Offroading for Dummies

Driving Miss Daisy – watch out here I come.

Rob Mieras is a 4×4 driving instructor and has the patience of Job when it comes to teaching new offroading skills to nervous drivers. We had the good fortune of joining them on a camping trip to Freizeitpark Mammut in Germany, which was just fabulous.

The highlight of the week was definitely learning how to gear down steep slopes and charge through muddy pools. But it all started rather slowly for me …

Let’s face it, keeping control of a beast that weighs more than two tons is scary. Especially when you’re on top of a slope and are told to put the Landy into first, and then let go.

Against all-natural instincts, you mustn’t brake. It’s just bizarre. The car seems to come to life and takes you down the hill. Then you take over control again.

My first experience was learning a smidge about the low range and how to manipulate the Defender. It’s a competition vehicle that has faced the toughest challenges. T

he power steering doesn’t always work making any cornering extremely heavy. I was thankful for the rowing exercises that gave me the required strength. Phew. At the end of this drive, I was so shaken that I couldn’t climb behind the wheel again, at least that day.

The next day was much better. I’d gained more confidence not only from my own experience but also from watching others drive and seeing how they’d tackled various slopes and slick paths.

To add to the pressure, the starter motor succumbed to the mud and stopped working consistently. From now on, you couldn’t let the Landy stall, otherwise, it might not start again, leaving other drivers without a 4×4 driving experience!

And then it happened … right in the middle of a boggy track surrounded by trees, I felt the Landy shudder. Oh no! My heart jumped to my throat. Everyone was screaming, “don’t let it stall, don’t let is stall”. Despite my efforts, I heard the tell-tale “wheeeeeep” as the Defender died on me.

Gosh, I felt so stupid. Talk about embarrassing. Fortunately, there were plenty of strapping folks around to push start this behemoth.
England vs. Germany
Bring in the ground anchor …

My last ride around the marsh was just awesome. I was able to find the groove and tore through the water. It is so exhilarating and adrenaline pumping. If you’re up for the challenge, it recommend for the not-so-faint-hearted.

Once again, a million thanks to Rob. We’re looking forward to next time.

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