The Kampung Koloi road, at about 18 kilometers, and going from 1300 feet above see level to approximately 4600 feet is usually a challenge for even veteran drivers. It has deep ruts (75 profile tires on 16-inch rims won’t save you here) and drastic drops and sharp turns with deep ravines at the sides. You’ll also encounter steep inclines (and declines) up to 20-plus degrees. At some point, when the mud and ruts end, you’ll have a bit of a rock-crawling adventure that if you’re not careful, you might shred a tire. Landslides also are a threat at all times. Unfortunately, circumstances prevented me from having a professional media crew along for this trip so you’ll end up seeing my iPhone photos and only when I could stop or slow down. Texting or talking on the phone can be done (illegally of course) while you’re driving but NEVER do it when you’re off-road!

And here are some tips when going off the beaten path…

1. Keep your thumbs in the air – right off the steering wheel. Otherwise, if one of your front wheels hits a snag – and it will do of course – your steering wheel will rote at a heck of a lick, and if your thumb is in the way of a rotating spoke or wheel strut, it hurts!

2. Use engine braking to slow your descent down a hill not the brakes. I usually “walk-down” a slope in 1st gear. If the back end starts to slide around then ACCELERATE slightly to re-gain control. If you brake when driving down a hill and a skid develops EASE OFF THE BRAKE. It goes against your instincts but you will gain traction again and therefore be able to steer. Wheels must be turning to be steerable.

3. Don’t fight your steering. When driving through demanding terrain, avoid the tendency to hold the steering wheel in a death grip — let the wheel move around and gently guide the vehicle.

4. Be aware of your vehicles ground clearance and location of its lowest points. Allow wheels to follow their own route inside a deep rut and avoid over steering.

5. Check the water depth before fording a river!

Mountain descent. The angle is steeper than it appears. My angle indicator here reads about 18 degrees!*
Devil’s solo marble or giant hockey game (the log is J-shaped from the other side).
The 180 degree switch back will damage any vehicle with less than 12 inches of running ground clearance!

* The generally acceptable maximum for a highway or road gradient is about 6-7 degrees.