Walker Valley Work Party Oct 2018

Another Work Party at Walker Valley OHV started off on Saturday October 13, 2018 without a hitch! Sadly, it didn’t quite last that way.
We met in the parking lot at Walker at 9:00 AM, just as planned. Ryan Ruttinghouse (our new DNR Trail Manager for Walker) headed-up the group of Around the Sound Jeep Club members to do work on the area at the back of the parking lot, where they laid new concrete soil stabilizers and did some other work. Jim Cahill (our DNR supervisor to whom Ryan reports) headed-up our group of Timber Tamers to do trail maintenance work on the Upper Timber Tamer and the EZ Valley Connector trails. For this, we not only had more material (broken concrete—basically recycled broken blocks of pavement) and heavy equipment (two large excavators and a track-hauler) already delivered to the trailsites.

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Walker Work Party Oct 2018

Another Work Party at Walker Valley OHV started off on Saturday October 13, 2018 without a hitch!  Sadly, it didn’t quite last that way.
We met in the parking lot at Walker at 9:00 AM, just as planned.  Ryan Ruttinghouse (our new DNR Trail Manager for Walker) headed-up the group of Around the Sound Jeep Club members to do work on the area at the back of the parking lot, where they laid new concrete soil stabilizers and did some other work.  Jim Cahill (our DNR supervisor to whom Ryan reports) headed-up our group of Timber Tamers to do trail maintenance work on the Upper Timber Tamer and the EZ Valley Connector trails.  For this, we not only had more material (broken concrete—basically recycled broken blocks of pavement) and heavy equipment (two large excavators and a track-hauler) already delivered to the trailsites.
We had a good showing of Timber Tamers, including Dave Wilkinson, Joe Regula, Travis Butterfield, Chris Green and Shawn Nelson (with Justin, of course!), and also Candidates Shan McArthur and Steve Sutton.  I guess I should include that I was there, too!  Running the heavy equipment were our own Jeff Stafford, Jeremy Pratt (from Twisted Metal), and Jayson Lautenbach (from the Ranier Ridge Rams).  We all headed up to the trails, and took our places.
As you all may recall, we had a work party at Walker Valley in March where we worked on the top of the Upper Timber Tamer Trail (UTT), and in the process of addressing the erosion issues, we dropped in a lot of medium-sized boulders that not only helped manage the erosion much better, but also made for a nicely challenging uphill rock garden.  Since we did that work in March, many of these rocks have rolled around as they settled in, and the trail has become even more challenging, and even the bypasses have become challenging to get to.  Well, apparently this has been such a challenging rock garden that DNR received a lot of complaints about it for being too challenging!  As such, Jim told us the mission for today’s work was to return the trail to its intended state of being passable for a minimally to moderately stock vehicle—not one that requires a buggy to get through.  (With that, I guess it was fitting that we had broken pavement with which to “pave” our trail…)
Jim asked me to head up communications, so we passed out GMRS radios to those who didn’t have them to coordinate directing traffic around the heavy equipment.  Our materials were on the side of the logging road (WV-22 for those of you looking at a Walker Valley map) at the top of the UTT and the entrance of the EZ Valley Connector.  I stayed at the upper exit of the UTT, Dave went down and around the bend to where the pile of materials was (and where Jeremy had one excavator to load the track-hauler that Jayson was driving), Steve went to the entrance of the EZ Valley Connector, Shan went to the bridge on the EZ Valley Connector, then Shawn and Justin went to the lower entrance of the UTT—perfect spot for Justin with the huge water puddle there!!  Jeff took the other excavator into the rock garden at the top of UTT; Joe and Travis joined him there with shovels and to help guide Jayson down the trail to deliver the materials.
We worked for several hours with this, our traffic control people (Shan, Steve, Dave, Shawn, Justin and me) to block traffic while Jayson had the track-hauler on WV-22, and then letting people through once Jayson got back on the UTT.  Steve and I even rescued a motorcyclist who had a blown and locked-up engine on the motorcycle tracks uphill of us.  We had the tools that he didn’t, so he was able to get the chain pulled off his motorcycle, and I towed him down to Peter Burns Road with my Jeep.  Then it was a little after lunch time that the real problem began.
We noticed that one of the tracks on the track-hauler was getting a bit loose.  A quick squirt with a grease gun initially seemed to tighten-up the track.  However, a short bit later we noticed that one of the wheels inside the track had a failing bearing, and the wheel looked to be wobbling a little on the axle shaft.  Another squirt with the grease gun helped tighten that up, but we could see that our time with the track-hauler was going to be limited.  Jayson nursed the track-hauler enough that he was able to get enough material down on the UTT for Jeff to finish placing the broken concrete, but after talking things over, Jim decided that we would skip carrying the smaller material that would set the broken concrete in place on the UTT, and instead make the last trip with the track-hauler to carry five huge 4’-5- diameter boulders up to the bridge on the EZ Connector where there’s a lot of erosion that also needed to be repaired.  Well, Jayson was able to nurse the track-hauler about 50 yards up the EZ Connector before it became painfully obvious that the track-hauler wasn’t going to make it up the trail.  He backed out of the trail, and dropped the boulders at the bottom of the EZ Connector entrance, and was able to drive the track-hauler back down to the yellow gate at Peter Burns Road.
By that point, Jeremy had already been working to reconstitute the ditch on the uphill side of WV-22 to help manage erosion when rainwater drains down the road.  (This was pretty tough, as the soil there turned out to be very hard and dry clay!)  Jeremy also had already driven his excavator part way up EZ Connector ahead of Jayson, but when the track-hauler failed, Jeremy turned around and came back down to the entrance of EZ Connector.  As Jayson turned around to head to Peter Burns Road, Jeremy grabbed one of the huge boulders with the excavator, drove it up the EZ Connector to the bridge and placed it.  However, he found that the trail was too tough to attempt taking another boulder up that way, as the trail had already loosened a few of the rubber blocks on the excavator tracks.
Jeff finished his work placing the last of the broken concrete on the UTT, and came up to join Jeremy on WV-22.  The two of them worked reconfiguring WV-22 to facilitate better drainage.  It was really a treat to watch these two masters of the excavators do this work!  Jeff grabbed a huge log with the bucket of his excavator and used that as a makeshift blade to grade the road surface so rainwater will drain away from the UTT so it won’t run down the trail and wash away the dirt around the broken concrete he’d just placed.  Once this was done, they drove the excavators back down to Peter Burns Road with Jim.
Of course, being Timber Tamers, now that this work was done, we had to try it out!  I had walked the UTT rock garden with Jim to inspect the work—which looked good.  There was one Land Cruiser SUV with a young couple (who admitted they were inexperienced 4-wheelers) who had just started the bottom of the rock garden—and who was stuck already.  I suggested to him that if he was stuck there, he probably shouldn’t try to go on the rest of the trail, especially since he was alone.  He said he had things OK by himself, and didn’t need help at that point.  As we started down the UTT from the top (going backwards on the trail), we found it to be less challenging than it had been—but at least it was passable.  Then we came upon the poor couple in the Land Cruiser, who were pretty badly stuck.  So, being Timber Tamers, we got him unstuck with a couple of winch pulls.  Turns out, the guy and Shan know each other!!  After introductions all around (his name is Evan), Joe gave them a TT brochure and we invited them to our meetings.  They had to leave, so they couldn’t stick around to finish the trail with the rest of us, but it was a good contact!
We finished the rest of the trail without significant trouble, other than Chris taking a couple of passes to squeak through the bypass around the big rock near the beginning of the UTT.  (And, Travis was able to drive over the big rock—congrats to him for that!!)  The best part was at the entrance of the UTT at the huge water puddle.  Shawn whaled through it with a huge splash for Justin—and told me Justin had been waiting ALL DAY to do that!!  A quick trip down to Peter Burns Road (the gate was still open), then to the parking lot to air up, and we all headed home as the sun was setting.  All in all, a pretty good day!
Thanks to all who were there on Saturday.  Without the volunteer work, we wouldn’t have such a great trail system to enjoy, and it’s great way for us to give-back and maintain our own “playground”!!
John Vandergrift
TT308

Stampede Pass Oct 2018

Our day started out on time, we met TT Travis at the gas station in Bothell to run up to North Bend together for the second stop on our journey to meet some other folks that were going up with us. We arrived at Safeway early and that was a good thing because Travis just installed his new winch and needed a hand in rolling up his rope on it. Not sure if that has a technical term or not, but I will just go with that.

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Operation Shore Patrol Sep 2018

We headed out a day earlier than in the past on Thursday. The drive down was ok, traffic light and we sailed thru all the normal backups except in Shoreline area, but even that wasn’t too bad. We got into Aberdeen/Hoquiam area and hit a couple downpours but we could see blue skies a head of us. We kept our fingers crossed. Then blue skies n sunny!

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Reiter Aug 2018

Seven Timber Tamers in five vehicles visited the Reiter Foothills OHV area for a club trail run on August 18, 2018—the famous date of 8-18-18!  Joe was in his white TJ, Shawn and Justin in Shawn’s teal TJ, brand-spankin’ new member Travis in his red 4-door JKR, candidates Steve and Jodi in their while YJ, and me in my white stretched JKR.  It turned into an eventful day!

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WE Rock Aug 2018

Many of you know, that Gary and I have been judging at WE Rock, for 6 years now, and absolutely love it!  Since the onset of RRC (Reiter Rock Crawl) we have managed to get a few more hooked on this!  Ryan Sorenson, and Travis Butterfield!

Gary and I headed out at 9am Friday morning.  As you know, traffic sucks at that time of the morning, and NO ONE wants to be behind a dually with a camper, pulling a trailer with a truck on it and a scooter on front!  So, every time we would get several car lengths between us and the vehicle ahead, 2 or 3 more cars would jump in front of us!

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WA Back Country Discovery Route Day 2 Jul 2018

With most of us well rested we again met at 7:00am. Since there were no issues on the trail from the day before I offered to let the group change there place in line if they wanted to.  I guess they liked where they were at and no one changed.  On this type of run it is a good idea to spread out so you don’t choke on dust.  But we also don’t want to lose anyone.  So at intersections where it is not clear which direction to go we use the relay method.   The lead stops and waits for the next rig.  As soon as it shows up the lead takes off again.  This ensures that no one gets lost while keeping the dust down.  Of course if you do all the work to plan the trip that means you are in the front and don’t have to worry about the dust.  The down side is having to do things like put together a run report.

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Back Country Discovery Route Jul 2018

Wa 6 Canada to Conconully –
Well over 100 miles of off road driving plus at least 70 on-highway driving makes for a long but fun day.  But before we dig into the run I need to fill you in on some information that will become important later.  At 6:00am we informed the Hotel (Omak inn) that our toilet was running all night long and it was clogged.  By the time we left just before 7:00am they still had not done anything about it.  More on that later.

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Reiter Rock Crawl Jul 2018

Yep – here’s one bleary-eyed back story of the volunteer life on the soon to be even more infamous Reiter Rock Crawl – the Timber Tamer crown jewel of organized motorized mayhem at Reiter Tails.

For me and Auto-M – even for early risers – the 4 AM alarm was alarmingly unwelcome.  It was still dark for heaven’s sake!  The bed had just reached maximum comfiness (my brain was reminding me.)  It tried to lull into the posture of just 1 snooze alarm.  It wouldn’t make any difference, would it?  Except – I knew that siren song would lead to tragedy.  At the least – not getting the coffee turned on in time.  Or – just showing up late altogether.  And we couldn’t let Casey down – as given her usual sleep schedule – our pain was miniscule compared to hers.

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Rig Tech Check May 2018

It is a Saturday afternoon, the sky is blue, the day is warm, and the top is off the Jeep. As I drive out to Ed and Katie’s home for the Tamers Rig Tech Check and BBQ I am grateful once again that I own a Jeep. Once a year the Tamers do a BBQ\Rig Tech check where we get together and brag about our rigs, eat BBQ, and look at each other rigs to see what we can learn and might want to incorporate into our own ride. Mostly we are just hanging out together and having a good time in each other’s company. Continue reading “Rig Tech Check May 2018”

Ron’s Run Clean Up Apr 2018

Since this was a single trail area, we planned to clean up, we met at Walker Valley staging area at 11am…love that extra hour or two of sleep!  There were no birds chirping and no warm sun shine, but at least it wasn’t too cold.  Gary and I met Gary Bellows, our WV DNR Rep there, along with Rock and Jeanie, Chris B, John V, Shawn N and my puddle buddy Justin.  Also, candidates Joe, Terry, Matt, Travis and Aaron showed up to help with this effort.  OK, Aaron only showed up because he wanted to wheel and none of the other 20 people he asked would go with him….we assured him we would remember this, come voting time!  Haha.

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Moses Lake Apr 2018

Normal people sleep in on weekends but then again we are far from normal.   The day trip to Moses Lake began at 7:30.  I arrived a little early as I normally do.  I found a nice place to park kind of away from the other cars.   I guess Wendy’s Jeep was not cool enough because Cosmin and Cheryl parked next to some random jeep in the parking lot.    So I guess if you can’t beat them join them.  We had a quick meeting to talk about convoy rules and we hit the road.  We even left on time.  The Brady’s in “Jeeper George” followed by Cheryl’s bone stock JKU, Shan’s newly purchased JKU with his son Mathew and Cosmin running sweep in his bad to the bone baby blue JK.

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Hefty Haul Out Apr 2018

The annual Hefty Haul Out of Walker Valley, is an event hosted by the Rainier Ridge Rams, to pick up all the trash at Walker Valley.  The Timber Tamers provide a lunch, which was sponsored this year, by Olympic 4×4 in Snohomish.  The DNR provided a dumpster, porta-potties, gloves and trash bags!  All user and clubs come to roam the trails and pick up trash, then return to staging for lunch and a raffle.

The Rainier Ridge Rams (RRR) showed up at the Rock hound pit at 7:20am, after breakfast at Billy’s Café.  They then began to try to figure out how to set up their tent, which is always an adventure!
The weather was a bit cloudy and drizzly, but not enough to deter our efforts……..yet!

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Walker Valley Mar 2018

As the leader of this run I wanted to do things a little different at Walker Valley this time.
We met up in the staging area, everyone aired down and ready to roll,  and with a few new candidates we held a drivers meeting and went thru the basics. By about 10:30 ish we were rolling towards the upper mainline trail, with snow falling and temperatures a bit chilly.

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Walker Valley Work Day Mar, 2018

The day started cold (28 degrees) and clear with bright sunshine as we arrived in the parking area at Walker Valley about 7:30 AM to get ready to repair erosion damage on the Upper Timber Tamer Trail.  (Recall that work was done almost a year ago to stabilize the Rock Garden area near the top of this trail.)  With us were four heavy equipment operators (including our good friend Jeff Stafford, who also creates the “fun stuff” for the Off-Road Expo every September).  The other Tamers group was Cosmin Stejerean and, Candidate Aaron Rozeboom.  (More Tamers couldn’t be with us because we were spread pretty thin with the Swap Meet set-up in Puyallup and the Show & Shine at 4WheelParts in Lynnwood, which other Tamers covered.)

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Walker Valley E&E Day Mar 2018

What a beautifully crisp, sunny day, to head out and do some E&E at Walker Valley!
Gary and I and Phil Jeffress and GF, headed out at 9am.  Since my ancient dog, can no longer be left at home alone, I decided I take the daily driver, and bring them with, since we wouldn’t be wheeling.  I had forgotten what it was like, yelling at toddlers in the back seat, to stop squabbling, move away from your brother, etc, and this trip was no different on the way up!

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Green Mountain Feb 2018

Timber Tamers February Run Report to Green Mountain

I started this run actually the night before. A few people were needing some things I don’t normally bring, so as soon as I got home from work I went about to be sure I got them in my rig so I wouldn’t forget.
Now keep in mind I also need to get my rig out of the covered area it was in to make a silent get away without waking the wife in the morning too
So with my rig parked for a clean get away, and few things safely tucked into it, I felt confidant I could load the last few items, my lunch etc the following morning.
I woke up before the alarm, which is darn good for me. But then again it was light out by this time. Even so I am not an early riser.
With myself all dressed I grabbed the last few things to throw into rig and get her fired up and warmed up….. NOT!!!!

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Hangover Run Jan 2018

The alarm clock going off, with birds singing and the sounds of the babbling brook near our house and the sun peeking out…. Oh wait That was the dream I was having….  It was more like the alarm BLARING, still dark out and everything totally frozen including the babbling brook. Hell it wasn’t even light out yet and the moon was still Bright n full. In any case when we get up to an alarm clock in my house it is almost always because we are doing something fun that day. Today was going to be no exception. I was in charge of the first group going to Tonga Ridge today. The goal was to make high point and get the Hangover trophy. Continue reading “Hangover Run Jan 2018”