Gallagher Head Lake June 2015

GALLAGHER HEAD LAKE – June 20th, 2015.

Since Casey was the trail captain, and Moose was the trail leader, we decided to do 2 run reports. So, lots of reading this month! Enjoy.

RUN REPORT 1.0

As Trail Captain, I quickly Elected Moose as trail Leader! I had no idea where we were going. I believe Moose and I will be doing Co-Run Reports….this should be interesting…..especially considering the little shenanigan between the two of us and some much desired yard art!
We had 12 rigs on the run, and met at the North Bend Safeway at 10am, and were on the road by 10:15, no “Tamer Time” today! Members were Tammy, Heather, Cindy, Jake B, Moose and Mary, Curt Brady, Bruce and Debbie, and Gary and Casey. We also had 3 guest join us, Rhea Castillo, Brandon DeRosa and Andrew MacLachlan. Rick and Jennifer met us up there, as they somehow missed the North Bend Exit.
The drive up the hill to Roslyn was uneventful. Airing down was uneventful, though many of the jeeps took this opportunity to remove doors, tops, windows, etc, to get a better enjoyment of the beautiful day…including the dust and biting bugs!
Since we have never been on this trail before, and Moose had, it was decided that Moose would lead the group, and Gary and I would be tail gunners (or sweepers as Curt says). This was the first 2-person trail trip with the rebuilt Samurai, so with all her new equipment, while Gary was driving, I was attempting to get the GPS set up and recording, figure out how to get the radio working with the blue tooth on the phone, and where the heck to stock the CB Michrophone. I stuffed the CB Mike in the Ashtray, as it seems like a perfectly accessible place for it to rest. As Gary and I argued about how to connect the phone to the stereo via BT, Gary realized the CB was ON! Apparently stuffing it in the ashtray had pushed the Talk button….for a while, and we entertain the rest of the group with our bantering about how to connect the devices. BTW – I was correct (duh)!
Curt found a loose hose under his jeep and we had to stop to figure out where it came where we should try to re-connect it to….The swarm quickly found that it was not a devastating issue, and he tossed it inside the rig, until further notice.
We lunched at the lake, while the kids splashed in the water, and decided after lunch, we would go further up the mountain, to the end of the trail. Moose hadn’t been up there before, so this would be new territory for him as well. We rounded the corner of the last bit, and found a nasty hill climb. Everyone parked at the bottom, and watch as those before them, clawed and scratched their way up it. When it came to the last 2 rigs, we found there was a pleasant little by pass that could be used.
At this point, I spotted an Awesome piece of Yard Art! An old rusty, and quite heavy crank shaft, likely from a piece of old mining equipment. As Tammy struggled a bit to get footing up this hill, I asked Andrew if he could please just toss that Yard art in Tammy’s rig, and I would sneak it into our pickup at a later point in time, while Gary as not looking. Bingo, I had something really cool, and cleaned up the trail too! When Mary discovered the beautiful Yard Art was now missing from the side of the trail…well, she was just not happy, as she felt she had Spied it first, and figured she would snatch it on the say down….but alas it had already been claimed.
This is also where approximately 9 gazillion Mosquitos came out to eat us alive! Of course, this brought up the usual song by Moose…. “There’s a skeeter on your peter….” Well, you know the rest!
The rest of the trip down hill was also uneventful, except that Curt has some small issue with a drive line??? Not sure, as by the time the end of the line reached them, they were back on the trail. At the bottom of the trail, some of us went to one place to air up, and some to another down the road (depending on where your trailer was parked). I asked Gary to hurry up, so we could catch up to Tammy before she headed home….”Why” he asks…. Well, I didn’t want to tell him I have a precious piece of Yard Art stashed in Tammy’s jeep….and that if I didn’t nab it quickly, Mary would surely offer to take it off Tammy’s hands. We and Jake Aired up, and boogied down to where the others were, so I could collect my treasure….only to find it NOT IN TAMMY’s Jeep anymore! May claims no idea where that went….others are quiet…..Moose too at first claims he has no idea…..but, quickly came clean….telling me that he was going to haul it home for me, and it is in the back of his van! Whew, I go to the back of the van, and I see nothing, except a bunch of blankets….underneath about 3 blankets I finally found the rusted hunk of metal! I didn’t realize until now, that it seemed to weigh about 150 lb! It took both Tammy and I to hoist it over the truck bed, into the safety of the 3D….all, while trying to keep this secret from Gary.
Several members of the group decided to stop for dinner, as it was now quite late in the day…around 8:30 or so. It was just Tammy and Gary and I who wanted to get home, so we continued together. It was pretty easy for Gary to keep track of Tammy behind us, as she had a headlight out….but just over the top of the pass, coming down the long hill….the 1-headlight jeep disappeared from view! Yikes….we slowed, and watched, and the phone rang! When she tried to get around that last car that merged going about 45 MPH, her jeep did a “poof”, lost power, and died! She pulled to the side, and it won’t start! We hit the first exit, and headed back up the hill, to try to rescue the red Jeep. Since Gary and I know so much about jeeps, I took the opportunity to call Moose, to see where he was at, and let him know where we were, and that we may need some help getting her going, or if nothing else, putting her rig on his trailer. Gary was able to check fuses and fuel, when Moose arrived. They checked this, and check that, and Mary even showed us that jeeps have a little button, that when pushed, gas spit out of it, all over whoever is pushing the button. (Thank you Moose for being that button pusher). Next, we started checking for spark….and TADA! The coil wire had come loose from the coil! Once connected, she started right up, and off we went! This time, Tammy was put between us and Moose, to ensure she would get home safely.
All in all, it was an awesome day on the trails. This was Casey’s perspective on the day…we shall see what Moose’s perspective is soon.
SIDE NOTE: THE NEXT HEAVY, RUSTY CRANK SHAFT WE FIND ON THE TRAIL….MARY HAS ALREADY PUT DIBS ON IT!

Casey

 

To Gallagher Head Lake! (And Beyond!!!!)

Memorable are the times when a wheeler’s internal wants, desires and needs perfectly converge with the native perfection and beauty of the natural existential world. The universe provided such an opportunity last Saturday.

The external existential world? Sunshine, blue skies, moderate temperatures, gentle breezes, a beautiful trail in alpine vistas eventually leading out on top of the world.

A wheeler’s internal wants, desires and needs? Pride in your rig. Pride in your abilities. A good challenge. Your community of friends both of long standing or just met. Bad jokes and good puns. (Or was it the other way around?) Laughter. Good will. Time to kill. A day to chill.

Yep. All were waiting in the wings as Auto-M and I pulled into the North Bend Safeway parking lot at 9:28 AM – a full 32 minutes before the trail boss (Casey) had called the commencement of the run to order. For we were to be meeting at 10 AM CST (Casey Sleepy Time) for a leisurely departure some time thereafter to the woods. Imagine my surprise to see Gary and Casey already there, with at least a few members of the peanut gallery all poised with their fingers on their phones ready to start texting me at 9:30AM to provide harassment about my non-tardiness. Ha! Apparently I was too smart for them, rolling in way before the bewitching hour.

And over the next 45 minutes – a group of 11 Tamer rigs formed up. A Cherokee, JK’s, TJ’s, even 1 CJ (and late enough that no one went wheeling attired in their PJ’s) and off we went in the sun – up over Snoqualmie Pass, and heading eventually up Rt. 903 to the air-down point at Salmon La Sac.

Now – The last time I went to Gallagher – had to have been – an impossible amount of years before – at least 7 or 8. And the first time I ever wheeled it was in the last century – I was still driving my old CJ, “The Mangy Moose.” Auto-M and I had considered getting married almost 4 years ago at Gallagher Head Lake. We were considering asking the club to hoss guests the 20 miles from Salmon La Sac to the lake. Good thing that plan was re-evaluated – since 4 years ago in July – that was the year there was still 3 to 5 feet of snow on the ground in the area. That’ a tough way to put on a reception and get married barefoot standing in the water. (Which is what we instead ended up doing over near Tahuya – standing in the Tahuya River saying our vows and smooching away.)

But I digress. (I do so happily – but I digress nonetheless….) The point is that time passing makes me a little hazy on the location of trailheads I never was that certain about to begin with. I think Auto-M and I were the only two on this run who’d been to Gallagher before, and not “officially” being the trail leaders – we were hoping not to totally bone out on the first important turn on the trail.

Of course – new rules started getting in the way of faulty memory immediately. The trailer parking area I remembered hazily at the old Ranger Station was now paved (okay!) and marked with a sign “15 minutes parking only” (Booooo-Hisssss!!!!) And the nearby horse camp had plenty of parking – but now it’s a total fee area. So – we pulled a u-ey and parked on the first paved road off to the left – where to my surprise – was a sign “Parking on this side only.” Well – okay no problems parking in front of a sign where it says you can park – but a deserted road in the middle of nowhere – was this bit of government expenditure really necessary? No matter. Auto-M’s rig came off the trailer easily, and we headed into camp to join with our willing trail-buds.

I had checked about 3 or 4 reports on that new-fangled internet (no Rudi – I did not load the GPS coordinates in my phone – in case there was no signal) and relied on the fact that each of them said “Go 6.74 miles from the start of the 4330 road to the right turn onto the Fortune Creek Trail.” Oh my yes – they all did say that. Of course – if I’d had Moosenstein – that would have been useless info – since I have neither speedo OR odometer in that – but over a short distance – the not quite calibrated speedo in Auto-M’s Jeep should be close enough for government work.

I think all those trail reporters were reading each other’s press – because Mary and I were tail-gunning and Casey and Gary were leading – with 9 rigs in between us. So when our odometer passed 6.8 miles, slowly rolling to 7.0, then 7.3 – I was getting a little concerned. And then – it hit me. The Fortune Creek Trail was the first right turn after crossing the Fortune Creek Bridge (What a Coincidence!) – and it all started falling back into place. All ahead of us had passed the trailhead. I called on the radio to make sure everyone got a taste of a time honored Tamer tradition – which is a Timber Tamer turnaround. And – in Biblical fashion – the last became first and first became last – Auto-M and I took the lead, and Gary and Casey brought up the tail.

For those who have yet to travel this trail – it is more trail than logging road, yet nothing that’ll pose the need for you to have to change your shorts along the way. (Well – not unless you scare easily or your Depends aren’t properly hitched up around your tushy….) It no doubt was drier than usual. Plenty enough dust, and the little play area along the lower part in the creek bed of Fortune Creek – had nary more than a trickle of water to be seen here and there. However – just before the turn onto a short bit of logging road in the middle of the trail – a few natural springs and seeps still placed enough water on the trail that Cindy was able to get a splash or two of mud on her. (That sort of thing is CRITICAL for Cindy to have a true trail experience.)

The closer we got to the lake – the last little bit has a pretty good hillclimb – drivers choice split either to the right or left. I recall the first time I went, I took the less steep leg to the right, since the left looked impossibly steep. Ehhhh – not so much anymore. (And it also helps to have a properly geared Jeep that runs uphill – because on my very first trip – the tall gears in my CJ and the Holley street carb that wouldn’t run worth a hoot uphill surely upped the “fear me” quotient in my innards.) Yes – the left was steep and littered with slippery, loose sharp rock shards – but nothing that the Jeep didn’t walk up in its stride. And after another ½ mile or so through a relatively level green grass and wildflower meadow – Lake Gallagher lay invitingly off the driver’s side in the little saddle between the peaks and the sparse high mountain forests – looking as pretty as it ever has with sun and blue sky illuminating the glory of the mountains ringing the scene. We went to the end of the lake, circling the rigs at a little camp spot at the far end of the lake. A family in a BITCHIN’ 4WD drive Ford pop-top camping van didn’t even seem too upset to have their idyll disturbed – although I’m sure they were happy when we shut off all motors (and were probably happier still when we departed a few hours later.)

And then the real fun began. Kids piled into the shallow end of the lake for more splashing than swimming, and making footprints in the mud, and disturbing the local wildlife (frogs) minimally – being good, inquisitive kids – for a little while – sans electronics. (You will see in the credits at the end of the story when we write the screenplay that no animals were harmed during the making of this adventure, save maybe for a few bugs regrettably sent to their final reward from splattering on windshields on the way over or back.) The chronologically older children (those with driver’s licenses masquerading as adults) lined up the lawn chairs and opened up lunches and drinks, and soaked in the goodness of the surroundings. Jake pulled out an MRE (meals rarely edible) pack SO complete – that not only did it provide him a totally balanced hot 5 course meal, but also put on a floor show, served after dinner drinks, cleaned itself up and threw itself away . (Yeah – right….) Actually – about 10% of that story is 100% true – it’s up to you to decide which is which.

And then – it happened. The bad (good?) jokes started coming out. Most of them even clean enough to have the chronologically younger children present.

“What do you call a woman with 1 leg shorter than the other?” (Ilene)
“What do you call a cow with 2 legs shorter than the others?” (Lean beef)
“What do you call a cow with no legs?” (ground beef)
Which then roll into the series of “What do you call a man with no arms or legs…..” jokes – thusly:
“….laying in a woodpile?” (Chip)
“….being towed behind a boat?” (Skip)
“….laying under a car with a flat tire?” (Jack)
“….floating in the water?” (Bob)
“,,,,laying on the side of the road?” (Phil)
“….laying on your porch?” (Matt)
“….hanging on the wall?” (Art)
Which then gave way to a joke permutation that I have never heard before.

Jake posed the question, “What do you call arms and legs hanging on the wall?”

Think, think, think. Nope – dunno.

“Pieces of Art!”

“OH NO – YOU’RE KILLING ME!” (Actually – I loved it!)

We almost lost Cindy – she was laughing so hard, she was crying into her napkin. It was going to be another 15 to 20 minutes before she’d be able to compose herself enough to drive.

I am so proud of my fellow Tamers. Years ago I had started a tradition of serving out Hostess donettes to all present, intoning that, “It’s not a trail run until you’ve had a donut.” Well – I had 2 bags buried under the doors in the back of the Jeep – and was not looking forward to digging them from under the overburden. Then – almost as if on cue – both Jake and Gary broke out their bags of donettes and passed them all around. The tradition started one day years ago at Evans Creek when as a joke, I kept putting them out on tree branches for the guy behind me – Robb Lee – so he could find his way up the trail. This day – we tried to convince Heather that all she had to do to not get lost was to follow the donuts out of the woods – especially the one we placed smack dab in the middle of her hood. (It must have worked – because indeed – she did make it out of the woods.)

Well – after messing with the children and re-teaching Emily the llama chant (Happy llama, sad llama, totally rad llama…..) it was 4 PM and seemed time to either head for the ranch – OR – pursue a little bit more of trail adventure. I opted for door #2. Because – Gallagher Head Lake is NOT quite the end of the road. You can continue on – either staying about at the same level in the valley until the road quits. OR – you can take the right fork of the road and head up a little more to another even higher place in an even higher mountain meadow at about 6,100 feet near the base of Hawkins Mtn. I had not ever been up there before – and in case I don’t have cause to pass this way again – today seemed like the day to push just a little farther.

I will tell you. I don’t know what took me so long to do this. If the view from Gallagher is breathtaking, by comparison – the views getting to the higher meadow make you forget that breathing is even necessary. The trail had a few steep hillclimbs. Hints of former mining operations were in evidence, seen from the tailings piles here and there. Past cascading and bubbling small springs with waterfalls forming into pools across the trail. Higher than most of the mountains surrounding us.

After about 15 minutes – there was a steep downhill that was easy and fun, and then – a pretty scrabbly hillclimb on which we had to stop halfway up – since Auto-M’s smokes bounced off the visor and out the door. I stopped while she hopped out to retrieve them, but upon getting back into the rig – we were on such a steep hill – that her seatbelt retractor locked up – and she had to do the rest of the hill hanging on unbelted with both hands. (See – smoking IS hazardous for your health.) Having halted forward momentum – the lockers made for an easier go of the top half of the hill and at the next level spot – she buckled in again.

And then – THE LAST HILLCLIMB! Yes – it was steep! Yes – it was rutted! And yes – we were going to drive up it. And yes – I figured it was worth the lockers – and yes – we easily walked up it, going to the left of the big rock surrounded by deep holes about 2/3rds of the way up the hill. Bruce and Debbie were behind us in their TJ – also making it look easy. And the trail ended in an open, exquisite, gorgeous, mosquito infested meadow at the base of the mountain in another few hundred feet.

And then – I heard that Heather was wanting to attempt the climb. Time for me to turn around and do some spotting and encouraging – because this hill might be a little intimidating to folks still developing their wheeling craft. So – I headed back to the hill and saw Heather working up a measured run – stepping up. Not quite letting her Jeep do all the work – but I totally get the intimidation and adrenalin factor that hill could induce. I was there once as a young wheeler in my earlier life. In fact – in my mind’s eye – I could see times in my past with Gary TJ spotting me up an obstacle – purposely standing in front of and blocking the easy line – with that joyously wicked smile on his face pointing how to get through the hard line. I hoped I was worthy of these folks’ trust (or possibly miscalculation) in me. (In retrospect – I can’t say I regret any wheeling challenge Gary TJ “encouraged” me to take on.)

On Heather came. Maybe a little heavy on the foot at first, but then controlled, her tires scrabbling for every bit of traction available – which wasn’t much in an open/open rig. I think the first, maybe second attempt ended up in the big hole 2/3rds of the way up. The line was to hug the pine tree, putting both sets of tires on the top of the berm – and just keep driving. For Heather – it worked like a charm. She kept at it – and up she went.

I think next was – Ray. Rayla? Raylene? Anyway – friend of Curt’s, who may or may not have ever wheeled much before – in her stick shift open/open JK with 3 kids strapped in – all game to give it a shot. First attempt she came gunning for the hill – using a lot of foot and a lot of wheel speed. Although – it mainly resulted in a lot of spin on the wheels without traction, and not enough forward motion. After speaking her through things a bit, and a number of tries with less and less foot (“just squeeze and keep a little pressure on the gas”) She got up to the pine tree, the big rock and the deep hole – a-n-n-nd just couldn’t seem to get past it. I saw her left leg shaking – between the adrenalin pumping and the brake/clutch jig she was dancing with her left foot. Gary had joined me by this time to spot the right side and offer me some much welcome moral support. So we backed her up about 4 feet – and I lined out the path – drivers wheel on the berm right next to the tree, passenger wheel on the berm away from the deep hole next to the big rock. (Ray had already lifted a front tire about 18 inches in the air on her last attempt.) She let out the clutch without stalling – and drove directly up the line – and I yelled, “stay on it and keep driving straight up!” and she scrabbled and clawed and drove – all the way to the top! What a great job for a newer driver. Wow!

Next was – shall I say (ahem) WAWW (Wild Ass Wheeling Woman) Tammy (a compliment, my friend!) – gunning for the top. Her TJ has a Lincoln Locker in the back and open in the front. And she was all “big brass ovaries darn well better gonna make it to and through the top” – no bones about it. Well – not the first time. You see – while it is impressive to see folks in rigs with open diffs successfully claw their way to the top of an obstacle – it also stirs up the ground. That slot I had first driven up that was pretty much solid ground – was now pounded to talcum powder with fist-sized cobbles working like a giant’s ball bearings trying to reverse the course of anyone attempting to defy the laws of gravity. And Tammy’s first, second and third throttle down attempts to get over were not only making things even more stirred up and slickery – but the right side slot was no longer the easier line. I hadn’t taken the left side initially – because it leaned you over hard to the driver side against the rock and into a hole. But – after try #4, and digging the holes measurably deeper – besides having some suspension bounce going up – Tammy managed to lift the driver’s side tire about a foot into the air before coming to rest – fortunately still on all 4 wheels. I was a little stumped – and trying to stay out of my head – since I had once rolled down a steep hill with this type of soil condition years ago. I asked her -”You want to come up on a strap or a winch?” To which she replied – “No! I want to drive up!!!”

And then I saw it. I don’t know when her seatbelt came off – but she wasn’t wearing it. And couldn’t put it on mid-hill because the retractor had locked up. And I wasn’t going to try to spot her up the hill anymore without her being fully attached to her rig. So – urging her to back down VERY CAUTIOUSLY until she could buckle up again – she did indeed get back down the hill. It was like her TJ was a faithful dog protecting its mistress – because once the belt went on – she came back on up the hill in a purposeful manner, bounced over towards the right side of the big rock, leaned over and back taking the previously unused right side line and she bumped and grinded past the rock and just kept on going until cresting the top! Another masterful job of perseverance and wheeling guts!

Whew! I was spent! Thankfully – the next number of JK’s were Rubicon’s – and with the lockers – the climb was still work – but a little more civilized. And of course – Gary in his little ‘Zuk – his stock in trade is making hard things look incredibly easy – and so he just chugged up without a waver or complaint, like he was being beamed up the hill by the USS Starship Enterprise.

Mary and I went on to the end of the trail – where there actually were a number of folks camping and taking in the view (and the mosquitoes.) I was pleased to find out that the skeeters liked Rick more than they liked me – and I hovered near him almost like one of the bothersome critters, so they would eat him first. I just tried not to buzz in his ear too much. I was a little surprised upon coming back to the top of the hill – to see Curt and Cindy. Curt’s first attempt at the hill had uncovered an unhealthy amount of spring wrap – so really getting into it meant an unacceptable amount of bounce. Bad for control and great for breaking all kinds of stuff. And Cindy’s rig would have been a lot of work to get up the now beat up hillclimb. And then Mary said – “Oh – they came up the bypass.”

The WHAT? The bypass?!?!? WHAT BYPASS???? And then to the right of the slot we’d come up – looked like someone had put a driveway in. Oh – THAT bypass…..

Well – no matter. I’m glad everyone got up – and I think there were more than a few proud Tamer’s savoring their accomplishments in getting themselves to the top of the hill.

And with that – even on the longest day of the year – the sun was starting to indicate its intent to sink below the horizon in another few hours, and besides the mosquitoes – it was getting a little cool. So we headed back down the trail.

A little below the lake, Curt called me on the radio, posing the thought that he was hearing some pounding noise under his Jeep, and he thought he had a driveline problem. So – I stopped and waited for him, seeing something amiss when he came into sight. I reached under his Jeep to grab something – saying, “Does the pounding sound like this?” And with that I I started swinging his now loose exhaust pipe around under his Jeep – which was banging off the tire and into the rear springs and shackles, and in general wiggling all around. The mount had broken off, and like an enthusiastic puppy with a low hung tail – it was wagging all over the place.

Curt said “Yeah. It DOES sound exactly like that!” He broke out the (literally) bailing wire – and with a number of wraps to the frame and around the exhaust – had a good-enough trail fix to keep on going.

We bunched back up at the 4330 road again – and once we were sure everyone was out of the woods – took a slow, dusty run from gravel back to asphalt. Airing up happened as I was loading the TJ onto the trailer. Curt and Ray were the first to depart – and they probably did not get to see the signature of coming up to speed after a dusty day on the trail in eastern WA. While gaining speed on the pavement in the fading twilight – it was like the contrails off a jet with the dust blowing off their rigs in the distance as they drove off, signaling the end of a lovely day on the trail.

POSTSCRIPT –

Bruce and Debbie headed out after that to grab dinner at the Old #3 in Ronald. We joined them after seeing that everyone was aired up – for one bitchin’ bacon Cheeseburger Basket – complete with tater tots! (Oooo-baby!!) Jake, Heather and Cindy showed up a few minutes before the band cranked up – but couldn’t stay since Cindy’s daughter was a minor – and I guess it’s against the law for kids to listen to loud music when surrounded by people getting drunk. Oh well.
I suggested they try the Sunset Café down in Cle Elum. Debbie, Bruce, Mary and I all departed a few minutes behind them, gassed up in Cle Elum, and were about 10 minutes north of town when my phone rings. It’s Casey on the line. Apparently – Tammy was coming over the summit – and just past the end of the westbound bridge – her engine just quit. So Casey and Gary were coming back for her, and we’d be keeping our eyes open for her too.

By the time we got over the summit – it was quite the light show. Tammy with her flashers on (and with top off of her rig and as cold as it was getting – way more clothes on too than we had last seen her.) Gary and Casey also had all their flashers on (truck, trailer, ‘Zuk) plus 2 of those reflective road warning triangles. We did the same with the van and Mary’s Jeep, and I too had to throw on my Tamer hoody so as not to succumb to the nip in the air.

I have to tell you – I can’t think of a place I’d less like to troubleshoot a dead rig than just west of the summit on Snoqualmie Pass in the cold and dark at 11 PM at night with cars and 18 wheelers just whizzing a lane away from you at 70 MPH. Well – man up, dude. This is what separates the pansies from the Mooses, I suppose.

It was quite the group effort. Gary and I, armed mostly with flashlights and brain cells (boy – talk about coming to a gun fight armed with a few small knives!) started putting our best Sherlock Homes deductive techniques to the test. Gary had already thrown some gas in the tank – just in case the most obvious problem seemed too obvious. Tammy tried starting the rig a time or two, and it would do 1 pop, then just crank. Gary was wondering about gas – like may be fuel pump had died. So – we checked all the relays and fuses – and not much suspicious looking was found there. Well – except for the one relay just lying there on its side under the fuse cover – but it looked like it had been just lying there for a long time. I crawled under the rig wiggling the wire to the fuel pump all along and up to the tank to make sure that wasn’t loose. And man – you would not believe how much fine stuff you get pelted with at road level every time something drove past. So – wire wiggled – Tammy tried the starter – and now – not even a pop.

Then, Mary remembering something about a cap on the fuel rail (since she has the same engine on her rig) – we found what looks like a Schrader valve on the fuel rail. Holding that open when cranking showed that we were getting plenty of gas. So – aha! Mayhaps an ignition problem!!!

Next – off came the distributor cap to see what the rotor and cap looked like inside. Actually – not too bad – but it didn’t keep Gary and me from scraping off the scale from the cap contacts and the rotor. Can’t go wrong shining up the contacts. Put that all back together – a-n-n-n-nnd – crank – and no fire. I was about ready to drop Mary’s TJ off the trailer so we could load up Tammy’s and head for the barn.
But wait – the spider sense in the back of my head was tingling away, saying to check one more thing. The coil pak is half hid under the A/C bracket (that actually had no A/C pump on it). I ran my hand up over the coil pak – to two wires on the end – that were connected to…………..

NOTHING. Hmmm – that could be a problem. So checking all the connectors in the near vicinity (no less than 3 connectors – count ‘em!) of the end of the coil wire – gee whiz – one of them had the perfectly mating female connector to the male one on the coil. Could it be? Did the connection just fall apart on a bump in the road?

I slid them together. “Okay – try it Tammy!”

VROOOMMMM! (Thank you, Jesus!!!)

So – with that success – we packed up all our goodies, picked up the warning triangles and lastly turned off all the flashers – and went home in a bunch making sure everyone got to their respective exits. A great success for ending a wonderful day of wheeling.

If you didn’t join in the fun and hijinks this time – come on out on the next trip!

Thanks for readin’ –
And KEEP ON WHEELIN’!

Moose