The old saying is that only your real friends show up when you need help moving. The same goes for when you are stuck in the boonies and need someone to come get you out. There are plenty of fair-weather sorts who would swear they would do anything for anyone—but then you find out that it comes at a cost, or not at all. The old “What’s in it for me?” attitude comes out rather than the “I’ll be right there.” Those are the two types of people in the world. It’s sort of like shopping carts. Haven’t you ever noticed that there are those who return the carts to the front, or at least the racks or a central pile, and those who leave them willy-nilly since they just don’t care about others? They lack the responsibility and respect that also relates over to our wheeling world and to how we take care of our trails. It’s not a question of “What’s in it for me?” It’s simply the right thing to do. Those people who take shopping carts back are the souls that will save our wheeling world, and the nation, and the world—those who say, “What can I do to help?”—rather than just take and take and take. Fortunately our wheeling society is far better at sticking together and helping each other than many other groups, and the more we show that, the better our reputation as a group will be noticed.
A clear example of this happened to me just the other day. I had nearly finished a 250-mile leg of an overlanding expedition, with another 500 miles to go. While my trip wasn’t deep in the wilds of Zimbabwe, the desolate desert reservation in northern Arizona during a windy and freezing winter can be just as challenging. After nearly 30 miles pounding down a straight and rough dirt road, I slowed as the dirt ended and the road curved into pavement. Luckily I had slowed, as the steering wheel that had floated in my hands for nearly an hour refused to turn right, and neither did the Jeep. My power steering pump had decided not to pump. It also decided not to make noise, get hot, leak, or even give me any other symptoms of failure. But fail it did, and those 37-inch Falken tires aired down to 10 pounds were a real challenge to move with the stock steering wheel. I wondered, does Jeep even have a manual steering option anymore? I only had 40 miles to go to civilization at that point, and could do that at semi slow speeds if I was careful. I also couldn’t fix the beast without parts or specialized tools, such as a pulley puller. The question was, what next? I needed to keep to my schedule for a variety of reasons, rather than enjoying a true adventure where time didn’t matter. What was I to do? Who ya gonna call?
A voice in my head simply said, “Why not call someone who would help you move, who does take the shopping cart back?” Well that makes sense, right? I needed a capable Jeep within a few hours of a Sunday morning to swap all my gear and equipment in, and I needed to be within 50 limping miles of my location. That same voice said, “Call Nena.” That was as simple as it gets. For those who read the Nena Knows Jeeps column in Jp, you’ll know that Nena also owns and operates Barlow Jeep Rentals. A quick call later and poof, I was in a rented Wrangler and back on my cross-reservation expedition. There wasn’t any hemming and hawing or “What’s in it for me?” It was a simple “How can I help?”
The moral of this story? No, don’t ask Nena to help you move—because she will. It’s as simple as why I have good friends and surround myself with them. I’ll do the same thing for them as she did for me, because I take the shopping cart back too. How can I help?