Trail Jam Jul 2016

First off I would like to thank PNW4WDA and all the volunteers that made trail Jam possible. It is a great thing to hang with not only your club but other clubs as well.

Before the trip, Casey received a call to support Trail Jam as trail hosts.  As Tamers do when a call goes out, we answered.  Only one problem.  None of us knew the area, and none of us had been a host before.  Not to worry we would figure it out.

Attendees:  Wendy, Curt, Cindy, Jason, Chris, Ashley, Daren, Bev, Roberto and Monica

On Wednesday, the drive over was mostly uneventful.  We had headed out early to Trail Jam so that we could prep for trail host duty.  As it would have it, that was not needed, but it did give us time to hang as a group.  We decided to take Highway 410 over the mountains instead of 90 as the views are nicer.   We pulled into the campground, and the first thought in my mind was that we must have gone through a time warp.  There was more old iron in one place than I have ever seen.  My old CJ7 would be right at home.  I would have expected to see more Jks but besides us, there were very few.  In fact, there were more Willys than Jks.  Now off to registration for our first surprise.  Since we had “been volunteered,” I mean we volunteered, we were told that we would be receiving a discount.   Cool!   We also inquired about having someone go with us that knew the trail.  Daren had run the trail a long time ago and was surprised that they would have JKs run it due to width.   Some guy named Jim was going to talk with us, but the magical Jim never appeared.  We believe Jim is kind of like a Bigfoot.  Something that is talked about, but no one actually sees.  We did find out that a Vancouver wheeler named Marty was going to help with our group.  Driving, yes you guessed, it an old Willys.

Trail 1 – Shoestring /  Kaner


Without knowing what we were getting into we were off.  At the staging area, we aired down and held a drivers meeting. Overall we had 20 rigs in our group.


The trail was what you call JK doable but not JK friendly.   Cindy found this out first hand and managed to take off her right rear fender.  Luckily no permanent damage.  There was a root under the water at a mud hole which pushed her into an overturned stump.


Both Cindy and Wendy’s rig tied for the least built rigs on the trail.  Wendy has a 2-inch lift, but no armor and Cindy has no lift and armor.  As it would turn out having armor would have been the best way to go but more about that later.  This trail crossed the same trail where on Saturday, July 2nd Ashley’s Xterra beat its way through the trail, knocked in the bumper and added a dent to the door.  Despite having 20 rigs, the group did well and moved along without too much trouble.


  Trail 2 – Clover springs / mud springs


Clover Springs is not a trail that we know so we asked to have someone go with us.  Once again we were told that the mythical Jim would talk with us.  Daren managed to do recon and found Bigfoot.  With this information we had enough to wing it.  We figured that between the maps and the GPS we could host the run without any outside help.  While figuring out where we were going to be headed, we heard of a CJ that managed to go head over heels on the very same trail that we were hosting on the second day.  We did find out that we could avoid that chute if we wished but we also heard that it was not the most difficult part of the trail.  I volunteered Daren to run point while Wendy and I ran sweep.  The trail was tight again, but it turned out to be the best run of the three.  Daren only made one small wrong turn and the rest was perfect.  Now the views, they were outstanding.  Even on par with Moab.



After the run, several of the participants went out of their way to let us know what a good time they had with our group.   All in all, a good trail and a good run.

Trail 3 – Naches


The last day of the event was a free day for the Tamer Trail hosts.  Meaning that we could run whatever had space for us.  We decided we were ready to have an easy, relaxed day and signed up for Naches Pass.  Which Chris and Ashley will want you to know that they have run with no issues in a bone stock Nissan Xterra.  In fact, if I am not mistaken that was one of Chris’s first runs.  The Ridge Ram’s were hosting the run, and the Tamers were the only other club to sign on which means that it was a Ridge Ram Tamer run.    We were a much less built group than the Ridge Rams, but that would not matter.  It is only Naches Pass, and if a stock Xterra can run it, we should have no issues.  The day started out well enough.  The tamers were in the middle of the pack with Rams in front and back.  I must say the lead and tail gunner are a vocal bunch calling out whenever they cross a bridge or road.  It seems that their radios work much better than ours as many times we could only here one of them while they had no issues hearing each other.  Now up the east side of Naches.


It was wet, but the jeeps climbed them without issue.  Then came the Summit, a stop for lunch and down the other side.  At some point, Daren managed to flip a branch into his fender.  Lucky he has a set of MCE fenders at home.


Encouraged by the relatively good traction on the east side we moved on to the west.  Now on the west side, many times Ridge Rams made comments about how it was not like the last time they were here.


Still, we moved on.  Then came the big stumps to go around followed by a small but steep chute to climb which had a stump in the middle.  It was so muddy that Roberto could not even make the turn and had to winch to get pulled in the right direction.


After a few times trying to climb, he then took the winch again to pull himself out.  This followed a left-hand turn where he kissed the left rear fender.  It was so muddy, the back end just slid over.  Next, it was Daren’s turn.  He was able to make the turn but after several shots, he was not able to pull himself through.  He too had to pull cable.  Then came Wendy and I.  I made the turn but was unable to climb the short chute mainly because I could not clear the diff.  I too winched out.  At the top where you make a left turn, I slid into a tree and banged the left rear fender.   Cindy made the turn and winched out.  This time, we made sure that Cindy was high enough not to slide herself into the tree.  Now Chris’s turn.  Several Ridge Rams wanted Chris to know that his lockers where not on.    Then one guys said are you open?  Who needs lockers when you have a winch?  And winch he did.  Then came a downhill slide (fall).  This is the area where you have to clear the stump on the side.


Not a big deal in the dry but in the wet not so easy.  We all made it down, but I think Roberto may have kissed the stump.    More down hills until we hit the last chute.  This one was detoured as there was damage to part of the trail.


Almost done, we made it!  Then in the last 50 feet something, I think a log popped up and drove itself into the transmission oil pan.  Cindy saw the leak on the trail and called it out on the radio.  I was hoping that it was someone else but after looking below it was ours.  We grabbed the oil mats that PNW handed out and kind of stood there in shock.  Lucky for us the only non-Tamer and Ridge Ram on the trail was a guy named Luke.  Apparently, Luke is a bit of a trail fix genius and was able to bend back the pan and re-seat the seal so that we could add back the transmission fluid.  Wendy’s Jeep really needs armor.  Nothing that money can’t fix.   All in all, I think we were there for about 20 minutes before back up and running.


This would not be the last rig to suffer on this trail.   We were going to take the logging roads all the way back, but no one could find the right road.  It was then that Luke managed to knock the tire off of his rim.  It was fixed quickly and the group cut across the top of Naches Pass then hit the logging roads down to the Naches River.  After airing up it was time to head back to camp.  It was then discovered we had yet another Jeep issue.  At a higher speed, whenever Chris hit a bump his tires would go crazy.  Yes, it was that old jeep friend: the wobble of death.   We pulled over and magic fix man Luke once again performed his craft.  It was discovered that the TJ’s track bar bushing was completely destroyed.  Luke pulled the cable from the winch and attached it to the suspension.  This took the slack out of the track bar and no death wobble.


It was good enough to get Chris back to camp and later all the way home.
We suffered more damage than we would have liked but overall we had a great time.  Again thank you to PNW4WDA and all the volunteers who made trail jam possible.  Thank you to all the fellow Tamers who made this trip one of the best ever.

Cheers,  Curt