Lifelong outdoor enthusiast, Kurt Schneider in Episode 80. Wearing a lot of hats: teacher, coach, land use advocate, Kurt influences others, the right way, by telling stories.
4:59 – heads we go to Florida, tails we go west, and it came up tails
8:07 – Life is about experiences
12:01 – there are pine trees!
13:45 – my dad introduces me to Ansel Adams
19:31 – close the hood and walk away
24:20 – my kids are working on stuff on the side of the road, just like me
36:50 – no good story ever started with a salad
38:08 – started playing professional paintball
42:11 – hating on sealions
51:55 – here’s my confession
55:53 – Frank Sinatra has a cold
1:12:07 – in land use, we eat out young
1:21:07 – John Muir was about access
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This podcast uses AI software to produce the transcript - sometimes they get it right, sometimes, not so much. We apologize in advance.
[00:00:00.500] - Big Rich Klein
Welcome to The Big Rich Show. This podcast will focus on conversations with friends and acquaintances within the four wheel drive industry. Many of the people that I will be interviewing you may know the name, you may know some of the history, but let's get in depth with these people and find out what truly makes them a four wheel drive enthusiast. So now is the time to sit back, grab a cold one and enjoy our conversation.
[00:00:28.520] – Maxxis Tires
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[00:00:55.220] – 4Low Magazine
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On today's episode of Conversations with Big Rich.
[00:01:23.210] - Big Rich Klein
We have Kurt Schneider, those that are back from the Pirate days. We'll know Kurt as Kurtcules. At least that's how I pronounced it.
[00:01:34.590] - Kurt Schneider
Not sure what was it? Kurtcules. Okay.
[00:01:42.490] - Big Rich Klein
I was always wondering what that was.
[00:01:44.060] - Kurt Schneider
[00:01:45.370] - Big Rich Klein
Well, that's like what was Wheelindemon. Well done, man.
[00:01:51.700] - Kurt Schneider
[00:01:53.760] - Big Rich Klein
Alright. So anyway, Kurt, thank you for coming on board. You got a long history in a lot of different areas. Wheeling, especially. Let's just jump right in. Where were you born and raised?
[00:02:08.760] - Kurt Schneider
Well, that's kind of a long answer. Originally, I was born in Virginia. My mom and dad lived in Lura, Virginia, but my family, the Schneider family is all from upstate New York. Rochester, New York. My dad ran hotels, restaurants and golf courses. So we moved around a lot from there. But the summer between kindergarten and first grade, my father opened up a restaurant in upstate New York, right off of Lake Ontario. There's a Bay called East Port Bay. My dad's restaurant was right on the water so you can pull your boat up, drive a car down a Hill to get to it down by the water.
[00:02:54.600] - Kurt Schneider
And that's actually when I kind of first got into Jeeps, those upstate New York winters are just miserable. You get the Lake effect snow that's super thick and wet. And my dad knew he needed something four wheel drive to get not only down to the restaurant by the Bay, but get back up the Hill with the main road. And he bought a 1977 Jeep Wagoneer. And during the winter it would. A lot of people wouldn't want to show up to the restaurant because they drive down the Hill to get to the restaurant and couldn't get back up.
[00:03:33.960] - Kurt Schneider
So dad, get the Wagonner. Click that Quadrack track into four low. And back then, we use chains. There's no tow straps. And my dad would tow everybody up that Hill. And, you know, when you're in kindergarten, first grade dad is just my hero. And on those thick upstate New York winters, he tow everybody out of the snow.
[00:04:00.100] - Big Rich Klein
[00:04:01.190] - Kurt Schneider
But after about that's.
[00:04:03.110] - Big Rich Klein
How you get customers to come back?
[00:04:05.590] - Kurt Schneider
Well, during the summer, it was great. You know, my dad can write a menu. And his restaurant was awesome. But winters by February, March we’re Destitute because we didn't have enough customers coming into the restaurant.
[00:04:19.040] - Big Rich Klein
[00:04:19.400] - Kurt Schneider
So going in the third grade, end of the summer, my mom and dad decided we've had enough of these winters. We're going to go back to Florida because we lived in Florida for a short period of time when I was really little, my dad sold everything, put a bunch of stuff in storage, bought an RV trailer. And essentially the day I was supposed to start third grade, we got in that RV and slowly started working down the Eastern seaboard. So we went to Civil War battlefield after Civil War battlefield, Washington, DC, just slowly took our time just exploring.
[00:04:59.760] - Kurt Schneider
And we got to Stone Mountain, Georgia, and in Stone Mountain, Georgia. We stayed there a week where my dad is trying to line up a job in Florida, and we literally flipped a quarter. My dad is, I don't know if I want to go to Florida. It's muggy lots of bugs. And my mom's like, well, we got a job lined up. We flip the quarter heads. We go to Florida, tails. We go west, and it came up tails.
[00:05:29.480] - Kurt Schneider
So we slowly started working across the deep south in that wagon. Spent Halloween, Meridian, Mississippi, went all through Louisiana, through Texas, right around Thanksgiving. We got to Tucson, Arizona. Yeah. My mom and dad start to say, well, now you start figuring, well, we better get our kids into school. S. So living in RV park in Tucson, Arizona for a little bit. Then my dad got a little side job in Sierra Vista, Arizona. Moved down there. And with my dad being out of work, that's one thing we did in that Wagoneer, we explore all of Southern Arizona.
[00:06:10.610] - Kurt Schneider
We would go down rock trails that that wagon shouldn't have probably been on explore the whole Southern desert. And then finally, that's where my dad landed the job in Yosemite National Park.
[00:06:27.020] - Big Rich Klein
That had to be really cool. But before we get into Yosemite, is that why you have a Wagoner now? And obviously your dad's was not as troublesome as yours has been.
[00:06:42.000] - Kurt Schneider
We had problems. We had a few problems to know. That that thing. My dad is 77 wagon. It told us we actually went across the country three times while a kid, I'd seen almost every single state of the continental United States before I was in high school, and I saw this entire country and fell in love with this country from the back seat of a wagon. And that was my first vehicle when I was in high school, which by then it was all rusted out. That AMC Three Six.
[00:07:15.210] - Kurt Schneider
He was tired. So it didn't last me that long. But that's what ended up with me getting this one that I got now a 99, you know, it's right up front.
[00:07:26.560] - Big Rich Klein
Growing up, traveling like that, I think, is absolutely awesome. We get a couple of weeks every summer with our oldest grandson, Jacob, and he travels with us while we're putting on events, and we try to hit as many national parks as we can. He's been to Pennsylvania, to Chattanooga, up into Washington and Colorado, and we take them to everywhere we can so that he gets that experience. And I wish eventually we'll get all the grandkids moving like that. But the twelve year old is easier to deal with than the younger ones.
[00:08:07.110] - Kurt Schneider
Well, it had a huge effect on me. And it is a high school teacher, especially when I taught in the Bay Area in Hayward. I talk to kids in my classroom that they're an hour from the ocean. I had kids, never seen the ocean, right? That's great. I got kids at high school. I'm at now. They've never seen snow. And I don't know, I think life is about experiences. You got to get out and see things. And especially at a young age, I think it it's really good for somebody.
[00:08:40.040] - Big Rich Klein
We just came across from Minnesota, and we're now down in Henderson, Nevada. But the last six days, we've been traveling and we've met a lot of people along the way and had a lot of great conversations. And we were sitting in this little tiny town in Upper Nebraska, and it was this old guy comes in with his wife and just kind of talking to everybody and walks over and go, say, what made you stop here in our town? And I mean, it's a small town, like 900 people or something.
[00:09:17.700] - Big Rich Klein
There was a sign off the side of that. We didn't take any interstates. We took all back roads. And so there was a sign that says, Cafe and an Arrow. And it was like, It's time to eat. Let's go to this cafe looked like it was closed, but it was open. We went in. There was a few people in there, but he goes, you know, where are you from? What are you doing? And we talked to him. And he was 80, 80 years old. He's been in that town all his life.
[00:09:47.040] - Big Rich Klein
He goes, Well, I've never traveled much anywhere. I've been to South Dakota a couple of times, and that's like, 30 miles from this town, getting into South Dakota. And he goes, I've never been to California. And I thought, Man, that's a shame. I know people, some people don't want to travel or don't have that need. But I do and always have. And so I'm glad that you got to experience it. And hopefully you've been able to share that as well.
[00:10:20.390] - Kurt Schneider
That's one reason I got this Wagoneer from my buddy Chris. I wanted my kids have kind of the same experiences which their experiences have been more like broken down on Indian slabs, waiting for parts. But they've seen a lot of the back of that. That wagon. My kids beg me to go wheeling.
[00:10:44.480] - Big Rich Klein
You know, that's a great lifestyle. You can ask my kid who's now 38, 39 years old, something like that. Both my kids spent a lot of time up on the Rubicon when they were younger, out wheeling in Southern Utah. And, you know, the first trip little Rich was on, we rolled the car on him, not on him physically, but he was in the Jeep when we rolled, and it was on the Rubicon. And it's just now. Look at him. He's pretty messed up.
[00:11:17.410] - Kurt Schneider
[00:11:19.430] - Big Rich Klein
So anyway, go ahead on with your life story. Sorry.
[00:11:23.190] - Kurt Schneider
Okay. My father tells me I'm a little kid. He. Oh, we're moving to California. So a lot of people's world View is formed by mass media and TV back then. And whatever it was, 1979, I saw chips. Remember that show like this can be awesome. I live on the beach, rolls in between. I must have fell asleep in the gym on the way to California, and I wake up in the morning, and instantly I thought California was all beach. I had no clue. I ran out the door of that RV.
[00:12:01.560] - Kurt Schneider
And, man, the first thing that hit me was a smell account flare and seeing these big, tall pine trees. And I look up and there's this massive clip with a waterfall on. Where are we at? In California, there's pine trees. But, man, I am just blessed. Very few people in this world can say they've lived in Semite Valley. Even fewer can say they grew up there.
[00:12:28.480] - Kurt Schneider
We live right in the Valley behind you. 70 Village, who's a very small elementary school right now. 70 Falls. My dad ran the one hotel, the Lodge, Curry Village, did all the food and beverage for the all the concessions in the park. And I was in heaven. But my dad would always have Mondays off when the restaurants aren't as busy.
[00:12:57.310] - Kurt Schneider
So our adventures didn't stop, even though we just traveled the entire country, explored all the Southern Arizona. My dad load me up in that wagon here, and we explore the Eastern Sierra. A lot of times we go down the Merced River, find some dirt road filled with rocks and take us down to the river, and we pan for gold. So the whole kind of exploring and driving around, I was just kind of like, I guess, a family tradition. You were in the photography, right? You're really big art.
[00:13:31.400] - Kurt Schneider
So you'll love this story. I was probably still third grade. And my dad's running the dining room, a Niani hotel, which is a beautiful dining room.
[00:13:43.900] - Big Rich Klein
[00:13:45.680] - Kurt Schneider
One morning, my dad's, like son come here. come. So he drags me over this table and there's this old guy, great beard. And my dad basically introduced me to Ansel Adams.
[00:13:58.550] - Big Rich Klein
You're kidding me.
[00:14:00.220] - Kurt Schneider
Right before Ansel Adams passed away, Ansel Adams asked me here in this little third grade, or you as well. Do you like photography? What are you going to say? I never even thought about it, but I'm going to say yes. I knew who he was at that point. Yeah. You should go down to my Gallery and take some classes. And I think I beg my parents and beg my parents and that this is years ago. But here I have this little third or fourth grader run around, follow the photography class to the Valley.
[00:14:32.200] - Kurt Schneider
And that kind of gave me the I really got the drive to kind of get a photography from there. Not that I did it as a career, but I was always interested in it. And I've shot a lot of events over all these years and wheeling. But one thing that taught me is the effect you can have on a kid just by saying, hey, you should do, especially if you're not the parent. You're the parent. So you should do this.
[00:15:02.400] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah, right. Whatever.
[00:15:04.070] - Kurt Schneider
But I've done that with with some of my former high school students. Hey, you're really good at. Well, then maybe you should look into this. You think so? Yeah. And they listen, as long as it's not their own are exactly lived in the Valley for several years. And finally, my dad got sick of that. And we loaded up the RV again. My grandmother at the time was living in San Diego, went down to San Diego in between jobs and ended up exploring all the whole Southern California desert and Sabre Desert.
[00:15:41.570] - Kurt Schneider
Finally, my dad landed another job back in Virginia. This time we took the middle route across the United States through Colorado.
[00:15:54.160] - Big Rich Klein
And what then was called the 50. Now the 70.
[00:15:59.720] - Kurt Schneider
Whatever. Why? I don't know. I probably. Well, I wouldn't change. But we get to get to Virginia. That job didn't last long for my dad and went back up to Rochester for a minute. And he goes, Well, I got another job back in California. So once again, third time cross country. By the time I got to high school, like I said, almost every single one of the continental United States, everything from the Grand Canyon, the Everglades in Florida, every Civil War battlefield you could think of. And I really fell in love with this country by looking up the window of that wagon air.
[00:16:38.320] - Kurt Schneider
So that's kind of my whole growing up story.
[00:16:43.060] - Big Rich Klein
Awesome. And Jeep, do you like Apple pie?
[00:16:49.020] - Kurt Schneider
[00:16:50.170] - Big Rich Klein
Do you like Apple pie?
[00:16:51.400] - Kurt Schneider
Yeah. I love Apple pie.
[00:16:53.070] - Big Rich Klein
Okay. Jeep Apple pie. America.
[00:16:54.930] - Kurt Schneider
There you go exactly awesome. And kind of that tradition I've continued with with my three sons. Logan was with me and my buddy Chris when we ran rally, Venture and Chess. Nols, really venture all the events that my kids have been to. And just like, you know, you with Rich. My kids have grown up on the Con Grand. Dad never had the best vehicle.
[00:17:27.590] - Big Rich Klein
Neither did this one. Trust me.
[00:17:31.430] - Kurt Schneider
I had at a 93 Y. J. That I bought in College with Dana 30, 35 lockers, front and rear. I've been with 33 inch tires, and I'd be up there on the trail watching everybody else bigger race. My kids be in the back and car seats, and I don't know what I did, right, but they love wheeling.
[00:17:52.220] - Big Rich Klein
[00:17:54.550] - Kurt Schneider
Payton my oldest boy. He just got it in his head that he wanted a flat tender. And I kind of know the reasoning. Payton always love friend of mine, Sammy Sever as a flat tender slinky. No, that's the other thing. That's right. Silver.
[00:18:17.160] - Big Rich Klein
[00:18:17.940] - Kurt Schneider
Silvera had slinky, which is one of my all time favorite rigs. I can remember being up on the Rubicon and had to be 99 or something. He was with a club that's no longer around called Mountain High Toys. And that thing was just unbelievable, you know, back then. And I know Payton was really into those flat headers, I think, was from both the Sams and probably Jeff Mellow chirping in his ear a little bit. But Payton started researching those Jeeps, but the kids a flat Fender expert.
[00:18:52.430] - Kurt Schneider
He knows everything, just from constantly researching online. And he's constantly sending me as soon as he turned 15. Dad, can we buy this one? Can we buy that one? And he saved up some money. And a buddy of mine, Matt Ritchie calls me out of the blue. Hey, man, I'm sitting on this. 41. Willie MB have driven it in years, and we go up there and look at the thing, and I felt, I know this is awesome. It's a flat grill. 41 will pop open the the hood.
[00:19:27.270] - Kurt Schneider
There's 22 re.
[00:19:29.910] - Big Rich Klein
[00:19:31.800] - Kurt Schneider
I text pictures to Jeff Mellow, and all Jeff Mellow says is close the hood walk away. But but patent just fell in love with it, and he didn't have enough money to buy it. So Matt says, you know what? I think this is just so cool. What you're doing with your kids. So what my dad did with me, he just have to make payments on it. And Payton paid that thing off. So he's got he daily drove that to school.
[00:20:03.210] - Big Rich Klein
[00:20:04.500] - Kurt Schneider
And it runs on propane. It's old school. It's got quarter elliptical in the back. But I seriously think that that's probably the oldest daily driven. Well, if it's still considered a Jeep daily driven Jeeps in the world, it was built December night, 1941, two days after Pro Harbor.
[00:20:23.920] - Big Rich Klein
And then somebody put a Japanese motor into it.
[00:20:31.320] - Kurt Schneider
But, man, that scrambles over the Rubicon like, like a side by side right here I am, lumbered in my big wagon, you know, scraping over everything and worried I'm going to break down every five minutes and patents just running circles around me. But he loves the thing. And then the day he graduated, our neighbor, who now since passed away, our neighbor is a big hot Rod guy in Peyton would go over there and help him with the cars. And the neighborhood is 94 C, four Corvette. And Payton love that corset all graduation day free graduates for having people come over.
[00:21:13.030] - Kurt Schneider
And he goes, dad, I want to buy Bob's core bet so I can take it down. San Luis Obispo. You study in welding down a quest of College in San Labispo.
[00:21:24.680] - Kurt Schneider
And I'm all Payton. Bob probably wants 1012 $14,000 for that. I don't have 1012 $14,000. He's like, no, dad. He said it'll sell to me for just seven. What? Payton, I don't have seven grand, he tells me. Well, I got 6600 Bucks saved up. Can you float in $400? Are you kidding? What am I going to do? Tell my kid? No.
[00:21:49.170] - Big Rich Klein
[00:21:51.150] - Kurt Schneider
Yeah. So kids 18. He's already got two vehicles.
[00:21:55.470] - Big Rich Klein
[00:21:56.530] - Kurt Schneider
So we bought that and went down to. I'm so proud of my boy. He's he's working for Dave philosopher down there. Poly performance, studying welding and just loving it.
[00:22:08.470] - Big Rich Klein
That's great. Working for Poly.
[00:22:11.100] - Kurt Schneider
Yeah. Pain loves that job. He's just. I'm just so glad he got on with that company. It's been great for him. He's learned a lot. He's grown up so much in the past. Whatever. It's been a year.
[00:22:24.960] - Big Rich Klein
So what about your other kids?
[00:22:27.850] - Kurt Schneider
So, Logan, same exact thing. Logan wanted a flat Fender and same thing. H research constantly. I would get seven text messages a day either. Facebook Marketplace, Craig's list that and he found a 53 flat sender up in up in Sonora. And then it was rough. The body was messed up. There was no rear drive shaft and had the wrong transfer case. So Logan gets this thing, bought it himself. We tow it down here. I'm like, man, I'm in over my head that's another thing is growing up.
[00:23:13.800] - Kurt Schneider
My dad would work on the wagon, and I can hold a flashlight. I'm good, but my dad did all the work, so I've swapped out an axle on the trail. But I'm not super mechanical, right? And when it came to my kids, they had asked me something on. I don't know. You figure it out. Go call Jeff Mellow. Call Mark. Here you go. So I've made them do all their own work. So Logan just my garage is still right now a mess because a Logan the heat.
[00:23:47.570] - Kurt Schneider
I don't think there's one Bolt he's turned on that he hasn't turned on that. That Willis that's greeted transmission. He's on his second engine Arca, helped him with the gears. He put a whole new rear end in it. Now. On Wednesday, he found a front 44 because it's got a front 30 in it right now. And the same thing he drives every day to school, and every day they drive to school. The Schneider curse kicks in, breaks, go out, link it for the clutch isn't working.
[00:24:20.840] - Kurt Schneider
My kids are working on stuff on the side of the road, just like me. And then are you holding the flashlight for my sometimes I'll get in there and get my hands. And then Braden, poor kid. He says he wants to wagon here. We'll see. But it's not just my own kids. Last last year, Logan wanted to go take it, go up and go wheel in, and his rig wasn't ready. So he wanted to to the wagon up and we weren't going to go to the Rubicon.
[00:25:01.780] - Kurt Schneider
My club, the Cyber Crawlers. We would kind of stick south of highway 50, Silver Fork Road, right? This will be our 30 year when I say club that's in quotes, we don't have by laws. We don't have rules. A lot of the guys are really hardcore wheelers. My buddy offered tech likes to cause the UN club for 30 years. 30 years, we've been going up there. We go to in the spring. And the thing was, we wheel as far back in the snow as we could get where nobody else could get to us.
[00:25:38.710] - Kurt Schneider
And we can. So our territory is kind of up. Well, now it's all burned up. Put up Marmon Immigrant Trail, Silver Fork Road. Everything south achievers. But anyway, last last November, Logan wants to go camping, wheel in, and I had to borrow a tow rig in a trailer because my truck won't till my wagon. We coded it up there. I got Logan, three of his friends and three of his friends have never been real camping. They've been in RV. So we get up in the middle of nowhere.
[00:26:13.770] - Kurt Schneider
Logan proceeds to break the wagon R in about 45 minutes. He blew up my front drive shaft and only had two wheel drive. Friday, everything was cool. Saturday was great driving around exploring. And Saturday night we crashed out, maybe 1130 midnight. And in the middle of the night, I start here in rain, come down thick range, hitting the tent as I'm laying there for a while in the town, he so I unzip the window and we're in about four inches of thick, wet, heavy snow. And it's dumping.
[00:26:50.650] - Kurt Schneider
And I start thinking, Man, if I was here with all my buddies, it wouldn't be a problem. I just go back to sleep. But I've got the wagon. This to rig. I have to load the wagon on the trailer. I got beer cans, probably all around the fire pit covered snow. I we kids. We got to get out of here. We got to get out. So we start Loading up. And my buddy Dave Chick, who lives in Pollock, he had been up there earlier. Earlier in the day, he bombed up the Hill to find us.
[00:27:24.620] - Kurt Schneider
So he shows up about half after midnight. And I told Logan, look, you're going to have to drive the wagon out. I'm going to take the tow rig out because we had to go down this Hill up North South Road, which is real detail in four or five inches of snow. And Logan proceeds. Tell me, dad, I think the wagons out of gas. Like, Are you kidding me? I want to get stuck in this. Chicks got, like, two or three gallons of gas Port in the wagon.
[00:27:54.860] - Kurt Schneider
We start driving out. And it took us a while crawling to that snow to get up to more minima trail. And as soon as we get up to Mormon immigrant trail, it was the weirdest thing. It's Thunder and lightning and dumping snow. And Logan's friends in the back seat because he's driving the wagon. Their eyes are just as big as hard boiled eggs. Well, Logan runs out of gas, so me and Chick got to go all the way down in Napoli, get gas, come all the way back up.
[00:28:30.470] - Kurt Schneider
Those kids sat side of the road for about an hour and a Thunder, lightning storm. Long story short, man, those three kids, my son's friends, they were sold. A normal person would be like, oh, that sounds miserable. But for us being wheelers, that's what makes memories is that kind of a trip would have been a big deal for our crowd. Right? We go snow wheeling all the time, get stuck in stuff all the time. But for kids, that's just something they've never experienced. And now Logan's friend, Ryan, he moved to Idol.
[00:29:09.670] - Kurt Schneider
He just bought himself a TJ. Another one of Logan's friends is buying a four runner, and they've since gone up with me online. Two or three other trips. They're sold. Well, that's one thing that I love to do. I love to introduce people to kind of our lifestyle, and I love to have people see things and experience things. I did it with all my neighbors. When I first moved to Discovery Bay, I took them up to daughter one year for a we rock event.
[00:29:45.760] - Kurt Schneider
And there was some bonus line. We got our coolers of beer. We're standing on the rocks back there, and there was some bonus line. And one of my neighbors is like, well, one of those two comes up on the top of that rock like, Will they go up that he's a thing. They go up that. And I don't remember who it was. Somebody might be. Somebody just shot up this wall and they were floored and they were sold. And I even got a lot of my neighbors on my old street here in Discovery Bay.
[00:30:27.130] - Kurt Schneider
I think four families ended up buying jeeps after going up and camping and wheeling of me.
[00:30:33.960] - Big Rich Klein
That's awesome. I've always said that my job is I sell people there adrenaline back. And it's kind of like what we're doing with the sportsman. Or when I take people wheeling for the first time, it's kind of equate it to that drug dealer that hangs around at the grade school, giving it away so that they've got a book for the rest of their life. Same thing with wheeling. And I'm glad to hear that other people do the same thing.
[00:31:03.190] - Kurt Schneider
Well, I try to explain the Rubicon, the people, and you just don't get it until you get up there. I tell people I can show you lace clear and, like, tile. You can see every star in the night sky, swimming, swimming, home Springs. And it's not until you get up there and experience it. The Rub becomes so much more than just wheeling. It's an experience. True. And it gets me when these people are online. Well, I'm going to take two days to get through the Rubicon. It's not enough.
[00:31:36.720] - Kurt Schneider
I'm thinking. Nope, not if you're really going to explore it true. Several years back, buddy mine Sean Russell. He was leading towards the Rubicon, and he hires me to do this run across the trailers, leading 13 jeeps from Belgium, and he asked me to go along kind of help out. I'm not an expert on the trail by any means, but I do know a lot of the history in a huge history of. And so it's kind of like the tour guide along with the spotter. And it was crazy.
[00:32:12.080] - Kurt Schneider
We get to the same way in policies, and I'm filling up back on my Jeep, fill up my cooler with ice, and I turn all these Belgian guys that they actually ship their Jeeps all the way across the Atlantic, drove the jeeps across country, visit a bunch of different spots. And then basically, end of the trip was going to be wheeling the Rubicon. I poured my ice in the cooler and I got ice left over. So I'm like, hey, here, you guys need any more ice, and they're looking at each other.
[00:32:41.850] - Kurt Schneider
Sounds like beaker from the Muppets ice. What do we need ice for? We're going to be on the trail for a week. So we want to keep stuff old, and they all open up the back to their jeeps. They don't use ice. And Belgium, they all had refrigerators, right? It just blew me away. And then they had zero modifications because member in Europe, you can't modify a vehicle. There's no aftermarket parts. They had no lift, no nothing. And but we walk them across the Rubicon with almost no damage.
[00:33:22.290] - Kurt Schneider
But again, they would sit around the campfire and say, Man, we have nothing. Nothing like this in Europe.
[00:33:29.800] - Big Rich Klein
No, because they do mostly dirt roads.
[00:33:33.560] - Kurt Schneider
Yeah, that's four wheeling.
[00:33:35.430] - Big Rich Klein
And even though the Rubicon may have started off as a dirt road, it's definitely not just a dirt road. No, you ain't taking no model tea across it now.
[00:33:45.720] - Kurt Schneider
No, not anymore. No, it changes every year, though. The weather is, and that's the other cool part about the trail. Is everything's a little bit different. You always see something new. My problem is, I just stick to the Rubicon. Actually, I've never done for ice.
[00:34:07.880] - Big Rich Klein
I've never done the whole trail.
[00:34:10.890] - Kurt Schneider
Well, if I work on the Con and I break down like I always do, I know someone's going to be close to help me out. I'm that guy, but I got a buddy of mine that's been begging me to do do serum, which I don't know if the wagon will be too big for that trail or not, but I'd love to do. It. Looks like a beautiful trail. But then I think, man, if I bust something bad, my wagon here, what am I going to do?
[00:34:44.320] - Big Rich Klein
Make sure you got two other vehicles to help to you out.
[00:34:48.680] - Kurt Schneider
Well, that's the problem is token that thing out. It's heavy. That's a beast lab. Was it last summer? Last summer, Payton's Payton's Willis stopped getting propane. We couldn't figure out why. I just couldn't get it started. So the Wagoner actually towed. Is Willis out from about Indian Trail and coming out, I was towing him over a little ledge, and something happened. He slammed on his brakes to stop. He crashed in the back, and he broke his brake linkage. So he had no breaks, no power. And I had to pull him through the bowl.
[00:35:31.380] - Kurt Schneider
And the wagon here is carbureted. That Motorcraft, 21 50 gets to a certain angle. That engine starving. I was so panicked. I was panicked about pulling them down through that bowl with no breaks. Or not, since we had to date, my buddy Chris Talk has a near identical Wagoner. He's the guy that I got this wagon from, and we Daisy chained Payton's Willis between our two wagons, and everybody's taking pictures of us. All these, like, Overlander guys showing up, we get down to the bottom of the ball, and I'm like, man, I don't know if I want to to them up that Hill right before the Southern side of the bowl.
[00:36:16.990] - Kurt Schneider
Hell for you, Jay keeper. And thank God there's a guy there from the Auburn Cheep Club. So just follow me up this line. And I tried to get up that Hill. Didn't quite make it, so they had to lash me up and pull pull us all up the Hill. But again, that's just my kids Jeep broke down. But, man, what great memories? My kid will never forget that. And it was just one thing after another. So even your worst trips turn on your best trips, right?
[00:36:50.980] - Big Rich Klein
Absolutely. Those are the things that make memories. If everything runs smooth, there's no story. It's like no good story ever started with a salad?
[00:37:01.600] - Kurt Schneider
[00:37:09.300] - Big Rich Klein
The family's all into wheeling. Let's talk some about your teaching and coaching. I don't think you're coaching anymore right now. I understand. But if I thought but how did you get into when did you make that decision?
[00:37:29.590] - Kurt Schneider
Well, when I was in high school, my life, there's only three things I thought about in high school, girls football and cars, right. And football is my life in high school. That was okay. I mean, the high school I was at, we had an awesome football team. Your co Champions of the MBA, my senior. My original plan is going to the Navy and this College, it was called Cal State Hayward. Back at the time, they called me up one day and said, hey, look, you want to come up here and play football for us?
[00:38:08.770] - Kurt Schneider
Does that play center? So they work. And all I cared about when I was in College was playing football. Girls and cars play football. Cal State, or do they cut the program? But football for years was was my life. And then I started doing sales. And then I started playing professional paintball. I played professional paintball for several years.
[00:38:37.630] - Big Rich Klein
Wait, wait. Professional paint ball?
[00:38:41.180] - Kurt Schneider
Yeah, that's I think. Oh, yeah. Yeah. Actually, in College I worked for it was my second job. I work for an indoor paintball field, and me and my buddies would literally play paintball every night at that field. We close the fields about ten or eleven. We play from eleven to two in the morning, drink beers in the parking lot. And then every weekend we were doing tournaments. I'm kind of weird. I get focused on one thing. It's like I could just get focused on it. I oh, I understand.
[00:39:15.030] - Big Rich Klein
I understand. I've done the same thing.
[00:39:17.580] - Kurt Schneider
Yeah. So it was football for my focus. Then it was paint ball is my focus. And then actually, through paintball, through paintball, a guy walks into the we had a paintball store, too, were pro shop. And these two guys walk in. Rick and Martin. And I'm just a kid, 20, 1920 years old and start playing paintball. These two guys are a little bit older than us. Well, Rick would end up becoming one of my closest friends. And it was Rick and I that started my full drive club, the Hybrids Crawlers.
[00:39:52.620] - Kurt Schneider
30 years ago, he brought me up to the mountains, a couple other guys with our Jeeps. After all these years of football, I got back into the let's go drive around and explore wheeling like I did when I was a kid. Rick got me back into that. And I. Well, we got to thank Rick for is land use. I was always the big mouth on pirate. Rick was the one that got it all done. And he's still up there working in Eldorado National Forest, keep our public lands open to us.
[00:40:30.730] - Kurt Schneider
But anyway, what? So anyway, I went to sales and hated it. I was all stressed out. And then I started teaching and teaching. Opened up the door to coaching football. So I coach football for high school football. But for almost 20 years, maybe a little bit less line and line loved it. But football is kind of changing. Kids are changing. And I don't know, maybe I just got burned out after a while. A lot of kids now don't want to hit. Kids don't seem to be as tough as they used to be.
[00:41:10.320] - Kurt Schneider
And with Brady Brady's doing travel, hockey my own dis boy. So there's no way there's no way I can go to football when I've got hockey games every Saturday?
[00:41:19.520] - Big Rich Klein
Absolutely. And there's as much contact in hockey as theirs in football.
[00:41:24.800] - Kurt Schneider
[00:41:26.540] - Big Rich Klein
In fact, it's kind of encouraged.
[00:41:28.550] - Kurt Schneider
Brady likes that part. Well, you can't check at this level yet, but do throw a heap or push some kid off them. I love it. But football was a huge part of my life, and I just. Well, it's weird how life gets so busy with other things. I figured my focus has to be more of my own kids.
[00:41:51.780] - Big Rich Klein
Right? Family first. Always.
[00:41:56.220] - Kurt Schneider
So hockey and wheeling and Recon on jeeps about all the Snyders too.
[00:42:03.290] - Big Rich Klein
And hate on sea Lions.
[00:42:04.920] - Kurt Schneider
Do you know how that all started? Did you hear that?
[00:42:11.130] - Big Rich Klein
[00:42:11.680] - Kurt Schneider
So my son Logan, we live on the water. We're in Discovery Bay, right? I got my boat and my son Logan has a catamaran. So I'm out there one day doing something on the catamaran. I'm kind of spread pontoon to pontoon. Well, when those sea Lions reach out of the water, they come up there's fucking noise they make when they suck in the air. Well, this massive sea line just breaches right between my legs underneath that Cate ran. I had a heart attack. Well, they say a full grown California sin will get like, 12ft.
[00:42:52.010] - Kurt Schneider
Logan's catamaran is 12ft long. This things like 3ft longer on the catamaran. I've been coming out here to Discovery Day for years, fishing and boating. And you used to see see a sea lion occasionally. But that year, the sea line scared the hell out of me. We had eight of them. I kind of stuck in the back days here Discovery Bay, and they were just massacre the fish population. And you know me, I like to irritate people on social media with the whole man of leisure thing.
[00:43:29.680] - Kurt Schneider
So I just started complaining about sea Lions, and then I locked out because suddenly that same year, people start getting attacked by sea Lions and San Francisco Bay. But they are an invasive species in here. People just don't understand that. They're just they chase the salmon in, and then they eat all the striped bass. And, yeah, my Bay go out there and try to fish. There'd be nothing. But they only show up in the winter, so I can start complaining about the end of December pretty soon now.
[00:44:07.790] - Big Rich Klein
Okay, everybody get ready. Yeah.
[00:44:11.370] - Kurt Schneider
I bug everybody about sea lines in the winter, about all my time off in the summer. All three go.
[00:44:19.050] - Big Rich Klein
There you go.
[00:44:21.960] - Kurt Schneider
But, yeah, with teaching. It's so nice having all that time off spend with my boys and teaching and coaching. I got to say, I really don't miss the coaching. That was a lot of time, but I couldn't imagine my life without teaching. There's. Not one morning I wake up and go, Damn, I love my job, not 1 million. I wake up and think, Damn, I got to go to work like I did back when I was doing sales.
[00:44:49.960] - Big Rich Klein
Is it because you get to influence you part of it.
[00:44:55.920] - Kurt Schneider
Alright. Well, here's kind of a confession. I've thought about it a lot. I like to make people better. I like to show people new things. And I don't teach a traditional subject. I'm not like a math history teacher. And a couple of the classes I'm teaching are like freshman foundations, business, communications. And I teach drivers education, not in the car, but classroom drivers.
[00:45:23.770] - Kurt Schneider
But in some of my classes, what I do is the first thing is we spent two weeks on this first couple of weeks of like, in my foundation classes. The kids come up with 30 detailed life goals. They can't say, I want a car, I want a house. They got to say, I want to read 1995 Dodge Viper D Ten with saw blade wheels and pipes. They've got to come up with these detailed life goals.
[00:45:50.210] - Kurt Schneider
And these kids have never thought about what they wanted. So they'll write down two things and get lost. So I have them research their goals, visualize their goals. And once they come up with their life goals, I say, okay, well, how are you going to afford this? So then I show them a budget how much it costs to live. And then from there they look at careers. Okay. Well, I want to make this much money to buy all these goals. What jobs can I get? And it's great because you get some girls are like, Well, wait, I don't want to be a third grade teacher.
[00:46:22.880] - Kurt Schneider
They start, like $38,000 a year, so they research their careers. And then then I say, okay, well, you found your career. You want. How are you going to get that career? So I don't call it a College project. I don't think every kids necessarily go to College. So we do an education project and they plan out how they're going to get to that career. So.
[00:46:47.600] - Big Rich Klein
[00:46:49.160] - Kurt Schneider
I love it. Thank you for taking me.
[00:46:54.480] - Big Rich Klein
It's refreshing to hear that there's classes like that is that is that standard in some schools?
[00:47:02.830] - Kurt Schneider
I think it's just specific to my school district. I'm very lucky to be in. I love the school district. Come in. It's just such a great district. And I think it's just for our district.
[00:47:16.370] - Big Rich Klein
Shelley has been doing a newslettert and a lot of it. I mean, there was a money management newsletter she was doing or still doing. And then there's some motivational stuff. But she wrote a curriculum about life skills because they're not being taught anywhere. And especially as she wrote it years ago because her and a friend were did a presentation for the NFL because all these guys that were coming out of College to play in the NFL had absolutely zero life skills, as we know. And they've been pampered all their life, basically because if you're a star in high school and in College, things can be a lot easier.
[00:48:03.870] - Big Rich Klein
And she was how to manage your money, how to control your friends, that kind of thing because those friends become detrimental, possibly. And the NFL started doing their own thing instead of taking their curriculum and hiring them to do it. But that's what happens when you come up with an innovative idea. But that's awesome. That there's somewhere that is teaching skills like that.
[00:48:38.780] - Kurt Schneider
Yeah. Sometimes we forget that these kids, there's just so much they don't know the stuff. You assume they know. It's like, everybody teases me all your teaching drivers, Ed. Well, the thing is, these kids is generation. When I was in that wagon here growing up, I'm watching my dad drive. I'm looking out the window. These kids, the entire time they're growing up is there in a car. Their faces are on their cell phones, right? They know things that you would assume. You know what the painted lines on the road means, what a yield sign means.
[00:49:16.570] - Kurt Schneider
They have no clue. And it's not just about driving. I've had it. Kid asked me. I'm sitting at my desk, it comes up and goes, hey, Schneider, what time is it? Well, I got a clock on the wall, so I just point up at the clock. So he looks up at the clock. He said, Well, what does that say? You're kidding me. Damn, the kid didn't know how to read a regular analog clock because he's grown up with digital. Yeah, his entire life, it just blew me away.
[00:49:51.160] - Kurt Schneider
And I'm reminded of that every day, how much these kids are just don't know, teach.
[00:49:59.710] - Big Rich Klein
I teach them how to make change.
[00:50:04.560] - Kurt Schneider
[00:50:05.570] - Big Rich Klein
Locking into the you know, I mean, it's basic math, but it's a life skill that I can't believe. I watched a kid one time. He helped the customer in front of me, and the customer handed him the $20 and some change. And the kid only put the $20 in and then had to cancel the transaction and put in so he could put in the $20.28 so that he could make change because he couldn't figure it out. And I get up there and I'm like, oh, I'm going to do the same thing.
[00:50:42.950] - Big Rich Klein
And the kid had to do it again. And I'm like, Dude, it's really simple. Okay? I just gave you the change. You just at a dollar. And he's like, what? I don't get it. He just canceled the transition transaction and went through it again. The other thing, since you're a driver's Ed teacher teach people to merge.
[00:51:07.420] - Kurt Schneider
I do that in this country.
[00:51:12.310] - Big Rich Klein
We'Re putting in all these traffic circles. Now it'll take four generations until people start to use the traffic circles like they're meant to be, which is constant flow, not stop signs. Yeah, it does not help our country's transportation needs right now having traffic circles because nobody knows how to freaking merge.
[00:51:38.020] - Kurt Schneider
They're trying to make us like Europe roundabout. Yeah.
[00:51:45.480] - Big Rich Klein
Anyway, I get off my soapbox.
[00:51:48.140] - Kurt Schneider
That's fine. But now I forgot what I was talking about.
[00:51:52.030] - Big Rich Klein
Your time about educating the kids.
[00:51:55.380] - Kurt Schneider
Here's my confession. I've been thinking about it. I love storytelling. Every time I teach, I'm packaging everything up in the story right? About a long time ago, I could sit there and lecture, and it would go in one year and come out. The other kids wouldn't remember it. But then I've got this. I guess it's a ghost story about a wheeling trip that I took told 20 years ago, and I'll run into these kids and they'll remember every single thing from that story from 20 years ago.
[00:52:28.010] - Kurt Schneider
But they won't remember a lecture. So when I teach, I package everything into a story. I'm not saying, hey, stop at the limit line at a stop sign. I'm telling a story after story after story of people that rolled stop signs or didn't see somebody pull out in front of them. And the kids remember that better.
[00:52:47.320] - Big Rich Klein
[00:52:48.050] - Kurt Schneider
So storytelling is we go to war over stories, and whoever is getting the story out there the most are the ones that are in power. Storytelling is very powerful.
[00:53:01.360] - Big Rich Klein
Yes, it is awesome.
[00:53:05.350] - Kurt Schneider
But in thinking about it, you know, one day I'm going to be gone. And I think one reason I teach is I want to be remembered. I want these kids 30, 40 years from now. Some kids can say, oh, I have this, you know, fat guy, the baseball hat and sunglasses and Dicky shorts. And he taught me how to set my mind to a goal and go after. So that's kind of my confession. There impact. Yeah. I want to make an impact. I want to be remembered.
[00:53:39.240] - Kurt Schneider
And I'm not to my own Horn, but I think I have. I think I've done it. I've got a lot of former students on my social media that to this day, thank me for stuff. I'm an ordained Minister, and I've even married five different former students. So, yeah, it's just showing people new stuff, making an impact. I think it's been even more fun with my my son's friends that I'm slowly brainwashing into becoming Wheelers.
[00:54:17.590] - Big Rich Klein
And is that how you approach your freelance writing as well?
[00:54:22.470] - Kurt Schneider
Yeah. The stories. I don't know if I want to make it difference when I'm writing, I think in my writing, I just wanted more entertain. I wrote about land use for so many years where I wanted to make a difference. But I've been working on for about four years now, I've been working on an article about a guy that I think is the most interesting person in Rockport. Should I say his name? Do you want to hear it?
[00:54:57.760] - Kurt Schneider
John Reynolds Jr. Oh, yeah. That guy. She's amazing. And he's probably wondering, what the hell is happening with this story because I took four or five years ago, I talked to him about writing it on him. And basically, it's nothing like we've ever done in the industry. I'm not doing an interview. Like, if you're with somebody just asking questions, I'm writing a story just kind of about him, and I just love creating it. It's just taking so long. And you don't think life gets in the way.
[00:55:37.620] - Big Rich Klein
How many words are you up to, do you think?
[00:55:39.820] - Kurt Schneider
Oh, God. That's the thing that I don't know what I'm going to do with it now because it's going to be long. There was if you go to Journal my degree in communications.
[00:55:52.760] - Big Rich Klein
[00:55:53.040] - Kurt Schneider
So if you go to journalism school, it's kind of close to speech. Com, which is like, my major, but everybody in journalism school you have you're supposed to read this magazine article from the Sixties. It's called Frank Sinatra Has a Cold. And the guy that was writing the article was trying to get an interview with Sinatra, and Sinatra wouldn't give him an interview. So all he did was follow around Sinatra and just watch Sonata in the Rat Pack. And it's a beautiful magazine article, all done in story form.
[00:56:28.810] - Kurt Schneider
And it really, really shows Sinatra as a person. So that was kind of the format I wanted to do with with Jr. So I'm slowly working on that. One day I'll spit it out, but it's going to be long. But I we've got so many stories from our industry. There's so much that isn't told that we don't hear about stories from wheeling trips and events. And there's only so much you can get from a Facebook post or a Twitter feed.
[00:57:10.480] - Kurt Schneider
I'm kind of missing. Well, you know, Pirates faded away. Now we've got an Irate four by four. But I'm missing the bulletin boards because I think you could just have more wording. You could make a super long Facebook post. Nobody's going to read it. But on a bullet, an old school bulletin board, you had more to look at. It's like a magazine, right? With your magazine. You can explain a little more in depth than what we have on social media.
[00:57:44.860] - Big Rich Klein
True. I show media sound bites.
[00:57:47.880] - Kurt Schneider
Yeah. I think social media is killing us in the industry. Payton and I were a couple of years back. We're coming off the trail and we're coming into the ball again, right at the bottom of whale bones. You know where rail bones is current? Right at the bottom. There's this guy and we're heading out late in the afternoon, and this guy's out. He's having a horrible time trying to get up whale bone. He has some Toyota, something newer Toyota, all these stickers all over the outside of his vehicle.
[00:58:23.280] - Kurt Schneider
So I get down there and I'm like, Well, did you hear down year down to £20 or no. You got to hear down more, man. So he's starting air down. He's got his and his wife or girlfriend gets out and I asked her, Are you guys by yourselves? Yeah. Look, I don't know if you should be going in the trail by yourselves. This is just the very start. You haven't even started the trail. You got a lot more trail in front of you. And she's, like, really like, how much farther money got ways to go.
[00:58:59.220] - Kurt Schneider
So, yeah, it took us an hour and a half to get here. You got a what an hour and a half to get some gatekeeper in the phone. Like, you got to turn around and you know what it was. It was one of those Instagram, whatever they call it in stuff, guys. And I don't know, there's so many people who think, oh, I'm just going to go up and do this trail do that trail. Well, they're not really prepared for it. Don't go alone. It's just kind of scary.
[00:59:38.340] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah, it is. We see it a lot everywhere we go. There's. There's a big we do a lot of stuff in Texas, and there's a big Internet club I will call it in central Texas. And most of the conversation on there is people try it. They get their Jeep and, like, help me name my Jeep, and it's like, Where should I go? I want to go up to this place. Oh, yeah. You got to be really careful in all this. And I'm like, oh, my God, people it's.
[01:00:17.260] - Big Rich Klein
And I get it. I get it because it's it's become a social thing, which is fine because it started off for me. Well, it didn't start off for me as a social thing. In fact, it's kind of more of an anti social thing. I always Wheeler, and I still wheel alone a lot more than I probably should.
[01:00:36.260] - Kurt Schneider
But you've got the experience to do it, too.
[01:00:39.400] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah. And if I get I mean, I don't like working on my own stuff. I'll gladly pay somebody to do the work. But when you're when you're broke down, you need to be able to keep going. Somehow you got to be able to figure things out. But nowadays people can't even change their own freakin flat tire.
[01:01:01.860] - Kurt Schneider
[01:01:02.590] - Big Rich Klein
And they're going on to these, you know, luckily, back anywhere west or east of the Rockies, it's almost all parks so people can't get to in too much trouble. You know, as long as their safety wise, they can get into a lot of trouble. But they're not going to get stuck in a park for three days trying to figure out how to get out like they can on the Con or four dice or do the Hammers wherever. There's so many places in the west because of the public lands, but now it's become social and social media.
[01:01:48.690] - Big Rich Klein
Like you said it's, it's not a good thing. You know, everybody used to say everybody is uninformed because we can't get communication. We can't get the news quick enough. Well, now that we have ways to get it out quickly, are we getting the right information, which is a whole other thing. But are we even learning anything? Because everybody goes, oh, I got to learn to put my air filter in. I'm going to look at YouTube.
[01:02:20.540] - Kurt Schneider
[01:02:24.220] - Big Rich Klein
I'll ask a question on on a specific board that I'm on vehicle specific or something like that about something that I'm having an issue with. And they're like, Well, there's, like, 16 YouTube videos on it, and it's like, okay. And I'm thinking to myself, oh, my God, I'm just going to go out there and tear this thing apart and learn it.
[01:02:49.220] - Kurt Schneider
Yeah, figure it out myself. Yeah, that's what my boys do. I go out there and figure it out yourself. Go build that carburetor login.
[01:02:58.820] - Big Rich Klein
And then once you figured it out, then do a YouTube video. Yeah, some of these YouTube videos out there are just ridiculous.
[01:03:07.680] - Kurt Schneider
They talk too much or they film for, like, 40 seconds of just the floor is like, I think so many of these people, like, in my area, you're Nortel, you get all these Facebook Jeep clubs, the mom with the JK, I'm going to go do the Rubicon and for us, right. For us. Rob. Com. Let's face it, it's not a hard trail. No, but from our perspective, right. You've seen the Hammers and all that. It's nothing but from their perspective. As soon as they get to have the trail there, it's like I said, it's like the guys from Europe that I led across the trail, they were just blown away.
[01:03:57.340] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah, there's no stripe down the middle of the trail to tell you where to go.
[01:04:01.660] - Kurt Schneider
Well, we got a little Orange reflectors, and I had to go down one year with that. Or. But even so, it's like I was talking with the kids. There's so much kids don't know that we expect them to know. And for us, I guess for us, Rubicon is not hard, right? Or we know how to swap out of axle. These other people don't. True Arca. I was driving home from work most a couple of years ago, and there's this Jeep in front of me. This is barely crawling, and it looks like a high school kid.
[01:04:38.170] - Kurt Schneider
He pulls over the side of the road. So me being the guy that I am, okay, this is a high school kid. So I pull over. Hey, everything okay? He's like, Hi. I don't know what's going on. My Jeep is just not moving. I'm thinking engine. So I get in there, look around the Jeep for he had it in for low and it's like, kind of that's what we're dealing with, right? This kid had no idea what for low was why is heat was crawling down the road?
[01:05:12.620] - Kurt Schneider
I don't know. It just kind of makes me worried for the future.
[01:05:17.900] - Big Rich Klein
So this rebel rally that Shelley and I are preparing to work on right now, we're going to be leaving. I mean, we're down in Vegas right now or Henderson, and we're tech and everything is this week. It's all women's navigational Rally One of the things I like about it is watching these women grow, doing things that take them out of their comfort zone. On the first rebel, there was this to me, younger women, and they were pretty clueless. That first year, they had learned how to change the tires on their vehicle, like, four days before leaving for the rally.
[01:06:02.120] - Big Rich Klein
They're on the rally. They blow out both tires on the passenger side at the same time or on the same rock. Luckily, they have two spares. So we see them watching them on tracking. They're sitting there forever. So we decided, okay, we need to go over there and make sure they're okay. By the time we get there, they're gone. And when tracking updates, they're down the wash. Well, they're outside the wash, and they're spotting themselves through because they're driving a Porsche Cayenne, and they're trying to get down through this Rocky wash, and they're doing a really good job at it.
[01:06:42.180] - Big Rich Klein
What happened is they blew the tires. They got their husbands had just taught them how to change the tires. They got the tires changed themselves. They got them up onto their roof rack, the old tires and rims. And they were really proud of themselves for changing their own tires. And I agree. And it gave them a lesson in that they could do they could do it on their own. Well, now the driver of that car, she's driving her kids to soccer or whatever. And I'll see a face on a Facebook post where she goes, Yup.
[01:07:23.710] - Big Rich Klein
I'm teaching my girls what I've learned when we see somebody broke down on the side of the road like a flat tire. And there's, you know, it could be a guy. It could be some women in a car. They'll pull over and she'll help them change that tire.
[01:07:39.180] - Kurt Schneider
[01:07:40.540] - Big Rich Klein
And it's like, that is so cool, because how many times do you go down the road and you see two guys that are in there twenties or less, and they're on the cell phone with flat tire. And, you know, they're either calling dad or a, you know, come get us. I can't change the tire. You know, it's like, oh, come on, people.
[01:08:05.020] - Kurt Schneider
That'S kind of the sole, the four wheel drive community right there, too, right. If you're on the trail and someone's on side of the road broken down, you stop and say, hey, man, you need anything, need help. And I think that's why our communities just filled with so many, just really good people. Because if you're up there on the trail in the middle of nowhere, broken down, you need to rely on others. And you want to help somebody out, because you don't know when you're going to be next.
[01:08:38.820] - Kurt Schneider
Seems like I'm always next with my living. But, you know, I guess that's what I like about teaching, too. I like it when suddenly my son is out there rebuilding this carburetor, and it's like he's he's getting it. He sits there and figures it out himself, and now he can always do it.
[01:09:03.020] - Big Rich Klein
Sweet. So what's next for Kurt and the Sniders?
[01:09:11.000] - Kurt Schneider
I bounced around so much work, so hard on land used for so many years. And with my writing, I kind of really I think what's next is I just want to get my kids up on the trail even more now on go camping. I think it's just time to step back from so much a lot of the stuff I've done in the industry on so many different hats. There was a point there where some of it was a land use was never fun. No, I got burned out after JP.
[01:09:48.120] - Kurt Schneider
Jp killed me, but I don't know, I just I feel like I just need to get up in a wheel more. I think the focus is going to be on the boys, especially Logan hasn't really. He wheeled his Willis a little bit this summer in this past spring, but he's begging me to get on the trail.
[01:10:09.560] - Big Rich Klein
[01:10:10.650] - Kurt Schneider
But the land use saying, I mean, I'm still kind of involved. Not as much as I used to, though. It was just it wears on you bad. And everybody that's really into land use is a as a volunteer. And there's a point where it's like, man, this is a lot of work.
[01:10:35.960] - Big Rich Klein
It's beating your head against a brick wall. Yeah, and it's something that needs to be done. But it's true. People new people need to step up and get involved with it because the guys that have been doing it, however, they decided to do it. I mean, my land use thing was a lot different. You know, it started on the Con when the shutdown happened at Spider, and, you know, because of all the white flowers and all that kind of stuff and the way the trail was being used.
[01:11:12.720] - Big Rich Klein
And that's when I started trail patrol and which, you know, got taken over by the friends of the Rubicon, which was great because I was getting burned out on trying to educate people when they show up to go on the Con and say, okay, here, remember to bring all your trash out. Do this. Do that. And people look at me like, Why the hell do I need to listen to you? You just some dude out. And it was like, Because if you don't, I'm going to drag you out of your Jeep and beat your ass.
[01:11:42.640] - Big Rich Klein
It's literally what I had to say a couple of times, but it's it got really frustrating. And, you know, maybe I didn't always agree with the way the land use groups we're dealing with it. And that was another thing. But they were the ones dealing with it. Not me, because at that point, I'd gotten burned out as well.
[01:12:07.910] - Kurt Schneider
I'd be in phone meetings of people yelling each other and all this drama and and a lot of times in land use, we eat our young, you get somebody that really wants to make a difference and start stepping up. And everyone I went through that people would tell me to shut up. That was such a big mouth on pirate, right?
[01:12:28.730] - Big Rich Klein
[01:12:29.890] - Kurt Schneider
But it's something that's got to be done. And I really think we dropped the ball in the past four years because I think we could have maybe gotten other stuff opened up the way our our political. What's the word I'm looking for climate. Yeah. Where political climate was, we could have possibly got stuff open up. But some of our organizations are hurting.
[01:13:00.010] - Kurt Schneider
That was the most recent thing I did with Irate. Four by four. We did a Cal four membership drive, which I think came out pretty good. And the thing is, the clubs are dying right there. There's online clubs. There's very few drive club club, if that makes any sense.
[01:13:21.520] - Big Rich Klein
[01:13:22.040] - Kurt Schneider
The Por, the zombies. I love those guys.
[01:13:25.300] - Big Rich Klein
But they're all extreme camping clubs anymore.
[01:13:30.960] - Kurt Schneider
Hey, Bobby, now those guys, I I love those guys. That club has made a massive difference. I just I was the nerdy fat guy with a little YJ back in the days bombing around on their buggies, but they made a difference, raise a lot of money. But now a lot of these new clubs or just some Facebook group would show up and have a meet and greet and put Ducks on each other's. Jeeps. Yeah. Really.
[01:14:06.380] - Big Rich Klein
Let's go open our rooftop tent at the local gas station.
[01:14:11.100] - Kurt Schneider
Yeah, we have our meat and Greek, but with the clubs die. And that kind of hurts us because we don't have these organized groups to really fight and to back up our organizations and trying to get manufacturers involved.
[01:14:27.540] - Big Rich Klein
And I'm not talking about the off road industry manufacturers, the Gen rights and that kind of stuff because those guys are doing what they can. But it's the the manufacturers that are selling the four wheel drive vehicles that are trying to sell the lifestyle, whether it be UTV or, you know, regular automobiles of trucks, and they keep selling so they don't give a shit.
[01:14:53.620] - Kurt Schneider
Yeah, they sell those lifestyle. They don't necessarily support the lifestyle.
[01:14:58.450] - Big Rich Klein
[01:14:59.200] - Kurt Schneider
But then I think they think to the average person goes out and buys Jeep. Rubicon never puts it in the dirt. They're just allowing it to have the look. It's like the guy that drives around my town with the rooftop tent and the snorkel and the gas tanks all the time is just for the look. But I guess it's always been that way. But we don't know. Even if we don't agree with some of our organizations, I still think membership is important because the more members an organization has the bigger as a yeah.
[01:15:36.770] - Big Rich Klein
And that's what kills us with the environmentalist is the environmentalist. It's easy. They get the numbers. They they play on people's emotions like, look at the little seal, the club in the seal thing. That whole thing. You're $0.54 a week will save this many children in Africa type thing. It's that play of emotions that they have that they've been able to do, especially with all the big money out of the big cities, people that are never going to go use and hike that trail anyway. Look at what the big bad off rotors and everybody that's using the forest lands, except that people that are putting just shoes, their sandals or berkinstocks on the ground are doing damage and people buy into that stuff.
[01:16:39.050] - Big Rich Klein
And hardcore wheelers or the wheelers are like, especially East Coast. They don't understand because it's all closed off anyway. It's just parks.
[01:16:46.360] - Kurt Schneider
They don't have the public lands, right. Wheeling is so different all over the country. But what a lot of these people don't understand is like when we went through route designation in Elverado National Forest, it wasn't the Rubicon, wasn't Barret that was really hurt. It was your normal dirt forest road when I really got into it was maybe 20 02 20 03. Me and Rick Ford up camping. That other Rubicon just up in over on National Forest and forest Ranger comes in says, Well, yeah, this is a spur route.
[01:17:26.520] - Kurt Schneider
It's going to be closed. We're like, what were you talking about? Because I remember the time where you could drive right through the Woods. Everything was open. That was, well, don't drive through the Woods, just stay on all the routes, okay? We were fine with that. Then they came back in throughout designation and started erasing all these roads. One year there's real nice campsite with a waterfall. And farther back on a stream south of highway 50 and the four service put up a gate. They closed because it was a spur route, went all the way back and gated it.
[01:18:04.470] - Kurt Schneider
So we went up there, found the gate. We're like, alright, we're have to camp somewhere lower. So we went back down the trail a couple miles. And as we're setting up, I don't know, like eight or nine rigs fly right past this. Not like hardcore rock crawlers, just a couple of jeeps and we're like, Well, they're not going to go far. They're going to hit a gate. Well, sure enough, 810 minutes later these vehicles pull up and this old man gets out of his truck. He go, hey, what's with the gate for service closed the road.
[01:18:43.100] - Kurt Schneider
This is a grandpa and you can tell there's three generations of people there, and he has worked with the gate, all for her to close her own. And he starts tearing up. He's a you know, my dad back in the Sixties, brought me back up that Hill to this campsite. I brought my son up there. Now my son wants to bring my grand kids up there. Sorry. Unless you hiking. He's like, I'm 70 something years old. I'm not hiking in. So these route closures, but a lot of people we think off road don't just think listed vehicle.
[01:19:23.290] - Kurt Schneider
You could be in a, for God sakes, a Prius. And it can still be considered an OHV, if it is using a dirt forest road.
[01:19:33.060] - Big Rich Klein
[01:19:33.750] - Kurt Schneider
And that's what got hit the most, especially in these national forest. Just normal dirt routes that need to camp sites or explore through the Woods.
[01:19:44.550] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah. For years, the hunting camp that we use, but camp for opening weekend or opening week, and it's off of McKinstry area. We can't even get to it now unless we hike in now about a mile and it's lost. And it's a shame, you know, there was no damage done. It wasn't a heavily used route. It was a small little spur off of a road, but it went in about a mile to a nice spring that actually was dug out in the by Dan Hartwig and his buddies when they went in on horses before.
[01:20:32.240] - Big Rich Klein
There was even roads in there to to Hunt. And they dug out this spring so that there was always water bubbling up. And now you can't even get to it. And it's just people don't even the bikers and everybody the hikers, they still take their car to the end of the road, that dirt road to go start their activity.
[01:21:02.880] - Kurt Schneider
Yeah. Well, a lot of people don't know this. John mirror. His message has gotten so twisted. I'm a student. A mirror from growing up in Yosemite, right. He was about access. He wanted road built and the reason he bought for hedge hedge, which they damned wasn't so much to save Hetch. Hetchy is that was essentially a trail to the high Sierra. That was a gateway to get up to the higher in the mountains. He was fighting for access. He wanted people to experience the Yosemite and the Sierra, which is one reason you wrote so much about it is to get people up there and we're slowly being closed off.
[01:21:49.610] - Kurt Schneider
And I pray this doesn't happen. But by the time my kids get my age, is there even going to be any dirt roads left?
[01:21:56.200] - Big Rich Klein
[01:21:57.430] - Kurt Schneider
[01:22:01.360] - Big Rich Klein
Don'T know. I don't know what the what the solution is.
[01:22:06.770] - Kurt Schneider
Yeah. I don't think anybody knows what the answer is. You just got to keep plugging along and keep trying to fight.
[01:22:12.760] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah. Now that we got this new BLM chief that just got approved, which is probably one of the worst things that could ever happen. To us. We'll see what her push is going to be, which she'll probably. I'm not going to get into it anyway.
[01:22:33.240] - Kurt Schneider
We look at our success. It's good that the Rubicon is a county.
[01:22:39.500] - Big Rich Klein
[01:22:42.700] - Kurt Schneider
The Johnson Valley area, federally designated, right. I mean, if we keep doing stuff like that, we'll have a chance. But it takes people getting involved and we spend so much on our rig. It kills me spend so much on the rig for a price of not even a tank of gas. Nowadays, the prices, it doesn't take much to donate. A little cuter there or with my buddy Rick will tell you what's even more important is just getting out there and and doing work on the trails. He's up there cutting brush all the time, fixing campsites and same thing on the Rubicon.
[01:23:28.840] - Kurt Schneider
It's changed in the past couple of years, but just by donating your time to go in and helping and not making a mess when you're on the trail.
[01:23:37.880] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah, that's there with everybody. All the newer, the newbies.
[01:23:43.630] - Kurt Schneider
Yeah, they don't know. They kind of don't know. Our culture, I guess, is what it is. But you watch so many, even Jeep advertisements or commercials, we bomb them through some river or flying down some dirt road. It all comes back to education. Send both you and I have done that for years, but for a while it just gets, oh, God again. Got to explain the same thing. Like a hundred times like this guy should not be driving this Rick through the river, which water quality issues is going to be water quality.
[01:24:25.540] - Kurt Schneider
Air quality to be the two. That's when the fight really is.
[01:24:31.580] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah, because that's what they've used to control so much. And why we're having these huge super fires. But that's another podcast altogether. So keep your kids, get your kids up wheeling, get them to take their friends up wheeling. I think that's the best way we can do it is get the youngest generation out there right now that's able to get out there, get them out there, get them wheeling, get them to love, love it, and then try and take them to a vet.
[01:25:03.680] - Kurt Schneider
Take them to a vet. You know, my kids. We paid the loan will tell you some of the greatest memories are from the old school rock calls that I was to bring them to. They love those and that's part of it. You learn the whole culture and you kind of get a love for it, even if you're just watching somebody else.
[01:25:33.310] - Big Rich Klein
Absolutely. Well, Kurt, I want to say thank you so much for coming on board and sharing your history and your thoughts with our listeners.
[01:25:46.960] - Kurt Schneider
And thank you for having me. I feel like I'm kind of important now. I've settled back a little bit and gotten out of the mix. But I really appreciate you asking me to be on no worries, no worries.
[01:26:02.520] - Big Rich Klein
It's amazing. When I first started this. Shelley goes, okay, put 50 names down on a piece of paper on who you want to start a list. And the first 50 names went really easy. And then it started to get harder and harder and harder. My list now is over 400 names.
[01:26:20.860] - Kurt Schneider
[01:26:22.250] - Big Rich Klein
And it's like, wow, how do I get? And I've only had one person tell me no. Well, no two. One is like, Rich. I'm just too private of a person. I really don't want to to get into it. I'm out of that whole scene now, and I'm like, okay, that's cool. And then somebody else goes, Well, you just interviewed this person, and I don't want to be involved with that person at all. And I'm like, Well, you're not. We're going to share your story, not his story.
[01:26:55.200] - Big Rich Klein
Now, if he was involved in it, I don't want to be involved in it. And I'm like, okay, fair enough. And I don't get it. That one, especially. I get that I'm too the Privacy thing and all that kind of stuff. I get it. But.
[01:27:13.820] - Kurt Schneider
The cool part for me is it's like, Rich is interviewing BD. I got to listen to that because I have to. I just love that woman. But then it's like, there's some name where I think I know everybody because I've been doing this for so long. I'm like, Wait, wait. Who is this? So it's always super refreshing. Listen to somebody I know nothing about and their story.
[01:27:38.110] - Big Rich Klein
I mean, it's so weird how we're all related. And what I like about doing these things is so far I know everybody that I've interviewed, at least at least I've met them. I've had maybe not broken bread with them, so to speak. But we're acquainted. But I learned so much more about the person than what I knew before. And I've had friends of these people. Give me a call or send me a note and say, wow, you know, I've known this guy for 25 years. We're together all the time, and I never knew this about him.
[01:28:23.100] - Big Rich Klein
This is awesome.
[01:28:24.400] - Kurt Schneider
Yeah, that's cool.
[01:28:26.080] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah. One more question for you. Why are you a Raiders fan?
[01:28:34.180] - Kurt Schneider
You want the long version? The short version, short version. When I was a little kid in upstate New York, there's basically two teams. You follow it's either the Steelers for the Bills and this little kid, I'm Michael. I'm going to go with the Steelers because they're mean. And when I moved to Yosemite, I was like, Well, I'm in California now. Raiders or Niners. Well, Raiders look mean. I was a Raiders fan then one ever since 1980.
[01:29:09.060] - Big Rich Klein
Singing this awesome Blues. There you go. Anyway. Kurt, thank you so much. We'll have to get caught up next time I'm in Northern California again and do the pre. Let's go do something. Alright, I appreciate it. Thank you.
[01:29:27.740] - Speaker 1
Alright, if you enjoy these podcasts, please give us a rating. Share some feedback with us via Facebook or Instagram and share our link among your friends who might be like minded. That brings this episode to an end. Hope you enjoyed it. We'll catch you next week with conversations with Big Rich.
[01:29:46.360] - Big Rich Klein
Thank you very much.