Hangover Run Jan 2010

Ah – not only a New Year, but also a reminder of the passage of years. The Hangover Run in years previous used to be attributed to imprudence of how much and what types of alcohol had been imbibed the previous night. Now – for at least some of us who’ve been around the club for more than a few years – hangover is more a measure of how much and the types of food we’ve partaken over the holidays. When we say it’s hard to get into our rigs – it is literally hard to get up into our rigs.

Most of us were only suffering from it being earlier getting up than we wanted, rather than an overabundance of alcohol – but with the rain beating down on the Buzz-Inn at Monroe – you couldn’t blame any of us for being less than enthusiastic about what promised to be an exceedingly damp Hangover run.

No matter – somewhere along the line – going wheeling on a wet day is still better than most other things we could have been doing. At 9:00AM sharp, those gathered at the restaurant all saddled up and headed for Tonga ridge. Tom and Penny, Karloo, Chad and a few others were on the trail early, while the rest of us drove through the rain to the turn on Foss River Rd. It was a little snotty. There was evidence of a skim of slushy snow on the road, and I decided to bleed off the speed on the wet main road and get off the brakes before turning into the slush. Having a 2 wheel drive tow rig really makes a person very circumspect about how hard you want to fling around a 3 ton van towing a 2 ton jeep on a big utility trailer. Corner successfully navigated – as also was the case for the rig following me – which turned out to be John and Gina. I know his old Ford pickup was also 2 WD – so he wasn’t going to be doing much fancy driving either. I had already decided to turn and park at he end of the paved road before it started going uphill. And in fact – there was evidence of a near mishap at the first 1 lane bridge crossing, precede by a tight corner to the left – where tire marks slithered off the right shoulder, and looked to have stopped just short of the precipice down into the stream. I later found out this was Crashie – who almost lived up to his name by inadvertently trying to jump the stream with his pickup, trailer and tube Toy. At the turnaround – even though there was about a half inch on snow on the ground, I was able to get the van and the trailer turned around with no wheel slippage and without having to drop the Jeep. John was having a little more trouble turning his trailer around, but finally succeeded in doing so in the company of his usual friends – RPM and wheel speed – to go find a less slippery place to park. I got situated and had just dropped Moosenstein off the trailer – when the radio crackled to life – that Ann Typer had slid her truck and trailer – with Jeep attached – off the road into a ditch. Gee – didn’t that happen in 2009?

Yep – in what I call the 2nd coming of the Timber Tamer tri-tip trifecta – Ann had ended up in the ditch in the fortunately little travelled road. And to be fair – it was low speed, and she was just trying to stop for Rudi – who had stopped to let John and Gina pass going the other direction, as they looked for a less slick place to park. As she braked – everything locked up – and there was enough crown on the road to just slide her right off the road, and everything was at about a 45 degree angle as she nestled down into the ditch.

So – first challenge was to disentangle the Jeep from the trailer. By the time I joined Rudi and John to figure out how to get everything back on the road, Ann had her Jeep off the trailer. Well – almost…..

In backing off the trailer – when the front tires were about to drop off, a shackle bolt on the right side neatly dropped down – right into one of the trailer D-rings. Those things ARE meant to keep your rig on your trailer, and this particular ring was doing a mighty fine job, while Ann sat in her rig, trying mightily not to slide over into the passenger seat. High-lifting the left front corner of the trailer didn’t really help by lowering lower the right rear of the trailer at all as we had hoped. Certainly not enough for the trailer to let go of the Jeep. Finally – it was decided to loop a strap over to the passenger side of the cage, and hooked to a winch. Rudi was able to pull heel the Jeep over to the left and get just enough weight off the right side that we were able to lever the shackle bolt of the D-ring using a hi-lift handle and a ramp – and Ann neatly backed off. A left turn, going forwards and a little more winching – and Ann had her Jeep up and out of the ditch. The truck came out pretty quickly the same way – and after winching the trailer tongue up onto the road – we hooked that to the truck – and it also came out no problems. Assessment of damage only seemed to indicate some dirt in the tire beads on the truck and Jeep – and John said those magic words. “Problem solved. Let’s go wheeling.”

The whole time during the recovery – it continued to rain – and the snow was sloppy and wet. Tom and Penny, Chad and Karl, Gary TJ and Dirtball, Mike and Claire, and Terry, Amy and of course – Zeus the Wonder Weiner – were all up the road somewhere breaking trail. The snow was packy, buy not icy, and progress was okay. Then – some radio traffic on the CB – that Chad (Mr. Propane) was having some fuel problems, but even so was being generous, and pushing Tom Baker down the trail on a strap. He was out of fuel in his one tank, and had a leaky regulator on the other – so he was done for the day. We met at the turnout where many years we’ve had a campfire.

It was great to see Chad. I reflected on the last Moab trip – where Jana and Roger did their wedding vows at Top of The World, Mary caught the bouquet, and Chad caught the garter – and somewhere on the Moab pictures, I believe there is a pic of the two of them in saucy embrace. In the good feelings of this New Year, I was pleased to see Chad, and thought he and Mary might reprise the hug – but it didn’t happen. I’m always glad to extend New Year’s Greetings with a big hug – and this year was no exception. So in a kind of Timber Tamer threesome, I gave Chad a hearty bear hug, and then transferred that over to Mary in another big hug. “Was that good for you, honey?” pretty much got me an eye roll from Mary, and a knowing smile from Chad.

Chad and Karl continued pushing Tom down the hill on the strap, and Rudi and family, Mary and Me – Ann and Rick and a few others headed up the trail to catch up with the rest of the Tamers.

Most of the rest of the trip was uneventful. While absolutely delightful to be out in my rig since the first time since July – the rain never really did stop, nor did it really turn to snow. About the time we met up with the first group, they had tired of breaking trail in the deep, heavy, wet snow and were on the way out. As I turned around, I thought I’d show off and romp through some deep stuff in Moosenstein – because of course – my rig NEVER gets stuck in the snow.

Ooops – that did it. Since usually that is the case, I wasn’t really paying attention and was pushing through the deep stuff okay – well – until I stopped going forwards. Then – I went to back up – and instead started going down, not out. Of course – I only did that to clean mud off the bottom side of the frame – I really didn’t mean to get stuck. (Yeah – right.) I just don’t understand what was so amazing – but Mike, Terry, and Mary all remarked, “Moose – I’ve never seen you stuck before!” Well heck, boys and girls – even Superman had his kryptonite. After a little digging at the wheels (Thank you Dirtball and Mike Jones) and some winching from Mike Jennings – Moosenstein was popped back out of the holes I’d dug, and we were on our way back down the hill.

We did spend a little time hanging out in a wide spot in the road. I brought out the Hostess donettes so we could declare the run a real trail ride, and also out came the propane camp fire. Unfortunately – the tank we brought only had about 10 minutes of fuel left in it. But it was enough to tease everyone into trying to heat up a little bit. Still in the holiday spirit – Gary TJ crouched over the flames in order to have some roasted nuts by the fire. In a totally unrelated, but not unexpected incident – Dirtball was seen to be calmly munching on a ball of yellow snow. Fortunately – while no Huskies were reported to be in the vicinity – at least a can of energy drink was found nearby and provided some partial explanation of this phenomenon.

We all got back to our trailers about dark – and loaded up and headed for home – a great way to start the New Year.

Run Report provided by Moose