4/28/2013 Elbe Hills, WA
"Want to go wheelin' at Elbe on Sunday?" He asked me via a Social networking site not related to this one.
"What time and where do we meet?" I said. We worked out the particulars as the week unfolded, and met up.
There were times in the day when the rain gave up and the sun came up. Then there were times when the sun gave up and the rain came back. Such is wheeling in the foothills of the Pacific Northwest. The trail conditions out here change hour by hour. Sometimes minute by minute. It's important to have good equipment & driving skills. I spent the day prior going over my Jeep, and loading it up for the following day's trail run.
TrailJunky never said there'd be anyone else going, and I didn't ask. Just assumed it was only he & I. I arrived at 0845 & found he'd already unloaded his buggy. I parked next to him and went through my own pre-run duties. We talked story as I aired down to 9lbs, and took a peek at the crowd that was assembling.
Lots of folks out for a Sunday drive at the ORV Park. Wonder where they all came from?
Trail Junky & I talked about the recent propane conversion he'd just completed on his buggy. Today was essentially it's maiden voyage. He said he'd come the day before/Saturday solo, for a shake down run. "Today would be a full day, shake down run" he said.
"What you got under that thing?" I asked him.
"Dana 70's front & rear. Detroit's, and full hydro steering. Long arms with 1-1/4" heims and King Coil overs on the corners" he said.
"What about rubber?"
"39" Iroks" he said...
Wholly crap I thought, next to his rig my rig is essentially impotent. What with factory control arm locations, an Aussie up front, and a worn out trac-loc in the d44 rear. 2-1/2" of lift & adjustable control arms covers the majority of the mods to my rig. It sports 1st generation Flexible Flatties that fit like eyebrows over the 33x12.5r15 BFG KM2's beneath them. Hope I can keep up I thought...and then it...
Turned out that all them folks I'd been peeking at, were in our group..."Gonna be a long day" I said to myself under my breath. Filled with stops for unknown reasons, misc carnage, bathroom breaks, children breaks and all that. That said, I adjusted my expectations, and soon thereafter got back to enjoying the crap out of it. A good day it was!
We started out on Sunrise, then did all three Alder Loops, (there is three, right?) Mainline, Mainline Extension the Easy Wild & Gotcha and I "think" that was it. We quit at 4:00 or so at the bottom of Rainier Vista, without doing Rainier Vista.
I was practicing my out of focus shots. Got a lot of them, must be getting good at it! New camera, old man. goes with the territory. Should have bought Ian's...
(Above) A $300 Jeep...it did not break down all day.
Lots of Toys out there today. Some discussion on the disparity between Toyota guys, and Jeep guys. Bunch of horse poop if ya ask me. I'd wheel with darn near anyone. And what they drive will have little influence on whether I do or don't. Don't give a crap about anyone's politics either, not on the trail. It's more about how much of a flaming moron they are. A few come to mind...
Need some photog lessons from the picture takin' Finney gal. Bet she's ALWAYS in focus...
On the Easy Wild, one of the two white Yj's met face to face with a tree stump or log. The result didn't favor the Yj's shackle or main leaf on his passenger side front. Earlier, the subject of the pic above, bent his Yj's drivers side main leaf. Not a good day for leaf sprung Yj's.
The trail fix for the former was another tree/tree stump, tree saver, snatch block, his winch, some luck & patience, and a bottle-jack. Brought the bent shackle back an estimated 80%. He & his wife left after that. Bet it was crummy drive home.
The Yj with the bent drivers side was afforded little in terms of a quick fix. He limped back to the staging area, loaded it up and made is way home.
This was taken during the repair phase of the other Yj...
This guy happened upon our group, and took a look see at the progress of the carnage & trail fix.
Another guy that came upon our group to have a look see.
Far as he got on this rugged obstacle. But he didn't know that yet, none of us did. so he kept on giving it he!!.
It was a tough one, that's for sure. Brutal comes to mind.
Among his last attempts, he put the passenger side up on the knoll, and brought his rig ti within a bug hair of floppin'. But he didn't.
Not the same pit, another one...but this one had a by pass. A good thing, that. Them sippy holes don't favor radiators or much of anything else on our rigs for that matter.
Piece of cake, right? My pics just don't do the conditions justice.
Little peoples doin' some of what little peoples do on the trails when it's their turn to play...
Big peoples doin' some of what big peoples do on the trails when they get out of their rig...
A 25' anaconda came out of the woods and attacked Trail-Junky's propane tanks.
After this fella went around the stump, a jK that had joined our group in the early afternoon gave it a go.
Pay attention RBXj...less Mrs. RBXj has her way with you...
He was nearly done defiling that beautiful jK...
But not quite.
The wife wasn't there. It was dad's day for more bonding with the boys. Looks like it was working...
No bypass. 30" of mud the consistency of chili-con-carne...
A bit on the deep side, too.
Thanks Trail-Junky. Now it's off to local spot for a few cold ones and a whole lot to eat...
Vaya con dios until the next time, Elbe ORV Park. Thanks, Tim...
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