FATCO Explains Navigation Arrows
Story By: Staff of UTV Sports Mag
Photos By: Tom Leigh & Jason Zindroski
When you get out of the bubble of riding in the same spots for years and years, you will find the country is littered with crazy and cool riding destinations. From old mining towns to civil war battlegrounds, and everything in between. One of the rides we went on while at the EFX Tires Trail Hero SXS Rally would lead us to a 57-foot concrete arrow laid in the ground. Frank from Family Adventure Tour Company (FATCO) gave the group a brief history lesson on the arrow. The quick version is between 1918 and 1920, the U.S. Government developed a path for mail planes to fly from New York to San Francisco. The concept was easy. Build large concrete arrows on the ground, paint them bright yellow, and put a beacon light next to them. The first navigation system for airplanes was born. The towers that the beacons were placed atop were later scrapped to help build tanks and planes, but many of the arrows still lay in the ground across the country.
What led to this history lesson was a bit more fun. Gathering in the vendor area bright and early was a solid crew from Monster Energy, The Isenhouer Brothers, Darren Parson, and plenty more names and faces.. I am not sure they knew quite what was in store for them. Instead of an all-out race that this group was used to, this would be a scenic journey that would wind around the city of Hurricane, Utah.
Getting on the trail for a few dusty miles we encountered the first obstacle that Frank calls “Squid Filter.” A small but steep rock ledge that can play havoc if you pick the wrong line. Being professionals, everyone popped right up. Kids being kids, Dustin Jones and Hubert Rowlands took very optional lines and put on a show. Darren Parsons wanted to play, and just didn’t have the rock talent and got stuck which made for some entertainment before we hopped back in the cars and onto the trail. The dirt turned to asphalt which was a welcome change. The lack of rain in the Sand Hollow area has made the dust brutal, but it’s all a part of the fun.
The next obstacle would be “Double Tap”. This was a fun descent. If you were paying attention to the beautiful scenery, like the white rocks and not the trail, you would get into trouble in a hurry. The deep rut in the middle of the line meant you had to know exactly where your tires were at. If you were to drop a tire in the rut, it would make for either a long day or long tumble. The drivers enjoyed the technical nature of this drop. With everyone at the bottom safe, the speed picked up as we jumped on the Babylon trail headed for the Virgin River. Parking just a few yards from the Historic Stormont Silver Mill, Kalani from Rugged Radios came prepared with his unicorn floaty. Enjoying the cool water next to an incredibly colorful cliff, Darren Parsons thought Kalani was a target in the water. Ripping the PRP loaned Polaris RZR through the water and soaking Kalani on his floaty made for some good laughs.
Everyone was ready to hit the trail. From the Virgin River we gained altitude as we headed up to what Frank calls Purgatory Ridge. What makes the FATCO rides so good is it forces all of us to slow down and enjoy the incredible scenery and the great history of the area. Getting to the navigation arrow, everyone got out and for a few minutes it was quiet. The view was jaw dropping and it almost seemed that each person was taking a few minutes to reflect on the ride, the week they had just experienced, and to get a little too deep, reflected on their lives. FATCO rides have a way of moving you emotionally.