Four Wheeling in the High Sierra

Another New World

There are many worlds on this Earth and recently I discovered another one.

Now, when I say “worlds,” I could mean it in a more literal sense by referring to the newly discovered ultra-deep oceanic life thriving at the outlets of volcanic emissions, or to the various cultures of people distributed and re-distributing across the globe.

For now, though, I speak of the invisible cultures that are substrata to our everyday life that surrounds us all. For example, model and garden railway aficionados. By day, you might work alongside one of them and never know that at their homes are entire rooms dedicated to miniature railroads; some even have trains large enough to sit upon that can carry you on a completely authentic track—with rails, ties, and ballast—around a yard and house. And, with fully functional mini-steam locomotives!

Many other “sub-worlds” exist, of course, and there are often many cultures within each. For example there are amateur musicians, photographers, wind sailors, china painters, women’s improvement clubs, doll makers, motorcycle enthusiasts, pipe smokers, cigar smokers, bicycle enthusiasts, hikers and campers, mountain climbers, hobbyists in general, poem/writing societies, and sports fans, to list a scant few.

Some are highly defined by ritual and ceremony, such as the Masonic, Elk, I.O.O.F, and other fraternal groups—most of which have parallel or auxiliary women’s organizations, such as the Eastern Star to the Masons, and most have youth auxiliaries, as well.

They all are different, and they each have their own unique set of rules, conduct, language, terminology, hierarchy, and gizmos and gadgets.

The new world that I recently experienced (though I had heard of it before) is that of the “off-roaders” and “four-wheelers,” “all-terrain explorers,” the world of the ATV—All Terrain Vehicles. It, too has its own sub-culture, replete with unique vocabulary, etiquette, equipment, and special accessories such as cargo bags, dust masks, snubbers, trailer hitches, custom trailers, gun racks, mounting brackets, protective glasses, very creative helmets, saddlebags, and much more.

[In this particular Photo Journey I have, as usual, included a slideshow; this one draws from my photo collection acquired from and representing my four visits from last summer. Also, the soundtrack you’ll hear, “Rapidity,” is of my own composition. You’ll find the slideshow at the end of the full story after you click on the “Continue reading” link, just below.]

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