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Jeffrey 09-18-2018 01:34 PM


Originally Posted by Orv (Post 235867)
I once read a manual aimed at NGO workers (Peace Corps, etc.) teaching them how to drive on unimproved frontier roads in developing countries. The author noted that in places where he expected to get stuck in sand or mud a lot, he carried a boat anchor. There are ones designed to dig themselves in when pulled horizontally across a loose surface, then to let go when pulled straight upward.

Its called a PullPal and available in the USA. I have one. Never had to use it yet.

Orv 09-18-2018 02:44 PM

<i>ORV, curious to see if that boat anchor is actually a "sea" anchor.</i>

Possibly. It's been probably at least a decade since I read that, details have probably escaped me.

He did say it got some very odd looks going through border checkpoints in land-locked countries.

TomH 09-19-2018 12:09 AM

Some people use the Danforth Standard Marine (fluke style) Anchor as a land anchor. Other companies make fluke style anchors as well, but they all seem very lightweight. Most of these marine anchors seem rated at 1000 lb. or less.

There is also the Thrust Off-Road Recovery Anchor and the CQR anchor. The latter of those does not fold up and looks more like a plow that would rip through soil rather than hold fast. The Thrust Ground Anchor does fold up like the Pull-Pal.

Some people just dig a hole and bury the spare tire vertically with a slot going to the wheel center for the cable.

Pull-Pal is owned by Billet4x4. There are four sizes: models 6000, 11000, 14000, and 16000. The model 16000 is the mega-duty version and is rated at 12,000 lb. Pull-Pal is what is typically used by offroaders and is considered the best of all these options, though it is expensive.

dick 09-20-2018 10:28 AM

Maze is a step up from White Rim
Bummer for those guys - Rangers have a pic of a jeep liberty rolled over in almost the same spot - they told him not to go as he wasn't prepared.


Originally Posted by eddyturn (Post 233572)
Note to self: take the Flint Trail off my to do list.

I did it in my van last year both directions - it's steep and loose but not too bad. I did drop my Diesel Tank - Was dragging just above the ground when we rolled into camp - Lucky to find a bolt that would put it back together...

We went all the way out to the Dolls House & it is tough on vehicles but if you go slow it's 100% doable


Originally Posted by TomH (Post 232729)
I wonder what the rating level was for that particular trail. I know that a 2wd Westphalia once completed the White Rim Road in Canyonlands, but there are some trails in there that are only for rock crawling OHVs.

Maze is a significant step up from WR - although Ive seen video of Westy's way deep in the park.

rltilley 09-20-2018 12:24 PM

I did the White Rim by bicycle last year and saw a Subaru Outback out there. Not sure if he did the whole loop or was just daytripping. He was around the midpoint though.

arctictraveller 10-04-2018 07:13 PM

So far Bob has not been able to join the forum for unknown reasons. I sent an email to Janet, but never received a reply. For now Bob sent me the following, along with some video I'll try to post in a different reply. Thanks for your time Bob.....................

"So, regarding the Sportsmobile - Canyonlands tip over, I don't have time to run through all the various details, point-by-point. Suffice it to say, we initially worked VERY hard to first "try" various rigging configurations to keep from placing a polyester (low-stretch) winching strap around the top of the vehicle. I didn't want to put stress on the fiberglass pop-up top, as I was afraid we might either tweak it or crack it. The passenger side of a van doesn't really have the "normal" or "strong" B-Pillar from which to connect the strap high enough near the roof from which to pull the vehicle up and on to it's tires. On a non-van vehicle, this is generally where you'd attach a strap or winch line to right the vehicle. If the vehicle has a roll bar or robust roof rack (think Kargo Master Safari) near the roof, this is better place to connect the winching strap.

After multiple attempts to NOT put a strap around the top of the vehicle (over solar panels and roof-top carrier), we were unsuccessful at obtaining the higher leverage needed to upright the van. I sensed from the outset that we would NOT be successful with these attempts, but I wanted to exhaust the options. We had the time. We tried to attach to the top of the passenger side of his Aluminess bumper tubing. But that didn't give us the leverage we needed. Other attachment points and winch-rigging were tried; all not successful.

The basic winch rigging for all these tries was as follows:

1) My Power Wagon was in front of the van, I had to turn it around on the trail (this was very hard - narrow trail) and point my front bumper/winch at the van - we used my winch to right the van; 2) We took my winch rope up high on the trail's downslope and fixed a tree strap around a stout juniper tree at it's root base; 3) we ran my winch rope through a pulley block for a "change of direction" down to the van; 4) we placed a MaxTrax under the winch rope near the pulley block so the rope would not rub on the rock; 5) we had two vehicles behind the van (Wrangler and Tacoma) - we used both of these vehicles to daisy-chain with polyester straps to the van to act as anchor points. These two vehicles had their tires chocked, parking brake on, engine running, foot brake on hard, and ready to put the vehicles in reverse if needed to hold the van. We did not want the van to roll away once up on it's rubber (you HAVE to think ahead). It was this winch-rigging configuration that allowed us to connect my winch to the various points we tried in the recovery.

Once we exhausted all possible connection points, other than putting a strap around the top of the van, we then needed to route a wide strap over the top of the roof (at the strongest location we could find) down the driver-side of the van, and around the bottom to connect to the driver's side frame - under the vehicle. I liked putting the strap near the rear of the van's top for leverage and strength. The wide strap (other than a thin winch rope) was important as it spread out the stress on the van's fiberglass top.

Once the van was righted, we noticed we did absolutely NO damage to the pop-up top on the van. It was perfect. The van suffered NO broken glass; not even the mirror on the driver's side. All the van had was a small dent in the pinch weld below the pop-up top. The van was resting nicely on the driver's side ladder. A miracle - even if I'd planned a tip over, I could not have set it on its side more perfectly.

Lessons to be learned: 1) Carry extra fuel. The van was the only diesel vehicle in the group, but he carried no extra diesel. He dumped all his fuel onto the trail. (Had to drive all the way to Green River, UT to get fuel cans and diesel; then return to vehicle parked at end of trail, so others could pass). 2) GET a darn winch for your vehicle - this person did NOT have one. Had he been solo, he would have walked out to get help. 3) When you drive up high on a downslope, you CAN tip over. The maneuver to remedy the possible tip over is NOT to brake, but to steer quickly down hill and accelerate a bit. There are other lessons, but these are the generic items.

Hat tip to the fine team of overlanders that were with me on this trip. Everyone pitched in the recover this van. We followed my "STOPA - Stuck Assessment and Recovery Plan Checklist" I give all my students. This is a methodical and mature approach to organizing a recovery. STOP, THINK, OBSERVE, PLAN, and then ACT. If anyone wants this assessment or checklist, email me at I'll send you a PDF for your glovebox."

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Bob Wohlers

Owner - Instructor

Blue Sky Adventures, Inc.

DBA: Off-Road Safety Academy

704 East Evans Reimer Road

Gridley, CA 95948

909.844.BLUE (2583)

shenrie 10-04-2018 07:58 PM

thanks for posting artic. that's very interesting to read. wish I could have been there to watch this van get uprighted. im sure it would have been pretty informative to see.

TomH 10-04-2018 10:07 PM

Thanks for that great report. I am very sorry you have not been able to join and post.

rltilley 10-04-2018 10:37 PM

Interesting part on what to do if you get tippy driving up the high side on a downhill. My first instinct would be to brake and back up. Quickly turning downhill and accelerating does make sense.

Jeffrey 10-04-2018 10:41 PM

Great report and the perfect man for the job. To bad there was no one available to video the recovery. The question remains, was this on the Flint Road switchbacks in Canyonlands?

Janet H 10-05-2018 10:28 AM


Originally Posted by arctictraveller (Post 236983)
So far Bob has not been able to join the forum for unknown reasons. I sent an email to Janet, but never received a reply. For now Bob sent me the following, along with some video I'll try to post in a different reply. Thanks for your time Bob.....................

He has an account already set up and should be able to post. The account was set up back in August and the username is BobWohlers

If he needs an assist or password reset, have him click the "contact' link at the bottom of the page please.

arctictraveller 10-05-2018 11:18 AM


Originally Posted by Janet H (Post 237006)
He has an account already set up

Janet, I'm sure he will get this cleared up soon, thanks for looking in on us.

On a different note, Bob did send me some video of the recovery, but my slow connection has trouble downloading it, perhaps once Bob gets set up he can do it directly.

Twoxentrix 10-05-2018 11:21 AM

Very impressed that they managed the process with little catlateral damage - even more surprised the ladder seems to have saved the side of the Van.
Have managed to get out of a predicament using the '"steer down & don't brake" method, but it is one of those maneuvers you struggle with mentally, and certainly doesn't feel natural....but works.

BobWohlers 10-05-2018 12:38 PM

Yep... the trail was Flint Cove Road switchbacks on our way to our reservations at Doll House 1 and 2 campgrounds.

BobWohlers 10-05-2018 12:47 PM

Hope My Story Helps
It speaks well of everyone on this form/thread to ask "how did we do the recovery?" Knowledge is power; skill development is important. Congratulations for being interested in the recovery. I do have a video of the final recovery effort; hope I can post that sometime in the near future. I will say this again, as I've said many times in my training newsletters, once you are stuck (like a tip over), it takes MORE than "Brewing a Cup of Tea" to get ready for a recovery. This very British phrase is wonderful, but it's NOT an "end all" or "explains all" for maturely readying yourself for an intelligent recovery. YOU need a recovery assessment that includes all the STOPA phases - STOP, THINK, OBSERVE, PLAN, and then ACT. "Brewing a cup of tea" does speak to the STOP phase, but what about the other important pre-recovery audits/phases? If you want to see a complete dissertation on how you should approach a recovery like the one with the SportsMobile in the Maze District of Canyonlands, just email me to get my "STOPA - Stuck Assessment and Recovery Plan Checklist™". I'm happy to share and help you prepare for "That Day." Regards to all.

rltilley 10-05-2018 12:53 PM

Thanks for taking the time to report on this Bob! I was curious if you feel the road was too much for the size of the van or just simple operator error? It looks like once in that spot it would have been difficult to back out of it. That would be a place I would like to visit but would take the Jeep if the van would be too large. The Jeep would be less costly to fix as well!

BobWohlers 10-05-2018 12:55 PM

Video of Recovery
I'm hesitant to post this link to my DropBox (as I don't know if it exposes other elements of my cloud files), but here's a link to download the iPhone video of the final phase of the recovery. Please tell me if this is inappropriate here on the forum or is risky to my copyrighted files. Thanks folks; just trying to be of service.

BobWohlers 10-05-2018 01:04 PM

GREAT QUESTION! IMHO the Flint Trail is NOT to difficult for a 4WD lifted Sportsmobile. First off, my Power Wagon with a Four Wheel Camper on the back is larger/heavier than most Sportsmobiles. In my Power Wagon I was not using my Down Hill Assist or lockers. Truth be told, it WAS driver error. Nothing to be ashamed of, but true. He was trying to avoid a "hole" in the trail on his driver side, so he took the vehicle up on the side slope on passenger side. He went up way too far, plus he had not pulled his manually-detachable front swaybar. Had he done this, his axle would have articulated better, allowing the high-center gravity body to remain more level. Honestly, we filled in the hole prior with some rocks, so he really didn't need to try to avoid the hole. Trail reconstruction and reconfiguration is a major part of maintaining traction on such a trail.

rltilley 10-05-2018 01:11 PM

Video was great! Looks like the spot where the van was put back on its wheels was plenty wide. Must have been a tight spot just prior to there. The rigging was pretty impressive.

I was thinking when I saw the truck that it seemed to be a fairly large vehicle. Nice to hear a van can make it down. Sounds like, as the driver, I'll be the weak link. I'll just need to take my time.

I was curious about the sway bars as well. I had a hunch they were not disconnected. Thanks again!

Pschitt 10-05-2018 02:46 PM

Yes, VivaLaVida drove it without any issue or even without tricky situation, the same to the Dollhouse trail. Just had to back up once in two of the switchbacks.

TomH 10-05-2018 05:06 PM

Bob, thank you very much for all your effort in getting that posted here. That was some brilliant understanding of and application of physics!

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