Trail Report: Tims place New Years Day 2004 

Author: Dave Jacobs 

Didn't sleep all that great last night, had a wedding, and too restless for some reason. Had a pot of coffee down by 630, and was ready to go! Didn't want to wake up Tim and Diane, so went to Rainbow for some vittles. Decided on a nice 3lb roasty and those small potatoes for the afternoon meal contribution. With 9000 lights on, you can't tell if it's midnight or 7am at Rainbow. I bet the 3 stock boys knew though. Got back, prepared the meal, and Ranger was about bouncing off the ceiling, so decided to take him along for the ride. Figured Molly would be there at least for him to bark at! Drove up 35E and stopped off at the Conoco to get rid of some used coffee. Noticed the caravan committee was meeting there and hitched up with them! Took in a new cup of coffee and a donut thing and off we went. Pretty neat to see 15 jeeps behind me as we drove down the road.

We arrived at Tim's at 930, and unloaded our junk. Mike Eisle had his new green something cherokee and that looked cool. Andy, Dave S., Bob Duke, Garth, Keith and Lisa, and Stella dog were there, Jerry and his new bumper too! John and Tom Kuhlmey arrived at that time too. Later on, Don Ryman and Paul Linnerooth arrived. Did I miss anyone?

We played around the sand pit area testing out the snow. There was some frost or ice below the surface, but the sand was soft once you dug into it. And we had plenty of opportunities to do so~. Last weekend I ran the oil out of my engine via a disconnected oil cooler hose and it ran great after I had filled it. But I was concerned about possible engine knock today, but didn't hear anything. Only time will tell if the engine goes tits up or not. We didn't stay long on the sand pit, and went along the road to the lower area. Tom went first, and tried the hill climb on the right side. Plenty of ice buried beneath the snow, and he hadn't tried that obstacle since Tim took his big shovel to it last fall. Tom got hung up on the rocks at first, not using his jeep for 6 months had something to do with that! By the way, Tom had spent some quality time in his garage during that time period upgrading the suspension on his jeep for the tenth time! Looks like he has a winner this time. Quarter eliptic rear suspension with very nice brackets and welds. Up front, a Tom Kuhlmey coil spring suspension with J-bars underneath the axle to the frame, way trick. My junk looked like, well junk, next to that set up! However, my front drive shaft stays together for some reason! More on that cheap shot later. Anyway, back to the obstacle. Tom finally got around the rocks and planted his front end on the hill and gave it some gas. More than most of us, but he's got a V8! The jeep did a nice sideways suspension bounce, I almost teared up thinking he had an SOA, and the jeep landed almost crossways to the trail. Tom put her in reverse, the off-trail trees and bushes crackled, and he had the jeep pointed back down the trail. Now, you don't see that too often! The 43 attempts to climb that hill this last fall, had tore the obstacle up quite a bit. I made a feeble attempt to get up the hill myself. I took Tom along for the ride, but didn't have a chance to gloat, you know, that Ford vs. Chevy thing that consumes him! I tromped on the gas and ended up in the same position as Tom. Instead of foraging for a way to turn the junk around I decided to winch up enough to straighten it out. I ended up pretty much like Dan Olson did last fall. This time though, two dumb things happened. First, I was almost out of gas, and second, tranny fluid was poring out of the tranny vent thing. Tim hitched up his pants and took off for the garage and some gas, while I pulled winch cable to get the jeep straight. I winched the jeep up and Tom pulled the jeep from behind, and finally was able to back off of the obstacle. Filled it up with 2 gallons of gas, and was good to go for the rest of the afternoon. Need to bump up the fuel gauge project a bit I think. It's sitting on the garage shelf.

The crew headed down the trail, taking in the new berm, and then the double berm and whooptidoo (is that how yu spel that?) up and out to the main access road. Don't have visual memories on all who took the berms, so chime in when needed! I do remember helping push Garth, with others, up and over that first berm. (ok, cheated here, he has video!). Mike had no trouble getting over it, nice lift on the cherokee. Keith conned Lisa into driving, call the media! She drove the jeep up and over the first berm no problem. On the next hill, she got the front wheels up and let off the gas. Awwww, darn it, trophy time. Lisa backed down, and made another attempt, but her skinny pedal foot was just not working! She tried it several times, but apparently, didn't want to hurt the hours of craftmanship that Keith put into it! So supportive, eh! (Blatant inside joke for Keith, where's that hammer?). Andy made several tireless efforts to get up the hill (now, that was funny, tire-less, get it?). At least the new air locker had both rear tires spinning!! oohhh, sorry Andy, another big cheap shot!

Omigod this is fun, I'm waking up, eating Cheez-Its, plus sharp cheddar cheese and 3.2 beer, life does not get any better than this! John was next, I think, and made it up the first berm, and on the next one, his front bumper got in the way. A few attempts, and the 4-banger went to the right to the bypass. I think Garth and Bob made it up the trail, but can't quite remember. Anyway, we went down to the 10 minute trail, swung around to the big double hill climb where John's yellow jeep caught fire a few trips back.

Bob went up, dug some nice holes, backed down, and was not allowed to stand on the top hill. More on that later. Keith took a turn at the two hills, and after a few attempts, new drive train ya know, decided that was enough. About half the group veered off to the bypass, and Dave S. was next. Dave did his Stauffer crawl and had to back down. The next attempt, the engine revved to oh, maybe 1500 rpms, and he went up and over. Not done yet, the final hill required, not sure, but maybe 2000 rpms, and he bumped the jeep up and over. I went up next, hauled butt on the 302 and climbed both hills, while hanging on to the steering wheel. Nothing fell off, so was glad about that. Tom came up next, and made it look easy. By then, the top of the hill gang was Tom, Dave and me. We booted bob off since he didn't quite make the first hill!

After that, since we were at the top of the 3 hill climbs, we tooled on back down to make those attempts. I ran down first, and after climbing the 3rd hill climb, went back down and caught up with the end of the first line. Tom and I decided not to wait, and took off for the swamp run. We drove it back-wards since we were already there. I went first, the berms are definitely different going down than up. At the bottom, I was at the swamp taking 10 jigs to get the jeep in the correct position to go back up the trail. John went around the correct way and was behind me in the flatty. He couldn't quite get around this tree and slid into some skinny trees that my 38's would normally eat. So I backed up, parked the jeep, and tried pushing him backwards, after a few attempts, I stopped, just before my heart popped thru my chest. Decided to sling the tow rope around a tree 90 degrees from him to pull him up the slope a bit to avoid the trees. That worked pretty good, my heart liked it too! He made it to the final two hills, and after some banging around we noticed his right rear tire blew a bead. I backed up, took Tim's air hose and after figuring out how the compressor worked again, John was able to air up without taking the tire off. John still couldn't get off the trail, and Tom drove down and hooked up a rope to pull him over that last berm. Tom backed up and Kabang went his jeep! (end of cheap shot story from before!). The front drive shaft went AWOL and the big green jeep was done. Tom winched John up as far as he could, and after, got hung up trying to drive on 2wd. I pulled him up the hill some and Tom was able to drive out of the trail. John took the flatty up and over the last part of the trail and was, like, free at last! Damn that beer tastes good! By then, it was about 130pm and we were getting pretty tired.

Tom took off to his trailer and home I presume, and I went up to the upper trail with John and Tim. We took a couple of the hill climbs backwards, and I noticed Don Ryman sitting at the bottom, straddling the big rut. The big rut is the bottom of the 3 hillclimbs, pretty wet in summer and you lean way left as you drive through it. Don tried to straddle the rut, but his front end went cross ways on it and his jeep was going no where. I manuevered behind him, with the jeep of course, and pulled him up the hill. The rope was too short and I ended up trying to thrash thru this obstacle and the jeep was flaying away and going nowhere too. We took his rope and connected the two, and I was able to go uphill past the crap, and after a couple of tugs, pulled Don free. Free at last! ;)

We went back to the trucks, and the beer tabs were being pulled. A few minutes later we went back to the house, and dug in to the nice hot meal.After some jaw jacking, we went down stairs to watch Garth's video of the days events. Too many shots of XJ's being stuck, and not enough of me! I warned Garth that he has to improve his video selection! Had a great meal of the pot roast, nice potato cheesy thing, and a big pot of chili. Oh yeah, Sierra brought along a nice bowl of nuts too! Tim ordered a garage unit heater from me for his dad, and so did John, for himself! Had a great time today, thanks to Tim, Diane, and Alex.