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Oregon Creek and Trail '99

Gil Meacham & Sharkey (dog) - 1977 CJ5

Gordon & Vicky Compton - 1976 CJ7

Matt & Paige O'Brien - 1979 CJ5

Jennifer Baker - 1998 TJ

Rick Lewin & Kathy & Ese (dog) - 1978 FJ40

Kevin & Ashley (Kevin's daughter) Beck - 1979 CJ5

(Kevin) 9 am Friday June 18 Ashley and I are waiting at the Turner exit off I-5 for Gil and Gordon. They are running late which I expected. About 9:15 I picked them up on the CB, they were about 5 miles north of the exit. They contacted me when they were at the exit and we joined them, heading down to Springfield exit 195 to meet up with Matt and Rick. Gil and Gordon both were pulling their CJ's on trailers, I was driving mine.

(Ashley) It took them along time to get there! Sure Gil I bet it was Sharkeys fault, blame it on the dog!

(Gil)Blame it all on Sharkey! The dang vet refused to sell me his food until the office opened at 8:30. Gordon and Vicky were early, and they were sitting in the Chevron when I blew past. I was on my way to the scales, where Gordon said he would be at 8:00. Once we hooked up on CB, I took the scenic turnaround through Banks and then we converged at the Mountaindale on-ramp. On the way I got to run over the scales, 3700 front axle, 4700 back axle and 5300 on the trailer axles 13,700 lbs gross weight! I gotta get a better diet! After waiting to pry the dog food from the vet for 15 minutes, we were on the road again. Wow, 20 minutes late at the rendezvous with Kevin, and then still 20 minutes late at Eugene. We were cutting our schedule pretty close, it turns out.

(Kevin) Matt and Rick were waiting, we are only about 20 minutes late getting to there. Gil and Gordon top off their fuel tanks and were back on the road. Matt is flat towing his CJ and Rick is driving his Land Cruiser. The weather is perfect, warm with a slight overcast.

(Matt) Paige & I trekked down from Portland the previous night and stayed at her parents house in Springfield. Then it was a quick 10 minute jaunt to the meeting spot where Rick, Kathy and Ese were already waiting. This was the maiden voyage for the new (old) Chevy towing the CJ. No problems thus far and it's actually doing a better job than I had anticipated!

(Gil) It seemed like every 10 miles we went further south it warmed up and we had less clouds. What a nice day for a convoy!

(Rick) Sure made me glad. I'm driving with only the bikini top on and half doors.

(Ashley) The sun was really nice on the way there and I got a farmers tan!

(Matt) We made one quick stop so Gordon could remove the bikini top that managed to come loose and was flapping in the wind. By the way, Gordon, your trailer's drivers side taillight is out.

(Kevin) Just outside of Roseburg we stop at a rest area and are quickly joined by about 5 other vehicles from the Cascade 4x4 Club who are also going to Creek N'Trail. We visit for a few minutes before getting back on the road leaving the Cascade group at the rest area. We told Jennifer we'd meet her at 1 pm in Grants Pass but we were going to be about 30 minutes late.

(Gil) Kevin conveniently forgets that HE told us we only had 20 more miles to get to the rendezvous point with Jennifer, so we all kick back at the rest stop until 20 minutes before the time to be in Grants Pass. As soon as we pass a road sign for Grants Pass, we see it is SEVENTY miles to GP, so we are gonna be late. Dang hard to make up time climbing those hills with 13,700 lbs. And a motor that is starving for fuel. I was down to 35 on one of the summits.

(Rick) Following Gil, I wasn't sure he was going to make it up some of those hills. I almost had to go into low range ;)

(Matt) We're all passed by an older XJ that's smoking so bad you'd think she had bees. Someone comments that she probably carries a 55 gal drum of oil. By the way Gil, your trailer's passenger side taillight is out.

(Kevin) About 20 miles north of Grants Pass, Jennifer calls Gil on his cell phone and we pin point the location where we will meet.

(Jennifer) About 1215 I start trying cell phone number, since I was still in Medford. Of course, no one had one out where they could answer it. I decide to take the gamble that maybe they would actually be close to on-time and headed North for Grants Pass. Get to the meeting spot (they told me the wrong exit of course <g>) and start calling, eventually Gil actually answers the phone. To my shock and amazement they were only about 20 minutes late.

(Matt) We all pass the smoking XJ as she's sittin on the side of the highway. Guess she ran outta oil!

(Kevin) We find Jennifer and everyone tops off their fuel tanks before heading off to Fred Meyer to buy some last minute supplies and some lunch items. We planned to stop by the river just outside of Grants Pass for lunch but we never came to a spot near the road so we continued on to Cave Junction.

(Gil) Freddy's was a cool Chinese fire drill. Paige stayed at the rigs while we all attacked the store from every possible angle. I would be going down and aisle, and Rick and Kathy would cross 2 aisles up in front of me, then Kevin and Ashley would come down the aisle towards me, only to have Gordon and Vicky cross right in front of me from yet another direction. Amazingly, we all got our grub and got outta the story pretty fast, considering all the wandering we did.

(Ashley) The wandering was not my fault! But it was fun at the store 'cause my dad let me get a lot of junk food!

(Matt) I picked up a package of paper dust masks. It will turn out to be the best money I spent all weekend.

(Jennifer) Yea, and everyone meeting up again and again in front of the deli counter and the cold drinks.

(Kevin) Just outside of Cave Junction we stopped at a State Park on the East Fork of the Illinois River for lunch. We are only a few miles north of the O'Brien Airport where we will check in and spend Friday night.

(Gil) We were just in time to see some real alternative type folks setting up the stage for a big celebration that was going to occur in the State Park the next day. Too bad it was happening the same time we were going to be out on the trail. Or, maybe that was a good thing! Those gals looked pretty hard core! I think one went by "Spike" and the other one was "Slash"!

(Rick) Thanks for the info. I wasn't allowed to look.

(Matt) We all wondered if Gil's rig would make it underneath the banners they had strung across the entrance road. None of them came down so all was well.

(Kevin) We pulled into the airport about 4 pm and picked out our campsites. This year they made all the trailers park about 200 yards south of the tent camps and restrooms. I guess last year a few late arrivals parked their rigs just a little too close the runway. We all got checked in and picked up our registration packets.

(Kevin) Vicky and Ashley decide to drive into Cave Junction and do some shopping. The rest of us wander around talking to other 4x4ers and checking out the other rigs that will be on the trail tomorrow. I got to see some familiar faces from past years runs. This is my third year at Creek N'Trail.

(Ashley) Oh the shopping was the best! There mall consisted of a church, restaurant and a big auto shop! Tons of fun! But we did go to a really neat little herb place....that was interesting!

(Gil) Yup, that is one of the best parts of Creek n' Trail. It has become a core group of folks and then some new ones every year. It always amazes me that you see so many off-beat rigs at Creek n' Trail. At Moab, there are over 1,800 jeeps. But I think you see just as many strange looking rigs at Creek n' Trail as you do at Moab. This year the "Hum this" 8 foot wide CJ7 returned, along with a Flat fender with Rectangular Headlights in the Grill. There were a few low slung long wheelbase 4x4 newer trucks along this year, too. Carnage was eminent!

(Matt) This was Paige and my first time at Creek N' Trail. For that matter, it was my first time at an event of this size. It was really cool seeing the multitude of rigs and the ingenious ways people come up with to modify them.

(Kevin) Ashley and Vicky returned about an hour later. They didn't have much luck finding any stores in Cave Junction. The "Mall" in Cave Junction consists of a hardware store and a couple other nothing shops. We decide to head into town for dinner and agree to let Ashley (14 years old) pick the spot. She leads us to the edge of town to a Brewery/Pizza Parlor. I think Vicky is already having a bad influence on my daughter. :-) I think every 4x4er is having dinner the same place, but we find a table.

(Ashley) Hey I picked a good place you must admit! It may have been a Brewery but they did have good pizza and it was packed...just to show you how good I am at picking food! And dad you know that you loved finally having ribs!!!

(Gil) We ate the All-you-can-eat "Jimmy" buffet with specially hidden secret ribs. Mmmm! It amazes me that Kevin can wolf down that meat like he does. Guess that comes from being a rancher's son!

(Kevin) Mmmmmmm, ribs.

Jennifer) and the pizza was good too.

(Kevin) During dinner we decide that we'll all meet at 6 am in the morning to

(Matt) as opposed to 6 am in the evening???

(Kevin) head for the trail head. We all return to camp, except for Gordon and Vicky who are staying in a motel for the night. We talk around the picnic table for an hour before hitting the sack.

(Ashley) But the thing is that the hotel would be no fun because the pool was outside and was brown! Oh but I did get to sleep in Gil's truck cab so I didn't have to listen to my dads snoring!

(Jennifer) Those that stayed in the campers were not influenced by the all night party going on "next door". The party shut up about 2am, and then the first rigs pulled out at 230 am. Suprisingly (or maybe not) there were a lot of folks awake at 430, as one lady put it "since I didn't get any sleep I might as well get a shower".

(Kevin) 6 am Saturday June 19 - We are all up and ready to go. The trail head is about 5 miles south of the airport, half on paved road and other half on a dirt road. We arrive at the trail head and only 4 groups are ahead of us plus the trail crew. Rick and Kathy were drafted to work the trail crew so they weren't able to run the trail with us. We spend the next hour airing down, eating breakfast and visiting with others.

(Ashley) Oh that was way to early! I don't even get up at that time for school!

(Matt) Surprisingly, Paige is up before me! The first bit of excitement (for me) was motoring through O'Brien, Oregon on the way to the trail head. Whoa, almost missed it when I blinked! It's not often I get to see a town named after me (or was I named after it?). Either way, cool place.

(Rick) Yeah, Cascade 4 Wheelers didn't want to do trail crew this year so my (other) club, Strawberry Hill 4 Wheelers, picked up the job. What this meant for me is that you're the first one on the trail and the last one into camp. Being first on the trail was interesting. At one point, there is this big, pointed rock in the trail. You can't go around on the left since there is the hillside that this thing fell off, and on the right you have to get way over since your off camber and will lean right into the point on this rock. The first 2 rigs go by, but the Scout in front of me doesn't get far enough over and creams his rear quarter panel. I try to learn from this, but don't get quite far enough over and put 2 rips in my half door. 2 cars back, the cruiser rips off his fender flare. 6 vehicles through, 3 sustain damage. Well, the 7th rig through (not trail crew) decides that's enough and winches the obstacle off the trail.

(Gil) Waiting for the trail to open gave us a chance to catch up on stories with some of the folks I have met at previous events in Oregon, California, and Utah. Also, there was a nice looking Toyota 4 Runner that had a "S.C.O.R.E." pre-runner paint job. It was driven by a gal that was paraplegic. She does a lot of runs in the No. Cal area, including the Rubicon. She belongs to the Lost Coast 4x4 club who always participate in Creek n' Trail.

(Kevin) Before we hit the trail Tom Harris meets with each group to explain a few items. Our group had 9 vehicles in it. We five BushHacker were joined by a built flat fender, a stock Sami (which look like it was lowered), a new stock TJ (with very inexperienced drivers) and a built Wrangler. It wasn't long before the new TJ was falling back. The Wrangler stayed back with them and ending up joining another group behind us. The flat fender and Sami took off by themselves so it was just the five of us.

(Gil) According to Gordon, the new TJ was having a tough time of it until the wife relinquished the driving spot to her husband. She was just a little to excited and I am pretty sure hubby didn't calm her down much.

(Kevin)The first part of the trail climbs up the hill side switching back and forth. It's not to difficult but slow going due to the amount of medium sized rocks on the trail. A couple of the more challenging parts of the trail in previous years have been worn down so they were fairly easy.

(Matt) On our way up the first few switchbacks, I notice a sign on a tree that says wagon tracks. Sure enough, you can make out wear marks in some of the rocks from the old wagons they pulled over this trail 100-150 years ago. Amazing! Just looking at the trail, the way they had to cut into the hillside and gather and pile these rocks and boulders leaves you awestruck! The amount of time and effort it must've taken is stupifying. And all by hand no less! I think Paige got sick of listening to me applaud their efforts.

(Matt) Further up the trail, I ask Kevin if he'll let me pass. He's running his somewhat new T-18 and I'm still running (Kevin's old) T-150. Even in 4-low I keep catching up to him and end up riding my clutch more than I'd like. Kevin, being the gentleman that he is, graciously let's me by.

(Ashley) He just let you by because he knew that it would take all of us forever if everyone was behind him! Don't tell him I told you his secret!

(Kevin) Hey, I didn't install a T-18 so I could go fast on the trail.

(Kevin) The first play area we arrive at is what I call the pit that has one side that is a fairly steep climb out. Longer wheel base vehicles usually do better due to the fact they can get their front tires over the top before their rear tires start to climb. The Junction City Jeepers are playing around here when I arrive just in time to see a blue Sami (Sky?) launching in the air trying to get out. The Sami wasn't able to climb this section so he went around. Matt, Gordon and Gil were all able to climb this section (locked front & rear) and Jennifer gave it a good try without any luck.

(Jennifer) The TJ just did not have the clearance to make that yet, it high centered on the rocks.

(Gil) The pit seems to be deceptive. If you put your tires on some of the gnarliest looking jagged rocks sticking out from the steepest part of the hill, you can climb right out. If you try the smoother spot, you will just spin or, worse yet, hop the wheels.

(Matt) Bummer. Kevin is back ahead of me (

(Kevin) It was now about 10:30 am, the sun was out and we couldn't have asked for better weather. The next section we came to was the 1st short wheel base option. I pulled over to let the others in our group go first. Little did Matt know I wasn't doing this to be nice, instead Ashley had the super soakers pumped up and wanted to soak someone. Thanks for being such a good sport Matt. Jennifer saw this and quickly applied the brakes. We were still able to get her over the windshield.

(Ashley) We got them good! Matt was soaking! That was one of the best parts.

(Jennifer) and boy did it ever feel good - it was getting quite warm and toasty out by this time.

(Matt) She must've taken shooting lessons from her dad! She nailed me but good! I must admit, in the heat of the day it did feel pretty good! Best of all, I'm back ahead of Kevin!

(Ashley) Hehehe, now you can tell that I got him good!!

(Kevin) The 1st short wheel base option is a narrow trail with rocks on the trail and trees on the side making it difficult if not impossible for full size vehicles to get by with out damage. In past years there was one tree that made it hard for short wheel base vehicles to get through. Well someone decided to cut this tree down, bummer! Jennifer made some contact with some of the rocks but hey, that's was skid plates are for.

(Gil) Actually, I think it was hard for full sized rigs to get through, and I suspect one of them cut down the tree to get out of a jam. Not a good thing!

(Kevin) Traveling down the trail we spot a few vehicles off to the right perched on some large rocks. Gil decides he's going to join them. He proceeds to climb a section that no one has ever gone before. The people standing on the side can't believe it. Next Gordon decides to follow in Gil's tracks.

(Gil) Some guy was videoing me coming up the trail, so to give him a little adrenaline rush. I turned up at him and climbed right up until the winch was almost sticking in his camcorder's lens. He had a great look on his face. There were about 6 rigs parked on top of huge rocks back in this amazing boulder field. I drove back in it a ways, but it was slow going because of all the pumpkin grabbers. I baled out to the trail, and then noticed that Gordon had followed. Gordon was enjoying the little excursion as well as I had, with some trial and error wheel placement mixed with some metal tapping against rocks. I think it was about that time that Gordon made a small adjustment to his toe-in by tapping a rock.

(Kevin) Matt, Jennifer and I continue down the trail and we pass the Junction City Jeepers who have pulled over for lunch. We drive about 1/2 mile further to an open area for our lunch break. Gil and Gordon joined us for lunch about 10 minutes later. Gordon now has gotten his super soaker out and is waiting for other groups to pass by. It's only a few minutes before the Junction City group is passing by and Gordon is letting them have it. Little did he know that the last Jeep in the group was heavily armed with the biggest water canon I've ever seen. Needless to say Gordon got the worst of that deal.

(Matt) I gotta get me one of those!

(Kevin) We are stopped on the trail a few times by break downs by groups in front but they are quick fixes. Just enough time to stretch out the legs and visit.

(Kevin) Now we have reached the 2nd short wheel base option. This section is really a challenge if you don't have much clearance. Jennifer decides she'd be high centered in no time so she decides to take the by pass. Once she has some larger tires she'll have no problem. Driving up this section you must pick your line very carefully. If you forget where your tires are and where the rock are your going to have problems. Gil is watching Matt in front of him and forgets where the rocks are, "Bang" he found one. No damage but now Gil's awake. Low gearing makes a huge difference on this optional section. A few vehicles in front of us are having all sorts of problems on the last part of this trail. We all make it up without any problems.

(Jennifer) I quickly (maybe to quickly) went up to the near the top of the bypass (which had a few interesting spots in it too) and pulled off and grabbed the camera. Got back down in plenty of time to get pictures of the guys coming up. There were quite a few rigs pulled off on the bypass.

(Gil) Yes, I came up a section and forgot that I had a large pointed rock under my rear diff. I didn't hit it too hard, but it was solid enough to stop the Jeep and make me open my eyes! After tossing a rock under a rear wheel I was able to back up and miss the rock with the pumpkin, then move on up the trail. About that time was when the red topless 4 Runner pulled in front of me on the trail. We had been waiting for the nearly stock Cherokee to get strapped through the last section, and then the guy in the 4 runner popped in front of me and then climbed a large pointed rock in the middle of the trail. He started spinning his tires like crazy. Obviously, he was in two wheel drive. I sat and watched him spin his wheels for some time, until he finally backed off the rock and went into 4WD. Then he climbed over the rock and landed with a rear quarter panel thumping it fairly hard. I pulled up the rock, and it had some small rocks in front of it and behind it that ramped up onto it. I crawled up on top of it and stopped. The kid standing next to me said "Now THERE is some major tire deformation!". I looked at the big Swamper planted on the rock, and it appeared that the tire was wrinkled totally up around the point of the rock. I was running a little under 5 pounds of pressure, and I was finally seeing some sidewall flex on the rocks. Yeehaw! I continued to crawl over the rock slowly, and lowered down with a slight thud on the rock when my bumper just glanced off it a bit. No problems! Luckily!

(Matt) This was by far the funniest part of the trail. Not being geared as low as most, I had to ride the clutch more than I'd have liked, but with the front and rear lockers it was no problem. We got stopped once or twice waiting on breakage victims ahead of us. Someone blew out a driveline u-joint. They got him move outta the way so the rest could pass while he fixed it. There were some large boulders that we crawled over with no problems. Say what you will about my SOA, but I wouldn't have it any other way! Clearance and articulation is a good thing! Near the top of the sluice, one of the trail crew was spotting people through a tough(?) section. Maybe I'm just ignorant, but it looked easy enough to me. He kept pointing for me to take the left line, but the right one (where he was standing) looked more fun! He finally threw up his arms and moved away as I crawled up over the rocks he was standing on. Hope I didn't piss him off (

(Rick) We got to the big sluice and the trail crew there was telling us about all the carnage that happened that day. I can't believe some of the stories! Well, its our turn. I was excited to try out the SM420 I had just put in 2 days earlier (not to mention the 36" swampers). Man, low gearing rocks! I'm just crawling right along until half way when I am having trouble getting up on top of this one large boulder. Well, turns out that I'm not in 4wd. The new transfer case linkage has no shift gate, so it can be shifted from 2 hi to 2 low. At some point, Kathy must have bumped the shifter and put us in 2 low. Wonder how much of the trail I ran that way? Anyhow, after shifter into 4wd, it climbed right up and there was no other problems.

(Kevin) We now enter a part of the trail and drops down onto a northwest slope and the plants are much larger here. They reach across the trail and sometimes join you inside your vehicle. You end up on top of a ridge that has some great views across all the hill tops.

(Gil) There were incredible rows of Rhododendrons on the sides of the trail. Mixed with the mountain Orchids and phlox, the smells and colors were fantastic.

(Matt) This was some incredible scenery! Beautiful fauna, gorgeous views! Did I mention how taken aback I was at the work that went into this trail?

(Jennifer) The group was spread out enough in this section that you felt like you were all alone in the big trees and Rhodys. For a while there I had wondered if somehow I had made a wrong turn. There isn't a turnoff anywhere, just more and more big trees and Rhodys. In addition there was Indian PaintBrush, Bear Grass, Azaleas, weird looking rock formations, and more. The flowers were all fantastic.

(Kevin) As we drive down the trail towards the Forest Service road there are a few off camber spots that keep your attention. With the drop off on the passenger side being a few hundred feet straight down you don't want to make any mistakes.

(Matt) Paige was thrilled with those sections and made good use of the grab bar.

(Kevin) Once we reach the Forest Service road I let Ashley take over the wheel for the driving to Sourdough Camp ground. In some spots, with the deep ruts, this road is worst than the actual trail. Ashley does a great job and has lots of fun.

(Ashley) I think that I did really good except for the times that I almost went over the hill!

(Gil) The guy in the Red 4 Runner dropped into a ditch in front of me again. I waited for a bit as he tried to compensate for being in 2 wheel drive by hitting about 4 grand and spinning the tire. Hey dude! What happened to "Tread Lightly?"

(Kevin) At the camp ground we set up a large trap tied between three Jeeps and a tree for some shade and placed our tents around the outside. Matt liked the fact I've got onboard air, we we're able to inflate his queen size mattress in just a few minutes. After camp was setup everyone changed into their swim attire and headed on down to the creek.

(Matt) Paige & I thank you, oh kind one. I'd have died of exhaustion if I'd had to blow that thing up manually! I really gotta get my York hooked up.

(Gil) At the trail head, six o'clock in the morning and low lying clouds overhead, I didn't think there would be much swimming at the waterhole this year. By the time we got to camp, it was clear and in the mid eighties. The cold water of the Smith River felt pretty refreshing after setting up camp in the heat.

(Ashley) The water was only good after you were numb everywhere! Even then it still got to you.

(Matt) Cold ain't the word for it. Can you say turtle? The best part was the confluence of the two creeks, where the water flowed over the sun warmed rocks, causing the water temperature of one creek to be significantly warmer than the other.

(Jennifer) And thank you Gordon and Vicki for the bio-degradable soap!!! The water felt fantastic, and I think that everyone was much refreshed after a short swim.

(Rick) This is where trail crew really sucks. While you all were swimming and washing off some of that trail dust, I'm stuck on the hot, dusty trail waiting for the last rigs to go by.

(Matt) In case we haven't done so already, Thank you, Rick, for the tremendous job you and your club did!

(Kevin) Later that evening, before dinner, Matt and Gordon ((Matt)and Gil) head out to try their luck fishing. Ashley sits down in the lawn chair and is asleep in a few minutes. I wander around camp checking out the other sites.

(Kevin) Dinner is served at 6 pm, the line starts to form around 5:45 and we join in the line about 6:15. Matt and Gordon haven't returned from fishing yet but we'll leave some food for them. The menu consists of steak, green salad, green beans, mashed potatoes, mushroom gravy, dinner roll, strawberry shortcake and punch. I don't think anyone was hungry after all that.

(Gil) Especially Kevin, who negotiated with Ashley to trade his salad for her steak! This guy can eat, folks!

(Kevin) Mmmmmmm, steak.

(Ashley) He thought that the salad for steak was a win on his part but I don't think so! Yuck!

(Matt) Gordon has this great little pocket fisherman which is just the ticket when you have to negotiate thick brush and boulders to reach the best fishing spots. My rod keeps getting snagged in the bushes. Gil stands high atop some rocks and spots for Gordon, telling him where the fish are. This is the clearest water I've ever seen. Back on the east coast you're lucky if you can see 3 feet into the murky water. Here, you can watch the fish follow your spinner long before he hits. I cast for awhile with no luck at all. Then, I see a nice looking trout following my spinner. Just when I think he's gonna turn away, he hits! I reeled him in and he's a good looking fish. About 8-10 long. Just as I start lifting him out of the water, he jumps loose! The hook had just snagged his lip and wasn't in very well. Oh, well, I don't eat fish anyway. At least I had witnesses.

(Rick) We finally make it into camp. We quickly set up the tent and see if there is still any food left. I was glad to see that although almost everyone has eaten, there is still food for us. And the food is actually good (or is it that I'm just so dang hungry it doesn't matter?).

(Kevin) After dinner everyone gathers around for the raffle. First is the children's drawing, all the children 12 and under get a prize. Next is the adult raffle which has prizes like a Warn winch kit, axle/shovel combos, tow straps, coolers, folding camp chairs, $cash$, free passes to next years Creek N'Trail, etc. Matt and Jennifer both had tickets drawn for prizes.

(Jennifer) A small cooler set - just about right for a new lunch box.

(Matt) I like the way they did it. When you're ticket number was drawn, you went up and drew another ticket with a number corresponding to a particular prize. Apparently, in previous years, When they drew your ticket, you got to pick the prize you wanted. While this would've been great for me (I didn't get what I was hoping for), it is really the fairest way to do it. Oh, I won a tote bag.

(Kevin) Following these raffles is the Warn 9000 winch drawing, no one in our group won this prize :-( We return to our campsite and talk around the table for an hour or so before calling it a night.

(Gil) After getting 5 or 6 hours sleep for a few nights getting ready for the trip, it was really nice to stretch out and sleep knowing there wouldn't be an alarm clock going off in 6 hours.

(Jennifer) Yes - a good nights sleep felt great after the couple of hours we got the night before. Gil only had a dog waking him up in the wee hours this time.

(Kevin) Sunday morning we start rising around 6:30 am and begin taking down camp. Breakfast is served at 7 am and we are fed pancakes, sausage, ham, juice, coffee and hot chocolate. While eating breakfast we decide to run the trail back to the airport instead of taking the service road. This will take about an hour longer but is much less dusty and enjoyable. Ashley is already sitting in the drivers seat ready to go. We have a few pictures taken of our group and then hit he trail.

(Ashley) I was sitting there because if I didn't I knew he would think that he was going to drive my jeep but the rest of us all knew that he was wrong....I sat there to save him the embarrassment.

(Matt) Prior to leaving, I check the fluids, etc. and notice my brake master cylinder is leaking against the firewall. Not much has leaked out, so I'm not too worried about it. It's a manual cylinder, so not a big deal at the moment. I 'll keep an eye on how the brakes feel on our way back.

(Kevin) The trail looks completely different when driven in the opposite direction. Matt and Paige drive ahead of everyone else and will meet us at the town of O'Brien. I'm letting Ashley drive so we aren't setting any speed records but she's getting really good and picking out the right lines. It takes us 3 1/2 hours to cover the entire trail on Sunday.

(Matt) We didn't zoom ahead of everyone intentionally. We just happened to go first and made good time. On the way back, we notice the remains of an old stone building. Makes you wonder who decided to make their home way the heck out in the middle of no where or was it just built as a shelter for those traveling this highway?

(Rick) Kathy and I decide that we are going to drive back up the coast instead of running the trail backwards. We only live outside of Eugene, so it should be a nice drive. It actually turns out to be cold and about Reedsport it starts to rain. I'm worried that Kathy will be totally miserable, but she's laughing and having a good time.

(Jennifer) Ashley did really well, and I don't think that we really would have finished more than 1/2-3/4 of an hour sooner. Besides we were all having fun!

(Ashley) Yeah we were having fun until I hit the mirror on a tree! OOPS did I do that? But I think that I did do good except I wanted to go fast but the trail was to bumpy!

(Kevin) Good thing my CJ has a low 1st gear to keep her speed down. I realize how much harder it is to be the passenger on the trail. You get bounced around lots more.

(Matt) Paige and I stopped in O'Brien to grab some photos of the O'Brien General Store and the O'Brien Jail. I venture inside and talk to the owner. She thinks it's cool that my name is O'Brien (hers isn't). they have a single O'Brien, Oregon T-shirt left and it's a medium. Too small for me, but it'll fit Paige. The owner threw in some free postcards. She said they ordered 5000 of them and the printer spelled O'Brien wrong. Sure enough, it says O'Brian, Oregon!

(Kevin) Back at the airport Gil and Gordon are loading up their CJ's on the trailer and Matt is hooking up his tow bar. I decide to take a quick shower to get three days of dirt off my body. We rest for just a few minutes before heading back home.

(Jennifer) One of the groups that we saw back at the airport commented that we were the smart ones to take the trail back. The dust was really bad on the road.

(Kevin) As we reached Roseburg it was looking rather dark and a slight mist was falling. Things were going to get worse before they got better. Jennifer and Matt stop at a rest area outside Roseburg and Jennifer puts up the top on her TJ. She doesn't have the side or back curtains with her. We plan to stop at Rice Hill for some ice cream so that's where we'll meet up again.

(Jennifer) I had the sides and rear windows, packed on the bottom of course! It just was not worth the effort to try and get to them as I would have had to unload a lot of very dusty gear. Luckily I did still have my doors on. Matt helped me get the top up, and it was fine except for this horrible rattle on the passenger side. I couldn't figure out what I could have done to it. I checked it when we stopped at Rice Hill and discovered that I now know just how much noise a loose zipper can make. Jeez!

(Matt) Mmmmmmm, ice cream! This rates as one of the weekends more enjoyable moments. Paige needs to make a phone call (wink, wink) so we say good-bye to all and mosey over to Chevron. A few short minutes later we're back on the road. Wonder if we can catch back up to the convoy?

(Kevin) After a quick stop we're back on the road and now it's raining for real. With just half doors and a bikini on my CJ, Ashley and I have just as much water inside as there is outside. Ashley is holds a towel over the radio and CB to protect them. We were getting plenty of looks from cars that are passing us. We make a quick stop at an rest area just outside of Cottage Grove, Matt and Paige keep moving since they only have to travel to Springfield. Our next stop is the Corvallis exit for fuel and I remove my floor plugs and drain the inch plus of water that has filled the floor boards. Gil and Vicky keep offering to let Ashley ride with either of them where it was dry but she's going to stay with what she came in, what a sport.

(Ashley) It was fun in the rain and I didn't really notice much because I was all warm and was listening to my CD player.

(Matt) We pass by the rest stop and see the gang has pulled in. A short honk and we continue up the road back to Paige's parents home.

(Gil) She sure is! No wimping for her. She is a darn good Jeep driver, too. Too bad Jeep 101 doesn't let in 13 year olds. She would probably just be bored there, though!

(Kevin) Ashley and I turn off I-5 at the Turner exit as Gordon & Vicky, Gil and Jennifer continue north. Just as I'm passing under I-5 I hear Gordon on the CB say he spots brake lights ahead and I-5 is stopped. Glad we were able to exit first, I didn't really want to sit in I-5 with the rain and not moving. Ashley and I pulled into the garage at 8 pm.

(Ashley) Finally I got to take a shower and check my e-mail! That is so sad when I can't read e-mail!

(Gil) There was a truck and car accident on the Kuebler curves. After making very little progress for about half an hour, we bailed on Kuebler and then got back on the freeway a few miles down on the Mission Street (22) on ramp. We saw the wreckers pulling off the wrecked truck just as we approached the On ramp. Amazingly, we pulled back onto the freeway and were just about 100 feet ahead of the cars we were next to before pulling off.

(Matt) Glad we weren't going straight back to Portland.

(Kevin) Final thoughts, great weekend of wheeling with a great bunch of people. Last year I took my older daughter and this year was Ashley's turn. Next year I might need a bigger vehicle so everyone can go.

(Ashley) Next year I'm bringing a friend!!!!!! Oh and Vicky you are the best and you were so much fun! Paige and Jennifer you were great too! Here I was thinking that I would have to be with my dad and his friends the whole time! I wouldn't have been able to make it without you all!

(Gil) Yes it was a great Jeepin' weekend. Next year, I think I will invite the Swedish Bikini team to help wash all the dust out of my Jeep!

(Rick) Yes, it really was a great Cruising weekend ;)

(Jennifer) Yes a great weekend, but a long day. I ended up behind another wreck and it was after 1030 before I got home. Next time, I will try to have a CB that works at least most of the time! I had a blast and it was great to have Ashley, Paige, and Vicki along - a few of the girls this time! We will have to get the "significant others" out with us on the trail more often.

(Matt) I concur! I'd mentioned to Gil during the run that this trail would make for a great night run. He agreed. Maybe we can plan something for next summer. After a nice nights rest in a real bed, Paige and I hopped in a 24' rental truck and drove for 3 more days to Phoenix. Now that was a road trip!