Summer Campout

Ah, and now that I have your attention… ;-) I hate to bitch too much but lets just say that the weekend could have been a LOT better for Lorrie and I. We started out with a leisurely drive up the mountain on Friday. We both took the day off so we could get up to camp and relax a bit before the run. We had just blown by a Ford Powerjoke towing a 5th wheel on the 4 lane somewhere above Sonoma. I was pushing about 27# of boost from the turbo when I passed them. About a mile or so later another grade and I am not quite into it that much (~20# of boost) and we hear a BOOM! I mean BOOOM!!! Psssssssssss…. Boost == 0 EGT’s 1200 and climbing. My first thought is SHIT I just blew a head gasket. Second thought is “no that is not where the noise is coming from. 1st gear and about 5mph gets us to a point we can pull over. I get into some shade (lucky me) and pop the hood.

Good news, NOT a head gasket, bad news, intercooler boot has slipped off the turbo housing UNDER the clamp. I think, ok this is not such a hard fix… I get out the tools and put the boot back on. All in all, in the shade, not such a bad break down… 1 mile later… Boom! Psssssss. Shit! It slipped off again… I was only pushing about 18#!! come on!…

Short story. It blew 2 more times (the last one at about 10# of boost, without the jeep on the trailer) before we finally made it to camp…

Many thanks go to Dirk, Mark Polomik, Darell, and his friend Lynn for helping out in person, and on the phone…

Needless to say I am not a happy camper Friday night… (Get it, camper heheheh I slay myself…)

We had a great campfire on Friday night and turn in early because we were both tired.

Sat morning we all get ready, line up for a photo. Get some release forms signed (Because we are such a litigious club now), find a seat for Ed who rode his motorcycle up just for the day, and we are off on the trail. Right off our leader, Eric, was on the radio informing our newer members of the proper lines to take through the rough spots. Indeed from this end of the trail there is some serious “rockery” to be dealt with right off.

First I would like to congratulate Loro on excellent driving skills. Being able to handle the Bronco, with manual transmission, high gears, without power steering, AND without fuel injection just has to be commended.

Over all the trail did not present too much trouble. The first problem we had was getting Richards Xtera and Loro’s Bronco over a stair step. As always some rock piling ensued, but no straps were present. The “hard” part of the first rock garden really was not that bad. For some reason it seems the trail changed quite a bit. I did manage to kiss the big rock right where my left mirror would have been had I not pulled it in… ;-)

Next thing I knew Jim Hodges ended up off the trail. Richard was able to strap Jim back on the trail and we got him past the rocks he was trying to navigate. During this we noticed some fluid leaking from the front of his Jeep. After some more rocks we surmised that he had probably just gotten a little warm and boiled over the excess water he had put in the over flow bottle. No harm, no foul!!!

Overall the Jeep did well for Lorrie and I. I have determined that I need, among other things, better tires… I just could not keep on my lines… However, I had a good time and other than a bit of a kiss on that large rock, I don’t think I did any banging on the rocks. Lorrie did a great job of spotting in between taking many, many photos.

After some lunch we got to Lions Butt. This was a rather Moab looking obstacle. Darell and I decided to skip it and just spot people up. Jim was the only one to not make it as his transmission was giving him trouble… Don’t get me started about those automatics… ;-) Other than that everyone did a great job making it up.

Indeed from Lions Butt to the rock pile the trail is passable by pretty much any vehicle. Looking at the rock pile I don’t see how those guys did it 2 weeks ago. They did mention they had moved some rocks to help with the first stair step up into the obstacle but without 37″ tires I don’t think it would have been passable yesterday.

The drive back to camp was pretty easy. We had some down time and then got ready for the potluck. The potluck went great. As usual we had more food than we could eat. Brian cooked up some berry shortcake which toped off Sushi, baked beans and sausage, french bread, pasta salad, mixed fruit, and macaroni and cheese. I found that sloppy joe mix and meat topping french bread is pretty good.

The only down side to dinner was the slight bit of rain that we had… What is it with rain and our “summer” campouts? Anyway, the rain stopped and we had a great campfire again. We even had DVD’s courtesy of Eric.

Sunday morning, Lorrie and I tried to get up early to take care of the turbo issue. We did not do such a great job. Over the weekend there was much debate between myself and others about how I could make it home. I decided that it was best to drive the Jeep separatly and use some hose clamps to “strenghten” the intercooler boot.

Lorrie and I made our way home very slowly. But in the end we made it home without the truck breaking down. Which is really what counts.

All in all, a very fine trip. Ira