Summer Campout

I am getting the photos up fast today before I forget. Note there is a great shot of Jim ACTUALLY blowing the right front beed!

And some nice shots of red lake.

The photos

Anyway, this was a great run. Full of up’s and down’s. No one can say there was not enough adventure on this trip.

Lorrie and I made good time up the hill Friday night. The mods I have done to the Dodge make it a whole new truck. One has to wonder how long it will last with the stress we put on it. Some of us had a rough Friday night as a Mini cooper tried it’s hand at flying, only to be stopped abruptly by a large tree. Seriously, thanks to Dirk, Matt, and Eric one of the 2 people in the car will live. I defer to them for more details.

One group lead by Kelly did some of the Dusy. I am sure that Sherry can fill you in on the details of that trip. She broke a centering pin and they had a heck of a time fixing all the things wrong with the right front suspension.

Lorrie and I “lead” the intermediate/advanced run. We only had one person interested in the SUV run so we convinced him to tag along on the “intermediate” run which basically did almost everything we did, lead by Darrel.

Only 3 people in my group made it out of the parking lot, Jim, Richard and Carol, and Lorrie and I. Steve’s Blazer just did not want to stay running. It was too bad as they would have liked the trail I think. Later Mike and Dede joined them and I think they had a good time hanging at the camp ground.

When asked if I had anything to add to my group at the drivers meeting, I asked that no one break as I was wearing my Sunday best. Sure enough on the 2nd hard patch Jim decides to break something… I thought it was a drive train component as for all the noise. But we were lucky and it was only a tire beed. He had turned and pinched at just the right moment. Lorrie actually got a picture of it blowing as there is dust blowing up from it in the picture! A ratchet strap and that CO2 that he carries made short work of a fix.

We pretty much made it to Red Lake without any more incidents. We met a nice group of 3 Jeeps coming out. They said it was their first time out. They seemed to be doing fine but I offered them a clinic card and more information on Cal 4 as they were from Bakersfield.

Richard and Carol in their Xterra are to be commended. He has put on a lift, bigger tires, and sway bar disconnects. It did a wonderful job. They did need lockers in one spot where Jim had to winch them back to get a better line. Other than that, good driving and a couple of rocks here and there and they got through with minor scraps. Carol drove out from Red lake and shows a lot of promise.

On the way in we were starting to hear horror stories of the stair step leaving Red lake on the way to Coyote lake. Last year I got Jim up, as he was the least capably vehicle of our group and after waiting for a broken U-joint being fixed from a group coming down we decided to head back. This year we heard of 3 major breaks on this stair step, a broken tie rod, all hub bolts “sheared”, and apparently someone broke the exhaust manifold off the head? Don’t know how that happened. So after lunch at the Lake I decided I would try my hand at this obstacle. In my opinion it did not look any worse than last year and in fact seemed to have some of the major holes filled in. With the aid of my locker front and rear, a great line, and luck, I walked up it. Jim said that he would go up if I did so he started up. I tried to get him on my line as it was basically a straight shot up if you made it. He slipped to the right and got into one of the large holes. As is often the case now he could not back up more than a few inches. Rock piling ensued. There were many times we had to back off as the components were sure to give way with a heavy throttle.

During this effort Richard pitched in with rock stacking and I made the very hasty mistake of throwing a rock into a hole where his hand was. He pulled back and held his hand. I was in shock that I had done such a stupid thing. Richard went back to his vehicle where Darrel wrapped up his finger. I and Jim took a short break to asses the situation and calm down. I can not stress enough how sorry I am to have done this. Accident or no we all need to remember to not get in a hurry and take our time. Long story short, Richard and Carrol had to go all the way to Clovis to get stitches in his finger. Apparently there is no other emergency services closer. Sunday morning he reported that he was going to be ok. I am very happy of that.

More rocks and effort later Jim made it up the hill without breakage. I walked, or sort of dropped down as did he. In retrospect we feel the carnage from earlier must have been at the hands of heavy throttle and/or just bad luck.

Saturday night found us at a pot luck, raffle, put on by Cathy, and a warm fire. The raffle was a nice touch. Cathy made sure there were plenty of things for the little ones. Lorrie and I did well as did Richard and Carol through tickets we bought for them. They were down in Clovis getting his finger put back together. A little wine and a couple of beers later and Lorrie and I were in bed, got up this morning, loaded, and here I am.

As I said, this was a GREAT run. I for one was exhausted with all the activity on trail. I know there are more stories to be told but I will leave them to their respective owners…

Have a great rest of the Summer. Lorrie and I are going to be planning our Europe trip and then be in Europe for 3 weeks in Sept. This means our next trip will be Blue Lakes or Garcia Ridge in October.

Have fun, Ira and Lorrie