Since the Father's day run I have not missed an event or club run and I have learned a lot and I still have more to learn. I have seen and done things in this toy that defy description. Words cannot begin to get the point across but I'm willing to try.
First off lets cover trail rating, We have trails rated from 1 to 5 based on some sort of national grading scale that I don't fully understand so I follow these basic guidelines.
1: Got a stocker?
2: Got tires and a lift?
3: Got a locker, spare parts/tools and skill?
4: Got the above and a willingness to watch your fenders go away?
5; Got another Jeep cause I think that ones dead.
Lets throw some jeep math at it and see what happens.
A 1 trail is a good way to test a stocker or learn a new/different Jeep.
2 rated trails are twice as hard as a 1, 3 rated twice as hard as a 2 and so on.
So using Jeep math a 4 is at least 346x as difficult as a 1. My numbers could be off a bit though, still not fully versed in Jeep math. Lee is trying to teach me but since some of his fingers are not right it makes arithmetic difficult. He kan't speel either.....
When we got to the meet we were informed that the only trails available were Atlas, a 5 rated trail and Myer's Mayhem, 4 rated. Atlas was out of question, I like my Jeep and can't afford to replace it. It was also to late to puss out and go home so I hitched up my big girl panties and followed the folks out to Myer's.
I had also conned my Evil Step Dad into going along, he had a Jeep once and wheeled it real hard plowing his parking lot..... Essentially he had no idea what he was in for BWaaaaa hhaaaahhhaaaa.
After arriving at the trailhead we started stripping everything off we could so the trail wouldn't have a chance to tear it off for us and I took a picture of the Short Bus for posterity. Pretty good chance it won't look the same afterwards.
Note that both front fenders are a bit out of kilter, passenger side because TREEEEE! It jumped right out in front of me or me bounced a rock face and landed on it. Your pick.
The drivers side was Carl's fault. Follow me into the woods he says,,,, 3 minutes later he says don't follow me, we can't get thru. Oh smurfect, I was doing good to get thru that going forward and now I get to run it in reverse? As payback for that I have decided to just blame Carl for anything and everything that goes wrong from here on out. That's his brown CJ in the background.
Right before heading into the woods I got a shot of the group.
In the background you can see Da Bratz in Pop's first Jeep named Half Motor, 4 banger YJ. Also of note is that cute white JK, it looked like this a couple months ago.
This is what happens when stocker with a inexperienced driver hit a 2+ rated trail with gusto and enthusiasm. Its now sporting a lift, better tires, new metal bumpers and new flairs.
Keep in mind this is my first foray on a 4 trail and I was expecting a surprise or 3. After running Lake Shore (3 rated) during the Blast I figured out that what is considered an obstacle on a 1 is what you drive thru to get to the obstacle on a 3 and I couldn't wait to see what challenges lay ahead on a 4.
The drop in to the trail was a trip in and of itself, when the Jeep in front of you dropped in it just kinda disappeared. Very tight and steep gully with fendersnatchers on both sides, off camber to one side or the other to help you into the fendersnatchers.
ESD looks at me and says "Holy Crap, I thought I had an idea what this was about but I was way off." We had been on the trail for less than a minute and he was already comparing it to Alice in Wonderland.
We get to the bottom and into a wider spot and go back to watch the other folks make the journey and as I was walking/climbing/trekking back I hear the distinctive sound of plastic cracking. I hollered "That sounds expensive!" 2 minutes in and well,,,,,,
(Pic was taken later in the day)
Most of the trail was tight gullys and off camber stuff filled with mud. And holes. Jeepeaters. Seriously. WOW....
Most of the off camber stuff was along a dirt wall so even if you did get to the tipping point your cage would hit the wall and keep you upright-ish. However there where a bunch of Gotchas and Waitaminutes hanging out of the wall to keep you on your toes.
What will a Waitaminute do for ya?
The bad part of those things is once your on them getting off it will be 'spensive or hard to fix.
So on we went with the ESD grinning like the Cheshire Cat and saying how incredible this is. I played it cool so he wouldn't panic and run screaming for the highway. He didn't need to know I was in way over my head and getting lucky a lot. I also have an awesome piece of machinery to wheel that covers a lot of my mistakes.
As we were headed into a tricky spot I saw a spectator (Christie) watching the festivities so I called her over and handed her my camera and I finally have a few pix of me wheeling and not sitting still!
You can see the grin on ESD's face and notice how much the front tire is stuffed in the fender and the rear tire just off the ground.
A few seconds later,,
Other tire stuffed into the bottom of the fender making noises like a card in a bicycle spoke, ESD still smiling.
Leveled out and heading on!
Stopped and mugging for the camera.
Special thanks to the Random Trail Spectatin Chickie for getting the pix for us!
As we headed into the open spot for lunch we found the Jeepeaters,, what's a Jeepeater do for ya?
That was a spotless ride before today, took 2 winches to get him upright. He made the other side match later in the day but I didn't get pix.
That^^^ was definitely Carl's fault....
Da Bratz making it look easy. I swear that Jeep is powered by magic. "You'll never make that trail in that thing." Oh yeah, bet me Buckwheat." Put put put and out they come.
JK almost falling in but made it nice and smooth. Although he did have a matching set of flares by the end of the day,,
After lunch we headed up the hill and this particular climb has a signpost,
Named after Pops, last name spelled wrong but I think that was done to aggravate him. Pops was Charles Ater the 3rd, somehow that that got translated into Charles Ator da Turd. I bet he got a kick out of that.
So up the hill and down the trail we went, on the next section one obstacle blew a tire of a bead and spit out a driveshaft on the same Jeep. Once we got them clear of the trail the driver was a bit dejected as it should have been a day ender for them, tire wasn't going to be a big deal but the busted U joint and sheared off bolts would have been. You shoulda seen the look on his face when I told him I had straps and bolts. He had a U joint so we got the tire aired up and I climbed under the Jeep with a hammer and chisel and got the sheared bolts out and 15 minutes later were off to more fun.
As we dropped into "Slippery When Wet" the call came out on the CB don't come down Carl is busted and we cant get him clear. Walked down and got to thinking this is slippery when dry.
Carl's battery had given up so we swapped his battery for the one in Half Motor and got him going but by the time that was done we were out of time for the day so we headed back to the trailhead to reassemble da Short Bus and head out. BUT,, while we done for the day we weren't done for the night. a quick stop at Murphy's house for a bit of weenie roast and out for a night run.
First time for me on that. Holy crap, these guys were flying on the trail and we covered a lot of ground compared to what we normally cover on a group run. Night time adds a surreal feeling, a bunch more challenge and we were flat moving on down the creek.
Things went well until we heard someone holler "Anyone got a chainsaw?" which of course we didn't. So Murphy and his chauffer turn left and skip over the bank out of the creek to get around the downed tree. The new route was covered in tall grass and rather quickly I heard the mating call of a stuck Jeep. They had found another downed tree hidden by the grass so they backed up and hit it again hopping right over it and into a fairly large stump also hidden in the grass.
Apparently the easiest way to clean out your rig is to turn it on its side and give it a shake. I prefer a trashcan and a vacuum but I'm new to this, their way may be better.
Got it righted and drove up/around the can opener and headed back to Murph's to grab our cast offs and head home.
It was a great day and we had a blast. I can't wait till February when it starts up again. I will be using the down time to make some improvements to my ride, highline fenders and a revision to the front suspension and axle. what I got is good but I can tell it needs to be better.
I'll get pix of da Short Bus in the morning and post them up so you can see the damage. It will take a whole 2 minutes to fix.......