Planning a Trip
- Choose a location.
- Choose a date or dates. Try to avoid overlapping any events that may be going on at the Mojave River Valley Museum, or other Desert Explorer trips/events (except for Rendezvous trips).
- Choose the length of your trip.
- Choose a type of trip. Will this be a day trip only, or an overnight trip? Suitable for RV’s? Will this be a base camp (camp in one place and return to same camp)? Will this be a boondocking camp (stopping on the trail and primitive)? Or some other combination? Is the location RV accessible?
- Register your trip with the Trip Coordinator and receive approval for your intended schedule. The Trip Coordinator will advise you if there is a known conflict or trip duplication.
- Pre Running: to pre-run, or not to pre-run? This is the leader’s decision. Try to keep in mind that your vehicle may be equipped or more capable than the average SUV and driver skill levels may vary. It would be a good idea to advise your group ahead of time whether or not your trip has been scouted (if not, “lower their expectations” because of the unknowns that may be encountered).
Provide Trip Description
Provide a trip description to the Newsletter Editor, the Trip Coordinator, and the Website Editor. Your trip will be announced to the members so participants can be solicited and sign up. The description should include:
- Start and end dates.
- Trip destination and planned activities.
- CB Channel (usually 13 for DE). Remember that really older CBs only have channels 1-20.
- Driver’s skill level required, if other than “average” may be needed. Remember that the driver’s skill required will vary depending on the vehicle they drive.
- Warnings (better here than on the trail, when it’s too late!) Please give advance notice of: scary cliffsides, high altitudes, steep or off-camber roads, salt water, heavy brush (pinstriping), boulder-hopping, etc. Consider using the “Mitchell scale” of trail conditions to be expected, as outlined in the guidebooks authored by Roger Mitchell.
- Potluck dinner (s)?
- Dogs OK? Be aware that some destinations may have restrictions.
- Special fees, permits, or licenses.
- Reservation required in advance with trip leader?
- Limitation on number of vehicles allowed?
- High Clearance and/or four wheel drive required? Locking differential? Maximum wheelbase?
- Provide an estimate of travel miles, if possible ( Some vehicles get better mileage than others, so drivers may have to plan to bring gas cans). Better if a breakdown by “highway” vs. “off road” miles if you can.
- Meeting time and location (if reservation is not needed). This is usually not published if an RSVP is required.
- Foul weather contingency plans, if needed.
Contact Your Participants
Exchange more information between the leader (yourself) and the trip participants:
- For trips requiring a reservation with the leader, you will need to confirm with each participant if they are officially signed up for the trip. Develop a “waiting list” if the trip is full.
- Obtain contact information from those who have signed up for your convenience.
- Spare gasoline, and identify nearest gas available.
- Tow straps and other extraction aids (remind to bring).
- Special clothing, insect repellant, sunscreen, etc
- Recreational equipment as appropriate: fishing gear & license, hiking boots, swim suit, rockhounding tools, etc.
- Handouts/Trip Guide or outline. Maps and other reference suggestions.
- Reference Material (historical, archeological, geological, botanical, etc)
- Verify if all participants are DE Members. Identify anyone who is a “guest” (see Guest policy).
Inspect Your Vehicle
Lead The Trip
- Sign in the participants using the approved WAIVER form. We also have an approved SIGN IN SHEET you may choose to use.
- Visually scan and/or inspect the participant vehicles. Leader discretion will apply to various situations that may be identified.
- Identify a person to write the trip report (in most cases it should be the leader).
- Identify a person to submit photos to the newsletter editor.
- Have a driver’s meeting with all participants to discuss what to expect. Declare the CB channel that you are using. Declare when you plan on stopping for lunch. Declare that you will be making comfort stops and that if anyone needs a break sooner, please say so.
- Remind all vehicles to keep the vehicle behind them in sight at all times, and if they lose track of the vehicle behind them, advise the leader so we can regroup. Request that the drivers turn on their headlights. Distribute the leader’s cell phone number to the drivers as a back up measure.
- Have each vehicle do a CB check to make sure all participants are transmitting and receiving okay. If not, make sure the vehicle without CB communication is placed in between two vehicles that are functional.
- Choose a tail end driver (“sweep”) and have Tail End echo your CB transmissions that relate to safety or directions.
- Don’t forget occasional breaks (potty spots) and be mindful to stop in areas with some kind of structure or cover for privacy. If no cover is available, use tactics like “Women to the right, Men to the left of the vehicles.” Don’t forget to take advantage of opportunities when they arise.
- Try to stop and make camp long before dark.
- As the leader, you call the shots and have full discretion in making decisions for the group.
- Stay cool.
- Have fun.
- Let everyone else have fun.