Tips on how to make the day fun.
Awhile back I ventured out onto Diamondback Gulch, a moderate Jeep trail in West Sedona that’s not nearly as well known as Broken Arrow, Soldier Pass, or Schnebly Hill. In fact, on busy Saturdays, it’s one of those trails you can truly enjoy because there will only be a few folks out there. However, on this particular Saturday, there were countless tour Jeeps and three different 4×4 clubs on the short 6-mile trail. What is usually a casual two-hour excursion was a harried 3-hour “stop, wait, and back-up” game.
As the spring wheeling season pushes into summer, traffic snarls and manic visitors are the expected fare in tourism towns all over, both on and off pavement. This carries over onto even our most exclusive 4-wheeling Jeep trails. Here are a few tips to help you manage the increased traffic and keep you sane.
#1. Safety comes first, always. No matter how late you may be to whatever appointment or next scheduled activity, it’s never worth the safety of you or your family to hurry: stay calm, pay attention (no texting or taking pictures while driving), and don’t rush. There are way too many other harried people out there this time of year. Stay alert!
#2. Educate yourself. Call ahead to your destination or next activity to find out what the weather conditions are, what road construction snarls you may be able to avoid, or what alternate activities or timing could better suit your needs to help you avoid peak traffic. Most business operators are happy to help direct visitors to a time frame that will be better for everyone. Some Jeep trails are busier certain days of the week or times of the day. Some road construction snags can be avoided by alternate routes or a different time during the day.
#3. Have fun! Remember why you are out there: to enjoy the natural beauty of your surroundings and share a fun experience with friends and loved ones. Plan some extra time in case of unplanned snags in your schedule, and have snacks or activities for kids ready. Look for things that you haven’t seen before. Have a family contest for the silliest trip photo—anything from something out of place to funny signs, to a series of “all things orange” or “things that we don’t see in our hometown”. Make the best of whatever situation you encounter. Schedule in stops at some points of interest, or, even better-be spontaneous! Find a safe place to park and do your own family series of pics at the unexpectedly cool things you see on your trip. Regular stops to stretch legs is refreshing and helps keep the trip fun for everyone. Keep everything in perspective and ENJOY your trip.