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Continued from page 1

Megaride -- ATV Journey Through North America, D-Day Plus....

Whenever one plans a long endeavor, of course circumstances cause those plans to change. That is the case as far as logistics goes with this trip. The inability to get some things they thought they needed and just realizing that certain things were not possible and other things had to be made possible caused many of the logistical changes. “At first, we were looking for someone who could act as a support team,” said Joinville. “We soon discovered that it is pretty hard to find someone who has a year to spare waiting for a couple of nuts on quads. So we decided that there would be no support team. At first, it was supposed to be a U.S. only trip. Then we learned from friends that it was possible for people to drive their ATVs most anywhere in Mexico. So, we decided to include Mexico on the itinerary. At first, we were supposed to ride south to north but since we’d be riding into Mexico, it would make things easier to ride north to south. But then we’d need someone to bring our truck down from Canada because we didn’t want to ride it all both ways. So now we’ll have Frances’ youngest son Matt drop us off at our starting point and then he’ll store the truck in Calgary, Canada and fly back home. My friend JEG will later fly to Calgary, take the truck and drive it down to a storage place in Arizona and then fly back home. That way, when we hit Cabo, Mexico, we can ride back to Arizona and load the quads back on the trailer and head back home. We also discovered later that we have to trailer through a small portion of northern Utah since there are no interconnecting trails in that area, and it is impossible to make an ATV street legal there. A fine gentleman whose nickname is OneBottleDave has offered to help us with that. He will take us from where the trails end to where they start again. We also learned that it might be easier for us to cross the border into Mexico if we are trailered through instead of if we ride through. So we found another fine folk in Yuma, Arizona who is willing to help us with that.”

Their food container neatly tucked into the trailer for easy access.
Their food container neatly tucked into the trailer for easy access.

Some slight route changes were made too once the two had a chance to think about where they were going and where they will be. “A few route changes but not many as of now,” said Joinville. “Some were made so we can enjoy places we hadn’t thought about before. Others have been made so we can meet some new-found friends we made through the internet following posts on quad-related discussion forums.”

Not Enough Time in the Day

As far back as March it may have appeared to the two that they had too much time to prepare. Not the case. Joinville reported that things were pretty hectic going all the way back to January. It all started when a fellow going by the moniker Desert Hawk saw the megaride website and decided to post it on more than 15 chat forums. “Our site became very busy, and we literally got tons of e-mails confirming what we had experienced at the National Quad Show. There are an awful lot of folks showing a great interest in our trip.”

According to Joinville, people wrote in volunteering to help in all sorts of ways. Some offered to establish the best possible route through their area, and they sent the duo CDs and DVDs that contained maps and some sent maps that were drawn out on paper. Others suggested equipment they could use that they were not aware of. One guy offered to edit filmed footage they might take and turn it into some kind of expedition film. Others wanted to meet them somewhere and ride with them for a part of the way. Joinville noted that they got messages from people of all walks of life including professionals, public workers, businessmen, and just ATV and adventure fans.

At this point preparation became jotting down notes on 3M post-ems and putting them up in no particular order on the home’s refrigerator.

As the days dwindled, both Joinville and Labonte thought more about the trip and concluded that routing it out before hand was too structured. “After talking to numerous people who live somewhere along the area we’ll travel in, we changed the way we thought about the route we should be taking,” said Joinville. “Part of the route will be established before we leave; but for the most part, we will follow a corridor within which we will have the opportunity to change our itinerary to check out scenic areas we don’t even know exist yet or to visit new-found friends.”

Tips and Tricks When on the Trail

Previous test trips and just a whole lot of thinking got Joinville and Labonte to kind of be inventive about all kinds of things they will need or need to do on the trip. Some examples include:

Keeping the food container safe from varmints. “Our food container is placed within a metallic wire cage so squirrels and other rodents don’t enjoy a lunch break on us,” said Joinville.

In order to keep food and drinks cold, a 12-volt cooler was rigged on to the bikes. Joinville installed a 12-volt outlet under the rear rack of the quad to provide energy. The outlet is connected directly to the battery and the cooler draws a fair amount of current. “Since the cooler can’t be plugged in all the time, we only carry non-perishable food or food to be eaten shortly or things that may be kept at moderately warm temperature,” said Joinville. To assure that the cooler works in dust and rain they designed and constructed a wood box that completely covers the cooler. And, since the cooler needs air to work, vents equipped with air filters were fitted inside of the box.

Other things were modified or constructed in accordance to what the two think they will need. For example, the trailer was modified to be as light as possible and as strong as possible and to have the ability to take on a heavy load. Smooth riding independent suspension was added, and it was built to be the same width as the quad to follow in the same tracks. It has also been equipped with the same size wheels and tires as the quads.

A “kitchen” was constructed with various compartments for easy access to everything they would need to prepare a meal--pots and pans, plates, utensils, cups, stove, etc. The “kitchen” has been built to be dust resistant, water tight, and shock proof. The door which covers the “kitchen” is made of aluminum and can be used as a table. And, since it is aluminum, it is easy to clean. The stove is a Whisperlite, a backpacking stove. It’s made of stainless steel and brass so it is easy to clean and is durable. It burns whether you use white gas, kerosene, or unleaded auto fuel; and it weighs only 14 ounces. Also, speaking of utensils, the two have found that a telescopic fork is essential. They have one that goes from 12-inches to 34-inches in a second.

One last look at the clean equipment.
One last look at the clean equipment.

They’ve also found that a pop-up tent serves best as eating quarters when it rains. It more or less stands free on circular ultra-flexible plastic poles and it is quick to set up. Joinville claims it can be up in one minute. When down and folded, it is compact and fits into a 24-inch circle pouch. “Our tent was chosen with a few things in mind,” said Joinville. “The rain fly goes all the way to the ground and most of the tent is made of screen so there is better air circulation inside when the weather is hot. The inside height is enough so that we can stand up, and there is a vestibule so it is very easy to undress.” Also, to help them pitch the tent in the dark of night they are bringing an LED head lamp. It is lightweight, yet tough, and uses very little power. Joinville claims that the batteries are likely to last for about a year.

Finally, they don’t want to smell for the entire trip. So a hot shower will be possible using a vinyl pouch with water from a lake, river, and stream, whatever water supply is handy. Fill the pouch with water and let it sit in the sun for a few hours and you’ve got a hot shower. Joinville claims that the pouch is capable of supplying two showers at a time.

So, it looks like our traveling duo is ready for the grand adventure, but is the grand adventure ready for them? No doubt there will be surprises. Both will have to be prepared to confront the unexpected. I guess that’s why they call it an adventure.

You can keep track of their exploits through their website: And we will be dropping in on them periodically too, to get status reports.

The two would like to thank some people who have helped them plan and will help them along the way: Thanks to Polaris, Matt France, JEG, OneBottleDave, Mark Brenton of Jet Rent, thanks to all the people who e-mailed suggestions and who will meet them on the trail, Desert Hawk, Jeff, and everyone else they haven’t contacted or seen yet, but will seen during the trip.

Book your seat at your computer. The grand adventure begins on July 7, 2007 -- 7-7-7.

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