A major part of everything is the logistical planning of each event.
It all starts with choosing the trail for that day’s or night’s outing. The WooFDriver has particular needs in a trail. It needs to be wide enough for his ADV with dogs attached to the side. Trails have gates and bollards to keep road vehicles off, but allow people and bikes through. 36″ is the minimum width we have found, so all our ADVs are built to fit. But some of our larger ADVs we must temporarily remove the dogs, pass the through, and re-attach. So, if we are doing a WooFHouse music tour, or doing a night run, we avoid the trails that are at the minimum and make sure the that trail has wider spacing between the bollards to allow passage with dogs attached.
We use a variety of books and websites to find trails that fit the run’s need. Other factors are important too, such as the trail’s steepest grade and average grade. Between dogs, pedal power and electric assist, we can handle decent hills in short bursts. But overall the trail needs to be flat, and if not, we need to go in the downhill direction. In addition, the WooFPak are truly canine athletes. They are not satisfied with short runs. They get visibly frustrated if we try to do a short run. So the trail needs to have a section that meets our needs of at least 10 miles, upwards of 24 miles depending on how much time we have and weather conditions. Two of the WooFPak with the most endurance, Zarro and Chase, would go even further than 24 miles if we could. But we keep the length to the endurance of the least capable dog.
Once a trail is picked, the real work begins. We must get the WooFDriver at the trail head– plus his ADV of choice for the day, the WooFPak, the on-trail pit crew and their ADV. An off-trail crew is in charge of the transport of everything and everyone, and monitoring our progress through GPS tracking, to be sure things are going as planned. They also have planned egress points into the remote areas if the on-trail crew needs additional support.
Before the trucks are packed and head for the trailhead, all the gear that we would possibly need is packed, with backups, and staged at WoofHQ. The crew arrives and the load-out begins. Between loading the trucks, refueling the trucks, grabbing a last meal, and driving to the trail, it is at least a couple of hours, sometimes several more, before we are at the trail head.
At the trailhead, the real fun begins. Often it is work until this point, but now everyone shines in their respective abilities and have fun making magic happen. The elaborate mechanisms that have been designed to carry the ADVs are engaged, the ADVs are unloaded and set up. The batteries are put in-place and the ADVs are tested for proper operation one last time. The film crew discusses what angles will be used for the run and how to place them on the ADVs. We have developed an extensive arsenal of mounting options over the years, and the applicable mounts are pulled and installed, then the remainder go back in the trucks. The expected time on-trail is calculated. Total run time then determines the number of batteries and media needed. If this is a night run, IR emitters are also mounted and our pockets get filled with camera mounted emitters. If this is a webcasted run, then computers and more cameras are mounted.
When the ADVs and all gear is set, the dogs come out last. By this time, they are saying “It took you long enough!” and they are more excited than we are! The brakes must be set on the ADVs and someone must hold the ADV, or once attached they won’t wait for us! Anyone who criticises us for being “cruel to dogs for making them pull us” needs to be here for this part. Their bright eyes, yiping, howling, and eagerness are not signs of “abused dogs”. I do this because the dogs love it. I could do this with or without them. I love it, they love it, and we love each other. So we do it together. That’s the bond we share and the motivation of the WooFDriver to keep on wheelin’.
After the run is over. The off-trail crew have moved the trucks to the pickup point. Sometimes they meet us along the trail where they can check up on us face to face and make sure everything is OK. But, once the run is over its time to reverse all the hard work. The dogs are put up, sometimes reluctantly, because they still want to keep going. The gear is meticulously put back in its cases and the trucks are loaded up. A final check of the grounds is made, to be sure we didn’t leave anything behind and all litter– zip ties, tape, etc– is picked up. We are often in the pristine wilderness and leave it that way for the next adventurers passing through. Leave No Trace!!!
The ride home often is interrupted by a stop for a meal and a recount of the day’s/night’s adventure. We go over what went well and what can be improved upon while it’s all fresh in our minds. Once back at WooFHQ, the trucks are unloaded and everything put back in its place. Batteries and media are sent to our studio for processing the next day, as we are often too pooped to process it at that point.