Tonga Ridge April 2005

Hello, The run was great and my father in law thoroughly enjoyed himself. Five rigs started the trip, John and Gina, Mike G, Mary, John’s friends in the white Toyota and us. We stopped at the turnout under the railroad bridge so Mike could unload and the rest of us could air down. From there we headed up the ridge and it didn’t take long before we hit light snow. We had to dodge some rocks in the road (there was a huge boulder in the middle of one corner) and it didn’t take long before we hit untracked snow. John broke trail for the first part, but when his left foot got a little too heavy on a long sweeping corner and he dug himself in. I decided to see if Penny was up to the job of making new tracks and we pulled out and around him. The snow got deep but it packed just right and most of the time we didn’t even leave pumpkin tracks.

We were a good bit up the road when I heard Mike ask Mary if her ARB’s were on because she only had one rear wheel spinning. She assured him that they were indeed on. Mike suggested that she intentionally break ’em loose so he could confirm that the ARB was working. A few seconds later, I heard Mike say, “Oh man! Marry you just spit your right rear hub clear across the trail.” At that point we turned back to see if we could be of any help. The only help I was able to offer was to take several “crime scene” style photographs the carnage and the trail fix. It looked like Mary’s hub had been broken for some time and it chose this day to let her know about it. Fortunately, only the drive flange parted company from the rest of the casting so, once the axle was removed and the hole plugged with the appropriate size branch, she was able to drive it out. (Well, there was some cable pulled but only because, sometimes three wheel drive is just not enough. Mike followed her down to the staging area and aired her up. She was on her way, driving home on the front wheels. She said she had plenty of experience driving on only on the front and would call if she got in trouble.

Mike rejoined us and we went up past the open area that usually stops us. The snow got DEEP but we kept going until the Toy started to really struggle. He was just too heavy on tires to small for this day. We eventually ran into a log jam covered in snow. I was in the lead and opted not to try to cross it all the way. However Mike decided someone needed to and he attacked it like a man on a mission. (little wonder though, his rig was working so well that he was having no trouble going anywhere he wanted).

It was fun to watch him come back over it and I got a series of neat shots as he hit the top and pawed some serious air with his left front before landing.

We regrouped, ate some snacks, told trail stories, sipped some libations, and then headed back down. On the way down, the snow had softened and the toy struggled a bit ( too bad he is not a club member, the tow fee fund would have really benefited).

We got to the bottom aired up and headed out.
Yes, it was an outstanding day on the trail, we missed you.