Safety Clinic / May 2011

Hello all, I am Vidas Mickevicius, prospective member of ED4. I am traveling right now, so that only now I have access to my laptop to prepare this report.

I attended with my son Lukas who is 18 and will go to college this fall. We arrived on Friday at 3pm. After dropping off our stuff and airing down at Area 5 we went on some trails: Truck Hill, Fremontia, and White Rock. Then we went back to Area 5, set our tent and joined people around the fire for potlock dinner. It was real fun to meet so many 4wheelers in one place sharing their stories and talking about their rigs. To my surprise, I found so many wine enthusiasts at that dinner - thanks for sharing some really good wines!

I took ED4 Safety Clinic in 2002 and did not intend to take it again. But I learned that my duties (as prospective member) in this Clinic are just to help cleanup after the dinner on Saturday, so that I had full day of Saturday to do something. I talked to my son and we decided that he would take the Clinic. I checked with CJ and he said that registration would start at 8am on Saturday, and that walk-ins were welcome. So I registered my son Lukas for the Clinic. Lukas had experience in driving our TJ with manual in the city and some light offroad, but most of his 4x4 experience was "theoretical" - wheeling on the passenger seat and spoting for me. This Clinic was a real good practical experience for Lukas. Also theoretical part in and around the classroom was very useful and fun - instructors did perfect job keeping us all engaged! All trail guides were very knowledgeable and nice people - and I want to thank them all again. Our group had predominantly Jeeps with manuals! I rode along with my son but allowed him to make decisions on his own. He did well, I think. On staircase he wanted to use lockers and crawl slowly. I convinced him that this was his time of learning how to drive without lockers and become a good Jeep driver. Lukas learned what means the right momentum and spin control while crawling slipery stairs. His first attempt failed but second was perfect. After Saturday dinner and cleanup we left because my son had things to do at home on Sunday. Else we would have stayed another night.

We both had very good time. The trails were fun and not dusty as usual for this time of the year (effect of California cooling - I guess ;-) and weather was perfect. Our only concern was poison oak. Lukas had a bad case of poison oak just prior to this Clinic and he was still on medications. We took extreme precautions not to touch Jeep and wash our hands and faces whenever possible. It helped.

Overall this Clinic was very good. Organization was perfect. I can imagine that distributing 40+ rigs on trails is logistical nightmare, but everything worked like swiss watch. I was very happy that there were so many young people in this Clinic. It is important for our hobby (or passion) to have young people to get involved and help to promote a positive image of 4wheeling. Once again, thanks to all organizers!

See you soon, Vidas