Off-roading was quite an experience. I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect, so I brought an extra set of clothing in case I got soaked or muddy. I didn’t need the extra clothing…though it was close at one point!

Look at me in the Jeep. Brad took the photo.

The event was run by the Ottawa Valley Offroader (OVO) club and Brad warned me that it would be a bit of a zoo. BF Goodrich has a program in which they select a few off-road trails around North America each year as being the best, and they donate money to the clubs that maintain them. They also donate swag that’s raffled off to those attending the trail ride hosting the event. BF Goodrich doesn’t give money away in secret so there was a camera crew from a U.S. outdoor network as well as a still photographer from 4 Wheel & Off-Road Magazine.

Because there was publicity, there were people who wanted to bask in the cameras’ glow. Brad told me there were members there he had never seen before. Interestingly enough, there were times when the camera crew would stop everyone, tell us all to be quiet, and do an ‘impromptu’ interview. Once done, we could get going again. On a number of occasions, they’d also hold up the line to position themselves to shoot all the passing vehicles. It was surreal in a way because the camera man would walk out in front of vehicles moving on uneven ground, or position himself so that he was just barely clear. If the vehicle would have shifted, he would’ve been schmucked.

I was told that with our starting promptly at 9:00 a.m. and finishing at about 5:00 p.m., we would’ve finished by 2:00 p.m. without all the hubbub. I really enjoyed the day, but the same experience in three fewer hours would’ve been even better. It was a long day even though I was just a passenger.

So how was it? Fun! Very fun. I’d go again in a minute. Basically, it’s like going out for a drive. Driving over ground that sometimes treacherous enough that it would be difficult to walk through. Except you’re in a train of a few dozen vehicles. And you periodically stop while one vehicle at a time climbs/descends a hill/rock face or traverses a mud hole. Sometimes the going is slow enough that the occupants of vehicles that have already gone through the obstacle, or those in line to go through, will get out and watch the others do their thing.

At the far end of the trail, everyone stops for lunch and gabs for a half hour, then heads back. What surprised me is there were some women along, and a number of children too. Some make it a family affair.

I’ll tell you a few stories in upcoming entries.