Article by Lynn Blamires feature writer for My Local Utah
My Own Recovery Experience
Years ago in the springtime, I was driving my van on my way home from Milford. I saw a dirt road and thinking it might be fun, I took it.
There were patches of snow on the trail that I joyfully splashed through. Then I came to a long patch of snow. Without a second thought, I gunned it to splash through that one too. I made it to the 50-yard line and high-centered in the snow. I was by myself in the middle of nowhere with the sun going down. It wasn’t easy, but I found a cell signal, called for a tow, and waited.
The tow truck came after dark and pulled me out. The driver gave me a lecture about my stupidity, what was I thinking, and things that might have happened. Then he charged me $280 and sent me on my way.
The First Rule of the Backcountry
In the backcountry where you are not as familiar with the lay of the land, it is easy to find yourself in a pickle with no way out. While the first rule of the backcountry is to never go alone, the news is full of reports of people who took a wrong turn or broke down alone and unprepared. Well, there’s no need to fear, Casey’s Off-Road Recovery is here!
Casey to the Rescue
Casey Lofthouse is the Casey in Casey’s Off-Road Recovery. He has been pulling people out of pickles in Washington County for over 20 years and he has the equipment to do it in any weather conditions year-round.
I had a chance to meet Casey in Hurricane and talk with him about his passion for adventure. He loves the challenge of going into the backcountry and pulling people out of pickles. It is like a hobby to Casey. When your job is your hobby, it isn’t work.
Casey Has the Equipment to Do the Job
His arsenal includes a 1970 Kaiser M813 five-ton six-wheel drive military truck. Casey showed me a new winch that seemed appropriate for the truck he calls his “Five Ton Beast.” It is a 20,000-pound Long Drum Warn winch – the biggest winch I have ever seen. It is fully hydraulic with 245 feet of heavy duty cable.
For adverse terrain conditions such as sand, mud muskeg, swamp, and snow, Casey uses a multi-purpose two-tracked vehicle known as a Nodwell. Muskeg is a boggy stuff that would stop any wheeled vehicle dead. The Nodwell is affectionately known as the “Noddy.” The one Casey drives consists of a flatbed with a rough open cab.
His main vehicle is a Jeep XJ Cherokee. It is sufficient for most of the normal trouble he faces.
Kinetic Recovery Ropes Important
Equally important are his kinetic recovery ropes. These ropes are designed to stretch, to smoothly transfer the kinetic energy of a recovering vehicle to a vehicle that is stuck. The rope will stretch 30 percent, creating a slingshot effect that allows the towing vehicle to literally yank a person out of the muck. A regular tow strap doesn’t allow yanking because there is no give in the rope.
Casey Does Not Judge the Person in Trouble
When he goes out on a rescue adventure, in many cases it is obvious that the person in trouble did something stupid. They weren’t prepared to be there or they went someplace they shouldn’t have gone.
However, Casey doesn’t give them a lecture about their bad decisions like I got. They are already stressed over the situation. It was supposed to be a fun relaxing getaway that went wrong. He is there to help them out and to put the fun back into their adventure. He is a modern-day Grizzly Adams – he has a beard and a smile, and he is good at what he does.
Nothing Like a Good Recovery Story
While the equipment Casey uses is big and impressive, the real adventures are in his recovery stories. Many of them happen at the sand trap near Hurricane known as Sand Mountain – the home of Sand Hollow State Park.
I have enjoyed my rides in this sand on an ATV. However, heavier UTVs and jeeps can get caught in the softer sand. Casey has pulled many of those out of trouble.
However, when we talked big, Casey told about the 20,000-plus-pound motor homes he has pulled out of the sand with his “Five Ton Beast.” This one was not an exception – he has pulled out many big ones.
Go to Casey’s Website to Find Videos
You can see videos of his adventures at CaseysOffRoadRecovery.com. When you go, take plenty of water, keep the rubber side down, and call Casey when you are stuck in Southern Utah.