Janessa’s Run Mar 2017

It was an awesome turn out. We had 27 rigs show up. Snow was perfect. There was about 9′ of snow at the top. We met at the train tracks around 9:30 and left promptly at 10:15.

We started up the hill and had minor issues getting to the fire pit. We stopped for a good amount of time to let the kids sled and munch on some food. Myself, Tom, Rudi, and Anthony started plowing snow at the first Y. Progress was made but at the cost of full throttle assault. Eventually a few of us tore off down the lower road and waited for folks to follow.

The group was so large that it made a bunch of smaller groups. The front of the pack made it to the turn off to go to the gravel pit. Shortly after we met up with 3 purpose built snow wheelers that were breaking trail. We kindly waited for them to plow the last 150 feet before the pit.

I let Karl and Isabelle out to go sledding for a bit while I went back down the hill to check on the progress of the rest of the pack. I found a couple red Jeeps and Kurt trying to make it up the hill. I plowed a path around them so I could pull Kurt out. Both red Jeeps, one being Rudi made it the rest of the way up. I gave Kurt a yank or 2 and got him free. I sent him on his way.

By this time the club had decided to turn around. I quickly ran up to grab my passengers and headed back down the hill. It was a slow descent down the steep parts as the trail was getting very icy. Heading out the main road I started to plow to the left of the road. Shortly after Tom (driving Chad’s Toyota) took this as an invite to try and pass me. I welcomed the challenge. I felt the truck pull to the left. Naturally I started to steer right to stay out of the ditch. About the time I realized something was wrong is when Karl says “oh ya, lockers”. My lockers were off…. Because my passenger, Karl thought it would be funny to turn them off earlier. Even though I saw him turn them off earlier I ignored him and didn’t register that my lockers were off. This is about when I gave that ditch a 4Runner. Ditches love 4Runners. The ditch just about swallowed the 4Runner whole. It took 2 rigs to pull us out.

After that I made an attempt to pass the rest of the group.  We did. We made it all the way to the last guy before Anthony and Tom which already had a head start on us because of our time in the ditch. I was looking for my opportunity to pass a red XJ. Which may or may not have been with us. I am not really sure. The XJ got a bit close on the driver side and clipped the snow bank. It promptly pushed him 90 degrees in the middle of the road. We end up pushing him back on track. I booked it to try and catch Tom and Anthony. I failed but it was a good effort. We aired up and  head to Bubba’s for dinner.

This was only my story from the day.  If you have a story from Janessa’s Run, please share! Big thank you to the Tamers for their support at this run. I couldn’t be more happy about the numbers that showed up. It truly means a lot to me. Janessa wasn’t just a big part of my life, she was everything. I wish I could tell the world of the person that we lost but I know it just doesn’t work that way. In any case. Thank you for an awesome day wheeling.



Iwant to thank Kurtis for inviting all Tamers – and thank the many Tamers who came out to honor our memory of the late and loved Janessa Shareen Messmer.  It was like old home week or a really good wake to see newer and older Tamers joined with friends and families to come along for a little day in the woods with Kurtis.

I lost count of how many rigs we had in line.  It stretched from before the railroad bridge to far around the corner and up the line.  And it was forgivable to lose count – especially mesmerized by the overwhelming amount of red Jeeps in the line.  It could kinda make one lose his or her place when counting up the rigs.  (Wait – did I count that red Jeep already?)   4, 5, ummmm – ooops – I must have counted that one….4, 5, 6……..

Uncharacteristically for Tamer time – but as Kurtis said we’d do – we moved out directly at 10:15 AM – leaving in a few inches of snow.  Blissfully – the weather prognosticators got it wrong – and a not too cold more sunny than not morning sent us along our way.

The greetings before leaving had been a lot of fun.  While many of the folks hitting the trail were ones I’ve seen in recent runs – there were also old friends too that raising families and making a living has conspired to keep their trail time a little on the minimal side.  Last time I saw Tom and Penny’s girls – they were way closer to being babies than the tall tots I saw scrambling around.  Karl VP looked styling in his flappy hat.  No – that’s not a typo.  He was not wearing a floppy hat, but rather one with little ears on them that Karl was only too glad to flap when he was passing by.  Some rigs were home getting a little R+R – Dirtball getting something sealed up; Karl’s anticipating a new engine; who knows where Tom B’s was – he was driving Chad’s truck while Chad was hosting the family around in the Land Cruiser.

First sight on the tour was a relatively nicely sorted out YJ off the side of the road that appeared to be stuck left all by its lonesome.  Not a good plan.  Possibly a YJ in bondage being that it sported chains (well – tire chains) on all 4 fully inflated tires.  Also not a good snow plan.  And – possibly was there because the owner had been wheeling alone, we surmise – a thirdly not a good plan.  If it was still there when we got back down the mountain – we’d reckon with that later.

Being Tonga, and a late winter snow run, and someone having broken trail even in front of big dogs Kurtis in his Toy and Anthony in his race rig and Tom driving at will in Chad’s truck – there was not much problem in getting up the hill to what Ed Tenney called the fire pit.

Now – Auto-M and I were highly anticipating that “fire pit” meant someone might have actually had a fire going when we got up there – but no.  This is the wide spot in the road where Dirty Thirteen generally sets up a welcoming fire and a big pot of stew or chili during Christmas tree cutting time.  They hang and go out scoping the area for hapless folks coming out to get a tree – probably in the snow past where they should have turned around – because they have 4 wheel drive!  (In their Subaru’s and Beamers and big heavy pickups with well inflated skinny all season tires.)  For this run – it might have better been called the snow bowl – because myriads of kids (and adventuresome adults) were hopping on snow coasters for a quick ride through the now deep snow.  Emily pulled herself away from her electronic gear, and Kaylee was stomping around almost waist deep – bouncing down over the moguls disappearing in almost a cave of snow – to pop out and do it all over again.  I was very glad to see that kids still seem to know how to have fun even when not surrounded with the latest in electronic technology.

Under the heading of “The Little Geo That Could” (I think his name is Steve?) a stock metro (instead of his built ‘Zuk) that should have been having some trouble getting up the hill instead confidently found his way up to the clearing.  There was some move to stick him closer to the front – so he could shave the middle berm between the wheel tracks down – even if we had to push him from behind with another rig.  Having been glad to get that far, he gracefully declined providing what might otherwise have been a valuable service.

Of course – when the wheeling isn’t too taxing, driving becomes a bit of a Zen exercise and Tamer minds begin to wander to other topics.  I have no recollection of how we got on it – but I think Casey started going off on some tangent about thongs.  Right after a few verses of the diarrhea song.  Thinking of her acumen as our treasurer and what Tamers could do to maximize value – I started posing that we should consider selling branded Tamer gear.  Everyone will want to accessorize their rigs with Tamer gear – including a branded thong that you can also use for a tree saver.  You could be bounding through the woods in your thong, then when someone drives off the trail (probably because they witnessed your prancing) you can quick rip it off, wrap it around a tree – and hook a winch cable to it!  (Ummm – yeah – I think this is an idea that needs a little more R&D before we should depend on it as a revenue stream.)

And speaking of streams – there was one point where the request was made for rigs behind in line would hold back so the occupants could get out for a little potty stop.  By this time – we were driving on top of at least a couple of feet of packed snow with another 3 feet on top of that beside the wheel tracks.  The idea was that if you could potty long enough in the packed track to melt out the snow, it would create a soft spot.  Then – when the person behind got to that point – their rig would fall into the hole and they would get stuck.  This potential gambit quickly became known as (wait for the bad plumbing joke) A Pee Trap!  No – it didn’t actually work that way – but the concept was highly amusing……well at least to the person (me) who came up with it.  (Yes – as a matter of fact – I DO laugh at my own stupid jokes….)

We continued far on away from the fire(less) pit – someone said maybe another 15 or so miles out.  At 5-7 MPH more or less plus stucks plus yanks out – that gets to be a long full day.  The snow-laden trees looked beautiful, and the frosted mountain vistas when you could see them in the distance a glory to behold.   The sun came out here and there, interspersed with the occasional flurry of snow flakes and in all – it was a great day to be on the trail.

We had so many rigs – spread out in such a long line – that sometimes you only heard bits and pieces of a radio conversation.  One such conversation came through something like:
“Wa-wa wa-wa, I need a tug.”
“Who needs a tug?”
“Wa-wa, wa-wa, wa-wa.”
“Sounds like Ed.”
“Ed says he needs a hug?”
“Ummm – so – given the unliklihood of Ed needing either, do you really think Ed’s asking for a hug?”
“Maybe he’s just looking for a tug.”
“Wa-wa, wa-wa, wa-wa…..”

By 3 PM most folks made it way out to the gravel pit.  The big dogs played, a goodly number of slightly smaller dogs made it up the last packed and getting icier hillclimb, and another group waited at the bottom for everyone to get turned around and come on back out.  Of note on the way out – Kurtis managed to sink and almost roll his rig in a ditch off to one side of the road in REALLY deep snow.  He blamed it on the fact he’d forgotten to click his locker in.  (Who knew – lockers are actually ADD – anti-ditch devices!)  Then I also hear tell Anthony also got his rig stuck trying to yank Kurtis out.  No word on whether this was also a locker faux pas.  Once we got everyone back on the road home – with the occasional unexpected right or left veer into a snow bank and the resulting tow fee – things kinda fell into that quiet space where radios go quiet and everyone is just enjoying the ride.  My thoughts turned to the honoree of the run.  Just to remember.  In the mind’s eye and the quiet heart – memory magnifies the best of those parted from us.

A young soul taken sooner than ever should have been the case by the scourge of cancer is maddening.   The “why” of it is impossible.   Our purpose in this day – to remember well a fine young woman.  To continue to care well for a fine young man.  I did – and I do.

The rest of the trip down went easily.  Daylight leaving slowly and the woods darkening.  The radio crackled back into life with more thong talk.  Something about Casey having some vision of another one of the club’s members – not on the run because he had to work – in a thong.  And then a whole bunch of responses about horrific imagined visions that now cannot be unseen in the mind’s eye.  Rudi suggested bleach – bleach in the eyes might not actually erase that vision – but probably couldn’t hurt……

The stuck, unattended YJ was still sitting where we’d left it.  We figured we’d go just far enough to pull the rig back on the road – but other than that – leave it a few dozen feet from where its owner had left it.  It was a pretty nice rig – so hopefully he’ll come back soon.  Darkening twilight found Tamers doing the usual – loading trailers, airing up, making plans to meet for some dinner.  It was a really good day – on so many counts.    I really appreciate this club.

Thanks for readin’
And keep on wheelin’!