Sunday, February 7, 2016

Winch Fest.

Saturday was the first Jeepin event of the year and it was interesting. Warm, at least for February almost 50 degrees. Had been looking forward to it for almost 4 months and it wasn't what I was hoping for.

We met up with the rest of the club and found out that the only trails open were a 4+ and a 5, both of which were more than I wanted to tackle. I have completely rebuilt/redesigned the front suspension and wasn't wanting to do anything stupid to it right of the bat. Well that went out the window and we got to be stupid almost immediately. My Jeep is a 3+ rig, on a good day it will do a 4 rated trail and this wasn't a good day.

This was a trail builder, trail repair and cut in some new sections. Turns out what we were cutting in was impassable for most of the Jeeps on the trail so I don't feel to bad about ending up on the winch. A LOT.

Da wife got me a Gopro for my birthday and this was the first chance I got to play with it, I did edit out most of the cable pulling.

The first vid I left the winching on there to show what happens when you make it up the hill and catch a bad hop and end up wedged between 2 trees. One in front and another right behind and they were a Jeep and 6" apart. No way to steer out of it, so you use the winch to drag it sideways out of trouble.

That limb that hit the Jeep was loud inside the cab, it sounded like something broke and freaked out both of us. Passenger was a friend of mine that had never been exposed to rednecks in rollover prone vehicles off in the trees. He had a good time and I promised him a more successful trip next time.

This next one was kinda fun but still stressful on me and the equipment. I don't mind running it hard on occasion but I don't like having to do this on every obstacle. If you keep doing stuff like this something is going to break.

When we finally got over the top we had to stop and let the guy in front of us lose his argument with the snotty grease covered hill in front of him. After watching the vid I realized I should have waited until he got winched out of the way before going over that notch. We had a lot of momentum after clearing it that would have helped with our argument with the snotty greasy hill. We lost that one too.

Last vid is what happens when stubbornness and determination get ahold of ya.

One more try I said, next time I say that just kick me in the nuts. It'll be cheaper and less painful in the end. That gravely poppin sound near the end was the passenger side axle shaft u joint exploding. It tried to take the axle shaft with it but while the ears were a bit bent I was able to salvage it. The shafts in this thing are aftermarket chromoly and are not as cheap as stock ones but are a lot stronger.

We were able to remove the broken bits and limp off the trail and make it home so it wasn't horrible but it still sucked. I will have it repaired for the next outing in a couple weeks and I hope to have a better day.

A bad day on the trails beats a good day at work every time though.

Saturday, January 30, 2016


Its been a year since Pop's moved on and its been rough but we are doing ok. Still get the urge to call him at least once a week.

We still don't have a tombstone, he wanted a dark stone which had to come from China. I think they shipped it on a rowboat. The stone is in Georgia getting shaped and polished and will be awesome when it gets here. Since we are putting him and my stepmom in the tombstone we haven't had the gravesite rights yet so I have him on a shelf with me at the shop, he hasn't complained to much about it so I guess he's ok with it.

I went to see the hospital Chaplain on the anniversary and I did fine until I got on the elevator and that's when things got a bit overwhelming. I'm not a religious person but she was a big help and I wanted her to know that.

So many regrets and second guesses as to what we should have done but I try not to dwell on those and think about the better times.

 Miss ya everyday Dad.

Saturday, January 16, 2016


Errrr, Bullfrog. Mom-in-Law wanted a handmade frog for Christmas.

Normally I don't do requests but I thought it would be a fun project. I was mistaken.

If I were charging shop rate its a $600 gorram frog.

From the bottom, The only machines used were my bead roller for the rib down the center and my welder. Everything else was hand formed or hammered to shape.

47 kabillion hammer blows in each leg,

3 color fade paint job,

And since I like sparkles, I added some metal effects clear,
It turned out decent considering I had no idea how to build a frog. In the future I will leave frog building to Mother Nature.
BTW I named him Jeremiah......

Thursday, January 14, 2016


Yep I have been neglecting this place and I guess its time to get back after it.

Couple new songs added to my IPod.

Awesome how well these 2 songs work as one.

And my new favorite song, Hippie music got angry....

Puts chills down my spine, well done Fellas!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Worst Birthday Ever

Turned 45 yesterday and I got to help a friend say goodbye to his father who was also my friend.

Similar circumstances to what happened to my Pops. Gonna miss ya Ron, hope you and my Dad are getting along.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Snotta Jeep Blog,, I Think. Mostly. Sorta.

Last wheeling trip of the year for the club. All of our trails are on private property and almost all of them are prime hunting grounds, Pike county is world famous for its deer population, so we have to shut down when the hunters come.

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.......