Trip report for off-camber crawlers from big dogs Spring Fling.
June 23-25
Alan Staiman 1986 CJ7 (broken again)
Jeff Jurgrau (TJ)
Mike Anderson (TJ)
John P (CJ5)
Peter A (Half TJ, Half Dodeg Power Wagon)
Pete M. CJ8
Greg B.
Walli R.
(and others)

 

I arrived Friday night and set up camp at the OCC Camp with Greg Browning and his brother.
Took the Jeep out drove around , see who was there, say Hi to John Hunt and spend some time with my friends from Richmond.


Brad B. had already grenaded his rear diff so he was looking for a ride. Little did I know I would soon be doing the same.

 

About 6 we all cooked dinner and headed down to Camp 6 to watch some mud bogging. 
Try as he might Eugene was only able to get 3 vehicles to try to run the mud bog. The first one through was a Toyota.


He gave it a really good try, ran out at several times and finally ended up with two wheels in the mud and two wheels on the bank. He asked me to try and winch him out from the front while another vehicle stabilized him of the strap. I put the CJ up against a tree spooled the winch out and started
pulling. The bumper of the CJ slipped off the tree and must have hooked the driver side front wheel and pushed it all the way over. I put The Jeep gear to backup and snap! I broke my right front axle shaft.


I turned the locker on backed the CJ up and put it against the tree to finished winching the Toyota out. A couple of other people tried.. and failed.. and then finally everybody started leaving, I hopped in the Jeep tried to start it and had no power. I'm guessing that I melted my battery disconnect switch on the negative side.


Eugene and a few others helped me troubleshoot then I rewired one battery and was able to start the Jeep. I drove it back to camp and put it in the trailer for the weekend.


That night Walli R and a couple of others people arrived and set up camp.

Saturday morning I met up with Jeff J. and rode with him and and the group from 4-wheel to Heal. We intended to go up V trail with our group as we had a mixed group of experience and vehicles.


We found the V Trail blocked due to a broken down Jeep. Turned out that was the other OCC bunch. So we decided let's try something else next thing we know we're going up ET. This ended up not working out as well as we would have liked.


Jeff and 3 others had no problem going up lower ET, but the rest tried the bypassed. One Jeep somehow bounded his nose up in the air and blew a tire. That group spending the next hour and a half getting the tire changed. 


We finally got them going down U Turn Hard and back to camp. We drove down toward Corum rocks. We got really close to the rocks and then ended up stuck in line with about 10 other Jeeps.


Everyone was just sitting and waiting, so I walked up to the front to find out what was happening. I found a TJ that had lost the castle nut on his tierod. He was trying to see hwo he coudl fix it so I took over. I walked back up the line and found someone who had sapre nuts that would fit and someone else 
who had bottle jack so we could push the tie rod back into place. I got the Jack in place ands set the tie rod. The other guy put the new nut on cotter pin on and we finally got him moving and on the way. Our crew made short work of going down Corum (Jeff ran it without using his lockers). We then we headed back
to Camp to meet up with the rest of the group. Lunch was Hot Dogs and Burritos .. all coooked on our engines as we wheeled. 
Mike Anderson arrived at that point and joined our group. We took off with me leading the run with a goal of running as may trails as we could before the 5 PM deadline. 


We ran up camp 6 and onto the timber trail... well, not exacty. We ended up on the Chestnut trail back to Overlook. Ok back to Camp 6 and this time to Timber Trail. We went past Pucker and Squealer, down through Log Bridge, down Sissy and then we took Cobra to get back up to Upper Road. We were going up the last section of Cobra when the CJ8 got stuck. I had Mike get his winch out and borrowed a snatch block and tree saver. We started to pull the CJ8 when I noticed a problem...one of the front leaf springs had broken off the spring hanger. 
A quick trail fix of 2 clevis's attached to the spring eye and to his bumper tow point stabilized him enough to get back to camp.  We all got back to camp in more or less one piece after that.

 

Next, it was time for dinner and then to head down and listen to music, watch people play on The Rock Pile, meet friends and buy raffle tickets for the giveaways.


The next morning Jeff, Mike Anderson and two other members of four-wheeling to heal decided we were going to check out a new trail that had been cut up at the top near pinnacle. 


This Trail runs on the same side as Insanity and has similar rocks. We were told it tends to be between the 7-9 rating. It has a lot of very large Boulders in a field that you have to run up very similar to Corum rocks. It has some very steep up climbs and is a bit off camber. Just past the sratt of it there's another section that's even harder which has an even steeper exit climb. 


Jeff and I took the lead on this one with Mike following behind. With a lot of wheel spin and banging got a little ways up. Jeff stopped to survey the path and I got out to walk it to the top. I then saw the other two Jeeps head to the other section of the trail.  I walked over there and ended up helping spot John up and around in the section he tried. Meanwhile Jeff and Mike had succeeded in getting up to the top but couldn't figure out where to go from there. 


So I ran back up the trail to them and found that there were two possible exits...so course we took the harder one. We all met up where the trail comes back to the Pinnacle Trail. That's when John noticed that he could not find his GoPro.


We looked through the Jeep but couldn't find it. We then walked the trail all the way back to where he'd been wheeling but didn't find it. We headed back to the Jeep somewhat in a bad mood. John then looked underneath his tool bag in the Jeep and lo and behold, there it was. 
The camera had bounced underneath the tool bag.

 

Ok All good, time to go. We headed on back down to main camp and packed up our rigs for the run home.

 

I was unhappy that it had now been 4 trips to gore in a row that had mechanical issues either on the Tow rig or the CJ7 and did not get to wheel it. I did have a great time Wheeling with the four-wheel to heal crew and Jeff and Mike.


It was kind of a neat experience not driving but spotting and taking photographs all the way through the Run. However next time I'll have my jeep fixed and be ready to try it again.

 

Alan Staiman

Report written by Morgan Franklin - Feb 21

Somehow despite all the tragedy suffered by jeeps I really had a great time this past weekend. That might be because my jeep is in front of my house vs a parking lot in Gettysburg, PA.

Long story short during this one trip we had boltss loosening and falling out of a driveshaft mount on Mike Andersons TJ, a radiator explosion, then the dredged hydro lock Dan was speaking of [in another email]. On top of all that once we got my radiator replaced and did all we could to try getting Dan's to come back to life we were heading home and I noticed a bad vibration coming from the front end of my jeep. I figured it was the driveshaft since I'm fitting running a toothpick sized 4cyl front I picked up as a replacement while I got the Tom Woods shaft I never ordered. As this terrible vibration is happening I stated slowing to a stop I suddenly lost all steering. I drifted to the roadside and found nuts on my drag link had vibrated loose and the whole thing was disconnected. (I had adjusted it before the trip so it was my fault.) With a little help I got that reconnected and tightened up, pulled off at the next exit and disconnected my front driveshaft. That fixed the vibration and all was good. 

Until I started hearing/feeling a random thumping noise we pulled over at a Sheetz and took a look. I thought/hoped it was the driveshaft was lose so I tightened that and thought I was good. 

The thump continued then became more frequent. We (Richard and I) pulled off the road again and when putting it in reverse at a random gas station it would buzz but not engage. Every other try or so it would engage and all seemed fine. I new things were bad at this point but I still tried to limp it on a little further then maybe one more exit got to where there was no going forward. We pulls off with the plan to leave the jeep somewhere but unfortunately we were in the middle of nowhere! So we went back an exit to where the gas stations and outlet mall was. I didn't make it the mile to the exit before I lost all power. Even in neutral I got the buzzing sound of a gear spinning but not catching on anything. We strapped mine up to Richard's and he towed me into the parking lot of a TGI Friday's and unloaded all valuable items locked it up and headed 
for home. 

Ideas of what to do now started going through my head who to call that could help me tow it should I rent a truck and trailer myself etc. 

I can't remember if I called Dan Or he called me but I filled him in and somehow the topic of getting a tow dolly came up. I had already though thought my suv didn't have the capacity to tow my jeep but when taking it over with Dan it sounded fat more feasible. So I decided it was worth a try.

I called in to work today and rented a tow dolly for under $50 from uhaul and embarked on operation YJ Rescue. All in all it worked out well. I used the winch to pull the jeep up on the trailer,and drive very carefully home using the select shifting to keep the transmission on my Mazda CX9 below 6th gear (overdrive) and all was well.


This proved to be one of the most adventurous Epps I've been on yet and despite the loss somehow it was still fun in us own unique way. 

Morgan Franklin
94 YJ (in need of some TLC)

 

People/Vehicles:

Morgan Frankin  -  TJ

Dan Peck   -   JKU

Mike Anderson   - TJ

Wali Raffiqi   - JK

 

Attendees:
Graydon and Katie Weideman in a CJ7 on big tires (Katie is the trail boss)
Ed Clark in a TJ on small tires
 
Day 1
The goal for day 1 was to avoid breaking stuff so that we could have a day 2.  We arrived early and were on the trail before 9.  We took 3C out of the parking lot and just a short way down the trail it was discovered the CJ's four wheel drive wasn't working.  After several minutes of beating on the t-case shifter and careful analysis of the problem we settled on locking the hubs and continued down the trail.  We took 3C to C and tackled the large rocks in Walk in the Park.  Feeling pretty accomplished after Walk in the Park we were rolling along a perfectly flat dirt road checking the map for the next big obstacle when Graydon's jeep encountered a small dogwood sapling.  His front diff was hung on the stout little stump and we had our first stuck of the trip.  After several jokes were made and pictures taken to ensure future jokes could be made a hi-lift jack was used to raise the front enough to drive off the stump.

We headed a little further down O and the CJ began to overheat.  We pulled the thermostat hoping it was stuck closed but had no luck.  We settled on replacing the 20 year old radiator and there was a short intermission to fetch and change it.  Once running again we decided to fool around on the comp course while we observed the performance of the new radiator.  After climbing some steep hills that our seat of the pants tilt meters told us were surely only meant for the baddest of buggies (upon further inspection perhaps that wasn't true) we deemed the radiator working and headed back into the woods.

We took A to B to Pole Line to Power Line and ended up at the "Big Rock" marking which I think is off 10A.  On my first trip I was rejected when attempted the "Big Rock" and now after several years worth of upgrades I intended to redeem myself.  After easily bouncing over the rock we fooled around the the clay mud a bit and I realized I had never even attempted "Big Rock" and it was just some lesser rock off the the side I had tackled...  After a few failed attempts at the actual "Big Rock" we decided to move on to trail 20.  

A short ways down trail 20 we discovered reusing the paper gasket on the CJ's thermostat housing was a poor decision as it was leaking pretty badly.  While we waited for the engine to cool I made a failed attempt at another large rock.  This time my rear bump was hung up on the ground and a little rock stacking was needed to get back off the obstacle.  Once free we called it a day and grabbed some dinner at the "Diner" in Pine Grove where we were staying.

Day 2
After sealing up the CJ's thermostat housing, topping off the fluid, removing the hood for optimal air flow, and crafting a swell overflow reservoir out of a Mountain Dew bottle we were ready to hit the trails again.  Today we opted for the northeast property.  We headed down N4 to X3 to 40 and did a portion of 31 black.  We then took 40 to T (maybe T6?).  We stopped to watch some very fashionable jeeps climb Tip Top (green hill climb) and then headed down T1 to Talisman.

After carefully examining lower talisman from the top we decided it was doable and set out to find the bottom.  On the way we found the bottom of upper talisman and I decided to give it a go first.  After some excellent spotting from Graydon I crested the top of the hill.  While trying to pull back on to the green trail at the top I encountered one of those pesky dogwood sapling stumps and spent some time rocking back and forth trying to get free only to land on it's nearby cousin after doing so.  I eventually negotiated the stumps (probably took longer than the red hill climb) and we went to spool in the winch line that had been hooked up to limit the distance I roll in the event of disaster.  We learned the winch was dead and wrapped the line around things and moved on.  We decided to skip lower talisman as the upper section had resulted in enough puckering for one trip.

We ran BFG and then headed to Devel's Den which was packed.  We watched a few rigs, including an early 00's extended cab silverado, make the climb.  We eventually headed back to the blue trails, 35, 32, 36, 34 and eventually back to the section of 31 we missed earlier.  On the black portion we missed there happens to be a jeep trap sized appropriately for short wheelbase jeeps.  Graydon fell victim first and having a warn winch he winched himself out.  Having seen the failed line I was sure I could make it but eventually ended up in the same hole.  A tug from the CJ was needed to free my jeep with the smittybilt winch.  

After 31 the CJ was getting hot again, evidently because it had to pull the stuck TJ, and we decided to call it a trip.  
 
Happy Wheeling,
Ed C.

 

Report - written by Mike Ball:

SATURDAY

This is an event to support the Relay for Life of Nelson.   This event raised $25,000 to help end cancer.

 

The weekend turn out to be a fantastic weekend for wheeling weather wise.   The attendees added to in to make for a great weekend out on the trails.

 

Saturday morning we all met up at the staging area.  The group is led by Mike Ball and Andrew Harvin, who have been wheeling together and guiding as a team for over 5 years.   We love to wheel and work to keep things fun, challenging and enjoyable for everyone.    

 

The group started to line up early and hit our 20 rig limit with a little over flow very quickly.  We have about 50% as OCC members usually, and at least 75% overall that wheel with us every event.  Both the Spring Wheeling for Hope and the fall Virginia 4 Wheel Drive annual ride. 

 

The drivers meeting was done by Chris Boucher and Tim Burnett.  The usual t-shirts and other stuff was given away.   Then we lined up to leave staging.  

 

Our first trail of the day was Chapel Trail.   We staged out 1st.  We headed to the first obstacle and had a great time playing on the rocks.  This is a rock garden that actually changes every time someone goes through it so very rarely is it the same line.      

 

We next went to Bob’s Creek.  We had many who took on the lower rock climb but only a few that took on the V-Notch climb.   Only a couple who did the v-notch climb had to be winched due to Chris Stewart’s expert spotting.

Rick Vergot’ s jeep got wrapped in plastic wrap as a practical joke.  YouTube video’s by Mick Ball  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DwZ3DvQU8QY and https://youtu.be/ZyyK1M4hhQQ 

We did however before we left had to deal with a battery issue in Dave Vickery’s rig.   Took us about 20 minutes to figure out what the issue was and a trail fix to get everyone moving again.    He wheeled the rest of the day but did not stick around Sunday as he had to drive back to Jersey and did not want to risk further issues.  We did arrange to get parts in from Fredericksburg to provide a better fix for his trip home. 

 

Skinny Rock Trail

 

Z Ditch  finished the day.  It however was not an easy trail as there was a least a foot of water and lots of mud in the ditch.    Everyone made it with a correct line and some skinny peddle.  That was the end of our day however as it was past 4:00pm and we wanted everyone back to the campground for the cookout and raffle. 

 

SUNDAY 

Sunday morning we met up at staging again and after the drivers meeting we headed off to Variety Mills.    Everyone crossed the creek and headed for the obstacle.  I was pulling tail gunner duty and after crossing the creek found a tree that was dead and leaning a bit too much for my comfort.  So the decision was made to take it down while others played on the obstacle.   Drew, myself and a couple of others made quick work of that.

After everyone completed their attempts on the obstacle we headed off to Findlay Ridge, now I am not a big fan of the first part of the ridge and we were somewhat pressed for time to get in more trails/obstacles.   We decided to take the bail out from Findlay Ridge in reverse up the long hill climb.    We proceeded to the next rock garden/uphill  climb before heading to Turtle Rock and the long very steep downhill to the Off-Camber loop (we bypassed this one today) as time dictated we needed to get to CJ5 Hill so we could get the folks that needed to leave by 12:00 noon out to the main road.  This did not work out as planned as there ended up being a group in front of us that was dealing with a Land Rover that broken an axle and had a wheel come off while doing CJ5 Hill.  We decided to break for lunch while we waited.  They eventually got the rig out of the way and everyone made it across and up CJ5 Hill. 

Once we got to the main road Mike and several others bailed to head home due to other commitments.  

Drew continued on with the group and went to??

 

Drew: The rest of the group, 15 strong at this point ran Quarry Trail, we took roughly half of the group down the hard side of the fingers at the top.  The main rocks a little better than half climbed or attempted to climb.  We passed on the upper rocks as well as Egg Rock on the way out, due to time.  Harvin popped a cap on a u-joint just before the last creek crossing, and broke the joint when he dropped into the creek.  Knowing that he would not be able to pull the shafts in the creek (safely or without flooding the axle housing) he made the climb out and up the hill climb on the other side, tearing the ears on the long side both on the inner and outer shafts.  We got the shafts pulled at the trail head since it was flatter and we could let the rest of the group go on their way.  (Big thanks to Rick, Chris, and Grant for the pit crew help) 4 hours later when Harvin was taking the girls back he lost the motor in the car to a recall that seized the crank. He was lucky enough that it was covered at no charge.  The LJ has the stock shafts back in it, waiting on the RCVs/Free Spin kit to arrive.  The Kia has its new motor in it.

 

Attendee’s:

Andrew Harvin (Trail Guide) + Corinne & Carlyn

Jim Jones + Luke -  2013 JKUR

CJ Johnson + Nick  -  2013 JKUR

John H arvin  -  2006 LJ                 

Chris Stewart + Danielle   -  2010 JKUR

Grant S + Rachel I & Wyatt F    -   2013 JKU

Hinmaton H + Sam T -  2015 JKU

Curtis H   + Gary W   2008 JK

Robert H + Johnny F   1998 TJ  

Stuart T  + Gary -           04 LJ Wrangler   

Craig R   -  04 LJ

Adam H  +  Fiono & Gideon   -    97 TJ

Eric K   -   04 TJ

Rick Vergot  -    03 TJ

Carla Vergot  -    15 JK

Mitch C  -   15 JKU

D.K. Stewart + Natalie, Rachel & Violet -  16 JKUR

Kieran M +  Christi B     -  2004 LJ

Morton St. H   -    2003 TJ

Jim M + Jack   -       2005 LJ

Mike Ball - TJ

Report Written by Alan Staiman

 

VA4WDA Members Only Run at Gore:

 

So a quick wrap up on my 4-wheeling weekend. Friday started off nasty and rainy so I just went to work and decided to leave Saturday morning.

Got to The cove, got the Jeep out of the trailer and got signed up just in time for a driver meeting. I joined a group of 3 other Jeep CJs  (2 Cj7 and 1 CJ8)!!. We led a 9 rig ride to V trail..and got stopped due to another group already being there with a broken down vehicle. I then led us over to a connector that let us onto some good trails called Six A and Horseshoe. We came down after a lot of good rock crawling and decided to take a break for lunch.

 

It had been raining all morning and I got tired of the rain falling on on me over the side of the top. So I cut up some cardboard and installed rain gutters on the Jeep. So of course it didn't rain the rest of the day.

 

We met up again and headed out to try and do a connector Trail across Death Valley and make it up to Upper Road.  The plan was to then go upper road to Castle from Castle to Trickle.. Up Trickle then Up Wahoo and that should have been a good day. So of course reality started to intervene. The trail turned out to be a little bit harder than we expected and we broke the drive shaft in the Cherokee. We got him turned around three of the CJs went on and I said I will meet you with the rest of the group. After we got the Cherokee down. well we ran into the Toyota which is broken down on the first Trail. We helped him get his spindle and axle back together so he could drive down to main camp. We left the Cherokee in camp and then the rest of the group started out running down Middle Road getting towards Trickle. At that point we saw the other group early going up Wahoo because well it had been a while. I stopped to take a look at one really deep hole that should have been a nice drive and drive out but now had about 8 feet of water in it.   I went to start up my Jeep after that stop and  well that was it.. the starter on my CJ7 died. I was able to bump start it and then back it up to a spot on the hill and pulled off to the side. I grab Teah Puppy and hopped into a Ford pickup truck running a nice so Mustang  5.0 V8 and I was going to ride trickle with him. That was not to be as his engine decided it was no longer going to run at all. We tried everything..It had spark, it had fuel pressure,  It just was not going to run so we turned him around and started to tow him back out. I bump started my... Jeep knowing that I could not stall it at all for the rest of the uphill run out. I ran in 4 low and second gear to keep the rpms up. I overheated but not too badly and finally got to the main road. We all made down and got to dinner only 30 mins late. I drove the Jeep into the trailer and that was it for my weekend.

 

We all got to the Bar-B-Q dinner provided by VA4WDA and had a good meal.  I decided there was no reason to stay so I headed home.  

 

The weather was not overly nice on Saturday but it did make for more challenging wheeling.

I had a great time, got to see a lot of old friends and best of all go wheeling in a group where the CJ's outnumbered any other model of jeep! (Not since the late 90s had I been on that kind of a trail ride :).

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