Last: Crossed Up
Rob Bryce had been planning trips up on Vancouver Island for a while and I had never been able to make one. That finally changed. He was planning another Island trip over the first weekend of June. The jeep was working but more importantly, the car ferry between Seattle and Victoria was running now. It was about $45 each way but it beat paying for gas to Anacortes or Vancouver and it was also great to just zip downtown, jump on a ferry, and get off the other end, very close to the final destination.
The ferry (Victoria Line) was unlike any ferry I had been on before and was a lot different than Washington ferries as creature comforts went. This ferry was setup more like a cruise ship than a car ferry. The weather was also perfect. Summer had finally arrived and the 4 hour ride was very relaxing.
John Barron met me at the ferry and we drove out towards Sooke where we met up with the rest of the group airing down and gassing up near the trailhead. The group consisted of Pam and Dave in their YJ, John and Rob in their diesel Land Cruisers, Ian in his pretty clean Cruiser, Larry and Bill Soo, Jeff in his highly modified YJ and Rob Bryce in his Comanchee. A couple other people were taking a later ferry and were going to catch up to us later. We got to the trailhead about 7:30pm. Rob and John said we would probably be at camp around dusk. We didn't get everyone up the first loose rocky section until almost 8:30. Somehow I got in the lead but Rob and John said the trail didn't do much and to stay on the main trail. Well, I did and the trail kept going, and going, and going. Some parts got really rocky and chewed up and pretty fun and challenging to drive through. At one point as darkness started closing down on us we had to stop and build up some rocks so Rob Bryce could get through
We kept going into the darkness. I wondered how much further we would have to go. The trail kept going and going. Some parts were really tame while other sections got really rough.
We came up on one section (they had names for all of these but I don't remember what they were) that was several large smooth rocks that crossed you up pretty good. I wasn't sure what line I should take so I just picked a line and gassed it up. It probably wasn't the best line but after bouncing around a bit I was up on the top. I would have loved to get some photos of that but it was pitch black by now. Rob made it up behind me and we continued on. We then got a call on the CB that we needed to come back with the winch.
It was Bill. Something was wrong with his front hubs and all he had was 2WD. I turned around and came back up to the top of the rocks. Bill was down at the bottom. I drove up against a tree and we pulled the line down to Bill. It was a long way, and we almost took out all my line, what I figure was about 130 feet. I jumped back in the jeep, locked in the winch and started to pull. I really couldn't tell what was going on but I kept pulling. I guess he was getting closer but for the moment I couldn't tell. I stopped for a minute because I thought I smelled the winch motor so I gave it a brief rest, then kept pulling. Rob said I should probably turn off my lights. Oh, ya, my offroad lights were still on. I turned them off (I don't think it was making much of a difference) and kept pulling and before I knew it Bill was up at the top and my battery was sitting pretty at 12 volts. Amazing. I love that battery. I stayed at the top just in case someone else needed help up and sure enough my w
We finally got into camp at 12:30. Jeff and a couple other people took off for a quick night run while the rest of us setup camp and hit the sack. I didn't hear them come back later but Jeff was in a mud hole, spun his tire a bit which got caught on a tree knot which ripped a large gash in his tire. He had a spare so everthing worked out fine, just as long as he didn't have any other tire problems.
The next morning we got up and took a look at Bill's truck. They took apart the hubs and determined that something was busted, it was just hard to tell what. Larry took Bill back to town to look for some hubs and Rob Bryce followed them down to get some new tires which he had scheduled earlier. John led the rest of us on some trails.
I was constantly amazed at the number of trails in this area and the difficulty of the trails. There wasn't much that was impossible but it was hard enough to be pretty fun.
Early on in the day I glanced down at my gas gauge. I was running off my rear tank and the front tank was full. The gauge only showed the front tank level but suddenly the gauge showed it was only half full. I stopped immediately and checked underneath the jeep. I thought maybe I ran over something which had pulled off my fuel line. Nothing seemed wrong under the jeep. Huh. I took off the gas cap and looked inside to see how much gas I had. It was hard to tell where the fuel level was but right then something floated by. It was the fuel gauge float which had come off. I still had a full tank, but now the gauge said nothing. No big deal because I had plenty of gas to get home.
Later on we were climbing up a big hill. John was leading and radioed back to us to be careful of logs running sideways with knots on them. He didn't want anyone to blow their tire like Jeff had the previous night. Well, guess what happened, no, nothing to me. John got in a mud hole, spun his tire and a knot ripped a hole in his tire. We dealt with that problem and continued on.
Just a little ways further was a long mud hole. John had been through it earlier in the season and remembered it being pretty deep so he tried to stick his left tire in the middle and his right tire on the outside edge. Well, what happened next was sort of remenicent of my first mud hole adventure with Dana near Fall City. John's tire must have slipped around a bit and suddenly his left tire was in the right rut and his right tire was up on dry land. This made his LandCruiser lean over to the left well past 45 degrees. Water and mud was leaking in the driver side. A bunch of us rushed forward and stood on the right side to keep things from tipping over. We pulled out his winch line and hooked it around a nearby tree. Then John winched himself level again and into the mudhole. Then he drove through to the end. The mud hole was not quite as deep as we thought and after a few people drove through it slowly, much of the water on top was pushed away. The bottom was pretty firm too, which he
John and I broke off from everyone else and headed back to Victoria. He had to catch a ferry and go to a family thing in Washington the next day and I had to catch the ferry back to Seattle at 7:30am the next morning. Larry, Bill and Rob didn't catch up to us but they did catch up with the others and continued driving trails the next day. I'm not sure but I think Bill didn't find any hubs that worked so he had a pretty tough time the next day.
On the way back to Victoria it started to rain a bit. My brakes had gotten pretty wet from driving through a lot of big puddles on the trail out and I was having to pump them a bit to get stopped. We came up on a stop light and I hit the brakes. One of my rear wheels locked up and because of the locker there was some racheting and I started skidding to the left. I stopped alright but at the next light the same sort of thing happened. Something was wrong with my brakes so I gave myself lots of room driving back to John's house. John let me stay at his house that night while he jumped on the ferry to go to his family thing. The next morning I got back on the ferry and headed home.
When I got home I started looking at how much it would cost to get disk brakes in the front. I talked with Kevin who knew exactly what I needed and it looked like it would probably cost around $500-$600. I decided to check out my brakes first. It turnes out they just needed to be adjusted a little better which helped a bunch. Next trip, the Trail Jamboree...
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