Story and photos by Darl Devault, Feature Writer
Some outdoor activities come with social distancing, such as hiking, kayaking, bicycling, while Jeeping is an everyone activity because your effort is as simple as driving. Jeeping offers the automatic added benefit of a COVID-19 safe recreational outing enforcing social distancing.
You can travel far to Jeep off-road or as close as nearby country roads. At Outdoor Powersports Offroad Park at Crossbar Ranch near Davis, Okla., drivers have many trails to choose from within the 6,500-acre park. While touring road and trails of Crossbar’s granite canyons you realize there are many places to enjoy being outdoors away from people.
Edmond, Okla. resident, and retiree, Rob Walker, 65, wants to increase his Jeep activity. He explains you do not have to rule the off-road world. You can simply take advantage of what it offers, immersion in nature and social distancing. He insists seniors who take up the 4-wheeling off-road lifestyle will likely continue it long after vaccines make traveling safe again.
“Isolated in your vehicle, a person driving a Jeep cannot get close to anyone without intending to get close,” Walker said. “I took a five state Jeep tour in June to Moab Utah with caution, finding if you camped in the outback you had to consciously work to get within social distance of someone. This, and it being the area’s offseason, made it safe to have a wonderful outing.”
Jeep travel and exploring provides enthusiasts with plenty of opportunities for recreation. Seniors looking for a zero COVID-19 risk reality on vacation can enjoy camping and the outdoors. (Story continued below)
From the increased sale of four-wheel drive off-road vehicles, insiders say this contingent of outdoor enthusiasts has been growing fast for many years.
Although magazine and television ads often portray Jeep owners as young and affluent, many retirement privileged seniors are learning the skills needed to enjoy what many see as rugged car camping.
Jeeping, also called off-road four wheeling, is the predominant name for the activity in America. Every year new enthusiasts create more demand for the continued strong growth in the already phenomenally large number of places to go off road.
Although you will occasionally see high-end Jeeps on the trails, the usual choice for locals is stock models These have enticed many new adventurers into the sport.
They enjoy the feel of control over rough roads. Jeeps allow them the stability and ease of getting up and over rugged obstacles. Every area has trails of with varying degrees of difficulty.
These off-road activities began soon after WWII with advances in the machinery became high tech. This has revolutionized the quality and lowered the need to be outstanding drivers for the recreational Jeeper. Jeeping provides opportunities for all ages, shapes, and sizes of folks, no matter their physical ability or driving level.
Jeeps have gone from being bare bones, WWII surplus workhorses, to having versatile number of uses. Many Jeeps are now used for a weekend, week, or longer, self-supported camping trip in the rugged parts of America.
Although using the word Jeep because they are often called Jeep trails, readers need to know many vehicles are every bit as rugged. Honda Ridgeline, Chevy Blazer, Honda Element, Toyota 4Runner, Subaru Outback, and Nissan Pathfinder, just to name a few, will work just as well.
All these rugged vehicles are easy to maneuver and stable. They all provide the feeling of being in control of something that glides effortlessly through the outdoors. This gives even the newbie the confidence to slip into the seat and go off road.
With all the automobile builders offering Web sites with tours of their products, you can comparison shop. Look around, do not buy the first vehicle you try.
For seniors, the attraction of doing what they have been doing for five decades or so, driving, has prompted many to try the sport now.
Everyone knows how to drive. Seniors can create haunting memories of their adventurous experiences off road, immersed in nature and enjoying the comforts of home while camping in the evening. The vehicle allows for the effortless hauling of all the camping gear needed to make a campsite as comfortable as you care to make it. Remember, you are not backpacking. You can bring along a small generator to combine the experience of camping with a little glamor and you have Glamping with spatial distancing.
If you choose to rent a Jeep at your adventure area, you can still pack your vehicle full of camping luxury for transfer at the rental site.
If you are brand new to the world of glamorous camping, search the Internet for ideas. In a world where public transportation is being shunned for its tight quarters with other people, you are in charge of who and how you associate with others.
“I advise anyone planning to go off road and camp in an area to first go online to the many web sites detailing the area and weather predictions,” Walker said. “Our national weather service provides this info to help promote its weather awareness agenda.”
Walker says fellow seniors who go off road need to slow down, let some air out of the tires at your destination to make the going smoother and admire the scenery.
As newcomers to the activity, many seniors can easily find out if they enjoy Jeeping by renting one for a day trip.
Seniors are living longer and have time to do things. Retirement is a time to explore. Figure out if this activity interests you. Is this how you want to spend your free time?
Walker recommends that seniors set some short-term goals and be thinking about their long-term goals. The short-term can be a trip to Crossbar. The long-term is perhaps a multi-day trip to Big Bend National Park at our southern border in Texas. You can think of both simultaneously.
All the major Jeep destinations offer Web sites describing rentals and trails. Canyonlands Jeep Adventures provides a complete overview of the sport. The U.S. National Park Service has a site allowing you find a place to go car camping and can help you get permits for certain camping spots.
Ending on a safety point, when in doubt, back out! If you are traveling on a trail or trying to maneuver around something that you are not comfortable with, do not do it. For more information visit www.rideyourlifestyle.com.