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Off-List Trip Report - Saturday, May 15, 1999 - TSF
Brit Adams, CJ7
Jennifer Baker, TJ
Gil & Sparky (Dog) Meacham, CJ5
Jim & Bailey (Daughter) Williams, CJ5
Phil & Rae Ritthaler, YJ
Mike Peoples, Full Size Bronco
We convened at 9:00 am at the Bates Rd. entrance into the TSF. After a bit of chit-chatting, we saddled up. Jennifer took off in the lead as a good trail boss should. Gil ran 'gun and the rest filled in the middle. After a couple of smart comments about CJs keeping up with the newer Jeeps, we were well into the woods. Bates Rd. wasn't terribly muddy until we started down the hill, but it was mainly a real slow, let the motor take you down, descent. With a lot of goop, even the Swampers packed in the mud.
We headed off to Back-to-Back, rated as "easiest" on the OHV map, it's initial hill climb was just muddy enough to call for the strap once and horsepower most other times. Jennifer made it to very near the top, but her stock tires necessitated a tug from Phil (after Jennifer backed down and Phil climbed to the top). Everyone else clawed their way up.
After the initial hill, it is a nice drive to the viewpoint. And what a view.
Before the viewpoint, however, Mike in the fullsize got his light bar acquainted with an overhanging tree. That breakaway feature is a nice option on that particular model of light bar. Gil says "You are a couple of inches taller than the log." Mike hears "Oh what the hell." On the way back, Mike had a similar situation, but instead of knocking the light bar off, he tried to go under the area with the most clearance. He acquainted himself (and his wrist) with another tree. The good news, his wrist is okay. Must have been the duct tape.
From there, we headed back out the way we came (thus the name) and cruised out to the helicopter pad at Archers. Okay, we didn't exactly cruise. There was a little washout. Fortunately, there was a makeshift road over the washout. Unfortunately, it was very narrow, muddy, and anything but level. With spotting and adrenaline (and another tug on the TJ from Jim while in the deep mud), we all made it through and were back on the gravel. Funny, one of the most fun obstacles and it isn't even supposed to be there! At the helicopter pad we had lunch and watched a parade of rigs cruise by. Many stopped to chat. A techno-highlight was seeing a Jeep YJ with the new Warn coil conversion kit. After lunch, we attempted the hill climb just to the west (I think!) Jennifer tried first, but was held up by a big, slippery root. After a couple of valiant attempts, she let Phil past. After a couple of tries, Phil decided a heavy foot at the top would encourage the YJ to the summit. It worked, and his suspension earned it's money - how many tires off the ground? Next came Jim and, as expected, his buffed-out CJ made it look easy. I was the next to try (Brit), and after two meetings with Jennifer's root, I too was humbled.
So, I backed down (my FAVORITE thing to do - not). After a couple of tries, and a lot of wheelspin and horses, Mike made it through. Finally, Gil cruised up, and after a minor struggle, made it look easy as well. Jennifer and Brit went around and met up with the group to watch a couple of other rigs attempt it.
Finally, we doubled back past the helicopter pad to another portion of Archers. In a nut shell: lockers and 33"+ tires made it. Anything less tested Jim's winch expertise.
Jennifer and Brit thank Jim for his muscle. Brit thanks Jennifer for her help with the snatch block. In the process, Jennifer blew a tire. The changing of the tire allowed us to unwind and decide we were heading out. Jim wanted more, but I get the feeling there's never enough for him! So, after a caravan down the mountain, we stopped, said our goodbyes, and headed home. All in all, a great day fourwheeling. Now, I'm off to Schwabs to have them check out these interesting gouges in the sides of my Swampers?
Respectfully submitted, Brit Adams