DANGEROUS ! - September 2000
After a somewhat late start we split the trailride up into two groups. The lesser-modified rigs and those not wishing to try the hardcore trail did the regular trail at Lamentation Mt. The regular trail is pretty tough in spots especially on a wet day, which we had. I knew the winches would probably get a good workout and I wasnít disappointed. We had 6 rigs on the hardcore run along with a few people riding shotgun.
The trail starts out with Gatekeeper. It is a rockpile right in the middle of the trail that you have to make a hard left to get up on top of and also deal with a rather large rock behind the two main rocks. If you slip off to one side or the other then youíre in trouble. Well all six rigs tried it and all six winched. At this point it was raining lightly and I was thinking this is gonna be a long day. Well as luck would have it by the time we got all six trucks through the first obstacle it stopped raining.
Right after this is the Waterfall. It is a double rock ledge about 2 feet high that as you climb it both the front and rear are attempting to climb at the same time. I was the first up and on my 3rd try I made it up only with a lot of right foot. Mark Silverman said it made him start shaking to see how hard it was for me to make it up. Mark made it up to the left on his second try and did so pretty cleanly using those low creeper gears. Trevor was up next in his super clean CJ7. He walked right up it on the left-hand side. He looked pumped as he made it up. Especially since this was his first go at rockcrawling. Iíll have to say he did really well.
Yaron was up next on the Waterfall and he made it up after a couple of tries. Eric was the last to conquer the obstacle after a couple of tries. He first tried the harder line to the right that I also tried but it was just too wet and traction was slim and he then made it to the left like everyone else.
Next up is a little twisting and turning and then comes the Rock Garden shut. This is a rock-strewn gully that has a hard right hand turn at the end of it and some more rocks to deal with as you exit. Well, it seems that everyone just pretty much walked through it without any problems. The only problem that I noticed was that I smelled gas and on the ride up I had noticed that I was using more fuel then normal. Well after getting Mr. Ed to a flat dry spot, I opened up the bonnet and noted that fuel shouldnít be squirting out of the side of the fuel pump, unless the fuel pump is shot. So for the next hour we changed the fuel pump, which is a PITA to get at on the bronco. We managed to get it out without too many burned fingers and luckily I carry a spare one. In it went and after cleaning up we stopped for lunch.
The next major rock is Volkswagon rock or as Jay Wrecker Reed calls it "The one thatís hard to do". This is a rock face that is about 3 feet tall. I made it up on the second try and as you come down the other side of the rock you have a hidden hole to deal with that puts you in a nice off camber situation. It looks like you could go over if you hit it with any speed but if you creep it you should be fine. We didnít have anyone go over although Eric in his Toy would have been my first choice after hearing the Tellico stories. Mark walked right over it using the creeper gears and those Goodyear MTRís, on his second try I might add.
Trevor was up next and couldnít make it over due to skid plate problems. The problem was that it high centered him. He tried it a few times and as he did he slid to the right and into a tree. It didnít do any damage but we had to use 2 winches to get him freed up. Yaron was up next and after a few attempts he backed down and took the go around. Eric was the last to attempt it. He put the bobbed toy in double low transfer case and it walked right up it. His was the cleanest climb.
After a short section through some mud you come to the last hill climb of Dangerous. It used to be more soilly and rooted but now seems to have more traction. We all made it up without too much fanfare. As you exit Dangerous it puts you on the main trail just before the Cigarette Lighter obstacle. We all tried the right hand side and no one made it, not even the longer wheelbased toy.
Next up is a series of smaller rock obstacle climbs and then comes what Iíll call Articulator and Articulator 2. The rock is jutting across the trail at an angle and has a tree on the left-hand side and a large hole on the right hand side of the rock. Thus it forces your rig to articulate. Well, I tried going up the middle first and that didnít work so I decided to try the right and as my front end made it up it just pulled the back end around and pretty much pulled me 90 degrees to the left. It was a weird feeling and Jay and me were just looking at each other thinking 'what just happened?'. Well it was time to winch again and then I made it through Articulator 2.
Mark also had to winch on Articulator and almost on 2 as well. Trevor made it up to the far right on his first try. Rookie luckÖ. Yaron tried the middle and then made it to the far left, hugging the tree. Eric was the last to try it and as he got stuck on Articulator, Yaron was stuck on Articulator 2 for a short spell but did make it up. Then Eric got over Articulator with no problem.
The next obstacle is a small climb and decent to the Bathtub. It now has 2 exits. The one to the left is easy and the one to the right requires horsepower. It also kicks you to the right and and causes right side body damage. I tagged the right rear of Mr. Ed and broke a side light marker but I made it. Mark had to winch out of the right hand side of the Tub. Trevor made it to the right with the help of his Chevy 350. Nothing like cubesÖ Yaron almost made on his first attempt but had to give it a second attempt to make it. Eric made it through on his first attempt also with a lot of right foot.
The last major obstacle is right before the top of the mountain. As you near the summit you make a left and there is a small climb and then a hard right followed by "The Jaws of Life". I tried the right and then to the left and broke the side mirror off my windshield. Hell, I even tried the center. It just wasnít happening. So I said those fateful 4 wheeler words, "one more try". Well, after not making it up on the right hand side, I had slid over into this tree. I thought I could just back down and scrape the tree. That was my problem; I thought. Instead the tree caught the door and ripped the top window frame apart. Hmmm, guess I better get working on those Bronco soft doors.
After getting winched up, Mark was the next to try it but he also had to winch. Trevor made it up as did Yaron and Eric. After watching a couple of locals try it, one made it, the other busted up his XJ front end and Long Island Off Road came to the rescue. He busted his axle u-joint and the force caused the ball joint to come loose also. It was time again for repairs and after about an hour we had him up and running and we headed on out back to the commuter parking lot, but not before Mark, Allen and myself tried the short cut out. You know how short cuts work donít you. You get out 1/2 hour after everyone else. Well, until next month, this is Wilbur saying happy trails to you.