Christmas Tree Run Dec 2007

It is just now when I sit down to write the report that I realize this is the last official Tamer run for 2007. Where did the year go? Enough of that for now, more about the run.

Before the run Mark, Moose, Mary, Ilene, Melissa and I all met at the Everett Mall so that the presentation of the donations Tamers collected for Northwest Harvest could be delivered. We were not looking for air time but were offered it non the less and so a plan to get a shot of the rigs and people on live tv was hatched. When the time came however a fire engine stole the thunder and all you saw were our us standing there. Moose did a great job with the explaining about the Tamers, and Mark got an apperance on another of the local TV stations.

The donation being taken care of we headed off for the Buzz Inn to meet everyone else for a quick bite to eat and then on to the Ranger Staion. Tree permits were purchased and the decision made to head for Tonga Ridge to begin the quest. Here is the list of people that I remember being on the run:

  • Moose and Mary
  • Mark (Dirtball)
  • Kyle and Isaac (candidate)
  • Lane, Logan, and friends
  • John and Gina
  • Tom and Penny
  • Karl and Ruth
  • Tami and Trish
  • John and Josh and a brand new red JK
  • Russ and Uli
  • Keith, Adrianne, and kids
  • Chad
  • Rudi, Melissa, and the kids

After leaving the ranger station we all made our way up the Foss River road and found a good place to leave the trailers. Once we were all grouped up again we took off up the road looking for adventure. Everyone was doing pretty good and after a while people started playing around. I was the first to get caught however when I got to far off the traveled path and was sucked into the ditch. Try as I might I could not get out and Mark had to give me a yank, not until after taking a picture of my prediciment however.

A little later on down the road we came across a Honda CRV of all things, he had just gotten turned around and was starting to head on back out. As we continued on we kept passing every now and then another group looking for a tree or an adventure, and finally we got to the point were it was our group that was breaking trail. On about this time some of the rigs started to have some problems also so it was decided that the trees looked good where we were and the was a some what sheltered area to have a fire. So while Moose and Mary started a fire (thanks for the extra wood Russ) Keith and Adrianne started to look around for a couple of trees. They ended up getting a tree for the Tamers and one for them selves also in the process. Witht he fire going others from the Tamer group started to trickle in and enjoy the fire (not to mention the doughnuts).

It was about this time that my family and I needed to start heading for home as we had a dinner date (which we did not make). On the way out a ditch monster once again reached out and grabbed my Jeep sucking me in so that I had to break out the winch. Another 20 minutes later I was on my way again heading for home. It was not to be that easy though as not to much later I ran into a family in a full size truck stuck in the snow and trying (they did not know how) to put on chains. I stopped to help them and just as I was about to get down in the snow to help put on the chains the rest of the Tamers showed up. Perhaps I was stuck in the ditch longer than I thought. I was booted on my way to try and make my dinner date and the rest of the Tamers took over to help that family get out of the woods. I am sure that the family appreciated the assistance and I hate to think that they would have been stuck there all night if we had not happened along.

Mean while the family and I had hit the highway to find that it was snowing pretty good with temps around 27 degrees. I dared not drive faster than 35 MPH down the pass due to visibility not to mention my lack of faith that the on coming traffic stay in there own lane. It took twice as long as it should have to reach Goldbar but after that it was pretty much clear sailing.

I think that everyone had allot of fun and I know that there is more than one person that now understands why you drop your air pressure down real low in the snow. Thank you everyone for the great day and a great run to close out 2007.

Until next time, Rudi

Ahh, the annual Christmas tree run. This year we had a few more than a gaggle of Tamers heading up to test their mettle in the frosty cold snow around Stevens Pass. I met up with the group in Monroe at around 8:30 for breakfast. Slowly folks streamed in, got a hot plate of food. We headed out around 9:30 (Tamer Time) with our rigs pointed to the Skykomish ranger station to get tree permits. Once everyone was ready we headed up to the parking area below Tonga Ridge to air down and the folks who trailered got unloaded. Poor Moose was forced to unload early and use Moosenstien to tow his new tow rig “Gigantor” to the staging area.

Folks got aired down, and started milling around talking wheeling stuff. Tom, Chad and I took this as an excuse to get in front of everyone, so up the mountain we headed. The snow quickly got deeper, and we easily got to the first “camping” area. There was a hefty group from the Dirty 13 there, we waved and continued up the hill. After about another mile, we ran into a group that was out snow-shoeing. They managed to get their honda CRV pretty stuck turning around. Tom, Chad and I stopped to lend a hand. There was already a few folks that we know from the Northwest Wheelers there helping out. We got the situation righted, and continued on.

After another mile or so, we got into the virgin snow. Tom took the lead and started making fresh tracks. He quickly realised that he had too much air in his tires, and I easily pulled around him and started paving the way. I plowed ahead for a good ½ mile before my jeep started getting hot. Chad pulled around me and started plowing his way up the first of two hills that we had to crest. His rig started getting warm too, so again Tom pulled around, let some more air out of his tires, and started giving the hills a shot. A group consisting of an orange CJ and a gray Toy caught up to us, and followed us as Tom crested the last of the major assents. My jeep kept getting mighty warm as I followed folks up the hill, I eventually had to pull over at the peak of the final hill climb to cool down, and decided to bring my tires down to 1.5psi. That helped tremendously. I also took some pictures of the rest of the group of Tamers who were WAY off in the distance on the ridge we had just come across. I added some coolant to my radiator and kept on trucking.

After all of our hard work blazing through the snow to the top of the hills, the group with the orange CJ, skipped around us, and blazed fresh tracks all the way to the bottom of the hill. Essentially, he got the easy part, as he only had to blaze downhill. Oh well. We got to the end of the road where there is an old wooden bridge and a big washout. No more going from there, so we turned around and headed back to the rest of the group with reports of a hot campfire going. Tom and Penny found their Christmas tree, and shortly after debeaded a tire. I turned around to help them out and after a quick burst from my on board air, we were on our way.

We arrived at the Tamers camp to discover that a few folks with lesser equipped rigs had already headed home. We all got out and huddled around the campfire while talking about wheeling and wheeling related topics. A few folks found their pick of the litter for Christmas trees. And somehow, I was “legislated out” from picking the tree for the Tamers Christmas parties. Keith took the task this year and picked a real beauty. Nothing like those “Charlie Brown” trees that yours truly likes to pick out. Once everyone who wanted one, got a tree, we got the rigs turned around and started heading back down the hill. Right about this point, it started snowing. HARD!

We took our time heading back down the mountain and eventually came upon a gentleman and his family who were out enjoying the snow and the scenery. However, he had gotten his poor Chevy duramax truck hopelessly stuck. Chad and I drove around to get him turned around with our winches, and Dirtball got himself good and anchored (I mean stuck). We all used our winches to kind of “pirouette” the truck right there in the road, and got him headed the correct direction down the mountain. I took the lead, and we started heading back to the staging area. At this point it started snowing even harder, and darkness was slowly setting in. The Chevy guy had a few problems getting traction, so Chad hooked up a tow strap and helped pull him down the hill. We got him back down to the staging area, unhooked him and said our goodbyes. I did collect the traditional Tamers tow fee from him. At this point it was completely dark and snowing even harder.

I aired my tires up and played the designated air station for Tom and Chad. While we were doing this, Moose was having problems keeping his tow rig “Gigantor” running. A small group of tamers Consisting of John, Dirtball, Tom, Chad, and myself, gathered around the rig and started to diagnose it. After changing out the fuel filter, and pump (which took about 3 hours) it was determined that the Bio-Diesel mix that Moose had acquired had frozen in the tank and lines, and it wasn’t going to be a possibility to get it started without re-inforcements. We decided the best course of action would be to leave Gigantor there and come back the next day to retrieve it. At this point, there was about 6 inches of snow on every ones rigs and we had a long drive home in front of us. Not to mention the lovely significant others consisting of Gina, Penny, Ruth, and Mary had been waiting very patiently while we worked on the rig.

We regretfully left poor ol’ Gigantor there and slowly headed down US2 towards home. The conditions were pretty bad with the snow coming down hard all the way to Gold Bar. I took it very slowly and it took about an hour to get to Monroe. Ruth and I stopped in Monroe to see what the happenings were at the NWW Meet and Greet. We stopped by to say hi, and then headed for home. Getting in at about 1:30AM we stripped out of our wet clothes, and immediately headed for bed.

It was a long, cold day. But Ruth and I had an absolute blast. Wheeling with the Tamers is always exciting, and if we can’t make it interesting on the trail, we can make it interesting in the parking lot. I’m truly proud to wheel with you folks. It sucked leaving Gigantor behind, but we safely got everyone off the mountain and back to their warm cozy beds.

Till next time, Karl