I’d like to start out by saying thanks to Dave Morin, Sheri Becker, and the rest of the folks that put this whole thing together. I know what it takes to put on an event like this and I truly do appreciate all the hard work that went into it from the entire Yankee Toys organization. Thanks for another great year.
The GCLC folks that were planning on making the trip had been laying groundwork all month. What to eat, where to stay in the campground, what to eat, weather concerns, travel plans, what to eat, etc. I had the prior Wednesday off so I was packed and ready to roll at 10:30am. Met Mark and OB on 84 in CT and we rolled out to NH after a quick bite and a fuel stop. Rolled into Gretchen’s around 4:15 or so to find Mike Stevens setting up camp and Norris, who apparently had been there since the morning.
Dropped the trailer, set up camp, put on the swampers, cleaned up, and headed over to Randy Elkin’s “Deluxe Campsite and BBQ Palace”. I can’t thank him enough for all that extra work that he and his crew decided to take on for the few that arrived on Thursday. It is appreciated more than you know.
Friday morning was a bit chilly but the sun was shining brightly. What a good day to wheel. After a good breakfast and several cups of coffee our little group finally made it to the other side of the campground and to the trail head. Rich Casella had the only map so we elected him trail leader. And what a great job he did. As we were entering the trails, we all had to pull over and let Chris Stearns by. He was headed back to camp with a broken birfield at 9:30 in the morning. Not a BIG surprise, but still disappointing to see.
Now we had all run these trails for the last few years, but with all the rain and traffic they have became quite challenging. Apparently blue is the new black. Rich needed a bit of help banging his FJC over the first set of rocks and damaged his front skid plate doing it. Not a big deal. I was next and the big 80 did not falter. Next was Mark. I was spotting him and his front right slipped off a rock and I heard that unmistakable sound. He saw my face and asked what’s wrong. I said, “You’re done now.” We turned him around and back to the campsite he went along with Norris for support. He had been complaining of steering issues for some time so we all suspected that the birfield was partially broken at some other point and this just finished it. It was here that his ARB lockers decided to stop working as well.
Onward we pushed. OB lost an outer bead on the way down and both inner and outer on the way back. That one required swapping on a spare. Mike Stevens donated his new/old spare that was one of my old swampers. That combination of 3 fat tires and 1 skinny one really did the trick. We made it back to camp in time to clean up for dinner.
Friday night dinner was at Harlow’s Pub in Peterborough. This place is really great. The food and atmosphere are just tremendous. We’ll be back next time. One little note here…OB downloaded an Eric Cartman voice onto his TomTom GPS. We laughed so hard on the way there we almost missed the place. The guys in the other car wanted to know why we were crying. Priceless.
Saturday morning brought egg sandwiches and coffee courtesy of Yankee Toys. It was so good and so welcome on a rainy morning. A thousand “thank yous”.
Saturday’s wheeling had Mark with all 4 wheels turning together. That really seemed to work better for him. We stuck to the blue trails again and really had a great day in the woods, banging the crap out of our trucks. They are amazing vehicles. We met up with a group going the opposite way so we needed to pull off and let them past, but there was no movement. I went up to see what the problem was and there was Chris Stearns again. This time it was a 6 foot log that got jammed between his front right tire and rear left tire. That was pretty amazing to see. Only Chris could have done it so well. At least nothing was broken.
The wheeling for the rest of the day was spectacular even with the rain, which added a whole new element. Too much fun. Mike Stevens rig had some sort of fuel injection problem that we weren’t able to sort out on the trail so we decided to tow him back to camp. It was almost the end of the day and we had about another 3 or so descents to make to get back to camp. Since he had no power steering and no brake boost we elected to have OB tow from the front with his 4Runner in “stupid low” and Mark put some tension behind with his 60. The rain had picked up a bit by this time and the last few descents were like watching a 3 man luge team. Pretty exciting for the guy in the back being dragged down the rock ledges. It was fun to watch.
We got back down to the field and all helped Mike load his 40 onto his trailer. We got cleaned up and ready for dinner and the rain really started to come down.
The catered BBQ had awesome food. Great ribs, chicken, sides. It was all good and no one went away hungry. Next up was the raffle and we all sat with Randy Elkin and Ken Flesher just to make sure the heckling was within reason. Randy tried his best to use the Jedi mind trick on Dave Morin while he was calling out numbers and he won…several times. May the force be with you. Ken said I have Raffle Touretts syndrome. I’ll be seeing a doctor about that real soon. In any case the GCLC boys did OK. Norris won a couple of things, Mark won a couple of things, Rich Casella won something, OB won the winch, and I won nothing, as usual.
Sunday morning brought lots of sunshine with hungry mosquitoes attacking us while we swapped tires and packed up camp. We all took turns fighting over Norris for help and we managed to pull out of camp around 10am or so. A quick stop along route 101 in Dublin, NH for a good breakfast and we were gone.
Again, a huge thank you to the entire Yankee Toys organization for putting this together and making each year a little better. I’m looking forward to next year.