The Boy Scout Motto—Be Prepared—holds a special place in my world. 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 the 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 the 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 and 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.