NVJA Hosts Offroad 101 Course on Crawl Daddy

On April 20, 2024, Nova Jeepers kicked off the Spring season with a 101 offroad course at Rausch Creek Offroad Park in Pine Grove, PA. This course is tailored specifically toward Members who are interested in understanding the basics of offroading techniques. For 8+ exhilarating hours, NVJA Trail Guides led the new group of eager members through a series of skill learning events, starting with basic trails. The group did so well at learning and applying the basic concepts, that we advanced to harder, more technical trails, each progression teaching a new skill.

A Day to Remember

Bright and early, the group convened at the parking lot of Rausch Creek Offroad Park with anticipation and nervous excitement. For many, this was their first venture into the rugged world of offroading. The event began with a drivers meeting led by President Hiam Agha, covering essential topics that included trail expectations, trail safety, Jeep basics, Tread Lightly Principles, and hand signals used for spotting. Following the drivers meeting, Rob Blesse, Offroad Committee Lead, demonstrated a complete walkthrough of the Jeep’s mechanics to give everyone a starting point for understanding their Jeep, and preparing for the day’s events.

Learning the Ropes

As the convoy of Jeeps rolled out, the Trail Instructor, Rob Blesse, Trail Guides, Marc Spaziano, and Hiam Agha, along with the Trail Leads, David Taft and Nick Spaziano, set out on foot and provided real-time coaching and insights. The course was designed to cater to beginners, but due to participants grasping the concepts so well, more advanced trails were added. This decision proved to be more of a challenge as Members applied their newly acquired skills and knowledge to real-life scenarios.

After a few hours on the trails, we took some time to relax. During this pause to gather ourselves, review lessons learned and discuss the excitement on the trails, a thorough conversation of ‘Tips and Tricks’ to keep in mind, was provided by Marc Spaziano. After the review, the group then enjoyed a special meal of beef tacos cooked by Rob Blesse.

 Running through trail 19, the group was met with a more challenging route of scattered rocks and climbs. All Members successfully applied their experience to run through the trails with the assistance of the Trail Guides and Leads. From there, a short stop to discuss if Members were interested in more challenges. The squeals and excitement echoed the name of “Crawl Daddy!” And so onward, the group went.

The terrain on Crawl Daddy is diverse, featuring large and loose rocks and steep inclines, tight passes, and fallen logs that tested the capabilities of both the Jeeps and their drivers. Members’ rigs ranged from OEM stock to “Built” on 40-inch tires. It wasn’t long before the knowledge our Members absorbed turned into practical applications of skills, as a few got stuck and required some recovery techniques to free them and keep the group moving. Over the course of four to five hours, the NVJA Trail Guides conducted all recoveries, spotting on foot, working tirelessly to assist Members in overcoming challenges.

Building Community and Confidence

Throughout the day, what stood out was the spirit of camaraderie and teamwork. Sheer joy in seeing the “light bulb come on” and those ‘Ah Ha’ moments that make instructing so joyful. Offroading is as much about community as it is about adventure. Each participant contributed to a shared experience that epitomized the core values of Nova Jeepers: support, respect, and enthusiasm for offroad culture and Jeeps.

The NVJA Trail Guide Program, debuting in such a practical, hands-on way has received overwhelmingly positive feedback. Members appreciated the dedication of guides, which by walking the trail, offered tailored advice and immediate assistance to those who looked for guidance. This approach not only ensured safety but also built a strong sense of trust and community among the group.

Looking Forward

As the day wrapped up, the sense of achievement was palpable. Not only had our Members tackled trails from easy to difficult, but they built confidence in themselves and trust in those who provided assistance, guiding them on their journey. The Nova Jeepers community is stronger and more vibrant than ever, and the 101 Offroad course has proven to be a cornerstone for our club’s ongoing commitment to education and engagement in the offroad world.

This is a first step for many of those who participated. They now have the understanding to continue to apply these foundational skill sets on future trail rides. With an essential understanding, it is now time to apply these skills and explore the world of offroading a bit more.

For those who missed this event, worry not! With enough interest, we will put on another course soon. We look forward to seeing more Members, both seasoned and new, join us on these events. Sharpen skills, apply Tread Lightly Principles, and enjoy the thrill of offroading in a safe and supportive environment.

Thank you to all participants and our dedicated Trail Guides and Leads for making this event a monumental success. Here’s to many more adventures on the trails! For anyone looking to join the fun and learn more about offroading, Nova Jeepers always welcomes new Members. Whether you are a seasoned Member or just getting started, there’s a place for you in our community. Join us at www.novajeepers.com and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.