Sunday, June 21, 2015

Father's Day, Lets Go Try and Break Sumpthin.

First Father's Day without one, feels odd.

To celebrate I decided to go on the TRJC Father's Day run. Given my track record on breaking Jeeps on level ground in a bit of snow, getting out on the trails should prove painful to my wallet.

Since the red Jeep belongs to my Daughter and I'm waiting for her and the SIL to return so they can help fix it I took Pops other toy.
Its an 06 Wrangler Unlimited, 4.0, 6 speed, lifted, lockers, long armed, I could go on for while with this list so lets just say its built for the job. Its even trail rated.....

The Jeep is up to the task for sure but I had never done this before. This was Pop's hobby and mine seemed to be repairing what he bent or broke. Sad part is I should have asked to go with him but we always knew somewhere down the road it would happen. Screwed the pooch on that one.
Since it was my first shot at this I figured training wheels would be funny.....

Now I should mention that we have enough spare parts for the red Jeep to build another one just like it and still have enough spare parts to keep both of em on the trails for years to come. The yeller one? Not so much, in fact I have no spares for it at all, what could possibly go wrong......
So bright and early we show up at the meetin spot and we were thinking maybe 15-20 Jeeps would be there. Uh yeah, at least 50 were there, some fairly nice ones and a bunch that looked like you needed a tetnus shot, hazmat suit and a weeks worth of antibiotics just to get near it.
After the drivers meet we signed up for which trail we wanted and I went for the "baby" trail called Poor Boy. Its rated as a 1+ meant for stockers and mild Jeeps. I should also mention that its rained here every day for the last 2 weeks or so.
Now I'm not up on Jeep math but 1+ multiplied by rain to the tenth power equals "I'm glad I wore my brown pants." Of course I didn't do the math until we were on the trail but at least I was wearing camouflage shorts.
So we hit the road to the trailhead and really began to wonder just what had we gotten ourselves into. I swear if heard banjos playing I was turning around and heading home.........

We get to the trail head and air down the tires borrowing a set of deflators from the guys behind us, knowing that Pops had a set somewhere but I couldn't find em. Also disconnected the front sway bar and put the stinger in the hitch with the attached tow strap, hooked up the winch control and set it on the dash. (Hey at least I looked like I knew what I was doing.)
Off to the side of us there was someone offering a sacrifice to something he called the Bead Goddess, muttering please have mercy on me today. I think he has had some issues in the past with tires coming off and filling with mud. I wasn't going to ask as it may have been a sore subject.
So off we go to hit the trail. Again I have NO frame of reference for what is about to unfurl and if I would have guess I would have missed it big time. We started out driving thru a grassy field up gentle hills with a puddle here and there and I began to relax a bit and all was good till we plunged into the treeline.
 "Uh this don't look promising."
 It was then I remembered hearing the trail guide being happy about being the first one up the hill.
Then we watched him go up the hill and I looked at the co-pilot and said "baby trail???" and it was game on from there.
We got halfway up the hill and it kicked out of four wheel drive so we had to back down the hill, give the stick a HARD yank and apply a liberal amount of the idiot pedal, 2nd gear low range, mash the gas and hope that tree don't jump out to far when we get there.
On the second trip up the hill we got hung up on a pair of roots with the rear tire and all forward momentum stopped, let it roll back a bit and hit it again, this time I decided we were going over it or we were going to use the rear tire to saw it off.
After that it was a maze of tight turns and even tighter squeezes.

Most of the pix were taken when someone got stuck or it was break time, no way to get any on the roll.
That Sahara in the pic below almost did a front flip and for sure was on 2 wheels for a few seconds.

I am also fairly sure we bent the laws of physics and gravity several times during the day. Some warning signs would have been nice.
"Caution 85% grade down next 10 feet"
"Caution 80% grade up on grease over tree roots and rocks next 8 feet"
"When you land, turn hard right, that tree has no safer barrier"  
"Don't check your brakes, its too steep and slick for them to work anyway" 
"Runoff area includes 15' dropoff into creek"
"Max width 75" ahead"
"Road never gets any wider ahead"
"If you thought that was bad, well its too late now"
"Stay in the ruts, bad stuff happens if you get out of the ruts"
The last one came to mind as we watched the trail guide get out of the ruts and shoot off into the trees.
I have never steered some much to go so short in my life, my arms still wont go over my head.
After spending the day on the trail we headed for the car wash.

Followed by a well deserved catered meal and a long ride home.  As we were leaving I heard "Keep the shiny side up" and I didn't quite know how to take it. After playing in the creek for a half hour or so I knew the bottom side was a lot cleaner and shinier than the topside and I'm sure I wanted the shiny side down.
All in all a really fun day and I will be doing it again and I am so glad Pops had this particular bunch of miscreants and malcontents as friends. Hopefully I have them too.
I was never on the winch or the strap all day, not braggin just stating fact. Came home with one slightly bent fender, one more plug in a tire and sadly I blew out a training wheel.
Go out this morning to grab my sunglasses and what did I find?

 Deflators. Oh well I got them for next time. And Dad, I understand why you loved it so much.