After that temp repair was done, I went back into my rig and started driving along. I hit a patch of ice, and slid sideways off the trail. I had two down trees behind my rear tailgate, and one stump in front of my front diff. I stepped out and took a look at my situation, and put a plan together. I then CB’d ahead, to let others know that I was going to be delayed. I felt really bad about this, as I didn’t want to hold people up like I did last year.
I began rigging to a tree up hill from me, so that I could winch the front end sideways. This is when others showed up to help. I began to winch, when the cable snapped, and I lost 30 feet of it. I kind of laughed, as I had just reconditioned my winch with new solenoids and wires the day before. The only part that I hadn’t touch was the cable. I looked for the cause of the increased load, and had to chain saw a stump out of the way, as it was too close to snake around it.
So Tom brought his Yellow Jeep back, and I rigged my snatch block up, so he could winch me. He began winching me, and I started to pull his rig up hill. Hmmmm….Okay I tried low range, turned on both ARB’s, and tried to help him out. Well I finally was pulled out, but not before popping a both beads on my back right passenger Bogger.
So now I had to jack up the rig, change to my spare, as the bogger’s valve stem was sheared off from being against the tree. Well once the spare was on, I went forward, and the other rear bogger spun off the rim. Ugh, I now had to get that reset.
Once that was back on, I tried to drive forward, and I heard a ugly noise from the front end. Some said it was a birf, so I tried to unlock the hubs, and drive. Well that didn’t fix the noise, and I was sure it was coming from the front diff. So I disconnected the front drive line, and took a break.
As it was one thing after another, in a span of 100 feet, I had to take a break. So I turned on my little stove to make hot chocolate for myself, and my assistance. Fuel spilled on me, and now my hand was on fire. So I just held up my hand and said, “Hmmm, that’s nice.” I then patted the fire out, and looked up to ask what I did to deserve this? :0)
With no winch, and now no 4WD…I decided I was done. I put the rig in 2WD low range, put chains on the rear tires, and headed back for the trailer. Tom followed me, back to the FS road, and then headed back to meet the rest of the group.
When my passenger and I got back to Enumclaw, I pulled both axles in the parking lot. Both Birfs were fine, hubs were fine, and both axle shafts were fine. I popped out the diff, and found the diff very low on gear oil! I inspected the ring gear, the pinion gear, and tested the ARB in the off mode and the on mode. Everything looked fine.
That was the one thing I wanted to do, before going, check my diff fluid. It looks like if I would’ve just added oil, I could have kept going. Don’t know when the leak started, but it didn’t matter now. I really was disappointed to miss out on probably the best Redeye run ever, but I wanted the others to enjoy what was left of the trip. Hope you all had fun, and look forward to hearing what happened.
I’m having the ring & pinion inspected at a shop anyhow, before it goes back in. Might bobby long the birfs while I’m at it.
As in past years, it was cold but fun…
We left enumclaw at around 7:30 and just as we got to greenwater it was snowing and sticking on 410. So we get to the unloading spot and unload and head for the trail head with snow falling all the way. I think it was around 9ish when we hit the trail head(there was a group of Early bronco’s ahead of us).
So up the trail we went. Oh, did I mention it was cold out but it was no big deal for me and my side kick stu as we had all our gear to stay warm and dry. SO we went up the first big/sloppy hill and made our way to where the trail goes along the side of the hill and has the possablility of sliding off (it was snow covered). Well we ran into the bronco’s, one of them had slid off the trail and we had to wait. But during the wait John Arnold found he had broken his drivers side rear main leaf on the front side of the axle.
So while they were getting the EB unstuck we used a chain hoist as a temp fix to get his rig back and working. So once again we made our way to the first meadow where there are 3 big mud holes. Of course we did not even think of going thru them as the snow there was close to 3ft deep and yes it was cold. So it was close to 10:30 by the time we made it to the second big hill when we heard on the CB that air amigo had fallen off the trail and was stuck between a dead tree and a stump.
Well in the mean time we tried the hill and it was a toboggan run to even get to the hill. So by this time we had heard on the CB that air amigo had ripped a valve stem off, un-beaded a tire and either blown a birf or a front r/p (they chained him up and turned him around). Well by this time it was 1am and we decided to call it a night and find a good place in the now to make camp and by the time we got into our tents it was close to 2:30.
Well in the morning we got up and ate and I drug my welder out and we welded john’s broken leaf to the leaf above it to keep him going. Scrambler Mike had lost power to his wipers and heater so we rigged something up to bypass the lost of power. Myself I thought I had a coolant leak but found out due to me turning my coolant fan off to creat more heat out of the heater it just blew some coolant out. In the mean time Jpfreaks crew drove by and Johns group also passed by us.
So once all was fixed and all was packed up we took roads to bypass the hill (which would have just been to pull cable/rope) we made it back onto the trail near where it runs across the ridgeback. We had no problems till we went past the government meadows cabin when we started to hit the bridges where I fell off the first one (was able to back up and work my way over it) and we made it to the first meadow where the big sign is when we heard on the CB that John was having problems getting across the bridges (there was over 4ft of snow).
So once John and Mike caught up we continued down the trail and this is where the snow got really deep—but hella fun. Well all went good till we hit the long hill on the east side. Pulled up to it, told Stu to hold on and damn—slid 90% of the way down and all I could do was steer and was able to make it down perfectly. But let me tell ya its freaky when all you can do is steer and the rig keeps going faster and faster(was able to nail a berm about 1/2 way down and slide into it and stop but slid from there). From there we went all the way down the trail till the last section. We decided to bypass this (all the lower trail was fresh snow and I was the first tracks) because of the one off camber hill side–just too dangerous with all the snow and ice.
So from here we shot down 19 the turn off to get up onto the 676 and sent a couple rigs into town for fuel and once they got back we were back at it. So up we went and hopped onto the 676 and the first hill (we have called this elephant dung hill for a # of years and if you have ever done it this time of year you would know why). And by this time it was well below freezing and it was getting nasty. So 2 rigs went up and the rest of us decided rather than spending a few hours there we zoomed down the roads and back onto the 676 on top of the first hill.
We got back onto the 676 and it was straight up on the go pedal (and more toboggan runs) to make it to the first meadow where the rather large mud hole is when we hit yet another snag. One rig had completely broken its bell housing and John’s starter crapped out on him. At this point it was getting close to 8pm and we had to make a choice and seeing as how Mikes bell housing was broken we decided to start back down (which was a blast—toboggan run, lol). So we took and chained Mikes tranny and ripped Johns starter apart (snowing the whole time) and we were able to make a temp fix and then we shot down the mountain and camped along 19 near the entrance to the Naches Trail on the east side.
Well we got up sunday am and ops, my heater failed and my tent, well burnt the whole top off it (DOH). So we ate/loaded up and due to Mikes bell housing we fought our way up and over pyramid and back to the tow rigs..
Even though we had some failures and we were unable to make our destinations it was still a hella fun.