Tillamook Apr 2022

Jeremy and I had plan set, work half day on Friday and head on out to Browns Camp and get set up, Dave and Tammy (LJ) heading out early to get to their RV Park on the west side and Dan and Sarah (JLU) getting a motel in Hillsboro… unfortunately, life doesn’t go as planned. The CJ motor install wasn’t going as planned and we worked until 4:00, stopped and packed up the WJ (2” puck lift and open/open) and hit a motel in Portland.

Meeting time was 9:30am Saturday morning at Browns Camp, so we headed over early, picked a spot under the trees and set up. Everyone arrived shortly after and we all aired down and hit the trails. Starting easy at Happy Meal, University Firepower and then up to Cedar Trail. Stopping to pose at Cedar Trail for the classic photo. A little different now then it’s been logged. Next we headed up Firebreak Five. This trail proved to be a little more difficult for the WJ, it’s first tug needed in a rocky muddy mess. The next section was bigger than the WJ, but we headed around and walked in to watch the LJ and then the JLU climb up through the rocky, muddy mess. Next Dave took the LJ through a rock garden and at the end the LJ and JLU ran the entry into Crushers, with snow on the rocks. Then back around to meet up with us. From there, we headed up Dog Leg and 7UP. We checked out 7Up from the bottom and then headed around to do the trail up to the back side. As Jeremy headed down, we noticed it was a steep V notch. We voted, if we slipped, the side of the WJ would be toast, so we headed down into it hoping slow and steady would keep us up. Just freaking barely was the answer. Light and riding the rock sliders far longer than our hearts wanted, we made it down. Dave witnessing our adventure took the risk to stay up and ride the edges. Dan watching how close Dave had to be to the wall, didn’t think the JLU would fair well and dipped into the notch, making it look easy. Now it was just about dinner time, so we headed out hitting Hoodraiser on the way out. Everyone departed for the evening.

9:30 on Sunday everyone meets up again. Dave and Tammy on the west side had crazy wind and rain all night, but at Browns Camp it was chilly, but quiet. Snow flurries making for an interesting beginning to the day. Especially since Archers Firebreak is the main plan for the day. As we climbed higher and higher the snow started to accumulate on and off trail, really coming down at times. We start out on Hogs Back, with lots of tight turns. Snow making it quiet and pretty. At some point the trail had a huge stump in the middle and the WJ had to winch over it. We continued on up to Archers Firebreak. Eventually coming to the Waterfall trail. Tammy driving the LJ and Dan in his JLU headed in to check it out. With snow, Dave wasn’t sure it was going to be possible. We drove around and BBQ’d lunch and then they called and said they were going to attempt it. We headed in from the backside as they went through the gate keeper. Dan went first, it was slick and the line was tight for the JLU. Dave kept at it, I tossed in a couple rocks. One last bump and if not Dan is going to pull cable. Bump and he’s up!! Dave spots him through. Tammy lines up and Dave spots her through like it was nothing. Yes, Archer’s Waterfall in snow. At the top where everyone is reliving it a big snow chuck falls from the trees and about knocks Dave out. We decide to head on out and look for some more trouble. We found the V notch on this set of trails going down and whoa did the WJ get light in the rear and very off camber. Dave as the passenger, instead of the driver today, was sure it was worse than the day before. We all made it no damage. We finished out Archers, headed down and over to the other side to Stick in the Nose, where the WJ snuck through two rocks on the atv side while the other two did the rock garden. Finished late in the day with no snow. We all went our separate ways. Jeremy and I headed to get gas and were told 2-3 inches of snow expected overnight. We aren’t worried… we are set up. We sat by the propane fire pit all evening as the snow started to fall putting a blanket on before we went to bed.

Roughly 2:00am arrives and the snow is falling out of the trees onto the tent. Jer opens it to check the side area that isn’t snow ready and it has snow in it and it’s completely inverted. At least four inches. We check our tent and there are inches of snow deep all over the whole tent. We spend some time clearing it from inside. We lay inside hearing more snow and then a branch clearly snaps and falls close by. Sleep doesn’t go well for the next hour or so. Eventually we fall asleep. When we wake, there is 15” of snow!!! 6-8” under the trees where we were. We start the fire and get coffee going. Jeremy has aired down again and we are waiting for the others to arrive and he decides we have to go see how the WJ will handle in the snow. We are the only ones at camp and it may have become a race track!

Everyone arrives and Dan and Sarah with donuts and coffee!!! 4 of these people haven’t had donuts in years so we ate donuts around the campfire while airing down. Heavenly might have been this moment. Afterwards we headed out on an official snow run. Breaking trail on fireroads and then out onto the moderate trails, eventually heading all the way back up to Cedar Tree for the iconic picture in the snow, just two days apart. Knowing the snow was melting Jer and I did not want to be under the trees tonight and Dave and Tammy wanted to get on the road in their trailer while the roads were good, so we headed back down to camp. But the adventure didn’t end.

Dan leading the way, we hit the partially plowed road and Dan kicks it into high gear. Jeremy is following behind, having fun and kicking it out, but the ABS has frozen up in the WJ and also kicking it out from time to time. We head around a corner and Jeremy starts laughing, the WJ kicked him over and into the ditch we go. He tries to drive it out but has snow up to his hood. Dave gives us a quick tug back and we are back on our way down; a little slower now. They all headed back to our camp to make sure we make it out ok. Jer and I pack up in a snow melting, down pour frenzy. Dave and Tammy headed back to the trailer and packed up. Dan and Sarah spent one more night in Hillsboro. We headed home with one extra vacation day to go back to working on the CJ. Good news, parts in hand, we finished it up on Tuesday! We have a running CJ.

Noni (Jeremy TT #325’s Run Report Writer)