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Stay Safe Out There - Catching Up (with Katie)

Wheeling season is coming

Levi JansmaPhotographerKatie JansmaWriter

With summer right around the corner, the wheeling season is just getting started. So, this month is kind of a public service announcement. With all of the warmer/summer holidays coming up, I thought it would be a good time to talk about this. Of course, there are all of the camping, fishing, and sporting events and most importantly, your big Jeep outings. Warmer and longer days are always a plus in my book, but soaking in the sun usually leads to a nice cold one.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a good drink at home or when I have a designated driver. According to the CDC, about 30 people in the United States die per day due to drunk driving. About 20 percent of that is children. That is one person about every 51 minutes that is killed. I personally haven’t lost family or a friend to this, but I know several people who have lost someone dear. Did you know that you will get DUI charge if you are caught drinking on a trail? That’s right; if you are out hitting the rocks behind the wheel with an ice-cold beer, you can be fined just like on the road. You are in fact still drinking and driving. Drinking is a big deal on and off the pavement. By drinking and driving you can hurt yourself or worse, hurt someone else and their family—It is just not worth the risk.

With our local 4x4 club, if you are drinking on a trip, we will ask you to leave. If it’s a bigger event and we have people drinking, we may lose our permits and/or insurance to have said events. Not to mention that sort of behavior is more fodder for activists that are opposed to our favorite pastime. So, due to the actions of a few, we could lose it all. I don’t know about most of you, but I know many people do a lot to keep our local land open and accessible for us all, and it would suck to lose all of it because of one or two people. One of my biggest pet peeves is finding empty beer cans or bottles on the trail. First, you’re not keeping our trails clean—pack it in, pack it out. Secondly, I am not your damn mom! I already have two kids and a husband to pick up after. As I have stated in the past, wheeling is a family affair for me. When we go out, I always have both my daughters with me. I can’t lose my two little Jeepers due to someone else only thinking about themselves. It would ruin wheeling for me. I’m a mommy first and a Jeeper second.

In the end, it all just starts with one, than one turns into three or four later. Let’s put it this way: If you drove yourself to the trail head, then on the trail and you crack a couple open just to get just a buzz going, then what’s your plan? The trail and the street are both roads. How are you getting home? Please drink responsibly on and off the trail! Live to jeep again.