The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 4, 1997 · Page 94
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 94

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Salina, Kansas
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Sunday, May 4, 1997
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Page 94
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THE SPORT-UTILITY VEHICLES 19&7 FourWheelin' Sport-utility trips exhilarating, even when you take it slow By ANN M. JOB The Associated Press I ewis and Clark did it. So did the westward-bound pioneers who followed. You can, too. Discover the wilderness, explore the great outdoors and challenge your stamina and nerve. It's a lot easier than you might think, especially because more Americans than ever are buying sport-utility vehicles. In just the past six years, sport-utility sales have doubled and now account for one out of every seven new vehicles sold. Those four-wheel-drive Ford Explorers, Jeep Wranglers, Land Rover Discoveries, Toyota Land Cruisers and Nissan Pathfinders are just the ticket to new vacation adventures. In fact, some off-road aficionados consider it a waste to pay all those extra dollars for four-wheel-drive mechanicals, special suspensions 1 and even oversized tires and never take them beyond the shopping mall and the schoolyard. Such untested vehicles are known as GGs, or Grocery Getters — not exactly an endearing term. Don't fear. Newbies, or new off-road drivers, are welcome in off-road clubs around the country. The groups provide classes on what to carry in your vehicle during an off-road excursion, how to drive off-road and where to drive. They share tips and organize events where you can meet.others. Join the crowd Cost to join four-wheel-drive organizations is modest, typically ranging from $20 to $75 a year, and a newsletter is usually included in the membership. Land Rover, the venerable maker of British sport-utilities that have been used on African savannahs and royal estates, three years ago -began sprouting new Land Rover Centres in the United States, some of which have off-road demonstration areas for buyers of their vehicles. There also are private instructors available for off-road training, including Daphne Greene, the first woman selected to represent the United States in the annual Camel Trophy endurance and tech- nical four-wheel-drive adventure competition, in 1995. Greene, whose outdoor adventure consulting company Twende is based in Ross, Calif., teaches men and women and is especially attuned to women's concerns. A 1996 automotive consumer study by the Dohring Co. of Glendale, Calif., noted that 48.5 percent of future sport-utility buyers will be women, and 40.2 percent of them will be between 25 and 49 years of age. A drive In the country Being in that demographic, I went out with Greene for daylong off-road driving at Hollister Hills State Vehicular Recreation Area in Hollister, Calif. I've gone off-roading several times before, but I am in no way a regular off-road driver, and I'd never been to Hollister Hills before, a breathtaking park that straddles the San Andreas Fault. In a 1997 Land Rover Discovery, Green and I scrambled up steep, bone-dry paths, traversed washouts, tottered down big hills head-first and clawed our way up muddy inclines. Throughout, Greene's calm, confident demeanor took the edge off uncertainty, and her wealth of off-road tips gave comfort, even when I wanted to jump out and abandon the Discovery — like when we were teetering at the top of a hill and I couldn't see over the hood. Forget all about those banzai runs you've seen on TV. Greene said capable off-road drivers go by the motto: "As slow as possible, as fast as necessary." And that's exactly what we did, getting out of the Discovery regularly to inspect upcoming terrain and picking a path for our tires in advance to keep the mechanicals underneath from damage. I hung my head out the driver window like a dog to watch the exact trail my tires were taking in really tight paths, and I gingerly danced that 4,400-pound Discovery down hills like it was a ballerina. ' Thank goodness the seat belt was there, cinching me in tightly, or I'd have tumbled straight into the steering wheel and dashboard. Yes, there were paths we didn't take, although Greene had been on them just a 1\ You Trawl, />< Sure To l^perienee The WORLD'S BEST CHICKEN! Dine-In, Cany-Out We Do Catering! im ^^ few weeks before. In the interim, however, heavy rain had swept hi and made the ground unsteady. Greene noted that off-road drivers must carefully inspect the ground conditions and adjust their driving as necessary when weather and seasons change. We also carefully followed the guidelines of Tread Lightly! — a nonprofit organization that advocates responsible, safe driving and environmental care on both public and private land. My off-road experience was exhilarating and adventure-filled, and I came away with a renewed appreciation for how thrilling, in many ways, the outdoors can be. Best of all, the Discovery, Greene and I returned from the wilderness in no doubt much better shape than the early pioneers — no scratches, dents or bruises. Take a few moments of life to ... smell the flowers Experience the unique charm of the regions most beautiful botanic garden Summer Hours: Monday-Saturday 9-5 • Tuesday 'til 8 Sunday 1-5 Call or write for schedule of events WALNUT VALLEY FESTIVAL 26™ NATIONAL FLAT-PICKING CHAMPIONSHIPS September 18,19, 20, 21,1997 Winfield, Kama* Featuring: • John McCutcheon • Cherish The Ladies • Marley's Ghost • No Strings Attached • Front Range • Dan Crary • Chris Proctor • Eric Weissberg • The Judith Edelman Band • Steve Kaufman • Black Bose • Crow Johnson • Box Brown • Bluestem • Small Potatoes • Cathy Barton & Dave Para • Aileen * Elkln Thomas • BillBarwick • Bobby Bead • Bon Wall Ticket PriCM Advance Gate Weekend (4 (toy) $65 |W 2-Oay Frt.-Sat 40 M Sat-8tm 30 40 Frl.-or Sat 20 75 Ttiur. (Gale Only) M Sun. (Oat* Only) IS ' Children ages 6-11 $5 each, payable at gate upon Initial entry. NOT payable in advance. * Children under 6 admitted free with adult. WORKSHOPS -• CONTESTS Arts & CraHs Fair - 4 Stages in Operation Well Policed Grounds No Animals. No Beer or Alcohol. No Drugs & No Motorcycles (Due to noise) FESTIVAL GATE AND CAMPGROUNDS WILL OPENTHURS., SEPT. 11 AT i:00 AM. ONLY WEEKEND TICKET HOLDERS ALLOWED ON GROUNDS PRIOR TO THUH6., SEPT. 18. • Tom Chapin • Michael Mark • The Eddie Adcock Band • Bennett ft Gurley • New Tradition • Spontaneous Combustion • Beppe Gambetta • John. Cobert • Byron Berline Band • Barry Fatten • Nickel Creek • Bevival • The Freight Hoppers • Andy May • Loose Change • Linda Tiltou • Julie Davis • Mary Caitlin Smith ADVANCE TICKETS GUARANTEE ADMISSION. Advance Price Mail ticket orders must be received August 31. NO MAIL ORDERS after August 31. NO REFUNDS Visit us MI «NW heaat page at http://www.iioutkwiMl.iiet/wBliiut-vaUey or E-mail us at wvfetit9korUoii.Ut.net f9t Merc btfMwnattas) Write M Call walnut RO. BoxMS MvMala MMM 1U41MMO WialteU, KS *71i*

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