Long Island Off Road Event

MaBell - "Bad Day at Monster Rock" By Jim Guld

May 1999

This is one of the 'lost' trail stories, lost in the demise of 4x44u.com and rescued thanks to the Way Back MAchine at http://web.archive.org

I had been anticipating this run for about a week since I missed the last run due to transmission failure in Mr.Ed. A number of members were to meet near the Throgs Neck Bridge and convoy up to Mass. together. Well because of an accident on the highway it slowed down one of the people so we got a late start. Then as we were to pick up another member along the way at a rest stop,he wasn't there and since we didn't have his mobile number we decided to press on. Then as we got closer to the trail Mr.Ed started to have fuel delivery problems on some of the uphill sections on the highway. I was able to get him to the meeting spot and change the fuel filter along with a flatened spot of fuel line. After having a drivers meeting we headed to the trail and aired down and started to line up for the assult on "Monster Rock"

For those of you who are unfamiliar with "Monster Rock" let me try to describe it so you'll have a nice mental image for what follows. It is a rock wall that is flat on the left hand side and in the middle has a section that juts out slightly and then it goes back in towards the right. On the right hand side it isn't as sloped as the left and the approach to the right is in loose gravel that has a nice diff catcher in the middle of the approach. Now the angle of the rock face to the left is probably 35-40 degrees and its a short rock face. With dry weather and the right approach people can climb up this rock but its a bit scary since all you see is sky and if you start sliding to either side then your usually done for,meaning either a rollover or a plop on your side. This rock has claimed many a victim,not just LIOR members,but from all the different clubs in the northeast. I think that for the locals it becomes a weekend ritual, they will usually just go out to the donut shop and get some coffee and come on down and watch us nuts try and make it up this rock.

Bob B. was first up the rock but I didn't get a chance to take pictures because Bob has recently been put in the federal witness protection program and has undergone major facial cosmetic surgery so he isn't allowing any more pictures of him or his Scout II. I forget the exact line up after Bob but do remember John A. in his YJ giving it a try to the right hand side and not making it. I also remember Ira S.,also in a YJ, give it a shot to the right,but after seeing that without lockers and proper gearing,it is pretty useless in even attempting this section. Now Mark S.,in his highly modified YJ, tried to beat the left hand side which denied him last year. Unfortunately the rock won again this year. Mark's tire seemed to drop off the rock to the left and he put it over on the drivers side. Willie V. then positioned his truck up on top and did the flipping over duties with his winch. Then Yaron Z.,in an open diffed CJ7, did a bit of hoursepowering and made it up the right hand side. Now it was the Toyota boys turns. John S. then took his Toyota PU up the left hand side as did Jay in his. Evan then took his trusty old companion "dirt bomb cj" up the left side face. Now Mark S. decided to attempt the right hand side instead. He tried it a couple of times but it just wouldn't go. On his last attempt he gave it a little bit too much gas and it started going over on its passengers side and as it did,either his foot got stuck between the gas and the brake pedal or in all the confusion he just hit the gas even more as it rolled over. Well the consequence of this was that the swampers did what their suppose to do,grip for traction,only this was on the side wall and as the right rear tire caught traction it lifted the jeep up and over to the left and it was as if the truck was catapulted over. It didn't seem like it even hit the drivers side as it slamed down the rock face. It hit hard on the rollcage and flipped to its wheels. This was definitely one hard rollover. This is why we have insisted on full rollcages for obstacles like this. The cage and seat belts saved his life.

After picking up the debris from the roll and getting the jeep out of the way the rest of us had to ask ourselves if we really wanted to try this rock. YEAH.... Steve W. was next and he took it up the left hand side. I then decided to tackle the right hand side since it looked to be a bit more tractional challenging then the left. After about 3 attempts I made it up. It wasn't real elegant but not the worse climb in my life. Now John S.,also in an early bronco, fresh off of his trip to Tellico last week,was the next to go up the right. He made it up no problem.

Now the decision was made that Evan would tow Marks crippled YJ home using Jay's tow bar. Willie also followed along and acted as his lane changing guide. Right now the complete damage report isn't in but I know the rear pinion was toasted along with a lot of sheet metal. I know that Mark is feeling pretty bad right about now but all I can suggest is to bang out the dents,put on a little krylon add some rear corner guards and throw on a new windshield frame and tweak the door area so that the doors will work,and keep on wheeling it. Its not gonna be as pretty but its still a set up rig.

The rest of us continued on and as we made our way to the next major obstacle we came across the only real watery section of the trail. It usually is only hub deep and doesn't give you any real trouble but today it was up to the tops of bumpers and had a deep hole in one spot that a few rigs dropped their tires into and were never found again. Kind of like the Mass. version of the Bermuda triangle. After pulling Greg "The submariner" T. out the next to get stuck was Steve in his CJ-5. I opted out and took the dry go around. Now we came up to the next wall rock climb. Known as "Moy's Rock" because this is where Garland christened his TJ a year or so ago. As I walked up I saw Marc R. out next to the Tan Whale trying to talk life back into a dead battery. Well he did the next best thing and added water into the dry cells. Remember Marc that battery isn't an Optima matiance free battery. After we pushed the whale out of the way so that others could safely attempt the rock face we made our way through this section. I pulled up and gave Marc a jump and he took the go around and let the battery recharge a bit. Bob then lead us through some more of the the nice rocky stuff on into the middle section of the trail which has a nice rocky section that really tests the flexibility of your rig. After this is the weaving section where you have some tight turns to make while darting through the trees as your off camber. Along with this you have to deal with a few rocks also. You then have the first of two down hill sections.

The first one sends you downhill and through a series of rocks and a little water/mud crossing followed by going back uphill. This brings you along to the last major obstacle of the trail before the turn around point. This last hill has you going over it and you can't really see what is down below,which if you stay to the left is a big rock. Most people turn to the right as they descend the hill and skirt around the rock. We then headed to the area where we usually have lunch but today we had lunch earlier on the trail. We just got all the rigs turned around and headed on back towards the hill climb. It was now about 3:00 and the uphill fun is just beginning.

Once again Bob walked up the right hand side over the rock that covers that side of the trail. Also once again no pictures,remember the witness protection program policy is in effect. We then had John S.,in his Toy PU, show us the new line to the left where you put the drivers side tires just at the edge of the trail and go up it that way. Jay not to be out done by another Toy PU decided to go up the middle section after I told him to stay to the left or he wouldn't make it. Well with a bit of working it he made it up. Shows you how much I know.... Then John A. comes up and uses the same line as John S. and makes it up after a few tries. Then Greg T. tries to get the big Wagoneer up it and his front drive shaft decides it doesn't want to play ball anymore and goes home leaving Greg stuck with 2WD. Next to attempt the hill was Ira S. and with his wife driving,sorry I don't know your name, she almost made it but without the lockers it just didn't go. I then got Mr.Ed up the hill and decided to go up the rock face since this is where I had my fun experience last year of shooting down the hill backwards after hitting the shift lever with my arm while working the wheel back and forth. This time I had more success and made it up with a bit of bouncing at the top section. Glen in the Bronco II made it up the left hand side after a few attempts. The last to go up was John S. also in his early bronco. He too made the left hand side and did it smoothly. Now after this is where the day started to slow down real fast.

After we got Greg's Wagoneer hooked up to Marc's Tan Whale,and started pulling him through the tough spots,the Whale started having flipper problems and wouldn't let Marc restart him. After this one uphill section where the Whale encountered brake failure due to a busted line,clutch problems due to who knows what,and poor starting capabilities due to the somewhat fried battery,there was talk of beaching the whale. After we got Marc winched up the hill,Yaron somehow broke his key off in the ignition and in a jolly mood that he was now in decided to fling it. Well it was found in his jeep and he was able to use the stub to start the jeep. We then got Greg up the hill and then it was decided that I would act as a brake for the whale. We hooked the tug strap up and Marc limped it along for a bit but then it started to act up again and so we hooked John S.'s Toy PU to the front and he pulled while Mr.Ed held on to the Whales tail. We worked our way out and through the deep mud pit and where back out to the street by 8:00pm. I figured that with the others just going around the hard stuff that they should be out behind us in 10-15 minutes. Well guess again folks. For thats how our day was working out. Bob B. decided that since we made it through the mud pit that it was ok for his passenger to try and make it through also. So do I even have to tell you what happened next. Thats right the Scout got stuck and the ignition got wet and it wouldn't restart. It took 2 winches to get him out and then it was another 1/2 hour getting it running again. Well everyone was out by 9:00pm and we headed on to the Friendly's and had dinner and then most of the people drove home,except the Whale got the flat bed service from Ernie's towing. I then heard that the Scout had major overheating problems on the way home and had to be left at a gas station in Conn. Glenn T. had another house guest for the evening and now this trip will probably go down in the history books as one of the most costly for the members of LIOR. So I think that the winner for this month's Golden Bonehead award should go to Bob B. for his end of day call to go through the mud hole instead of the go around.

I would like to say a few things about safety and the spare parts bin. Full roll cages are a must as are seat belts. For what to pack into the spare parts box that really depends on the rig but spare front axles and maybe even drive shafts aren't a bad idea. I know I bring along a lot of extra stuff like a spare starter and even a spare fuel pump. I also carry spare axles and drive shafts and will start carrying spare rear axles as well this year. I also have spare brake lines and fittings and fluid and a container to drain the old liquids into. When you start attempting to do these types of trails you have to have your rig properly maintained and have some spare parts along for the ride. Breakdowns are going to happen but you do have to do maintenance on these rigs more then a regular car. We push them alot harder you know. Well until next month at the Beacon,which was a killer last year,this is Wilbur saying happy trails to you