Reiter Nov 2020

The day was predicted to have sunshine, although to be cool. Well, the weatherman was half right—it was actually overcast with some fog/low clouds and late in the day there was a slight bit of rain, but at it was a bit cold.

Two days prior, Troy Messick announced over our new Tamers e-mail list that he was planning to go to Reiter and invited whoever wanted to join him. Since it had been at least 2 months since I’d actually used my lockers, I immediately said I’d be there! Shortly afterward, Travis Butterfield also popped-up on-line and said he’d be there, too! So, at 9:00 AM we all met at the parking area at Reiter and aired down—Troy in his blue TJ on 35s, Travis in his red JKUR also on 35s, and me in my white JKR on 37s. All of us are locked in both axles, so we were looking forward to a good day! Since we all had been suffering from “Covid Incarceration”, we jaw-jacked for a while as we aired-down.

While we were talking and airing down, a very nice and clean green TJ came by and asked if we knew of any good trails for more of a beginner with a close to stock rig. And that’s how we met Ian Bissell and his young son, Ryan. We talked with him a bit, admired his pristine early 2000s TJ with really only a 4” lift, and invited him to join us—and also talked-up the Timber Tamers! (Yeah, I gave him one of our brochures, and gave him my e-mail so we can stay in contact.) He opted to join us for a warm-up on the Twizzler, then planned to head home with his son while the rest of us tackled more challenging trails. (Little did we realize then that the Twizzler would give us our biggest challenges of the day!)

We started out on the Twizzler trails right out of the parking lot, which was very easy to do since that’s where their trailhead is! We enjoyed the twisting tight corners, and Travis and I with our longer wheelbases had to make a few 3-point turns of it where Troy and Ian were able to do simple turns. Then we decided to take one of the rocky obstacles. Well, I drove over the first one with no problems. Then Travis drove it, got a bit too far driver, and promptly got stuck on a huge stump cleverly placed right in the way. Troy looked over the situation closely and decided that we’d be better off winching from the rear. So, I drove around the bypass to get behind Travis, and with what looked like a pretty tough pull, we double-lined the winch with a snatch block with a lot of effort from my winch, I was able to pull Travis backward off the rocks and got him freed. Then he drove over the cross-trail from there onto the next rocky obstacle and got high-centered on those rocks–stuck again! Troy was in front of him then and was able to winch Travis off those rocks. While they were putting equipment away, I decided to drive over the first pile of rocks again. However, my line was off by about 4-6” to the driver side, then I found I’d not only very firmly planted my front diff and control arm on the very same stump as Travis had, but both of my rear tires were very deeply wedged in holes between wet rocks, and zero traction to get out. (The irony is that just before Travis got stuck, I’d sailed over those very same rocks with no problems at all! That just shows how having your line off even just a few inches either way can make the difference between driving through an obstacle or being stuck!!) With that, we were barely able to get a tree saver around a very short stump in front of me, and with a fairly easy pull (this time with Troy spotting—like I probably should have done before I drove into those rocks in the first place), I was able to get loose. Wrapping up the winch rope from there, I drove over the cross-trail like Travis had done. That is, exactly like Travis had done. I got stuck on those rocks, too!! Out came the winch again, this time connected to Troy’s Jeep, and I was able to winch out of those rocks again.
Fortunately for us, we were able to avoid making Casey any more joyful for the rest of the day—but 4 tow fees in short order in the early part of the day was plenty! After all, we’d hate to have her giggling too much at our expense—literally!

From there, we drove back onto the main trails and into the upper parking area. We said our goodbye’s to Ian and Ryan, and took a little break for a snack, since it was nearly lunch time. After that, we took a drive through Lover’s Lane, then in Ups & Downs and out on Easy Green. While we were taking some of these loops we came across a group of 4 tube-steel buggies (as in, they are We Rock competitors), one of which had broken rather badly trying to climb one of the HUGE optional rock obstacles. Since they were blocking the trail, it was an easy time to take a break and chat with them while they removed the totally broken front driveline. This driveshaft was essentially broken straight across the 1.5” splines of the driveshaft, almost like it had been cut with a chop-saw. The white witness-marks on the rock looked like he’d come down with about the whole weight of the buggy directly on the driveline as he came over the peak of the boulder. Since he only had two crescent wrenches to try to get this driveshaft off so he could drive off the trail in 2WD, I let him use a couple of my wrenches so he could remove the driveshaft more easily—and more quickly, so we could get past him and to the rest of our trails for the day!

After finishing these trails, we drove back to the parking lot, aired-up, talked a bit more (again, good to do after our “Covid Incarceration”), and then headed out for home, all before dark!

Once again, a good day on the trails. But, it’s hard not to have a good day with a group of Tamers on great trails!!

John Vandergrift