Driving in a long line of well-equipped off-road vehicles along a rugged path carved up the mountain near Big Bear, Calif., we came across a dusty BMW SUV with a "flat tire" sign posted.
The off-road guide for the Toyo R/T Trail-sponsored event was a pleasant Big Bear resident named Bill, who has driven just about everything across every terrain, including horses. As we pulled up to the vehicle, Bill told me to stop. He said he spoke to the vehicle's owner a few days prior, and the man said help was on its way.
While that help never came, there's sort of a code in off-roading where you do onto others and that sort of thing. The man walked up to our dark green Jeep, explained his situation — that he got a flat, didn't want to walk out because of his elderly dog, and he couldn't get cell reception.
People in our group started referring to him as "Pre-Malone," because he looked like musician Post Malone but before the face tattoos.
Bill gave him his cellphone to use. The man lit up a joint, dialed the number and thanked Bill profusely. He told his friend on the other side of the line that he got a flat and had spent the last two days camping and panning for gold. Then he confirmed to his friend that he had plenty of water. He hung up, told us his friend was a few hours out — which on the mountain trail is not that long of a wait — but on his way, and we ventured forward.