It was a scenic drive up to our meeting place at the Nooksack Market Center in Deming. Everyone stated to trickle in around 8:30ish. Those who needed to fuel up did and the rest of us lined up in a sided parking lot. Since this was a duel club run everyone mingled around checking out each otherâ€™s rigs and introduced themselves.
In attendance for the Timber Tamers, there was myself in a beautiful red JKU, Rudy Drahovzal driving a white and gray camo JKU, (candidate) Chris and his father was riding shot gun in the Frankin-Samurai, (candidate) Dave in his blue JLU.
And for the Ridge Rams. Â Bill Dotinga-blue first gen Toyota, Jim LaVeille- green Toyota Fj40, Kevin Vanderhorst- Red YJ, Walker Cadman – Blue YJ, Dave Brown-Green Yj on 49″ iroks, Dan Garvin (candidate) Red YJ, also on 49″ iroks.
After a quick drivers meeting we loaded up and headed to the staging area just a few miles up the street. Once there we aired down and unloaded the rigs off the trailers. Kevin gave us our marching orders and we headed up Racehorse Cr. Rd. We were the first ones up the trail so we had fresh snow to play in. The big boys were leading the pack, so their tracks were like run ways for my 35â€ť tires. The climb up and snow depth was moderate for a few miles. It started to get steeper and deeper when there was a call on the radio that Dave slid into the ditch. The rigs ahead stopped and waited at the top of the climb in a clearing while the rest helped get Dave back on the trail.
At the clearing you got a good view of how steep the trail was and with how things were starting out we werenâ€™t sure about making it to the top. We mounted up and pushed on. The big boys motored on without issues, but the rest of us battled to keep climbing. We made it to the bottom of the long steep climb we saw from the clearing. The big boys and Walker headed on up and then Kevin. After a hard fought ÂĽ mile Kevin made the call to head back down. Back at the bottom there was a discussion to head to a different trail a few miles away that would be more enjoyable and doable. So down we head to the staging area to add a little air to the tires and Chris loaded the Samurai onto his trailer. Candidate Dave decided to head home and skip the next trail. We said our goodbyeâ€™s and headed out.
Ridge Rams – Walker, Dave, and Dan decided to stay and try to conquer the trail. I got word on Sunday that Walker and Dan both broke their short side stub axles not far past that long steep climb. Nice call on turning back Kevin.
Once at the new staging area we quickly unloaded and aired down. Bill broke trail Jim behind him then Chris, myself, Rudy, and Kevin running over watch. We started on up the trail. Things were going well until the first steep climb. Everyone in front of me made up without issue. Then I decided that we needed to work on our winching skills. I didnâ€™t carry enough momentum and started to spin. I tried to work it and find traction and all that did is make it worse. I started to slide down the hill rite toward Rudy. I called out on the radio that I was coming down and to clear out. The tires found some fresh snow and came to a stop. Rudy was kind enough to help me hook to a tree about forty yards up the hill just about where I started to slide. I still didnâ€™t have any traction and had to winch up another thirty or forty yards. By this time Kevin made it up the hill to help Rudy hook me up. They got me up and around the switchback. When this was happening Chris turned around and parked in the ditch just in case we needed to use him as an anchor point. Well now he was having trouble getting out. With some work Rudy and Kevin got him out and heading in the right direction.
We caught up with Bill and Jim where we took a minute to chat. We had a little climb in front us were you needed to build some momentum in a short distance. It took a couple of runs at it for some of us to make it up and over. A little ways up the trail Bill slipped down in a ditch and with some persistence he worked himself out.
We came across another climb were you had to build momentum fast to make it. Wellâ€¦ Yep you guessed it I ended up in the ditch again. This time I could barely get the door open. Chris hooked up to me yanked me out, and with some instruction on how to make it up we were on our way.
The remainder of the climb to the top of Sumas Mountain was a gradual climb with the snow getting deeper. With a steady pace we broke through into the clearing at the top. While playing in the clearing Bill had pull me back onto the top of the mountain. That would bring the count up to four tow fees for Casey.
We lined the rigs up for pictures and admired the amazing view. Kevin and Bill were pointing out the different towns, lakes, and where the Canadian border was. We talked and joked about how people from Texas canâ€™t snow wheel for shit for a little longer before heading back down. The ride down was fast and smooth. At the staging area we aired up and said our goodbyes and headed home.
I want to thank Kevin and the Ridge Rams for hosting us on this run. You canâ€™t beat a day of good wheeling and good people.
Travis Butterfield TT316