Liberty 7/1 – 7/4
Well sometimes things do not work out but what the heck we had fun anyway. I am getting ahead of things though so lets backup to the start.
Melissa came home from work on Wednesday night at 5pm and by 5:30pm we were out the door and heading down the driveway. The family and I were ready to go camping\wheeling and nothing was getting in our way. Traffic only added about 20 minutes to the travel time and we got to the campground around 8pm where we had the pick of the place since it was practically deserted. We got a spot right by the creek in the late evening shade of the aspens with enough room for everyone else coming over for the weekend. By the creek in the shade with a little breeze, it seemed like a good spot at the time.
We woke up in the morning just in time to see a Turkey guiding her brood past the Jeep and towards the creek. This of course made me hungry as I was not thinking about turkey dinner. With breakfast done we took to relaxing and looking for Rick and Jennifer who were due to arrive at any moment. Along about 10:30am when the sun started to come out from behind the trees I had an idea; “We are not getting as much shade as we could. We should move over by the hill and next to the trees where it is going to stay shaded into the afternoon.” 10 seconds later two Motorhomes with rigs from the Peak Putters club roll in and promptly show me that I had the right idea taking up residence in the same general area I was thinking about moving our camp too. In the shade. Thus is proven again the old adage “ya snooze, ya loose”.
Not wanting to be stuck without shade for most of the day I wondered over to the Peak Putters and made sure that I was not going to be disrupting plans by moving my camp over to another shady spot not far away. With assurances in hand that I would not be upsetting anyone, we moved camp in record time. Good thing to as a few more Peak Putters arrived looking for their own shady spots minutes later. So now with camp moved to the shady and breezy part of the meadow we settled in to wait for Jennifer and Rick who said they would arrive by 9:30am (time check it is now 11am ).
About an hour later and after lunch we came to the conclusion that they must have meant 9:30pm and since it was starting to get warm we loaded in the Jeep to do some geocaching. Across the highway and up the hill we went looking for the hidden treasure. In no hurry and with no worries we putted along the forest roads seeking a little fun. We (I) found the first cache hanging in a tree, but the best reward was the breeze through the trees providing some relief from the heat. With people getting a little more interested in geocaching we headed to another nearby cache and were rewarded with a view from 5000 ft of the Kittitas valley. The stiff breeze was real dang nice also I tell ya. Oh ya â€¦ we found the 2nd geocache also after I stepped over it 4 times.
Being that it was still early in the afternoon (and warm in camp I was sure) we decided to run on over to Red Top Lookout for just one more geocache (it is on top of a mountain and there will be a breeze). Melissa and Cassidy elected to stay in the Jeep in the shade so it was up to Alex and I to find the cache which we did I am happy to say. As we got back to the Jeep along down the trail camp a group of young adults on their way back from the agate beds below the lookout. One of them walked by and then came back to show the kids his find from the day which were a nice handful of agates. With a wave and a smile the young man moved off to his truck where he immediately opened the hood and proceeded to poor water in the radiator. At this point Melissa and I both look at each other and agree that perhaps we should wait for a few minutes to see if everything is ok. It is a warm day and there is only one other vehicle in the parking area with no one in site. If the kids are stuck they are going to need our help. It was not to fear though as the five of them piled in the truck and took off a few minutes later.
Melissa, Cassidy, Alex, and I are starting to get hungry at this point and we are thinking that it is probably a good idea to head down the highway back to camp. The fact that we were going back on the highway with no top, doors, or windows on the Jeep was a sacrifice as it would be really windy but we thought we could put up with it until we got back to camp. So we take off down the FS road and head for the Blewett highway. Being that the kids in the truck were ahead of us and I did not want to catch them only to suck dust I went pretty slow down the road (it was almost painful it was so slow). We caught them anyway but not because I was going too fast. Apparently a big rock jumped out in front of them and put a hole in there tire the size of 1″ impact socket. After finding out they had no jack, no spare, and there was no hope of fixing the tire. I told them to sit tight and I would be back in a few minutes after I drop my family off at camp.
Now I got to go at Rudi speed down the FS road heading for the highway. No dust to suck and big grin on my face. I slowed down for the merge onto the highway and we travel the 8 miles back to camp in about as many minutes. Where we find Rick and Jennifer sitting in the shade of their tarp with camp all setup. We visit for a minutes while I freed up the truck and then I headed back up to get the kids. Long story short I loaded them and their bad tire in the truck and took them to town, we got a new\used tire, went back to the truck, installed the tire, got down to the highway, and waved good bye as I turned off to Liberty and they headed home. At this point I know what you are thinking. Did he get it? Yes I did. I have the dollar for the tow fee fund.
Friday dawned with no turkeys but soon after breakfast Heather, Curt, Wendy, and Emily arrived to join us for the day running trails. We started off on a few easy trails so that I could gauge driving skills and decided where we could go that would be a challenge but no one would be pushed so far that they would be uncomfortable. So up the 4W319 to the look out and down into the valleys below we went meandering through the ridges and trees in the shade. Around 1pm it started to get a little warm so I started to head for a stream crossing on one of the trails with the intention of cooling down. After I had crossed the creek it dawned on me that everyone was spread out enough that I could run back and douse them on as they drove past and so I did. We all had a good laugh and got a bit cooler. After hanging out for a while by the creek so that Curt’s V8 CJ could cool down we decided that a little more heat relief was in order and headed for higher elevations. The goal was Lion Rock but just as we turned the corner to go to the lookout my Jeep started acting funny and strange noises started coming from the fuel tank. I almost got to the lookout but the fuel pump decided that it did not want to work anymore and my day was done. Everyone else ran up the hill to see the view while I got the Jeep turned around and rolling back down the hill so that I could get towed back to camp which was 15 miles away.
Curt offered to put the V8 to work and tow me which I happily accepted. It was all strong arm steering and Flintstone brakes due to the motor not running but we made it 5 miles before taking a break and switching to have someone behind me with brakes so I would not drive off the edge of the 1 mile rock slide that the road was about the traverse. Just for giggles I tried to start the Jeep and wonder of wonders it worked. Before I had more issues we decided to see how far I could get so I took off down the hill leading the way back to camp. I am happy to say that we made it the last 10 miles back to camp under my own power where I promptly parked the Jeep so that it could be loaded on the trailer with the winch should it not start again in the morning.
Now the dilemma started. Do I drop the tank and fix the Jeep or call it quits and head for home while traffic was good. Knowing that it was going to take me all day to fix the Jeep and not wanting to take a gas bath in a tinder dry forest while attempting to fix the Jeep so that I could get another half day of wheeling in. I made the decision to just spend the night and head home in the morning. With this decision made others were allowed to make their decisions also. Curt, Wendy, and Emily headed for the cabin at Hyak. Heather decided she did not want to setup camp only to tear it down again in the morning and go home. Jennifer and Rick really did not consider doing anything but camping another night.Â So it was in the twilight of the evening that Melissa, Alex, Cassidy, Rick, Jennifer, and I sat around sharing dinner and talking about the days fun. Oh yeah â€¦ we made sure Moose who was going to come wheeling for the day Saturday knew that the plug was pulled cause the trail guide was broke down. While he was not happy to hear it I know that he enjoyed the opportunity to sleep in.
So it was that Saturday we all took our own sweet dang time to pack up and make our way home. We headed out about 11:30am parting ways with Rick and Jennifer who were heading to camp another night somewhere along Hwy 2. I would say that the trip home was uneventful but there were issues. That is a story for around the campfire sometime though and if you want to hear it then you are going to need to make on a run.