What do you get when you take a Canadian, 5 jeeps, one Sammi, a lot of snow and some dogs. Apparently a lot of fun, no sleep, one very stuck jeep, many tow fees, a broken bottle and two wet dogs.
Since the beginning of the winter Gary and I have been talking about doing some snow wheeling at night. We have traded a few messages back and forth but the weather was never right. We would make the run February 14th . Yes that is valentine‚Äôs day. Shawn, Shan, and two of Shan‚Äôs friends (Brandon and Dennis) would join us. Shan was very enthusiastic about going to Beckler, so why not. On the way we topped off the tanks as you never know how long you will be out. It turned out to be a good idea. The highway up to Beckler was uneventful. We aired down to 15 right before Beckler in case there was a berm to climb over from the highway.
As we headed up the river valley there was not much point in steering as the ruts did it for you. It is like that ride at Disneyland. Sure you can steer but in the end you have no choice on which direction you are going. (Disneyland is a registered trade mark of the Disneyland corporation and is in no way sponsoring this snow run) There were trees down everywhere. The storms earlier in the winter clearly did a number on the trees. We drove over, under and around them as we snaked our way up the mountain. Shan was leading followed by his friend Dennis. Then Gary, Shawn, me and taking up the rear was Branden. Dennis with is monster Jeep (37s with bead locks) drove too far out of the rut and high centered. As you know every super man has its kryptonite. For a Jeep it is a built Samurai. Just being anywhere near it will cause otherwise capable Jeeps to get stuck and wouldn‚Äôt you know it. Gary is there to save the day. A few good pulls with the strap and Dennis was free. Some of us have grown to love the Samurai and actually enjoy getting pulled out by it. Before the night was over I to would get a helping hand from Gary. In fact many.
When we got higher we dropped air some more.¬† Me being one of the more conservative built rigs I dropped to ¬†9 PSI.¬† Shawn, the only other rig with without bead locks was able to drop even lower.¬† Everyone else went with very low air.¬† As we climbed the snow got progressively deeper.¬† On a hairpin left the snow was heavily banked to the inward side.¬† You had to run the left side rut then climb out to make the high side before completing the turn.¬† I drove the first part well.¬† Giving it just the right amount of hell to get 3 wheels clear but I should have stayed in it.¬† The second I let up gravity and the left rear pulled the jeep back toward the ditch.¬† A few more times and I got the wheel speed right and the heavy JK pulled out of the ditch and back to the high side.
The next bit of fun was a place that was basically a whole in the snow.¬† I was in the back so I did not see everything but I do know that Shawn took to the strap as it is harder to climb out of this type of obstacle with a short wheel base.¬† https://www.facebook.com/shan.mcarthur/videos/pcb.10156521877260672/10156521873350672/?type=3&theater¬†
Gary of course just made it look easy. https://www.facebook.com/shan.mcarthur/videos/pcb.10156521877260672/10156521871610672/?type=3&theater
I asked Gary to go back and make it look harder but no dice.¬† My turn.¬† I dropped the nose in the whole and slid forward.¬† Being the low jeep my approach angle was to low and when the bumper hit the snow the front two wheels completely lost traction stopping me on a dime.¬† I had just enough traction to pull the jeep back a few feet and take just a slightly different angle.¬† The key to these is to go in slow and give it gas while the back is dropping and the front just starts to climb.¬† This time I would pop right out. Apparently the back of the jeep was rearranged by one teenage daughter which meant that when we stopped the case of Henry‚Äôs root beer went flying forward. One of them impacted the rear seat support and shattered.¬† That root beer will forever be lost.
Most of the time Shan with his JKU on 40s was in the lead. But for a while Dennis broke trail.¬† At this point both Shan and Dennis reported snow coming over the hood.¬† Judging by the picture you can see it was deep!¬† Dennis had snow on his hood.
The next adventure happened when I was pulling up behind Brandon.¬†¬† I should have stopped a ways back but instead stopped in a soft area.¬† You can normally drive through these as long as you are moving but from a dead stop you just sink. ¬†¬†Since I did not know that I was going to get stuck until I started moving Brandon had already moved off.¬† Gary who was behind me at the time offered to drive around and pull from the front.¬† Which he did so while clipping the front left fender in the process.¬† No harm done but I do have it on the dash cam.
We could hear that Shan was having some trouble up front so we just started hanging around. Dennis behind me was getting board so he was going to push some snow. I think the snow was a lot deeper here than when he was leading and he immediately got stuck. I backed up to his location and pulled him forward with the kinetic. Although I made an effort to let up on the petal right before the line became taught to keep from digging in I still got stuck. Gary backed up. We got my Jeep unstuck first by un-attaching Dennis and using Gary to pull me forward a hair. Then we used Gary as an anchor to our jeep and ran a winch line from Dennis‚Äôs jeep to me. This was enough to get Dennis freed up and turned around.
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