May 28th 2012 - Chinamen
May 20th 2012 - Eagle Rock
April 27th 2012 - Martinez Cabin and Canyon Trail
April 26th 2012 - Woodpecker Mine / Ajax Mine
April, 24th 2012 - New River Trail
Apr 23rd 2012 - Crown King - AZ
Mar 24th 2012 - Independence Trails
Aug 28th 2011 - Redcone
Aug 21st 2011 - Mosquito/Weston Pass
Jul 22nd, 2011 - Holy Cross
Jul 19th, 2011 - Spring Creek
Jun 19th, 2011 - Twin Cone Peaks
Jun 5th & 12th, 2011 - Scouting/Work trip to Eagle Rock
May 22nd, 2011 - Chinaman Gulch
May 15th, 2011 - Slaugterhouse Gulch
Jan 30th, 2011 - Hotel Gulch
|Date:||May 28th 2012|
|Trip Leader:||Fred Haskell|
|Members Present:||Paul B, Mike B, Sue F, Matt T, Bob Novak, Cory Novak|
|Guests Present:||Dan Blanton, Damon Blanton, Herbie Wheeler, Samantha Wheeler,|
People and rigs:
Fred with Paul B. in the pax seat of his JK
Herbie Wheeler and his daughter Samantha in his JK
Mike in his LJ
Bob Novak and his son Cory in his LJ
Sue Fisher in her TJ
Dan Blanton and his son Damon in his 2012 Rock Monster (new buggy)
Matt Thomas in his Toyota
As frequently happens on trips like this, we had some action before we got too far out of town. Bob's breakaway system for his flat tow rig activated the brakes on his LJ. Not too far up highway 24 came the call..."Is your third brake light supposed to be on?" and "I think I smell brakes." We found a large pull-off and stopped to see the smoke rolling from Bob's front brakes. Seems the V10 Excursion cared little for the fact that the Jeep didn't want to go. A quick fix stopped further damage and it was off to the trail without further incident.
Everyone, Herbie (potential new member) included, had no problems making it to the rock pile and this is where the fun began. I tried to point my JK up the line I remembered from the last trip and it was just not working. After some scraping and clawing, I diverted to the right and made room for the next victim. Sue did pretty much the same thing and just could not quite get that front driver side to bite on the far side of a rather large hole that seems to have formed over time. Herbie doesn't have lockers
Matt decided he'd try the really big line to the left. You know, the one the buggy avoided. Try he did, several times, before wisely backing off. There really is only so much you can do with open diffs and 4 cylinders no matter how many transmissions you have. At that point we broke for lunch. After getting some food in my system it was time for round two on the rock pile. This time I picked a little better line and got it done. That's when Matt decided to try some more...he went after it hard after stacking some rocks, then finally backed off again. While maneuvering around the obstacle he backed into a good sized rock with his passenger side front and we all heard a "pop". We could see Matt quickly let go of the wheel as it must have put a pretty good shock into his hands. Turns out that shock was too much for his steering box which had disassembled itself rendering the Toy immobile.
What to do? Weld we say. Weld we did. Bob happened to have a nice kit that I believe was a Matt Dodds' brainchild that allowed us to hook 2 12V batteries in series and stick weld the box so we could limp the Toy down. I must say I was impressed...it worked people, and I'll be setting up one of those kits myself. It may be better with 3 batteries, but it worked. After welding the box and tightening loose and unpinned steering joints (yikes Matt - you've got a kid - steering is important) Mike, Paul, and Matt reversed course to head back off the trail and load the Toy on the trailer for the long trip home. I went with the rest of the group to Whale's Tail where we watched Dan drive his buggy up the left line with the same ease I pull onto my driveway. Amazing! We all made it up, then we got the call to reverse course as the weld on the Toy had failed.
In a short bit we met up with Mike and Matt. We set up the welding kit again and with the box removed were able to get a bead all the way around. Meantime, Matt, Paul and Mike were attempting to install the power steering box that Matt just happened to have in the bed of the truck. The bolts would not line up, so the final solution was a single bolt really tight and a soft touch on the wheel. We had the old manual box repaired enough just in case, and off we went again. This time we got the Toy all the way to the trailer for the trip home. Paul jumped in Mike's LJ and Matt took a long ride home with Mike. The rest of the gang gathered up for some good grub over at the Coyote Cantina and an uneventful ride home.
Yet another great trip - we learned some things and showed a prospective member that we do leave rigs on the trail and will do what's necessary to help each other out. I think the big lesson here is that we all need to ensure that all the safety and performance issues on our vehicles are taken care of before we hit the trail. If there are compromises, the stress we put on these vehicles will eventually provide trail repair experience and cost time, money or even get someone hurt. As we ramp up for even more challenges this year please take the extra time to check everything one more time before you hit the trail.