Trip Reports

May 2, 2015 - Liberty

June 28, 2014 - Twin Cone

June 21, 2014 - Work Trip-Eagle Rock/Reynolds Wrap

May 17, 2014 - Rainbow Falls

May 4, 2014 - Independence Trails

April 27, 2014 - Chinaman Gulch

Trip Reports

Liberty
Date: May 2, 2015
Trip Leader: Alex James
Members Present: Donald and son Ryan , Russ, Sue, Sam, Alex, Kristine and Bryant
Guests Present: Ben
Picture Link: Alex photos  Russ  Ben          
Description: We all met at the Safeway and headed out about 8:05. Five vehicles made the trip with the following participants: Donald and son Ryan (Jeep CJ7) Russ (Jeep Cherokee) Sue (Jeep TJ) Sam, Tracey, and Ben (Dodge Truck - BUD) Alex (and later Kristine and Bryant) (Jeep YJ) We proceeded to the Penrose Shell station for fuel, snacks, and a potty break. Once we regrouped, we headed up to the 3rd street turnoff towards the trail. What a great day to be wheeling! I had called the BLM office on Friday and was assured it would definitely be open. Well, it was, and there was only one other vehicle in the parking area! We parked, unloaded, aired down, and headed toward the gatekeeper. BTW, Ben rode with me and kept me from making any erroneous turns...not that I made any last time, LOL. We all dropped in without any event, except for a cantankerous starter issue that Donald had for a few minutes (or was that a foreshadowing of things to come). Sue also managed to break off a portion of one of the rocks enough to change the makeup of the trail lines. The rest of the trail was uneventful, as it is a very fun trail with few "danger" areas to risk life and limb. I think Sam and Tracey had to duck a few times due to low limbs and the extreme height of BUD (Big Ugly Dodge), but nothing to worry about...until about 3/4 of the way in... "Snap!" Donald's steering arm broke off the outer knuckle! Yep, catastrophic trail failure. Options explored were 1) drag it out as is, 1) weld it back on, 3) put on a new knuckle. Since Russ had brought along a trail welding kit (welding leads and rods), we decided to do that. Well, he kind of brought it. It was back in the truck at the parking area. So Russ and Ben headed out to retrieve it. In the meantime, the rest of us worked on repositioning Donald's Jeep for the fix. This involved numerous pulls from Sam's winch until Donald's Jeep was in a safe spot off the trail. The next part involved the precarious use of a floor jack (amazing what you can carry in a full size truck, LOL), pulling the tire/wheel, and prepping for one of the best battery trail welder jobs I have seen in 30+ years of wheeling. (Mental note: This would be a great "clinic" or "how to" for the club to do one weekend.) Russ pulled his battery to use along with Donald's and proceeded to hook up in series to produce the 24 volt setup necessary to weld. Well, almost, the first attempt produced a flaming rod. Too much juice! Sue lent Russ her jumper cables so as to increase the run length and reduce the power to the leads. Just right! Russ welded and reinforced the steering arm, with way too much input from all of us in the peanut gallery, LOL, and Donald's Jeep was good to go for getting off the trail. In the meantime, my "Household 6" (lovely wife and Chief Executive Officer) Kristine and son Bryant had driven down to the trailhead in the FJ Cruiser to meet up. I ran up to meet them and we walked down the trail to join the others just in time to begin the trip out (with Kristine driving my Jeep). Well, we almost made it... In welding the steering arm, a piece of metal was added to reinforce it. This piece just happened to contact the steering tie rod enough to snap off a heim joint...arrrggh! What could have been another major issue was cut short by the fact that Donald, being a thinking man, had packed spare heim joints for just such an occurrence. Good job Donald! After much straining and gnashing of teeth to bend the reinforcement out of the way, we got the new heim joint on and were on our way. The rest of the trail was uneventful, other than some judicious rock stacking/road building to decrease the chances of another break. On the way out of the gatekeeper, we were witness to Sue deciding she only needed two wheels to truly exit the obstacle and when its time to go up and out its time to go...LOL. We loaded up and headed back to Texas Roadhouse for Supper, with Sue, Sam, Tracey, Ben, Kristine, Bryant, and me partaking. Russ, Donald, and Ryan had departed at the trailhead due to other commitments. This ended a great day of wheeling. The trail carnage could have been a lot worse! It was fixed on the trail (both times) and we were out well before dark! Nothing wrong with that and I can't wait to go back. Here's to a great day wheeling with Bighorn 4x4 Club and a great group of friends! Pics attached... "To the Trails!" V/R Alex