Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Holy Cross 8/20/11

A couple of us camped out near the trail head on Friday night, and a couple others met up with us Saturday morning for our Holy Cross trail run. In the group this week was Chuck, Chad, Brett, and a handful of XJ boys from NAXJA. Ryan rode along with his brother Chad accpeting the fact that his rig would never survive this trip.

We hit the trail at 10am and had no problems to speak of. At the first major obstacle, most of the boys took the left side wall climb except for Brett who doesn't have lockers. After a couple smashes on the rock sliders, we continued on to French Creek. When we arrive, we were surprised to only see a small group of Samis in front of us. As soon as they cleared, we took our shot at the creek. The first few XJ guys made it up and across with pretty limited effort, and then the next few had some major problems. One guy came down on his exhaust and somehow smashed his downsteam O2 sensor which started giving the Jeep bad readings and caused it to lose significant power. He took a strap, but it still took some time to get him out.

Brett took the far left line and with wet tires and no lockers, was unable to make it out of the creek. We hooked up his winch, but for some reason it wouldn't pull load. We turned a guy around from up top and used his winch to drag Brett out. It was now Chuck's turn, and he got up and out of the creek, but still had to get over the boulder at the shore. Turns out, Chuck hadn't gotten enough damage last week, so he decided to tag one of the rocks on his exit with the passenger door.

Once we got to the city, we waited for the other groups behind us to come up. We started our way down and about half way, Brett realized he had destroyed a u joint. We continued on since the cap remained and we knew we could limp the JK back to our camp. Once again, we had a rough time at the creek. Everyone had a tough time getting out, and Brett was pinned between some big rocks at one point. We took out his winch line again with no hope, but magically it started working this time. Everyone was hung up at some point on our way across the creek. We finally managed to get everyone across and out to the main road. We started the u joint repair by the fire about 9:45pm. Took us awhile to break that joint out, but Brett was on his way back to Denver about 11pm.

It was a super long day for sure.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Wheeler Lake 8/14/11

It's been a few weeks since Wheeler Lake was finally clear of snow, so it was time to check it out. The bottom section of the trail is pretty much the same every year as the granite slabs never change. The top half however is different every year. This is expected as bowling ball hill is just a steep incline of lose boulders. You might drive this section one year and have a 2 foot boulder you need to crawl over or around, and the next year, that boulder is gone.

This day we had 6 rigs with us: Ryan, Chuck, Brett, Chad, Vince, an old Land Crusier, and another new XJ friend from Washington State.

All went well in the bottom half, with Chad attempting some hard lines and getting a pretty good wheel stand. As we arrived at the V notch, Ryan took the first attempt and ended up sliding a rear tire into the V and getting high centered on the diff. We attempted to raise the back end and get a rock under the fallen tire as to rais the diff off the rocks, but there was no luck there. So we pulled out the winch, and as soon as the diff was un stuck, Ryan drove right up. Chuck followed and so did Chad. Vince and the land crusier took the easy middle line, while Brett and the XJ truggy took the far left side that has some really big holes. Both made it up just fine after some traction trouble at the start.

When we reached bowling ball hill, it was not nearly as wet as we expected with the high winter snow fall. No problems up this section... So we thought. As were within 100 yards of the lake, the rain started pouring down, and a few of us pulled over to throw our tops (or tarps) on. At this same time Brett noticed something hanging down off Chuck's Jeep. Somehow Chuck had snapped a rear lowercontrol arm. The weld at the bushing had completely failed. We waited out the rain for 20 mins before attempting a trail fix. No one had an on boarder welder so our only option was to use ratched straps to hold the axles as close to center as possible. It did the trick, and we slug paced it down the mountain.

At the V notch, we all took the easy center section except the 2 XJs. Chad took the V down, and the truggy took the far left again (far right looking downhill). The truggy dropped a front tire into a hole and did the biggest wheel stand I have ever seen. Although the Jeep stopped and didn't flop over, we all jumped in to pull the rig down as he continued his decent. We made it back to the main road and Ryan followed Chuck into Breck where they would be waiting for his father in law to arrive with the trailer.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Middle St Vrain/Coney Flats 7/24/11

Ryan finally finished installing the 4'' lift and it was time to test it out. Bill was the only other offical member to join the trip. We were also joined by Chad, Brett, and a new XJ friend.

We met in Nederland at 10am where they had a car show going on, and then we headed up to the trail. The day was a mix of sun and clouds all day with a brief shower around lunch time. The trail was pretty muddy in spots, and the water holes weren't any deeper than they normally are.

Great day with no breakage. However I did find a loose track bar bolt at the end of the day while airing up.