Walker Jan 2014

Walker Valley Club Run January 18th, 2014

Eleven rigs showed up for the run to Walker Valley, members, candidates and guests.  Casey and Gary Miller (Gary co-piloting for Casey), Josh Tourney and Pete, Dave and Erica Wilkinson, Shawn Denham (our trail captain), Jerry and Rebel Marsh, Rick Carter and GF, Michael Kelley and Michelle, Candidates Josh & JD (red jeep), Mark McGlaughlin (aka Mark the Brit), Ken (Search & Rescue) and guests Kevin Piper and better half, Cassie (driving Miss Understood).

After airing down, we took off on the logging road, to planned trails, beginning with the Timber Tamer Trail.  Our fearless Trail Captain (TC) in the lead….As the TC pulled off the logging road, to start down the first trail, a little E&E was in order.  TC was leading us down a “Dirt Bike Only” trail!  NO, NO, NO, this is Not the TT Trail we planned to go on.  Casey gets out the Handy Dandy notebook for E&E provided by Ed Tenney, and starts pulling out the map to show where we are, and where we wanted to be!  Back on the logging road, to planned destination.  We get to the Gate keeper, and TC, maneuvers his way around and over the boulders, while Gary jumps out of the Miss Creant, and calmly opens the gate for the rest of the rigs to pass!

We enter the lower Timber Tamer trail, and begin the fun.  Lots of photo ops, as we were above the clouds, and while in the sunshine, able to look down over the fog covered cities below.  We cross the Bridge, and round the corner, to find lots of mud going up the hill.  Our TC has a bit of trouble with all the mud, so pulls Winch (insert tow fee).  He gets back to the top of the logging road, and anticipating more rigs needing the winch, positions his rig as the anchor point, and leaves his winch line unspooled so he is ready for the next rig….which didn’t need it, or the next, or the next, or the next…in fact, none of the other 10 rigs needed the winch line so nicely place along side the trail.  At least TC was well prepared for this event, if needed!  Our TC is directing those exiting the trail to turn right….but we are all turning Left and pointing uphill.  TC asks Casey… “why is everyone pointed uphill, we are headed to the EZ Valley Trail”?  Casey explains to TC, that the rest of the TT trail is to the left…TC designates the Miss Creant to lead the way on the next leg.  TC Admits not knowing of the upper TT trails existence, and found it to be a nice challenge and fun trail.

There is some good video of this trail, Rick boasting about new tires, and Videographer, forgetting to turn off the camera, when putting it into his pocket, then heading out to attend to the call of nature….Oopsie!  Our new Candidate Josh (Red Jeep Josh) started this day with his new rig, and nice new paint.  Pics will show not as nice after going through the trough on the Upper TT trail.  At least the tail light was still attached to the vehicle….as long as one needs tail lights hanging under the rear bumper.

We proceed over the EZ Valley Connector, and stop at the mud hole for a quick bite to eat, and put Red Jeep Josh’s tail light back into place.  Gary notices that Dave Wilkinson’s back up lights are about the size of a small pencil eraser….and asks Dave if these actually do him any good. Dave doesn’t answer.  Gary thinking they would work well for Mighty Mouse’s Jeep.

Next, we are on to Ron’s Run.  We are hearing stories that it is quite chewed up, and at the top where the big rock is, the mud is 5 feet deep now.  Hmmmm, could this be an exaggeration?  However, we hear there is now a bypass for the big rock.

A little more E&E with a full size Ford, practicing his winch techniques on the bottom of Ron’s Run.  We invite them to join us, once they pull off the trail to let us by….they declined, as they felt they would slow us down.  Hmmm, well, the top of Ron’s Run was an experience!  I think we spent 1 ½ – 2 hours there and held up another group.  One of the best things about our TC today, was his ability to earn funds for the club, via massive Tow Fees!

TC decided he would try out the new Rock Bypass, to see if this would make our treck to the top, a bit quicker and easier.  Everyone got out and surveyed both trails, to decide which route they would take.  Those that wanted Winching experience (insert lots of tow fees), chose the bypass, those that didn’t, chose the rock.  By The Way, the 5-foot deep mud….was typical of this area about 8-10 inches.  Josh, Dave, Casey, Jerry and Kevin chose to take the usual rock route up the trail.  Then stopped to help those who were now trapped in the bypass (insert Tow Fees)!  Rick slid down the hill and was wedged between several trees, Michael went in to rescue Rick, then Shawn and Casey help to high center Michael over a rather large fallen tree (insert more Tow Fees)….by then another group of 2 Samurais and a Jeep, had climbed the rock and were now waiting for us to pass.  The Jeep in this group, pulled Michael out of the point of which he was high centered.

Finally, we all were able to move on to the logging road.  We then proceeded to do the Humps and Bumps trail and do a quick drive through the skills area.  Uneventful on this trail.  At this point, it was about 3:30 or so.  Our TC thought this was a good time to return to the parking area to air up.  Casey finally remembered to turn the wipers on BEFORE hitting the large mud puddle at 25 mph.  As we come to the “Y” at Peter Burns Road, Casey (now in the lead) realizes that we have not yet had to do a traditional “Tamer U-Turn”, and advises the group as such, so announces on CB to “please follow Miss Creant in the action”.  Co-Pilot Gary, is thinking “Good Greif, whatever Case….but to his surprise, every one of the 11 rigs, proceeded to do a Tamer Turn!

A little more E&E was performed by Josh, as 3 buggies blasted into the lot, at about 30 mph and skidding into a stop, while there were lots of people and kids in the lot.  TC was very responsible in making sure all rigs returned to the lot, and got what was needed to proceed home, which most of them did.  He can certainly boast that he was Trail Captain….Once.

A few decided to stay behind and do a little more wheelin’.  Josh & Pete, Michael and Michelle, Gary and Casey.  The little night-time addendum run by the last 4, was a bit tricky.  The Samurai (leading our small group) was having trouble keeping his battery charged or a fuse or something was shorting out, so headlights and dash lights kept going out.  Luckily the other 3 rigs had enough lights to create approximately 50 million candle power for the Samurai, and be seen from the satellites.  We were climbing up and up and up the hill….Josh comes on the radio asking if we will be going down soon?  Why Josh, is your jeep not capable of going up hill, only down hill?  “No, my transfer case is leaking fluid and I need to keep enough in it, to get me home”.  Coming down one trail that was a bit off-camber, we hear a calm voice over the radio saying “Josh, please come step on my left rear bumper, to get my tires back on the ground”.  This was Michael, and all we can see is headlights bouncing up and down, until he was finally able to connect with the ground and continue forward.  At Josh’s request, we begin the decent back down hill…until we run into a very low tree over the trail.  Miss Creant’s top lights, won’t fit under.  After bending them down, and holding branches up, she was slowly able to get under the tree.

The last of us finally returned to the lot to air up, around 8pm or so….A very good day, little carnage, and lots of Tow Fees were accumulated!

Note:  Sometimes having a wheeler as your Co-pilot is not so fun….always have a back up plan to have him/her ride with someone new to the sport where all the instruction and information is welcomed!