Lost and Found... the newsletter of Volume 13, Issue 6
12 June 2008

Editors: Tom Russo,Mike Dugger,Tom Rinck Cibola Search and Rescue
That Others May Live...
Back to Top
Top of the Hillby Adam Hernandez

.25 vs .57

With gas prices hitting $3.80, I thought it might be interesting to pass on some money/gas saving tips.

Back to Top
Minilessonby Terry Hardin

Rio Puerco Trails

Our special thanks to Mark and others of the New Mexico 4 Wheelers that put on this special 4x4 training for Cibola SAR.  Their information was very valuable for future searches down in that area.  Here are waypoints to some of the major trails in the Rio Puerco.  Also included are trails to the lookout points for looking down into the canyons from above.

Datum: NAD83   (Garmin 60CSX)

Typical Base Camp, West end of Southern (Rio Rancho at 528 & Southern, West ~11.3 miles) :

Trail NorthWest of Base Camp Down into Rio Puerco (safer / easier entrance) to Intersection of the two entrance trails :

Trail West of Base Camp Down into Rio Puerco (risk / exposure)  to Intersection of the two entrance trails :

Trail from Intersection of the two Rio Puerco entrance trails to base of Windmill Hill (no windmill standing today) :

Trail from base of Windmill Hill (no windmill standing today)  to Snoopy Rock :

Trail from Snoopy Rock around the NW loop to Intersection of the two Rio Puerco entrance trails :

Trail to Lookout Points West from Base Camp into the Canyons :

Back to Top
Feature Articleby Mike Lensi

4-Wheeling Orientation

On Saturday, 31 May, the Rio Puerco Orientation included some valuable show-and-tell from the New Mexico 4-Wheelers Club. Here are some of the take-aways:

If you only know one thing about 4-wheeling, know this: air-down! 14 psi is a decent number to remember, though you can find tables giving "optimal" pressures based on vehicle weight, tire type, etc. This spreads your vehicle weight over more surface area of tire and keeps you "floating" on sand or mud, like an instant snow-shoe for your vehicle.

Of course, if you know that, you're going to want to know how to air-up when it's time to go home. For our purposes, NM 4-Wheelers recommends CO2 bottles where for about $200 you can air-up five or six tires. But if you do buy an air compressor, make sure it is rated for continuous (100%) duty, otherwise you'll be waiting for your air compressor to cool off every few minutes.

And speaking of tires, if you only buy one thing to get ready for 4-wheeling (assuming you already own a can of WD40), make it a good set of tires. Not bigger tires--because apparently you don't just buy bigger tires, you buy bigger tires, a new suspension system, axle gearing, extended fenders, better brakes, etc.--just better tires. BF Goodrich All Terrains were recommended, though you can always spend more money.

Now, if you only know one thing about actually driving in 4-wheeling conditions, know to drop one wheel at a time off a step. In other words, don't drive straight down a drop-off like it's your driveway; angle the vehicle over the step so you don't scrape all the tendons and blood vessels from your vehicle's vulnerable underbelly. Which reminds me of the second thing the would-be 4-wheeler should invest in: body armor. If you're serious about it, just go to a local shop such as Desert Rat and they'll get you started.

I'm assuming you already know to take large rocks under your tires as opposed to trying to pass them safely under your vehicle between your tires. If you didn't know that, try to remember two things about driving technique then.

So now you know five important things about successful 4-wheeling. How about the one important facet of successfully keeping all your fingers, not to mention head: safety. The NM 4-Wheelers crew learned the hard way, so you don't have to.

One of the more danger-ridden aspects of 4-wheeling doesn't even seem to be 4-wheeling, but using a winch. Newer, more expensive set-ups use synthetic rope, but most people have winches with steel cable. If you buy a winch, get one with a pulling capacity of 1.5 to 2.0 times the weight of your vehicle. Then be ready for the cable to snap, because you never know. Weight the cable in the middle with a heavy jacket to absorb and redirect the energy of a snapped cable. Keep the hood of your vehicle up to protect your windshield. Wear your work gloves when handling the cable to protect from metal burrs. Use common sense, but more than that, don't fall into the mindset of "that will never happen."

Ever seen a high lift jack? It's an ingeniously simple, 4 foot long steel beam (held vertically) with a hook collared onto it, and a long lever for ratcheting the hook (and your vehicle) up the beam. Push or pull the ratcheting lever away from the beam, the hook goes up. Reposition the lever (itself a 3 foot long steel tube) along the beam to reset the ratcheting mechanism for another lift. Apparently, when the lever is in the down position, the high lift jack also becomes a jaw and hand smasher, as the weight of a Jeep has overcome more than one ratcheting mechanism. So don't leave the lever down! And don't forget to block the tires. Once the vehicle is lifted out of the sand or mud, shove rocks or planks or whatever you can find under the tires.

Now that you own WD40, a fire extinguisher, a bottle or two of CO2, a high lift jack, and "Four-Wheeler's Bible" by Jim Allen, you'll need to make sure all that stuff and everything else in your vehicle is tied down properly. Just do it, it doesn't take that long.

One last investment of particular note for the SAR community is external lighting. A handheld spotlight which powers off your 12-volt car adapter (cigarette lighter socket) will run you $20 and is very handy. Externally mounted lights which can be turned at least partially to the side are highly recommended, to peer over ridges or scan for unconcious subjects. And don't think your stock back-up lights are going to be adequate in the Rio Puerco at midnight without a moon; consider better lighting in the rear of your vehicle as well.

So, get good tires, be able to air them down and up (I forgot to mention the slick little valves you can get pre-tuned to sand-munching psi's--pop onto your tire's air valve and wait untill it stops hissing), think about getting body armor, external lighting, a winch, and a high lift jack, and you're good to go. Then you can start talking about lift kits, swaybar disconnects, lockers, etc. Consult the following local websites for further details (including Rio Puerco maps): www.nm4w.org, www.captainswoop.com, www.webejeepin.com, and www.nmvjc.org.

Our thanks to the NM 4-Wheelers Club, and to Terry Hardin for setting it all up.

P.S.: For a list and discussion of GPS waypoints recorded during the orientation, see http://www.geocities.com/admiral_funkohito/CSAR/RioPuerco/ Back to Top
Disclaimer and Copyright Noticethe Editors

The contents of this newsletter are copyright © 2008 by their respective authors or by Cibola Search and Rescue, Inc., and individual articles represent the opinions of the author. Cibola SAR makes no representation, express or implied, with regard to the accuracy of the information contained in these articles, and cannot accept any legal responsibility or liability for any errors or omissions that may be made. Articles contained in this newsletter may be reproduced, with attribution given to Cibola SAR and the author, by any member of the Search and Rescue community for use in other team's publications.