Tonga Ridge Jan 2020

With the weather report for the mountains calling for 1 to 4 feet of snow, I had to get a few people together to do a quick snow run. We met at the trestle at about 10:30 am. We were suppose to be there at 10:15 am but traffic was a little bit slow and then on the main road into to trestle there was a downed power line.

Travis and I got there a bit late to find Joe in his white TJ and Steve still unloading his Samurai from the trailer. We got aired down quickly and got moving up the trail.

We ran into a couple Toyota guys that were built pretty good and running big tires. However they both had blown beads and were kind of blocking the trail. We decided that they kind of new what the were doing so we sacrificed a can of starting fluid, (thanks Travis) and tried to get on our way.

Steve was leading the pack and he kerchunked his way around these guys and made a path for the rest of us. Travis was third in line and he slid off camber kind of down into the ditch. I back up and hooked up a kinetic line to him and tried as my little Samurai could I just could not get traction and get him out. I too ended up sliding off into the ditch and getting stuck. Well my old Iroks wouldn’t have let me get stuck like that!

Joe came to the rescue and got Travis out of the hole, but of course first getting himself stuck down into the ditch. Well, so now that 3 out of four us have acquired tow fees, this is shaping up to be quite a run.

While we were screwing around with our ditch slippages, I saw the other two Toyota guys had gotten the first guys tired back on and beaded up and were now spraying the second guys tire with starting fluid and lighting it up. Wait a second, you aren’t doing that right. They were snugging the tire to the rim then spraying around the seal and igniting the mess. The flames were cool but I had to step in and tell them to be SURE to remove the valve stem, then spray inside the tire and snug it up then ignite it so the explosion INSIDE the tire pops the bead back on. I a not sure how the got the first one on. But within a few minutes their bead was back on and they were getting on their way.

We ran into several more people coming down and even one guy that had tracks on his rig. Some of these tires were 40’s or 42’s and pitbulls as well as other brands. They said they made it slightly pass the big intersection that some of us call the “Dirty 13 Corner”. With someone else that had broken trail we all made it up the that corner and of course had to go on.

We made it past the “Dirty 13 Corner” and on down to what Casey refers to as “Dead Mans Corner” as it usually has a cross bearing memory to someone. This was where the Breaking if the trail ended. Steve leading the pack tried as he could, could not get much further and the snow depth was just too much and he needed up pushing and plowing till his Iroks would just spin.

I had to try with my new tires and they were just not the same as my old Iroks. They would “Kerchunk” a bit then did right down almost getting me stuck. I know my Iroks would do better than these. I even had them aired down to 1psi in front and 2psi in the rear. I was disappointed in my new tires but grateful they were doing as well as they were.

Travis was doing really good. He had his aired down to about 5 psi I think he said. And with no beadlock rims that is pretty brave.  Joe was just chunking his way along with his infamous Pitbulls carrying on their reputation for being some of the best tires around. We played around a bit and even had Steve jump off his rear tire into the snow which was almost chest deep when he landed. God forbid his little Samy dog jump out the window we would never find him.

We all got turned around and headed back to the “Dirty 13 Corner”. I decided to try to go up the Y and see if I could make any headway. I got to where the trail was fresh but could not move any further.  These new tires are just not Iroks and they almost got me stuck about 3 times just in that area.

I backed back down and then Steve wanted to give it a try and sure enough with LOW LOW gears Steve was able to make some progress and if we had about 5 or 6 hours to spare he may have gotten to the top of that road. That proved it to me right there I was going to run my Iroks in the winter and these new tires in the summer.

While Steve was chunking his way up the trail slower than a snails pace I decided to try to do circles around Joe and Travis in the Jeeps. Well going around Joe got me into some DEEP snow and it took me about 20 minutes to do a circle around him. But hey at least I can se I did circles around the jeeps, even if it was at a snail’s pace, lol. We put the call out to Steve to give it up and he backed back down.

We all headed down with much incident until we came to the lower forked road. We saw a couple Toyotas and a full size Chevy in the ditch. I asked if they were ok, they said yea, but if you could winch us real quick we don’t have a winch. So wheeled around and with Jong V pulling cable we had that guy out in just minutes.

Steve had gone on down to start loading his rig onto his trailer.  We hooked up with him and got to airing ourselves back up. Steve tried to move his truck and trailer and found he was stuck in ice patches. So the last remaining guy in the group would also be joining in the tow fee brigade of the day. Hey at least we all got tows fees that day..LOL

With a quick tug from Joe and his awesome kinetic lines Steve was up and rolling. We got ourselves back on the road and got lucky with Highway 2 traffic flowing pretty well.

It was a great day with DEEP snow and lots fun. I am going to go swap my new tires for my old faithful Iroks right now to get ready for the next snow run. LOL

Thanks for reading please forgive my typos and content.
Gary M