Elbe Nov 2018

This is a long report and please forgive my grammar and typos etc.

More accurately Run Report for Busy Wild Trail, Cause that’s the only damn trail we saw all day!
This will most likely be a PG rated report so please bear with me as I try to describe one of the longest days I have spent with others on the Busy Wild Trail in Elbe Hills ORV park.

So we started off the day with the alarm blaring at us at about 5:30 am. Uggh, The wife and I are swing shifters so our bed time is usually 2am. We had tried to get to bed earlier the night before but changing someone’s schedule isn’t always easy. SO, we get our butts up, get some warm liquids into us and dressed for wheeling and out the door by about 7:30am.

I had set the time to meet up in the parking lot at 10am, and hitting the trail by 10:15am

The weather looked clear and the sun was up and we only hoped it would be a nice weather day!

We figured it would take us 2.5 hours to get there so we are pretty close to on time. Just about the time we get on the freeway I can feel a bit of my acid reflux reeling its ugly head. I had all kinds of remedies with me so I started to administer them, but it was pretty much a no go. Now I am under doctor’s care and take prescriptions as well as other things to keep this under control. But not this morning. I was in some pretty good pain driving my 1 ton with my Samurai in tow all the way down till just about Eatonville before it subsided a bit.  With my wife Casey driving her MissCreant Toyota we needed gas and the station in Eatonville is where we always top off. As we pulled in we saw LJ Evan, and John V. aka, RocDoc in the parking lot. I pulled the Doc to the side and asked his opinion about my situation and he recommended I go down to local grocery and pick up some stuff with certain ingredients. I took his advice and zipped down there and got some more things to swallow down to get my symptoms under control. It worked pretty good and it calmed my symptoms down and we were off and headed to the staging area.   I know this may seem a bit personal to write about now, but again bear with me as this will play role later in the day and add to the day of hell on the BusyWild!

I got a PRIME parking spot in the parking lot and right next to another Timber Tamer Steve in his well built Samurai. We also see one of our new candidates Chris who also has a Samurai. We got all unloaded and aired down and ready to roll by about 10:15am. We had a quick 5 minute drivers meeting and someone had heard that the other group from that area that was being lead by Dan Morefield had been there and had planned to be back in the parking lot by then.

So by 10:20 I figured we were starting late enough as it was we would have to catch the group out on the trail. They knew where we were headed, first trail sunrise, then a bit of mainline and of course the requested by all our group, the notorious and infamous BusyWild.

Up the road we went, and right into the Sunrise trail. With air compressor on, shift into 4wd and my highest low range we crawled in the trail about 500 feet and there was group stuck in front of us. I got out and asked if everything was ok. And low and behold I could look up front and see Dan’s dual whipped lighting stick lights and was informed Dan was having some alternator or regulator problems. I don’t know how long they had been sitting there but by the time we got in behind them Dan had his rig fixed and started moving along nicely. Sunrise trail is a nice little trail and with the recent rains it was wet and slick, but with still plenty of traction everyone in the line was making good crawling progress. From what I could see the other group had quite a few rigs but they all looked well built with decent mud tires and lifts etc. etc. Little did I know that each and every person and their rigs would be put to the test this day. Both with performance, reliability, stoutness and patience. This will end up being a day to remember, or two.

We got out of the Sunrise trail and onto the mainline and Dan stopped out by a clearing so we could get out say hellos and make greetings. I got a better look at theirs rigs they also got to check out ours. It was good to see Dan and Serena and make acquaintances with his 4 wheel buddies. We got a good head count of 15 rigs, whoa pretty large group.
6 of us being Tamers and the rest, friends with Dan.

We didn’t spend too much time here as we had tracks to make and a trail awaiting us. We all got back in and Dan led us up farther up the mainline to the BusyWild turn and up into the trail we all went. Now this portion never was too much of a challenge but once you got to the top someone had recently dug up some of the trail to make a slalom type axle twisting, tank traps that was twisting everyone up and maxing out their rigs articulation to the point of tires rubbing and bump stops doing their jobs.  Ok well that was pretty interesting and pretty cool and we all crawled through it fine.

We got the spot that is opening of the Gatekeeper to the tough portion of the Busy and Dan stopped us and had a short drivers meeting.
I was impressed with Dan’s drivers meeting covering the basics and letting everyone know it could be a 80 minute trail ride or an 8 hours trail ride, little did any of us know.

Dan also included we may only get about 500 feet as lots of rigs were out wheeling today and we knew other groups had already gone into the Busywild.
Two rigs decided to NOT do the Busywild and once we got rolling they crawled off the other way.
Dan had anyone without a winch in between guys that did have winches, but for the most part everyone was pretty well equipped.

Into the gatekeeper we went. Now I am not exactly sure which part they call the gatekeeper but I was familiar with this portion of the trail from years past and it had been a year since we were up here and this was way way dug up from what I remember. One spot that has always been tough was still there and Dan headed straight for it. His guys behind him took the go around which I have never seen before today but was grateful it was there. Dan ran that spot a couple times and someone finally threw in a small log into the rear hole he kept getting hung up on and he popped through it..YES!!!!
I was next in line and I thought maybe with my short wheelbase I could get through.

Sure enough my short wheelbase helped me tons. I crawled the driver side front up high almost onto the upper root before it plopped back down but it got my rear far enough over to miss the hole that had hung Dan up.
Casey in her MissCreant was next. She is about 20 inches longer than me but still maybe a bit shorter than Dan buggy. She crawled into the hole and sure enough got her left rear hung into the hole pretty well. We back her up and hit it with a bit of momentum, still no go. We had her back up a bit and hold. We threw another small log into that hole to help and had her go again, still no joy. I think I heard Dan or someone say, she will never make it.  So I had her back up a bit more as much as possible without the front tire coming off the root it had got over. So now me and my wife Casey and the MissCreant have this ummmm bond I guess you could say, or maybe a language is better word for it. It goes something like this. I look into the cab and make sure Casey can see me. I give her 4 fingers, meaning her tcases in 4.7, she gives me thumbs up, then I give her 2 fingers up, meaning trans in 2nd gear, another thumbs up. Next with 1 finger showing I wind and spin my finger and hand around and like I’m slinging her through I give her a go. This last sign means. Rev her up and dump the clutch, give her hell. Casey just loves this sign and I swear she gets giddy in the drivers seat when I give this sign. And once again this combination worked very well… Casey winds up that engine with that supercharger singing a bit on the 22re and dumps the clutch. And “wala” she popps through the obstacle.. Ok in reality this time she had to do it twice but it worked and onward we went.

I think Chris in his Samurai Buggy was next and he crawled right through. Roc Doc was next and we through another log in the hole for his right rear and he too was smooching the walls and crawling through. We got the hole group through only to be stopped by the group in front of us.

The next obstacle that we had to get through was a long trough with a deep left rut that was swallowing 35 inch tires. The mud was a consistency of cookie dough, it was not nice. Dan ran through it but it wasn’t easy. Dans group had let a few of us cut in front from the last obstacle versus some of them in the go around. I was after Dan and I had to take several runs to get through but made it. There were a few people who made it through that hole but lots in the group had to be winched.

Seeing I was now in the front position of the group and short I was able to get turned around and into position to winch people through. My poor old winch and it was old. It worked its butt off and pulled 6 to8 rigs through that muck before she bit the dust. It was a good winch for me for years but… wellll. R.I.P. old faithful winch.

By the time I had gotten back turned around and facing forward again with my cable now wrapped around mt bumper ends, lol. RocDoc was fully engulfed in that muck and it looked to me like his front locker or something was broke. Well thank goodness he just blew his bead on the tire.. But what a mucky mess. We got him up and out of the mud enough, but we had to keep his winch attached and proceeded to bust loose his lugs and he got out his bottle jack. Now Chris is new to our club and not even a full member yet but he was right there. He got the jack down into posision and I think he was stroking it up when it blew oil out the side all over Chris and everyone couldn’t believe what just happened, and started giggling and making fun the climaxing jack. So Chris put the valve back in and tried to screw it in and with the first pump it once again spewed out and all over Chris again. Now this had everyone laughing and I don’t think any voltage on any kind of paddle was going to revive that jack. It had jacked and spewed its last. Out came the high lift to get it up to throw on his full size spare to continue on.

Now I would like to take a minute or two here and describe the attitude of everyone at this point. I think everyone was frustrated. We weren’t very far down the trail and we were already into it about 3 hours at this point. I don’t know all the names of everyone in Dans group, but they were working their butts off along with tamers to get each and every rig through the obstacles and helping each other out. I am happy to say that everyone in both groups were doing as much as they could to help out and putting their best foot forward and I will wheel with anyone of them any day of the week. I was proud to be in this group and was also trying my best to do what I could.
We had no way of knowing that we hadn’t seen anything yet.

So Dan jumped back into his rig and heads down the trail with all 12 or us trailing along.
Now I was towards the rear as my winching had gotten a lot of people in front of me. No problems no worries everyone was moving along.
I swear Dan didn’t get another 1000 feet when I heard Casey get on the radio with something like “Holy shit, this is not good” and also another one like “I think Dan got swallowed”. And of course we all stopped. By the time I got out and up there to see what was up I think they had Dan already hooked up with winch and tree saver and was winching him slowly or just starting to winch. Now Dan buggy is pretty well built and he is running 39.5 iroks and both his left tires were completely under the mud and just spinning. He was not turtled but more high centered by the axles. That rut was VERY deep. And there was no go around at all. It also had dan at pretty close to 40 degrees tilt. One guy actually grabbed a small shovel and started working the relief hole to let the water and muck out of the hole. But this mud was nasty and just freaking deep. Casey was next, and again I tried the old “language”. I chose her lowest tcase gears 10.7 and thought maybe we could get them spinning enough with a 2nd gear in the trans. Spin her up and dump the clutch and give her hell. She got about the where Dan had got and just sunk. Holy smokes we got a lot of rigs to get thru here. One guy tried to do a go around which went around a tree and almost rolled it. He made it but it was pretty sketchy. One guy tried to follow the ruts in and then climb to straddle the ruts on the left side but as soon as he got to the relief area where he might get traction to get up out of the ruts his tire just sunk. that was a no go. I was dreading my turn as my doors leak really bad and knew I was would cab full of mud. Pretty soon it was my turn. I tried to get out of the ruts to straddle the left and sure enough my iroks gripped and got my front end up there but my back end would not follow. And within a few feet I was twisting up so bad and people directing me back. I followed spotters guide and backed out and just tried to gun it. I didn’t get even as far as most of the others and was up to my door handles on my drivers side…. After working it a bit, maybe a couple times forward and back I let them hook me up to winch. I took a quick assessment of the mud. hmmm up to my door handles and looking inside with the help of my cap light, cause it was dark by now, I could see the mud was thick enough to not seep through my doors and nothing was inside. As I had said I was towards the rear of this group now and they had managed to get a nice older yellow Toyota around the side of that tree where the one guy went around. They had snatched to a tree in front of the trail to winch us all through. Even then he had been pulled down several times and had to get repositioned numerous times to keep the winching going.

Getting thru this area was a 3 to 4 hour ordeal as we had so many rigs. Another rig that I thought I heard some engine knocking was now knocking pretty constant at higher rpms and I was wondering if he was going to make it?  Another guys winch a 10k was barely working, but it WAS working and was being used.

The Busy was taking its toll on all rigs and everyone involved, but we couldn’t turn around now. For the most part everyone was still running and trudging along and we figured it wouldn’t be too far till got into some of the easier parts of the trail.

We actually made a little progress till we got to a spot that was twisty around a big root and down hard and into some rocks and this caused some damage to the one Toyota that had IFS and tore his tie rod loose I think it was. This caused him to be way out of alignment, toed out like Marty Feldman style and with his boggers made almost impossible to get any forward movement. He actually came to a sudden stop when it happened and the guy behind him was having some braking problem which put his bumper into the tailgate of the Toyota 4runner stuffing the tailgate and breaking the glass. I can’t fault the guy behind him as we were doing our best to make any progress we could and the mud was slick as hell. Shit was just happening!

It was getting ridiculous, its almost like we or the trail was cursed today. With everyone working so hard and stuff still happening it just seemed like something was against us….
Oh and remember all that medication I took in the morning. Yea well it all wanted out right now. Uh oh…. I looked at Casey’s rig and my rig and she was closer. Now remember its dark and its it nothing but puddles and mud and I literally had to run to get to the TP and then find a stump to get behind, I barely made it and man o man. I won’t get into too much detail. But I had to stay there for a few minutes and got to thinking. Anything that can go wrong on this run is going wrong. Well actually it wasn’t raining so I guess we had to give thanks for that.

By the time I got back to the scene of the crime…lol. They were now trying to push the 4 runner forward with another 4 runner behind him with the rod knock. They really didn’t have much choice anymore and they got about 50 feet. It was also getting pretty late. I looked at my watch and it said close to 8pm. I tried my best to make the glass half full and said hey, if this was summer time it would still be light out. I’m not sure if it helped much but a couple people said, yea your right.  So we winched tugged and slid and pushed and drove that 4 runner to the next little space off to the side and decided to leave it, and come back tomorrow. We had to get out of the woods, and as much as we hate to leave a rig in the woods, I think it was the best any of us could do. We got Jacob a seat in another rig and got to moving along again.

We had made it thru most of the bad rutted areas and were feeling pretty good, the rest should not be too bad. Once I saw the rock garden on the right I thought wow the half way point on this trail isn’t too far away. And it was downhill. We might get out of here yet.

Then we stopped and over the radio I heard something about Dan and a log or?? I ran up there and somehow Dan got a 6 inch diameter tree/log stuck into his front end. Are you fucking serious? How does this happen and it wasn’t like we could just pull it out. Shit it was like 20 feet long and heavy. We had Steve get out his chain saw and cut it down to a manageable size and still couldn’t pull it out. We got Casey pulled around and used a strap to gently pull it out and move along. Remember me saying something about anything that could go wrong is going wrong.  Oh my god this is crazy shit! I got back in my rig and I think maybe we got to move about 50 feet and stopped and then heard something about samurai and spindle or something?  So I jumped out and ran up to find Chris’s rig with his wheel tire and spindle hanging onto rig by the brake line. With lots of people already around and they worked to try to get it jacked up and back on. And oh yea, remember all those freaking remedies and ingredients took in the morning, they wanted out again,.,NOW!! Again I found a big stump to get behind and do my business.  I actually was able to compose myself and even pull RocDoc to the side and ask him about it. He kind of laughed and said “oh yea I forgot to tell you about that part”. I told him I would MUCH rather be dealing with what I was dealing with than to suffer that god awful pain that I was in earlier in the morning. With it getting so late and cold by now they decided once again to leave the rig, and we packed most of Chris’s gear and tools n such into back of my Sami and he rode with me from that point on.

Moving along some more and not very far I noticed no lights behind me. Checking on the radio and sure enough RocDoc was having some troubles and his right or left upper johnny joint on his control arm had broke. He got it bailing wired back together but was moving very, very slowly. The rest of us proceeded and finally made it to the half way point where we had some good discussions and talked about how to get out. The moon was full and giving us light to BS outside our rigs. Someone brought up the fact that this trail is a bitch and once in, you can’t get out except to either turn around or go all the way thru…Unless someone could get a helicopter in.

RocDoc and the guys in front and rear of him stuck with him to get him to the half way point and we didn’t sit too much longer to get rolling again. It was decided I could get in front of him in case he needed a tug up the hill to get out or any other time. With my low gears it would work well. So with the 1 hour break at the half way point to get us all together again we headed off to the easiest part of the trail. With Dan leading the way they made it down across the bridge and up into the other side, where Casey got stuck. As I was crawling along slow keeping RocDoc close in case he needed a tug and make sure he knew where to go as I tried to pick the easiest lines, as if we had much choice anyway.

As I approached where Casey was stuck and everyone lined up behind her I saw a path to the left and tried it. Sure enough it was easier and I was able to get around everyone and back in to give a pull point for Casey. We hooked up a strap and with a quick tug she was free. I found a spot to pull forward and get out of the way as the others were able to get thru a small opening and go left off the main trail onto the easier way I had found on the left. I think maybe one guy right behind Casey was passed the small opening and had to get winched. They all got passed me and I pulled out in front of RocDoc to provide what needed help he may need to up the last hill.

The rest of the group was crawling slow and weaving through and starting up the hill. RocDoc was going very slow and finally at one point had stopped. I radioed back is everything is ok and I guess he had broke the other side Johnny joint and was just creeping along slow. He made it close to the roc garden but things weren’t doing good so we hooked up a strap to him. We kept the strap taught but at times things slacked up. At one spot there were a few trees across the trail with a small one on it covering half way across the trail.

Now I don’t know how the strap got under that little tree but it did… Really? Are you kidding me? I sure as hell didn’t drive my samurai under that tree. Easy fix, then onward.

We proceeded with everyone making it up the last hill winding thru the trees and stumps. I had to stop a couple of times for RocDocs passenger to lift the strap up and over or pulling it around an obstacle as we made out way up the hill.

We finally got out into the exit opening. The Toyota that was knocking made it out. 12 rigs went in 10 came out but everyone was safe and sound. It was about 11 to 11:30pm at the end of the trail.

Now we still had to get back to the parking lot. The knocking yota was just ahead of me and we stayed behind him and obviously he was having problems and creaping along very slow. That was ok as RocDoc was going pretty slow due to his front end as well.

We didn’t quite make it the main road before the the yota gave up the ghost. I asked if it was oil or stem and he answered it was a little bit of both. Now his buddy was still with us and he hooked him up and start the tow back to the parking lot. It was slow but we made it back.

Chris now had an empty trailer so he loaded up RocDoc to get him home.
It was now about 12 or 12:30am. Everyone was either loading up trailers or airing their tires back up. As I was loading up The Sami when Casey came over and said the MissCreant was dead and no electrical power while she was airing up. So with trying to keep this a little shorter in the end. ME and Casey were the last ones out of the parking lot. We got down into Elbe and the MissCreant was still acting up. So we swapped the MissCreant with the Sami on the trailer. Of course the airing up of the Sami didn’t go well. The air compressor wasn’t working right, but we finally got it all aired up and took off. Now the Samurai on 36 inch Iroks does very well at about 55 to 60 mph but the gears are off a bit and the engine is taching out about 4k.  In any case we finally got home at 4:15am… It was a long and tough day for sure.

Timber Tamer Elbe Run 11-25-2018 Day 2 Recovery

I had told Chris I could possibly help him recover his rig. As I hadn’t been able to get to bed till 5am and woke up at 7am with thoughts of how to get those guys out the woods, I just couldn’t sleep. So at 8am just like I said, I called him… I asked him what can I do to help? He told me he needed to get his parts and tools back up to his rig to try to fix it and drive it out. I can do that. So the plan was he gets to my house from Sedro Wooley and we trailer the MissUnderstood (Samurai) down there use it to get to his rig along with his quad. Alrighty, let’s do this.

He got here about 9:30am and we loaded up. I noticed his quad was a two wheel drive and I told him I wasn’t sure it would make it up there. But we would deal with that later.

I figured I could sleep on the way down in the back of his truck. It was Him and his Dad Lynn and me. On the drive down word was getting out and Jacob had put in a WORN (Washington Offroad Recovery Network) notice and word was getting out. The wife started texting me and others were trying to get a hold of me. Travis is a Timber Tamer and the wife recruited him to head down and see what he could do to help. Now his rig is a newer 4 door JK Rubicon but its built up pretty good and maybe we can get it into the woods. With all the communication going on I couldn’t sleep a wink.

We get down there and head straight towards the exit of the Busy. We figured we get the truck and trailer as close as we can. Now this was a borrowed truck and it was very nice, but it didn’t quite fit up with the trailer that well so the trailer dragged a lot. So it was slowww going all the way on the dirt roads. And honestly if I had loaned him my truck I would want him treating it exactly as he was treating it.

So I am navigating and sure enough I lead him down the wrong road and we get to the end. shit. We decide to unload the MissUndrstood to get the weight off the trailer and we make a Tamer Turn (Turn Around). Can’t be on a run without and official Tamer Turn. Now I’m feeling like a shmuck as I just lost some valuable daylight time. But it turn out ok in the end.

We get back to the exit of the Busy and start loading up the MissUnderstood when someone crackles on the radio. I thought it was Travis. It was scratchy enough I couldn’t tell but got enough directions to him to get him to us. Then I finally asked who it is. It is Brett and he is here to help get the people out of the BusyWild Trail. Very cool.

Just then Travis shows up. Cool we can get up there without dealing with the quad. Brett shows up in his quite capable looking Cherokee and with a few introductions and thanks for showing up we get going into the trail. We get down the first hill and Brett stops to take his doors off and set them up against a tree stump, ok whatever? We continue on with no real problems other than being a bit tight for Travis in his JK. But we are making decent progress. We get to the bottom of the hills and across the bridge and start up the other side. I looked at Chris and said I don’t remember this being this bad. He reminded me it was dark and we were coming down.

Well we got to the first spot that I figured we would have to winch the JK and he crawled up and over it with a little momentum. The Cherokee was next and he struggled with it. But he got up and over it ok. Onward to the next big step up and if my memory serves me we had to do a quick winch pull for the JK and then also with the Cherokee, it was at this time I noticed that the Cherokee was open diff front and rear. Oh man, really? Oh well we will do the best we can.

We made it to the half way point and looked up to see Jacob standing on a rock with a backpack or bag in his hand. We stopped and asked how long he’d been up here and he said since about 12:30. It was getting late he had started to walk out instead of getting caught in there after dark. We loaded him into Travis’s rig and he continued back up to the rigs.  Son of a bitch this was not very good and again I told Chris I didn’t remember it being this bad. I had to lock up both my front and rear in several spots, and we had to winch the JK and Cherokee in numerous spots as well.

But I also got to tell you, Brett was driving the shit out of that Cherokee and he knew how to make it work. And when he did have to winch his co-driver was all over it and his winch was working well and was a fast winch. I was impressed and at some point I had to let him know.

We got through the muck and roots and puddles and steps up the long hill. I was hoping the traction was going to be ok and sure enough we all managed to crawl up to the top. But then there was a couple of stumps and dug out areas around roots. Me and the JK made it thru but not easily. We almost got the Cherokee thru but we winched him through and once again his winch and crew shined through.

While we were winching him Chris had walked up to his rig, we were that close. So we all jumped in our rigs and get up to Chris’s broken down rig. Chris went to work right away and direct me to get turned around and lights pointed into the work area before dark fell. I got up and turned around and got into position and just let my MissUnderstood idle there. The others decided to walk up to Jacobs rig as it wasn’t too far away.

Remember all those remedies and ingredient’s I took the day before. Well they rearing their ugly heads again.. God damn it…. LOL
I found the big stump I used last night to hide behind and with mostly everyone gone and or working on their rig I took care of my business.
I wasn’t quite dark yet and everyone got back and reaffirmed it would be very tough to get Jacob’s rig out. So he would wait for his parts and come back on Tuesday to repair it in the woods and drive it out. I was pretty much worthless on the repair but everyone else was doing their part to help. They ended up having to snatch to a tree, right in the vicinity of my big stump where my business got handled. Oh man this is just getting better and better. They managed to stay on the good side of where my dumps were. They doubled back to Chris’s rig to get it up in the air. But it kept sliding over so we found the cut log  from Dan’s fiasco the night before and wedge some other wood to keep the rig from slipping sideways, to work the spindle back on and get the bolts and the drum and wheel bearings back on.

Chris got it all back together but it wasn’t solid so once we started it was slow going. But he motored all the way out under his own power. We didn’t make it back into the exit area until very late and was greeted by Jacobs people. I don’t know who they were but it was good to see a welcoming crowd and people who cared about him.  AWESOME stuff.

We got Chris loaded up and onto the trailer I was going to drive the MissUnderstood home again… LOL
It was slow going again on the way out and sure enough his trailer scraped here and there but was good.

At the Y right below the main staging parking area we ran into a gal with an FJ40. She was up there to help get the people out of the trail and I knew she knows Dan because her light stick was one so we stopped and talked few a few minutes. I guess my wife had gotten worried about us as it got so late. So Dan and some others put together a posse to come help us. They checked the parking and it was empty I am assuming they left. We must have missed them but just a few minutes?

Travis and I got down the pavement and aired up. And got on the road for the long ride home. I got home about 12:30 am.

I want to be sure and thank everyone who was involved in the actual run and the recovery efforts’ even as far as communications with the recovery. It was a trying weekend and with everyone’s efforts’ I know everyone was safe and sound. We all hated leaving any rigs out on the trail but for safety sake and common sense I think it was the right thing to do.

My apologies to the families and loved ones who got so worried about us in the woods.

I know this was a long run report and hope I didn’t bore you too much.
I am not a writer and I apologize for my typo’s, spelling and grammar. Once again it is the best I can do. Hehe

This is run that will told over campfires and remembered for a lifetime.

Thank you once again all for everything you did and for reading this run report.

Gary M

Day 3, More recovery!

So, when we had left on Sunday night, we were under the impression that Jacob could get the parts he needed and do a trail repair and be out by Tuesday. We figured a couple days in the woods as much as we hated it would be ok especially during the week. So, I think I texted Jacob on Monday and he told me the main part was back ordered but a couple other pieces would get here Tuesday and he thought maybe he could weld on the steering knuckle enough to get it out. Sounds like he had a plan.
In the meantime I had double checked my rig and found some bad connections to my winch as well as to my compressor and a few turns of the wrench I was 100% back in working order.
Now keep in mind this place is pretty damn close to 100 miles away from me and with traffic it takes about 2 ½ hours for me to get there.
I let things slide on Tuesday hoping he could work his mechanical magic and get his rig fixed and out. So, when I texted him on Wednesday and he told me it was still in the woods and he had welded the knuckle but the other side had broken, I was thinking this is not good. Jacob told me he was going back out Thursday to try to weld the other side.
I am not sure if my sequence of events are correct with his trail repairs but when I texted him again on Thursday afternoon he said that he had gotten the passenger side welded up and got down the trail about 200 feet and then the drivers side weld broke again and then the tire came of the bead and he had to leave it with winch attached and rigged to prevent it rolling over.
Ok well this is not good and I told him I would get back to him THAT night and stay tuned.
I started calling in my “Big Guns” to a guy, Karl, that has lots of experience with recovery and has the rig to do it. I also got a call from Dan from down there, that had kind of lead our group thru the Busy the previous Saturday. Dan was working his local guys to try to get something going that night but it was getting late and it was raining and damn near freezing temperatures. We all finally decided to meet up the next morning at 10am in the main staging area. Now Dan had contacted the local DNR guy named Adin so that he may grant us access to a service road that would make extraction TONS easier. This would prove invaluable to our efforts.

So with me working a swing shift schedule I took off from work about 2 hours early to get home and get loaded up, and try to get some sleep. I got my rig loaded up and found my 1 ton had a headlight issue that I felt like I had to fix. I got it fixed but it sure took away from my sleep time. Geesh can anything else go wrong….??? Of course, it can.

So my alarm goes off..damn I hate that thing. And I couldn’t tell you what time it was. I had no idea what morning traffic is like. So I headed out early. I hit the freeway and it was backed up solid bumper to bumper. As I was waiting to the green light to get on the freeway Karl called. His daughter was sick and his cat needed to be at an appt, but he said he would be there just maybe about an hour late.
I followed Garmin’s directions and it took me a different way but it got me past and around several accidents and delays and I ended up hitting south end earlier than anticipated. I stopped and got a dozen donuts for everyone and headed out to the staging area. I got pulled off the main highway and saw behind me a Chev truck towing an empty trailer and a Nissan Exterra behind him and figured it was Jacob and friends. As we pulled in the parking/staging area we saw the DNR guy parked and waiting.
No keep in mind this is still Friday. Those of us that could, called in sick and/or got the day off to try to get this done.
I got unloading my rig and about then another rig showed up with a pretty well built jeep and I thought cool something bigger than my samurai was here. Hehe.
Once unloaded we all preceded to make introductions. Adin was the DNR guy there to be sure we knew where the service road was and probably wanting to watch this whole escapade.LOL. Jacob the forerunner’s owner, his friend Austyn and Austyn’s wife Hayley in the Exterra, and Brandon with his built jeep. Once we got introductions, Dan showed up in his Nissan pickup with a friend of his James.
Dan had a quick little briefing and/or driver meeting to remind us what we were doing and safety is ALWAYS number one, etc etc.

We got heading out to the service road and found a place to park Jacobs truck about as close as we could to the service road. It just so happened that Austyn could get cell service so we called Karl to let him know where we were located. He said he was in Elbe and not too far away. Fantastic. We started down the service road and the Nissan truck got a lil stuck in one of the tank traps and need a quick pull. The Exterra got his lower front light torn or bent a little bit, but they were fine with it. By the time we figured out where we could make the jump over to the actual trail Karl was motoring down to us. Perfect timing. Now Karl’s jeep isn’t much to look at but this thing is built for this stuff and he has got a 4-speed atlas in it and roll cage to handle just about anything we can throw at it. 37 inch pitbull rockers linked front and rear. My little samurai isn’t so little with toy axles, 6.4 gear reduction in tcase with a shogun doubler case in front and running 36 inch iroks. We both had full functioning Warn XD9000i Winches to help. Brandon’s Jeep was by no means any slouch. He had 14 bolt in rear, heavy half tons and a small block that sounded nice. He had an upright 8274 winch that was fully operational.
We walked to Jacobs rig and it didn’t look good. He was perched with front end entering into steep downhill rutty area between two stumps and the right rear tire about 3 feet off the ground. We assessed the situation and saw his winch cable was breaking thru about half way and he had set it up to a tree and then secured the side of the rig with a tree saver to keep it from rolling any further in case it rained heavily and or wind came up. It was pretty precarious position to say the least.
Ok we got it figured out, we could just pull him up and backwards  with his rear wheels helping and basically just dragging the front end till we could get him to the point of leaving trail to pop over to service road. At that point we could get his front end winched up and secured to back of Karl’s rig and Piggy back or Tow truck him out.
Nice plan, right?

Well we started tugging and Karl’s rig got him up and about 4 or 5 feet where his front end caught a stump and it stopped, We then got Brandon’s rig around the other side where we had to snatch Brandon’s line to a tree and back to Jacobs front end to pull his front away from the stump. I think it was at this point we also decided to just remove the tire as it was doing nothing but getting caught on stuff.
Ok once again we began pulling but it was a lot for Karl’s rig and traction wasn’t at premium. We then got the Samurai in front and strap it to Karl’s jeep and both start pulling along with Jacob in reverse. We were making progress but then it stopped. We hooked Karl’s winch to a nearby tree using a tree saver and with winching and Karl under power and Samurai pulling in low gears as well as Jacobs power, we got a little father up. The we stalled again. With no good tree to hook Karl too we ran my winch cable out to a tree and pulled with my winch and Samurai and Karl’s jeep under power. It was slow going but we were going. Everyone was working their butts off rigging and rerigging and spotting etc.
We finally got Jacobs rig in a position we could pull his front end around. But before we did we had me get the Samurai out and up and onto the access towards the service road. Next we winched Jacobs rigs front end around and making sure we had good solid wraps on Jacobs winch drum and the broken portion of cable well into the drum they winched his front end up lifting it off the ground.
Now remember Jacobs truck still ran but only had rear wheel drive. We struggled getting him up ad off the trail and the spot we chose to access service road was soft and tough to get traction. With a few attempts we were able to get all three rigs up and over the hump and out onto the service road. We didn’t stop and slowly motored our way back up the main road where Jacob has his trailer. Those tanks traps had Jacobs rig swinging and swaying and I swear in my rear view mirror looking through/around  Karl’s rig, it looked like he was going to flop over on his side a couple of times but he didn’t. We got it back to the trailer I pulled along side with Karl lining up with straight on trailer and we got him disconnected.
We kind of took a break at this point and it was getting cold. It actually had rained a little on us already but now I swear it was snowing..yep.. It didn’t last long and Hayley was gracious enough to have brought along lunch for us.. We all took a break and chowed on some pulled pork with barb sauce and waters for everyone.. What a treat and it was good too. Kudos to Hayley she saved the day!!!
We still had a hell of a time getting him loaded onto his trailer and Brandon used his winch to tug and position and tug some more till we finally got him loaded up to get his rig home.
I cant thank everyone enough for coming out to help out. We couldn’t have done it without you.
We had people from the south end groups and Timber Tamers from the North end as well as DNR pitching in to make sure Jacobs rig got out before the rush of weekend wheelers ravaged his rig.
I know like Dan said. We all gave up some sick or vacation and it isn’t free to do this stuff. But in the end I know Jacob was thankful and grateful and it just goes to show what we do for each other in the community to help others and promote our hobby.
Thanks to each and everyone for everything you did and do!

Gary M