For anyone directionally challenged, fearful of heights, uncomfortable driving on unimproved back-country roads or afraid to be out of cell phone range, being in Laughlin on Dec. 14 was no laughing matter.
The desert town was the starting point for the day-long JAOS/Ramada Express Hotel Casino Adventure Rally, with a course that led to the rim of the Grand Canyon West-located within the boundaries of the 1-million-acre Hualapai Indian Nation-and back.
Dozens of participants took part in the rally, which was one of a series of related events that began Friday, Dec. 13 and ended two days later. Among participants were drivers and navigators in four Ford Explorers equipped with tires by Yokohama Tire Corp., a co-sponsor of the event.
Yokohama used the occasion to showcase the newest addition to its Geolandar tire line: the H/T-S, designed for use in light truck and sport-utility-vehicle applications.
What made the rally particularly challenging was the requirement that drivers complete the course with no maps and no directions, save for longitude and latitude coordinates to be found using a handheld global positioning system receiver.
Adding to the challenge were long stretches of unpaved roads with their hairpin turns and washboard surfaces, and the long climb through desert terrain to the 5,000-foot canyon rim.
In a presentation to media representatives, Art Michalik, Yokohama's director of marketing communications, explained that the Geolander H/T-S is actually one tire line with three different applications to fit standard light trucks and SUVs, inch-up applications and load range E commercial vehicles.
The Ford Explorers that Yokohama sponsored in the rally were equipped with the standard fitment. Mr. Michalik said this tire suits the needs of the majority of SUV and light truck owners who use their vehicles under normal driving conditions.
Features of the tire, according to Mr. Michalik, are its excellent ride quality and long life, attributable to special tread compounds. Large shoulder blocks provide strength and stiffness needed for outstanding cornering, Mr. Michalik added, while the tire's tread pattern provides all-season capabilities and low-pitch noise reduction.
All three versions of the H/T-S come with a 60,000 mile limited treadwear warranty.
The principal advantages of the inch-up fitment of the H/T-S are its handling characteristics, styling and overall engineering, according to information provided by Yokohama. The company also noted the tire's unidirectional tread design features a large shoulder and smaller grooves to aid grip and cornering, while a solid center rib reduces noise. The casing is engineered to provide quick steering response and a comfortable ride, the company claimed.
The third version of the Geolandar H/T-S is a load range E tire for commercial vehicle applications. The company said its three-ply casing provides both durability and the capability to handle heavy loads at highway speeds. Designed with a wide solid center rib intended to add greater directional stability, the tire sports a deep groove depth that Yokohama said provides enhanced wet and snow traction, as well as longer wear.
The Geolandar H/T-S is available in 50-, 60-, 65-, 70- and 75-series aspect ratios and will fit rims ranging in size from 15 to 20 inches. The company is so confident in the new tire that it's offering consumers a 30-day test drive with the promise of a full refund if they are not completely satisfied.