My first post here is a request for responsible driving on mountain (gravel, or narrow) roads. I live in a small mountain town and recreate in mountains a few minutes' drive from my home, the beautiful places where folks from far away also visit. Yesterday I encountered some improper driving on a mountain road that endangers others. In this case, it was so pathetic on the part of the other drivers that I tried to not give it a look or a thought but also resisted anger at others' selfish behavior transferring risk to me.
In this case, I will just remind all that obviously, we drive on the right side of the road in the US. Mountain roads are no different. In the instance yesterday, the drivers pulled to their left side of the road, I am guessing out of fear of the precipitous rockslide to their right. In my Jeep, no problem, I just passed- forced to the left edge- and did not look or react. The entire stretch along the Rockslide would mostly allow two pickups to pass easily. In reality, that was an unlawful act on the part of the drivers going to the left, and an act that could create hazard for others in a larger or heavier vehicle. If one is so frightened perhaps one could stop, park, inspect the road ahead, and reassure oneself that one may continue to drive in a Lawful and considerate fashion, safely. Or one may use timing for pullouts, etc., intelligently so as not to endanger others because of one's inexperience or fears.
Since I have mounted this soap box, I will also address commonly-held rules of the mountain road that are considerate of other drivers. First, stay on your side of the road and be prepared, always, to meet others- and be all the way over on your side of the road...please. Secondly, it is truly allright and actually expected that a slower driver on a mountain road pull over and let the faster driver go ahead; soon that faster driver will be ahead and the slower driver will not have to eat dust, albeit if the slower driver does not yield he forces someone to drive his speed and eat his dust. Just courtesy.
Another small point is about driving in the dark with headlights on a narrow gravel mountain road. It is truly advanced considerate behavior for one to pull over on a narrow stretch and turn off one's headlights while stopped briefly and allow another to pass. Or, when following closely, turn off headlights or just back off. Locals actually expect this behavior of one another.
Finally, do not block a road, parking, anything. Be considerate. The beautiful country that you visit is used by others, daily. In fact for example I may visit that beautiful spot 3 to 4 times per week, it is close to my home.
In summary, follow the rules and Laws of driving as you would at home, plus the special considerations.
The admonishing tone isn't very kind; it's very good information - thanks for that, but it's sorta chastising.
Lots of folks simply aren't "local" and don't know the "local" courtesies. I've never thought of turning off my headlights to let someone else pass, and I've driven on back roads for many years. But in my own locality, not someone elses'.
I just figure if someone isn't comfortable on a FS road, I sure as heck don't want to make them more nervous than they already are. If it doesn't look like I have enough room and the other guy hasn't moved over, I just stop my truck and wait til he or she gets around me however they see fit.
Sometimes I get onto a road and too late realize it's more than I can handle; sometimes there's no where to turn around and I'm just stuck going straight. These could be the type of folks you run into.
I'll back up to a wide spot, if it looks like I'm the one with the brains. Which is scary to think about.
This reminds me of a funny story you may get a kick out of. Maybe not.
Last weekend I tried to get up to Gee Point. I was invested 16 miles in. The FS said the washout is 2.1 miles from the trailhead, but according to the guidebook I still had about 5 more miles to go. Not knowing which was correct, I bagged it and looked for a turnaround place. Ain't one.
One side of the road is ditched, a mooky wet ditch about 2 feet deep. The other side of the road is a dropoff, like the infamous Perry Creek trailhead that each season results in an expensive crane from Granite Falls Towing (they're probably sorry that trailhead is closed).
So anyway, back to 1722 road; I started one of those multi-point turns, not liking it one bit 'cause the road is as exactly wide as my truck is long.
2 inches up, 2 inches back - time and time again; this was a lengthy process. I got to the half-way point where I was width-wise on the road - I was so nervous about getting my rear or front wheels hung up in a mooky ditch or a dropoff that my clutch leg started doing the sewing-machine jumps, and I had to put 'er in neutral and calm down. I could smell my clutch, too.
Suddenly I started to laugh when I thought about that hilarious scene in Austin Powers where he gets a golf cart stuck doing one of those turns. That was me, only on a FS road.
I finally got over the half-way point and drove off unscathed, leaving a waft of burning clutch in my wake. I was pretty scared for awhile.
I usually don't drive secondary FS roads by myself, for that very reason.
-------------- "...Other than that, the post was more or less accurate."
I was just up at Hart's Pass and talked to the Forest Service before going up as the road is one lane in many places. They recommend that the heavier vehicle stay away from the edge of the road (1000'+ dropoff)... it was clear that in many places the edge of that road could not handle the weight of a larger vehicle. Seems like common sense when driving 12,000 pounds of vehicle and camper. Courtesy, right of way, and all the other rules that people come up with need to be tempered with a little common sense and situational awareness IMHO.
My mantra is Drive Like There's Trucks Coming At You On Every Woods Road. Use the turnouts. Stay on YOUR side on switchbacks. And, should you meet a truck, if you have time, pull out to the side of the road with the drop off. The truck prefers not to get close to that edge cuz he weighs 80,000 pounds or sometimes more. But only do that if you have plenty of time. Then stop. If not enough time, pull over as far to your side as you can and stop.
I see it all the time, people come up here and stop in the middle of the road to take pictures, or park on the road without pulling off far enough.
Oh well, I go to the city and make them mad with my driving there.
The secret to getting slow drivers to pull off for you is to drive a big dirty pickup and have the front bumper askew. Then you look like you have nothing to lose and most folks will let you by.
-------------- What's especially fun about sock puppets is that you can make each one unique and individual, so that they each have special characters. And they don't have to be human––animals and aliens are great possibilities
Did you make it up to Gee Point Quark? I was up that way about 4 weeks ago, the lake on top was still iced over. That is one impressive slide that happened there!!! I'm thinking that I'll head that way again over Labor Day Weekend.
No sir, I did not make it to Gee Pt. I wasn't sure if the trailhead was 2.1 miles from the washout as the FS said, or 5 miles, according to the guidebook, written before the washout (the washout is very soon after turning onto FS 1722, and the guidebook says to go 5.4 miles to the trailhead).
I wanted to try yesterday, but the morons in my cache of freinds were already doing other moron stuff with other people and I didn't want to go up there by myself. The number of washouts around here is straining my moron inventory.
I need more moron freinds.
-------------- "...Other than that, the post was more or less accurate."
Interesting first post rant. Looking forward to your future posts.
I'm courteous to other drivers, however on secondary mountain roads I take the path of least resistance - left, right or center. I always pull over to the right approaching oncoming traffic. If the road's only wide enough for one vehicle I expect who's ever closest to a wide spot to pull into it.
As for headlights, sorry, mine are always on.
On most backroads I usually drive down the middle of the road. My dad taught me this years ago. Its not usually other cars I encounter, but animals. Animals come out of the brush on both sides of the road, so, by driving down the middle, I stand the best chance of not pancaking a rabbit, or having a buck crash through my windshield, or careening off a cliff avoiding a fox.
We have had discussions about speed on backroads here before. I go at the speed I feel comfortable driving. If I am going faster than you, and catch up to you, I expect you to let me pass safely at the first opportunity. I dont drive "lemming" (trying to match the driving habits of those around me, tuning out at a stoplight until noticing other cars around start to move, this kind of mindless"it cant be wrong if everyone else is doing it"mentality ), I drive my own game. If you're going faster than me, than by all means, please pass me safely, I will do all that I can to assist you in that endeavor.
Lights ON at night, its the law, no exceptions. No brights within a mile behind someone, or approaching them.
I do notice individuals pushing the limits at parking areas. It seems some people dont have any concept of how big thier SUV's, or thier asses really are. I dont like bumping into either one.
One thing I will add - if you see a Jeep with no top on it coming up behind you, please pull over. The dust a normal vehicle would be eating is magnified 100 fold in topless, doorless vehicles due to not being able to roll up windows.
Nothing worse than being stuck behind someone crawling down the road, refusing to let me pass and getting their dust in my eyeballs. I will push by you when it's safe to do so whether you like it or not. Instead of honking and giving me sign language, please, just be courteous and pull over!
Wow, yes by all means pull over if you are going slow and someone is behind you on the forest roads. On the 13th of July I was up at Marmot Pass and I was nice enough to let some ladies who were having a birthday party up there pass by me on the trail. When I got to my car, they were just pulling out of the parking lot. I was soon eating their dust, and I ate it the whole way down the mountain at 20 miles per hour. I didn't actually get a chance to pass their Volvo until I got to Hwy 101. I had a very severe case of roadrage by then. There must have been 30 pullouts they could have used but instead insisted on driving slow down the center of the road. As for left or right side of the road, as long as you are not on the left going around blind corners, who cares? If theres not a solid double yellow line in the middle of the road I'd say drive whichever side you want. Lights? Well as you know US laws enough to know we drive on the right side, I'm surprised you didn't know we also drive with our lights on at night. If anyone out there is offended that I don't turn my lights out when I'm behind you, accept my apology now, because my lights are staying on. Oh yeah, almost forgot. Welcome to the forums.
I prefer to drive as fast as I possibly can doing rally style turns around the corners as I bomb right down the middle of the road. And if I see oncoming traffic I make sure to put my brights on after dark so I can blind them to the point they drive off the road and into a ditch.
I drive mountain roads just like I would any country road, as fast as I safely can and straight down the middle if I can see far enough ahead.
I do this because I feel that my 8000lbs truck is safer in the middle, and I can't drive fast anyways since my 1.5ton rearend will start to hop w/o a load in it.
I've never had a close call in the mountains. I've almost been t-boned on a dirt road b/c someone pulled the stop sign and I blew over a blacktop that I thought was another mile ahead. I really do hate the tourons that drive at a whopping 5 mph on the forest roads those people need to learn how to put their $40k SUV's to work.
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