Trail Head

Jp Magazine - - Table Of Contents - —Rick Péwé jped­i­tor@jp­magazine.com

I learned at an early age that if any­thing could go wrong it prob­a­bly would, and hav­ing parts and sup­plies to fix an issue would help get you out of a predica­ment. A length of twine could fix your boot­lace while hik­ing, and how could you ever go any­where without a knife? It seems that the Be Pre­pared at­ti­tude also helps you con­quer the real world of busi­ness, family, and, of course, fun.

That’s where be­ing pre­pared off-road can re­ally be im­por­tant. The other day I was with an es­teemed group of wheel­ers and we were en­joy­ing a won­der­ful rock gar­den in the rain when, lo and be­hold, a stick came out of nowhere and ripped off a rear brake line from an­other Jeep’s caliper. Luck­ily, this es­teemed group quickly set about fix­ing the break­age by clamp­ing off the line, mov­ing to a safe spot off the trail, and re­plac­ing the line. Hal­lelu­jah, our trip could con­tinue. Ex­cept for one small problem—the ve­hi­cle’s owner didn’t have enough brake fluid to fill the master cylin­der on his ve­hi­cle.

Now, ex­pe­ri­enced wheel­ers nat­u­rally carry brake fluid, just like they carry spare tranny fluid or beer. How­ever, in this case that lit­tle bitty 8-ounce bot­tle of brake fluid was not even close to the amount lost from the sys­tem. In the end, we needed to scav­enge the sup­ply chests of three more ve­hi­cles to come up with enough clear fluid to make the trip safely up the hill. Of course, this could hap­pen to any­one, and I’m not sug­gest­ing each person carry a gal­lon of each type of fluid just in case.

I thought the whole Be Pre­pared sce­nario would make for a per­fect editorial, which is why you’re now read­ing my ram­blings. But the fact of the mat­ter is that within an hour of pen­ning this, on the trail and feel­ing sat­is­fied that my work was done, I en­coun­tered a sim­i­lar stick and ripped my own brake line off my Jeep. And yes, my thoughts went im­me­di­ately to that lit­tle 12-ounce bot­tle of fluid buried deep within the bow­els of the Jeep, and I con­tem­plated if I had enough to do the same job. How pre­pared was I? For­tu­nately, I clamped the line off, topped off the reser­voir, and fixed the line later, with no lack of fluid. But I bought a big­ger bot­tle of juice the next day just in case, so I could truly Be Pre­pared.

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