Colockum Pass Jun 2021

There is one thing for certain you can count on in this life – and that is – NOTHING – is for certain. My 20+ years in this club (and my 60+ year in this life) there is always a surprise waiting around the corner.

Part the First – Howdy-Doos and Road Time

Saturday was one LOVELY day to do anything – and it dawned brightly at the smokestack in downtown Monroe, the appointed meeting place for the Tamers to start this adventure. Mary and I pulled into quite the crowd of Tamers and friends already milling around. Once parked – we had to discharge the first order of business. At the monthly meeting a few days previous, I got the brilliant idea (brilliant? Just ask me – I’ll tell you!) to bake some homemade brownies and auction them off as a little club fundraiser and something different to do for the month. The bids started at $20 – and after a number of minutes of some spirited back and forth bidding on them – Mihai issued the winning bid – of $50!!! And so it was my task to make sure the brownies were delivered, which Mihai then handed back to me – so that they could be shared around – and further making sure Gary Miller got the first bite. Once he wanders off with a look of supreme satisfaction on his face – I start wandering the crowd with my yellow pad in one hand and brownies in the other – getting names and trying to make out who is who on the trip – because you know – the first few years in the club – you mainly know folks by what they drive – and generally after few years – you start putting names and faces with rigs to make sense of it all. So I’m in this process – when a somewhat familiar face pokes out from around behind someone – saying, “Hey Moose – do you remember me?” (Surprise the first.) I look – and I don’t want to be mistaken – but upon saying – “OMG – are you Jess?” And yes – IT WAS! Jess – or JR as we always called him – was in the house with his lovely wife Christina – and WAY older kids than I think I’d seen in a long, long time. Jess was in the club WAY back when – when I was in my pup days with the Tamers – back when I drove a CJ that was open-open with way-too-tall gears and sporting a street Holley that wouldn’t run worth a hoot up a hill. That means the last time I’d seen him and Christina was like – 18 years previous? And somehow – his red hair is still red. (While my brown hair is now gone AWOL….) But what a treat to see them again! They were all ready to wheel in limo style in a built LJ.

And then continuing with the greetings and the brownies – saw an unfamiliar Expedition containing some very familiar old Tamer school faces – Gary and Lori Yates – and new puppies they had along to give them a little socialization. (Sorry guys – I forget the names of your pups but loved seeing you!) If you hear historical Tamer tales of off-road daring–do by GaryTJ – this is the guy! I believe when he started in the club – he was driving a slightly built 97 TJ with a 4 banger in it sitting on 35’s – that even with that small powerplant – he pretty regularly broke mechanicals and went more places than stronger rigs. Where there’s a will there’s a way – and Gary’s will is pretty ironclad. (Once again – a lot of this is in knowing how to drive before you start to really build.) Over time – Gary’s TJ grew and grew – collecting parts and pieces along the way – until he was running on 38’s or 40’s and a Dana 60 in the front and a 9 inch in the back and like a 6” lift, fully caged, 4.3 L Vortec V-6, trans out of a Ram pickup, an Atlas for a TC – (and Gary – if I get any of this wrong – don’t stop me…) but no doubt – this was 1 amazing vehicle. I carry on a bit – because GaryTJ was the presence in the club that challenged folks to grow; challenged me to grow – as a wheeler. Many trail runs – if there was an easier, safer feeling side of the trail, and then a more difficult pucker-factor side – Gary would be standing there – pointing to the harder path. Now – he had the skills to know (even if I didn’t) that I could do the hard thing without damage to my rig or myself – regardless of how anxiety producing it felt. So – I’ve seen Gary far more recently than JR – but it’s been a long time since we’ve wheeled together – so this was also a distinct pleasure to see him and Lori on the trail.

As if I hadn’t had enough of old home week – then pulls in Bruce and Debbie in the yellow JK. They also been around me and the club for quite a few years and joined us in Moab in 2014 – that time in Bruce’s green “Heart-on” Jeep. It’s taillights look like little hearts – and so when you drive behind him – you see he has his hearts-on….. It’s only been sometime in the last year was when I last saw them – but it’s just still fun to see Tamer friends on a nice day.

Talking 2014 and Moab – of course that’s where the bug bit Curt Brady – who that year did Moab in a RENTAL JK with a slight lift. I was feeling mellow that year – and did not take him on the harder runs like Gary TJ led me and Mary in our at the time separate (and non-romantically involved) Jeeps in 2004. I was concerned in 2014 of scaring him and Wendy off if I took him to too hard a place as he was just starting (or I assumed he was just starting) wheeling. Seeing how he’s grown his JK over the years – I probably needn’t have worried.

And everyone else that either was a candidate, or a newer Tamer I don’t yet know so well or a guest – as I made the rounds. We ended up 15 rigs in all – with the usual assortment of a few TJ’s, an LJ, a pile of JK’s, maybe JL’s (JK’d and JL’s all look the same to me) Gary Miller in his built Zuk, Gary and Lori in the Expedition, Michael – a very polite (he called Mary and me “Ma’am” and “Sir”) Navy guy and guest friend of Joe in an Avalanche. Before the driver’s meeting – I did one more round of brownies for all – with the assurance (given we have a number of folks where this sort of thing would count) that these were “clean” brownies. Don’t want to misrepresent!

So – a quick drivers meeting – and we hit the road at 8:01 AM – given that we had another 3 hours of road time in front of us before we even hit the trail. 15 rigs is a long line – and on such a nice day – we weren’t the only ones headed east. Getting into our line (and slowing things down a bit) there was a run of looked like pre-1910 autos on their way to Leavenworth – surprisingly sporting a top speed of up to 45 MPH. (Note that the speed of “up to” 45 MPH also includes much slower speeds – even 0 MPH) – and it kinda split the line until we got to the 4 lane on the pass, and we only really all got back into one group at the rest stop on the east side of Stevens.

All was relatively uneventful – until we had a Timber Tamer Cluster-around at the gas stop in the south end of town. We found 2 gas stations across the busy Mission Ave. from each other – which did not afford us a very good option for getting back onto the road south to Malaga and the start of the Colockum Pass. Once everyone gassed up and peed down – I figured that reassembling would be easy. Not so much. The group got split into a number of parts – some heading down Mission, some heading up Ferry, some heading out past Wenatchee – and – almost none (or maybe totally none) following me – the leader…… I thought I saw some folks heading up to Squilchuk towards Mission Ridge (not right) and then saw no one come back, and didn’t see the main group – although – we still had communications through both radios – and a cell phone. Finally – getting all in a line by the train yard south of town – the count at first was rumored to be 14 – which would have meant we’d lost someone – but then a recount showed that we had 15 – and we were off again to the start of the pass.

Part the 2nd – on to Colockum!

So – south we drove from town – past the Alcoa aluminum plant, and then the west side of the Rock Island dam – and finally – we started to head away from the Columbia, gaining altitude into the mountains. We passed a number of tidy little homes and farms, the road decreasing inn width and the corners getting tighter, the incline getting steeper. Finally – we ran out of asphalt and it was time to air down. Well – except Gary and Lori. They figured on just enjoying the cushy seats, the A/C and some music with the windows up in the Expedition. Each to his or her own – as I usually say.

From my previous time on the Colockum 38 years previous – things still weren’t looking all that familiar – although I did recall some spectacular views once you broke out of the woods on the narrow and rocky track of a road. There was some guy in a Kia Soul coming down the hill towards us. I thought he had pulled over to wait for us to get past – but no – he had stopped in the middle of the road – and then got out to move rocks that were about fist sized – so he could keep driving down the hill. Man! That must have been 1 long trip down the mountain – because that entire road was rocks to size of your fist (and bigger than that!) Finally he got back in his car and gave us just enough room to get around him. We got to our first intersection – where the main road went straight – with a branch off to the left – and a view of the river and eastern WA that was INSANELY BEAUTIFUL and majestic! This I remembered – because I recall from years before driving out that way, driving up a last rise I didn’t think I‘d get up – so I could perch on a downed pine tree next to a 4 foot high ant hill (you could hear the ants scuttling around) looking out over Crescent Bar on the Columbia – and smelling that dry/warm eastern WA pine scent. FINALLY – it was all coming back to me! Curt had checked his nav – and while there was a road down that way – it was like the long way around – and we were concerned it might suck up too much time to wander around not getting across the pass. So instead – we stayed on the main road until we got a little more altitude – but still had the same great view to our backs. By this time – it was getting close to 1 PM – so I called a U-turn and lunch. With the breeze coming up the hill and keeping things just comfortable – it was a great place to spread out and visit.

After about 40 minutes of hanging, eating and chillin’ – it was time to do another u-turn and keep on going – up………..and the farther we drove – I started to remember why I didn’t remember much more about the trail. Oh yes – it was sunny and beautiful, and the high, wide open country attractive – and except for being on a historical road – the track was wide, the hilltop broad – the road surface pretty annoyingly lumpy – but there really wasn’t much challenge to the drive. We passed the high point – with no note or signage that we’d hit the top of the pass. Kinda like that first love where you’ve made up in your mind that the first kiss will be skyrockets, sparklers and electricity – and it kinda just turns out to be a fumbled handsqueeze with a misguided peck on the cheek and drool….. I’d had higher hopes and expectations for the Colockum Pass than it delivered. It became obvious after a bit that we were descending, confirmed by Mihai calling out the elevation – from 5200 to 4820 and down from there. And then – the road dipped down only slightly more into the woods to a smaller but more refined track, the civilization came into sight – and we worked our way out to the fielded flat lands of Kittitas. Gee – was that all there was? It was about 3 PM by now – so – that was 3 hours to Wenatchee on the road, 3 hours on the Colockum Pass, and now – to go home – would get us home before 6 – and the weather was still so nice – and plenty of time for what the old timers will know as (the dreaded) “One More Trail” syndrome.

Part the 3rd – ONE MORE TRAIL!

The critical choice was either to air up and go home – OR – we were about 7 miles away from part of the Green Dot road system we had not wheeled last month. (We had travelled areas east of the wind farm – this was to wheel on the west side of the wind farm.) So – we headed out – tires still deflated – so we took it easy on the asphalt. There was something strange looking about the fields near the GD roads to the north – and finally – it became obvious there had been a recent brush fire – like – still smoldering stubble beside the road. And on top of that – it because apparent that one heck of a breeze had sprung up – sending wisps of smoke and dust into the air from west to east. I wondered if the trailhead would even be open, between the recent fire and still seeing some of the fire crews in the hills – and glided past what appeared to be a closed gate. So I figured we could head over to the west side – when Curt called on the radio that the gate was open – and the sign said only to make sure you closed the gate behind you. Well – that was different! And so we did the 2nd Timber Tamer Turnaround of the day – more in the classic style – which is a simple u-turn into a side road (avoiding the Tesla stopped there) – then the ones coming back out waving in a neighborly way to the ones yet to turn. We got all assembled inside the gate – and without much further ado – set off to follow the road ahead. We started out – and then I heard GaryTJ on the radio say they were going to head for home. I offered air – but that’s when I found out he had never aired down. Then a little farther up the road – Curt also called and said he was going to hit the slab for home too. Hard to believe he wanted to be with Wendy more than he wanted to explore with us – but hey – there is no accounting for taste I suppose. (Or by this time late in the now pretty warm day – no accounting for smell either.)

I had made a few probes of the group to see what willingness there was to do “just a little more wheeling.” Like “just a little further” and “We can always turn around” – and the feedback (for those who talked) was – “sure” “Plenty of time” “We’re having fun with our Tamer friends” and other such lies you tell the trail leader when you don’t want to be the party pooper.

I could see the trail go off up the hill in the distance – and then passed a sign to the right past another that road was closed for restoration – that we should continue to the left – up a track that didn’t look like it had been used hardly at all. But the green dots – yes – what we would come to view as those mocking, damned little green dots – stood like beacons on slender white plastic posts – beckoning us like a homing beam; like a lighthouse in gathering storm – as if following them meant safe harbor was just ahead – and we kept following along. Yes – it certainly seemed that way…..

Now – I’ll mention here the Tamer tradition of the late afternoon “One More Trail.” I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been on a summer Tamer run – when we’ve been doing some pretty healthy wheeling on the trail since like 9 AM – and there have been the usual share of trail fixes and stucks – but overall – it’s been a good day, no one has broke irretrievably, everyone has done well, we’re about 20 minutes from camp and a can of beer and a folding chair – BUT – we’re even closer to the entry of one more trail – that is only another hour and loops around and will bring you out by camp – and so its decided “LET”S DO ONE MORE TRAIL!” Sooo – many times – so many – and either there is that one hard line, or someone starts to really feel their oats and decides to put more foot into it than they really should have, or hits the deepest, muddiest part of the puddle – and – some minor disaster happens. Nothing resulting in serious injury. Or just leave the rig in the trail and light a match. But something requiring some folks to pull the rig to some place where a tow vehicle with a trailer can get to it. Wheels off. Steering knuckle studs broken or tie rod bent in half. Spring broke in half. Broken bell housing. Clutch with mud stuck behind it preventing clutch release. Broke axle or u-joint. Munched gears. Some combination of all of the above. EVERYTHING mentioned HAS happened on a Tamer run I’ve attended – and folks and their rigs always get brought back into camp – but sometimes – that doesn’t happen until midnight or later – and the person waiting with the dead rig on the trail finds it gets REALLY COLD after the sun goes down. So – there was some lip service paid to the notion of “One More Trail” which we all laughed off – because of course that wouldn’t happen to us on the green dot roads. Right?

I see the trail – climb and climb and climb off into the distance. I’m going along in 2nd gear low, when it occurs to me I am really getting bounced around. Just as I’m registering that – Mary observes, “Gee – is it just me – or is this trail just really rough?” So – we go to bottom gear and really pick our way – and I hear some agreement back in the pack that they too were really getting bounced around on this looks like rarely driven on trail. With the slope – wasn’t the best place to turn – so I figured to go slow and keep up to get to what I’d hoped was a level spot on top. The last long hill turned into a hillclimb that all of a sudden got quite steep – and I wasn’t sure how loose the rock was on that climb. I was about to hit the lockers just in case – but didn’t want to be distracted fumbling with the buttons setting up for the push up the hill – and by this time – it was nose up and keep a little foot into it. The hill looked just a little too loose to creep – and I’ve been stuck (and once rolled both backwards then sideways off) a steep, loose hill I was trying to creep – and I really didn’t want to re-experience that any time again in this life. So – up we went – and it was loose but not horrible – and we got up just fine – to a delightfully open and level area – its turns out on top of Whiskey Dick Mountain at about 3,800 feet.

I hopped out to see how folks did behind me – and everyone started to come up okay – but there was about half the group still far off not moving. I got on the radio and found someone was just tying some stuff up with some ratchet straps and soon enough – that line started to move again. I was a ways from our Jeep – so had a bit of a walk to get my phone for pics and then call on the radio. I saw Gary Miller start to come up. I figured that wouldn’t feel great since his Zuk is so short – but Gary knows what he’s doing and sure can drive – so I didn’t think too much about it – until someone farther down the hill start to make those “OH NO” noises that indicated all was not right in wheeling-ville. I think I saw my buddy Colin looking in dismay in Gary’s direction. (And Colin intuits the feeling of the backward bounce – he was with me when I had my too many moments of backwards and sideways bounce then roll.) I could not see him or the problem from my vantage point – until he started bouncing backwards (!) into view near the bottom of the hill – going in reverse making a sharp left turn and lifting the 2 driver side tires into the air – thankfully planting them back on the ground as he came to a stop. Well – if there was a problem – I was going to face it in our Jeep – so seeing him on his wheels – I got back to the Jeep and on the radio. Come to find out – Gary had been overcome by a brain cramp – and had his transfer case in 4WD – but that doesn’t really help much if you haven’t locked in your hubs. And by the time you are on a steep enough part of the hill to have gravity help you in discovering that kind of mistake – well – it’s kind of a prelude to a “One More Trail” moment. We all speculated that Gary may have made had made a few brown dots of his own while on this hill of the green dot trail. Well – a few deep breaths, twist in the hubs – and funny – now – no more problems getting Gary up the hill. Or anyone else for that matter. We had another spectacular view – and marveled in the headwind of what 20-30 MPH from the west.

Now – a little side story while up at the top of Whiskey Dick Mountain – the story was relayed to me that Mihai was wanting a picture of him and his Jeep on such a fine and sunny day. I believe Colin offered to take a few pics. Then Mary – ever the instigator – was trying to get Mihai to move his Jeep closer to the edge to get some shots like with nothingness in the background of his Jeep. I believe it was intimated that it would give him that certain “Je ne sais quoi” to prove he was that (the words were) “Sexy Beast” – a man and his Jeep, and all is right with the world. Mary said he appeared rather satisfied with that image in his mind’s eye…..

I have to say – by this time – my brain was getting ready to say I enjoyed my “One More Trail” bout of wheeling – and I was prepared by now to turn around – although between the loose rock and the bumpy part of the trail and the imprint of Gary’s fumble on my head – I wouldn’t mind finding another easier, kinder, gentler way down off Whiskey Dick Mountain. That’s where I made the mistake of being persuaded by Bruce – that his nav had located an easier way off the hill. “You see” (he said as he traced out the nav I couldn’t really see because my glasses had turned too dark and I couldn’t quite see the screen in the middle of his dash without sitting in his lap – which I wasn’t going to do) “this trail” (the one we were on) “goes over here to the west, then turns down, then we go down to Whiskey Jim Creek and then turn left and hit an unimproved road and get to Park Creek Rd.” Simple as that – right? And really – not to totally throw Bruce under the yellow multi-passenger off-road vehicle – Mary had found that our hard map kinda showed that as well. Also our map also showed the green dot area boundary ending before we got down to Whisky Jim Creek. An-nn-nd – maybe we should have paid attention to the sign that said “END OF GREEN DOT” when we passed it halfway down that last long steep hill. Okay – what the heck – I’m in for what’s begin represented as an easier way out.

Except it wasn’t really. Those hills over there are REALLY STEEP! And the gentle broad open expanse at the top very quickly becomes the one thin transition from broad mountain top, to terrifying sidehill on the north side of the mountain with nothing to stop you, cresting over a steep turn and switchback to the left, and another switchback to the right, then another traverse along another sidehill (this time driver side down and passenger side tire running over upended fence spikes – which made Mary only a little happier) and finally a long steep pick your way straight (side to side level finally thank goodness) down in your lowest gear – FINALLY to the bottom of Whiskey Jim Creek. (Phew!) And a left turn along the creek into……..almost nothing. The barest evidence of a long ago path was here largely overgrown with sagebrush. At least it was level – but I was recalling Casey’s voice echoing in my ears, “Moose – you’re on an ATV trail.” Yes – I have managed to do that both at Tahuya as well as a trail in Idaho a few years ago – but to be fair – it was only the outlet side of the trail was marked for ATV’s only and not the end we entered. We followed that track until we were up against the obvious end of the trail and a fence with barbed wire in front of us, and a VERY SOFT boggy stream bottom really a marsh at this time – with the open passage through the fence on the other side of the marsh. I was glad we all got through at least to the stream bed – because I was thinking of my friends behind me – especially tall rigs like Gary’s Zuk, Rudy’s white and gray Camo cow and that Avalanche – being taller and wider on a sidehill – but they all made it. Gary comments that 20 degree sidehill was not really a problem – but again – the optics of an ever steepening downhill with not much to stop you until the creek bottom a thousand feet below – 20 degrees doable is scant comfort.

So – our conundrum. The map was CERTAINLY correct about this being an unimproved road. If it was really private property – we expected it to be marked with a sign that noted “Private Property.” (Ya think?) Although even if on a public road – we just didn’t really want to drive 13 rigs through a soft area. And we didn’t know what we’d have if we did. We saw a farm off in the distance – and we felt it would be better with one or 2 lone Jeeps wandering into someone’s ranch with a glazed look saying “Sorry – we’re lost” instead of 13 rigs intrinsically indicating – “You got no choice – we’re coming.” (Oh yeah – pay no attention to that Timber Tamer sticker on all the rigs….) It appeared to be a little more than a hike – and I think Mihai wanted the uncertainty to end – so he kind of set up to do “The Mad Romanian” dash across the wet spot – and got through without getting stuck. I took our rig across – in the same spot but not in the same tracks – and also got through with only a little spin. Colin and Chad took a slightly different line cross two logs – but certainly the bottom was dryer there – and got through without making much of a mark. Finally – Mary and I followed by Mihai headed down the path to the farm we saw in the distance. And it only took another minute to get to the fence and the locked gate in front of us. Now – the double gate, the 2 leaves overlapped on each other, wasn’t secured with a lock. But it was pretty clear someone had spent a good bit of time wrapping the 2 halves of the gate with chain and bailing wire. This was not some casual gate folks opened and closed and drove through. The few wheel marks we could see in the area on our side of the fence did NOT go through that gate.

So – I had to get my head readjusted to being okay with the run back up what I thought was a loose hill. And the switchbacks. And the sidehills. But Mary (who I was now trusting far more with her hard map than Bruce with his nav) showed me the turnoff that would get us off the hill we used to come off the top of the mountain so we could avoid the switchbacks and the sidehill. Okay. Oh – and did I mention that just before we came back across the creek bottom – I discovered that our lockers weren’t working? Yeah – just another mental Zen game. Mary did the Rubicon in 2006 because of a leaky ARB in a NEW 9” diff without lockers – so I figured her Jeep could manage this too.

Actually – traction was fine going back up. And the turn showed up just before the switchbacks. Great! And then – and then – we sidehilled across that same dingy-danged mountain we did before – only this time on the south side of the mountain. Mary opined that I had planned it that way – to have her on the downhill side again. However – this time – the sidehill wasn’t so aggressive, and the drop off down hill did not appear so life-threateningly steep. And the one more right turn – and salvation was at hand! We could see the road out (albeit steep up and down and bumpy) paralleling the boundary fence out to Vantage Highway – somewhere in the distance. The wind was still blowing in a quite convincing manner – and so as long as the fire didn’t start up again – we were on the home stretch – and indeed – another 15 minutes – and we were at the lot where we started. 3 hours morning road time – 3 hours Colockum Pass time, now 6 PM meant it had been 3 more Green Dot hours of honest to goodness wheeling time – also known as “A Well balanced Day of Wheeling!” Time to air up and head for home. I had wanted to do a little wheeling on just “ONE MORE TRAIL” and had the typical Tamer experience in spades – I wouldn’t have missed it for anything.

Part the Postscript – 1

Our York air compressor is running/filling tires a little slow – something I have to fix – and between taking forever to fill the tires, and my blood sugar being pretty low – Mary reminded me that life would not be worth living for either of us without dinner in Ellensburg – so we headed into town, along with Colin and Chad behind us – into those still heavy headwinds from the west – to a restaurant in town. Felt good to sit and catch up – again these fine young men I’ve known for almost 40 years since they were boys – and it was a father’s day reward for me to spend time with them. Better yet – Chad got dinner! And – we’d had a friend feed the dogs – so they wouldn’t be too hangry at us for getting home late. (Which is not to say they let us off the hook for leaving them alone all day…) We had heard Gary pop up on the radio as we were pulling away from the trailhead that Rudy had gone off the road. It was established he’ just kinda tail-slid into the ditch by the road, and twisting hubs got him out quickly. So – I had dinner with a clear conscience. After dinner – heading out on I-90 – that headwind had started to diminish – so it wasn’t quite such a task heading west. It was almost home – until the gas light came on outside of Bellevue – and I had to do one more stop in Kirkland to fuel up and pee down – before we got home at almost 11 PM.

Part the Postscript – 2

Well – as I say – it’s the road miles that are the hardest on the rig. This next part reported to me by Gary Sunday morning. He mentioned Rudy sliding into the ditch his way out of the corral – simple enough. Then with Rudy and Bruce and Debbie showing the way – they got him out to I-90 – so he could then have a fight with nature! The headwind was really taking the speed (speed?) edge off his little Zuk with the sewing machine motor under the hood. He was able to approach 60 MPH in 4th (not his top gear) at about 4,000 RPM – which I guess he can do all day long. He had just gotten a few bites into a sandwich – when he saw a bunch of rigs on the shoulder – and yes – it was a troop of Tamers with JR and Steve S, plus Bruce and Debbie, Rudy and Gary. JR’s rig wasn’t tracking all that well – but he was thinking that maybe a little more air in the front tires was the ticket. They also called ahead to let Joe know what was happening – and I think he was pulled into the rest stop waiting to see how things were going to go.

Unfortunately – the simple fix wasn’t the fix – so JR went up to speed then backed off again. The group shepherding him along finally got well pulled off on a ramp so they could really take a better look without getting their tootsies ran over. Now – I find this story almost fitting – because I recall in days much longer ago on Tamer runs – JR had some reputation for being the hard luck kid. I seem to recall there were at least a number of runs – Jess would start – and then something would happen – either by the trail head or just after the start – or sometimes even at the last gas fill before the trail. Either his rig just mysteriously would stop running or otherwise would be some small untraceable ailment – or – something that really wasn’t a trailhead trail fix. And JR would head for home. There was one trail run that we were doing off the Mountain Loop that I think at the gas stop – he started leaking fuel – and it was a wet day – so you could see the drip-drip-drip trail of gasoline up the road. We joked that (in those days prior to GPS) we could drop a match to burn up the line of gas and figure out where JR was when we heard/felt the slight concussion “ka-whumpf” and see a CJ catapulting up over the trees in a graceful arc ahead as it lifted…….

Fortunately – at the second stop – an equally as simple problem was discovered. Joe suggested that they look more closely at the track bar – and sure enough – a bolt or nut at one end had jiggled out – and the track bar was no longer connected to the front axle – which indeed would make for totally crappy handling. Rudy found a spare fastener (again – whether nut or bolt I am not sure – but something that would fix the problem) and that did the trick.

And finally – on going down the hill from the top of Snoqualmie – it was downhill and the wind started letting up – and all parted ways about Fall City with radio hugs, kisses, manly handshakes, A-frame hugs or the fond greeting of your choice were exchanged as everyone peeled off to get home.

While the Colockum had its moment of ho-hum – Whiskey Dick Mountain and the GD Green Dots made up for it. And we got everyone together all day and all home in one piece. It was a great day on the trail with great folks.

Thanks all those who were able to come.

Thanks for readin’ –
And Keep On Wheelin’