together.