Continued from page 1
ATV Journey Through North America, D-Day
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.
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
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
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.
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
http://www.quadtrek.net. 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.