Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Back Country Security

Getting lost can be fun. Just as an option though. That being said, in 2006 all the stars aligned for Rick and I. We had been racing our tandem bike for a few years and had built up the courage (or insanity had set in) enough to register for a race called the Terrible Two. 200 miles, temps over 100*, 16,000 feet of climbing, steep climbing, steep descents with what they called 'decreasing radius' turns and a time limit of 16 1/2 hours. Let's face it though, just the name should have been enough to dissuade us. It wasn't. When we showed up at O dark thirty to the start line, racers began saying "you’re gonna do this on a tandem?!?". This did NOT inspire confidence. Climbing is tough anyway and on a tandem you're hauling the weight of the bike plus two bodies. AND did I mention this ride has strict cutoff times? All day we were under the gun, people were literally laying by the side of the road cramped up or crumbled up from crashing on the hairy descents. Then the navigator, that would be me, took a wrong turn. We added a mile or two to this 200 miler. Fortunately we still made the cutoff time with a whole ten minutes to spare. Getting lost is not always fun but certainly always an adventure. 
So when I go out in the woods, whether on roads or trails, I like to leave a trail of breadcrumbs. Virtual breadcrumbs, virtual cuz I don't want anything hungry following us! I use an app called Scenic Map Western USA. Recently I discovered this app includes the South Side trail (which runs parallel to the Bizz) AND all those cool trails out in Susanville Ranch Park. I know cuz I got lost and whipped out my Scenic Map. BAM. All the trails. No cell signal? No problem. The app is run on GPS. I'm sure there are a lot of programs out there to use, Rick prefers an app called Gaia. Whatever works best for you, I highly recommend having some program. It is so fun to try to connect roads and trails to get where you wanna go, especially without a time limit :). 

(Sheriff Growdon in one of the best Halloween costumes EVER!)

The most important thing we carry is a personal locator beacon. I happen to know even Sheriff Growdon uses one. The beacons are GPS driven so no cell service required, you can send a text to someone if needed or hit a button to send an SOS to emergency services with your EXACT location. With winter's below freezing temperatures it's  critical to have a timely rescue should it become necessary. We try to be careful out there, but accidents happen, why not be just as prepared as you can? Then if you still wanna take the ‘get lost’ option, you can. 

So much Hometown Happiness to be found in our woods. Be safe out there~

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