ATV Adventures: Keeping 12 machines together on a Paiute ATV Trails ride
We were two days into a four-day ride on the Paiute ATV Trail System. We used the Drop System to stay together and it worked very well. We had already made a trip to the Meadow Hot Pots west of the town by that name, a 47-mile loop on the mountain above Fillmore, and a 93-mile trip to Marysvale, which included a side trip to the top of the Tushar Mountains.
All of that changed as we began our third day. I learned that you can’t assume that everyone knows the Drop System. No one wants to admit that they don’t when everyone else does. The Drop System is a good system that will keep a group together. It also allows riders to spread out on a dusty trail.
The Drop System requires a ride leader and a tail gunner. When the leader comes to an intersection, he will “drop” the rider behind him there. The dropped rider will indicate to the rest of the riders which direction to take. When the tail gunner reaches the intersection, the dropped rider will take a place in front of the tail gunner.
As I said, this had been working well until the third day. I will admit that things became complicated by a desire to have breakfast before we left Marysvale. The Paiute Trails Diner was not open for breakfast. Not wanting to lead a ride with riders who had not had their morning coffee, we rode to the Big Rock Candy Mountain Resort for breakfast.
Because we had 16 people in our group, it was about 11 a.m. before we left the restaurant. The good thing was that everyone was happy after breakfast.
In the parking lot, we discussed a route to take to Monroe. The map indicated a width restriction of 60 inches on the trail we wanted to cross over the bridge on the Sevier River. We had machines in our group that were too wide for that trail. Wayne Pahl said he had been on that trail and didn’t remember a restriction. I gave the lead to him to get us across the bridge.
He started to leave the parking lot when I reminded him we needed to get everyone lined up. His famous last words were, “They will see us leave — everyone will follow.”
We made it across the bridge. There was no width restriction. We turned north after we crossed the bridge, but no one was there to direct traffic. I soon realized there were three riders in front of me and no one behind me.
I found one rider when I headed back to the bridge. I waited for him there while he went to the place where we left the highway to take this trail. I then got a text from the five who went to Marysvale to find us. I gave them instructions on where to meet. We finally got everyone back together.
That is when it occurred to me that we had an additional tool we could use to keep the group together. Four of our machines featured the Polaris Ride Command System. Ride Command allowed me to create a group the four riders could join. It didn’t matter how far behind these riders were. I could see them on my screen. At one point, one of those riders was 5 miles behind me.
Each rider appeared on my screen as a small ball of a color chosen by the rider. If he doesn’t add his name, the screen shows him as “Polaris Rider.” The system indicates the rider’s direction of travel as a small “bird beak” that rotates around the ball as he moves down the trail.
Another feature of the Ride Command System is that even without cell service, we can communicate with the other riders. The system will allow a rider to type a message that will appear on the screens of the other riders. I have tried hand-held radios and cellphones, but these require a signal to communicate. This system is far more reliable. We continued using the Drop System, but Ride Command gave us additional assurances that we would all arrive at the same place together.
When we reached our trucks in Fillmore, we finished four fun-filled days on the Paiute Trail System. When you go, take plenty of water, keep the rubber side down and use these systems to keep your group together.
Contact Lynn R. Blamires at email@example.com.