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VT's Rules for Using Your RV as an Off-Road-Vehicle in the Desert

And here, from the Olympian height of bitter experience, are Vagabond Tourist’s Rules for Using Your RV as an Off Road Vehicle in the Desert. Note that this list may not be complete. I shall add to it as time goes on, if applicable. 

You’re welcome, and good luck!

Rule 1: Never, ever, EVER drive through anything that looks like this. Even if you see hundreds of tire tracks from other vehicles who seem to have traversed it successfully, don’t do it. The rusting hulks of their vehicles and the sun-bleached bones of their skeletons are probably hidden behind a bush nearby.  In fact, simply avoid any area that is lower than the surrounding ground, and any area that has a vague appearance of sandiness, and any area that is lined with trees or large bushes. This is a wash. There is no such thing as a shallow wash. Under the surface, there is a bottomless pit of sand that goes all the way down to China. If you get stuck in a wash, you will never dig yourself out…the only way out is with a tow chain and a four-wheel drive truck, or a winch and cable, if you can find anything to hook your cable to.

Rule 2: Avoid any ground that has animal dwellings dug into it (it’s soft). 

Rule 3: Avoid any ground that is lumpy. Avoid any ground that is too close to the bushes. Avoid any ground that looks different from the ground you are on. In fact, maybe you should just avoid the ground altogether and stay on the road. 

Don’t delude yourself that you can tell which ground is safe by walking over it. As you can see from this photo if you look between the tire tracks, the ground you will get stuck in may look exactly the same as the ground you won’t get stuck in, and unless you weigh 15,000 lb. or so, the ground may support you just fine, yet collapse beneath your vehicle.

PS -- the rocks and branch mark the spot I dug myself out of the second time.