Memorial Day at Dave’s. 5/26-5/27 2001
The weather report was getting worse and the time was growing short. We had about 5 trucks bail out due to that, but the ones that showed were treated to a real good time. The Saturday morning compliment at the grassy knoll saw 3 FJ40s, 1 BJ70, 1 FJ60, and 5 FJ80s. 2 of the 80s were in their stock Mall Cruiser form, complete with street tires.
Most of the 80 Series drivers were new to this so Dave, Mark and myself drove them around the big loop (Long Distance Runaround) that is kind to long wheelbase and new drivers as well. This gave everyone a chance to warm up and get the “feel” of their trucks in the woods and mud.
Had to push and pull a little, but it was a learning experience for all.
We decided to kick it up a bit just to make sure everyone was breathing, and brought them down a rocky decent that we affectionately named The Rock Luge after our run at this last year in the rain.
Everyone got out and watched Dave walk down like he was in his driveway (well, I guess it is his driveway). My 300 pound ballerina and I lumbered down, and then it was Nick’s turn in his street ready 80. With much apprehension and an accelerated heart rate, he slipped behind the wheel. Rene guided him down step by step and he coasted out to the main trail without a scratch. He might need to clean the seats though.
All the rest followed suit, and under Rene’s watchful eye, no one tagged a thing.
We all headed down to the field for lunch and Nick decide he’d had enough fun for the day and rode as a passenger in several trucks. We ran the bypass to The Elevator Shaft and had to do our well-rehearsed routine of the “90 degree angled pull around a corner” to get Don’s stuck 80 up the hill after his new Warn 9K called it quits. I have a feeling he’ll be getting mud tires for Father’s Day. Uncle Mike tried to get stuck here, but he couldn’t get the hang of it.
We meandered around until it was time to go and headed back to the field to say our goodbyes. We lifted hoods and gawked for a while and tested out Uncle Mike’s new Powertank CO2 system. You can add that to my list.
Sunday saw John’s G-Wagon and some other 40s, but Mark and I were the only wagons. We ran up the Rock Luge with little difficulty (OK fine. Mark had to tug me once at the end), and went on to watch Rene and others try to climb the first set of steps on “Lock It, Rock It, and Roll It Over”. John’s G-wagon gave several attempts, but those AT’s wouldn’t bite. He pulled some cable and walked up the rest. Then the Red 40 throttled and banged his way up to the top. Some folks were yelling that an 80 would have an easier time at this climb (or maybe they just wanted to see me try it). I positioned myself between a rock and a hard place, and John spotted me up. After several attempts at various throttle openings, I backed down to the road. Perhaps again on a drier day. I hope someone took pictures.
After lunch, Mark and I ran both halves of “Snake On Through” otherwise known as “Winching Woytovich”. We had run the first half of the trail several times in the past, but the second half was new to us. The first set of turns was a sharp right-left-right on a steep, off camber incline. The combo of the soft, wet ground and long wheelbase led us to stack several rocks at the base of a tree to prevent inevitable body damage. It worked, but it wasn’t easy. I had gone first and left Mark little hope of traction to do the K-turns that were needed to negotiate his 60 between the rocks and trees. With his nose up against a berm and not able to back himself out up the 40 degree incline, we did a side pull to a tree, and let his M12K straighten him out. The rest of the trail winds through the woods over rocks, up staircases and through some swamps. Way cool.
I had to winch a little more where Mark walked right up, but I attempted to crawl when I should have walked quickly. On the way down we stopped and posed for some pics, said our goodbyes and headed home. Of course now the sun came out. Beautiful.