Last: Jeep Thoughts
Here it is, December, and I'm just getting around to writing up stuff that happened 6 months ago. Well, this might be better anyways because it give me time to reflect on the experiences.
So anyway, we back up to early July. The Jamboree was Thursday thru Sunday and we decided to drive down Wednesday. I ended up taking the whole week off work so I could make sure the jeep was ready.
Remembering back now I don't really remember everything I did other than check the usual, make sure I had the right spare parts, how do you ever know this though. It's sort of a guess. OK, what will break next that I really need to fix/replace out in the middle of nowhere. I was basically ready to roll by early Monday and didn't have anything else to do. I was just walking around my jeep looking over things.
Then I saw the perfect thing to do. My big square tube bumper was painted black and was about 4 inches high and I could just picture the following written across it...
And of course now the URL is www.chriskate.net/myjeepadventures...need to fix that bumper
I raced up to my computer, setup a 100% scale drawing in Freehand, picked out the font, and printed it out on my laser printer on about 7 sheets of paper. I then taped the paper together, cut out the letters and used the stencil to paint my web address on my bumper. It took about 3 hours to do but it was really cool when I was done. I couldn't wait to show everyone.
Don, Dale and I (and families) met in Bellevue Wednesday afternoon and drove south, then east to the Jamboree site across 410. We arrived at the site later that afternoon and there were already tons of people there. While driving along looking for a spot to camp we came across the Canada crowd, Rob, Dave, Pam, etc. Rob also said Larry was going to drive down later. I knew Dave and Pam would be there but I didn't expect Rob and his Comanchee but it was fun to see everyone. It was also nice to hear that Larry might show up at an organized Jamboree.
We had signed up for our trail selections a while back and had chosen a pretty mild trail the first day. Then Friday we were going to do the Nachess and Saturday Shoestring. The first trail was just that ,mild, with some nice scenery. For some reason my jeep was getting sort of hot at times. More on this later. We were not gone that long and were back at camp early that afternoon with no problems that I remember.
One thing I do remember was a jeep, if you could call it that, that was across the road from our tents. A group of guys were working last minute on this frankenstein of a jeep. I think it had a Dodge truck frame, with a CJ-5 body on it, fiberglass hood/fenders that flipped up to expose this huge engine that had the radiator between the engine and fire wall. It was jacked up on some knarly mud bogger tires. They were working on this thing non stop to get it running and I don't think they made it out the first day.
There we some other really nice jeeps around and it was fun to look around and get some ideas on things to do with my jeep. I really wanted to get my exhaust inside my frame so I looked at lots of jeeps to find some different options. This is a really good way to learn what works and what doesn't and it's fun to ask peoples opinions on certain setups. Of course you ultimatly have to decide for yourself, but other peoples input definatly helps.
The next day we went up the Nachees trail. We had done this before the past year so it really wan't anything to new, but it was fun anyway. My jeep continued to get hot at times which I really couldn't figure out. We had to stop a few times just to get the temp down. Scott was also overheating but the reason behind that was his single electric fan couldn't keep up. When we got back to camp he went into town to get a second fan which cured his problems.
Later that evening, or was it the previous night, Pam and Dave and some of the other Canada folks were going on a run up to Ravens Roost which is a communications tower/area way up on the top of this ridge. I decided to ride with Pam instead of pushing my jeep. I didn't want to bust anything before the Shoestring the next day.
It was very relaxing to be the passenger for a change. It was also fun to egg people on into big mud holes. When you don't have your jeep along you don't have to worry about that "you first" stuff. There was a main gravel road that went all the way to the top but we decided to take a side 4wd road that paralleled the main road. Our main goal was to get to the top to see the sunset. This side road was a lot slower going than the other road and I wasn't sure we were going to make it in time. Finally we sort of broke out of the woods and onto the ridge which lead up to the towers. The trail went right up the center of the ridge and if you screwed up bad, you would tumble and roll forever. It was also a pretty steep climb up the top so you had to pay attention. As the passenger I could look around all I wanted which was cool. I could also make wise cracks which I did and got Pam laughing so hard she almost did drive off the road (well, not really).
We finally made it to the top and the view was incredible. That's all I'm going to say. Go there around sunset on a clear day when you get a chance. We went back down via the main road in the dark and dust.
The next day was the Shoestring run. I was talking to Pam about my overheating and she thought I should take my hood off. What a great idea, so I took my hood off and left it at camp. This really didn't make any difference and I was still getting hot at times. One thing that was also sort of frustrating was there were a lot of people on the run. I don't remember the total and it wasn't 34 like the Canadian Jamboree but it might have been 15 or so. This isn't so bad if everyone has transmissions and gearing that sort of match, but in this case there was one jeep that had a T-18 like mine. But it also had 3.73 gears. That meant that granny was a bit too slow, and 2nd was a bit to fast. So we went a bit to slow. Which made me get hotter (both the engine and me)
Anyway, the big highlight of the trail, well I guess this isn't a highlight, but anyway, at one point Dave (in his Grand) sort of got hung up trying to get over this stump. Then he sort of got stuck on it. While trying to get back off it in reverse the tires didn't grab, then they grabbed and he poped backwards into a tree and bunged up the back corner. Another war wound for Dave.
The trail in general was really fun and challenging, but at this point in the week, it was also a bit on the long side. You get to the point where you say, "OK I've driven over 1000 roots and rocks, and we have another 1000 roots and rock to go". I wish you could just "beam out" when you got tired.
The best part of the whole day was probably jumping in the river and washing all the dust and dirt off and the end of the day.
Some side notes. Rob left his Comanchee at camp and road with Larry on the Shoestring. When he got back he felt that he could have done the whole thing in his truck. We always give him a hard time about how long that thing it, but the truth is, usually it's a width thing and if you know your rig you can usually get through most things.
In general I had a pretty good time and enjoyed seeing everyone again but I'm not sure if I want to do another 3 or 4 day jeep trip. Especially when you are driving around for 8 hours each day. But never say never, I just might be up for another trip after I get all the dirt off.