Dusy ’09 – Trip Report (part 1)I new I was in trouble when a friend asked me if I was ready for the run and I told him that that "my Jeep never ran better". We joked that I would be jinxing my trip.
On Monday evening I made the drive to the campground from the office in Palo Alto. I snuck out a few minutes early and was able to make it through San Jose traffic without delay.
I arrived at the campground late in the evening. Was greeted by an absolutely JERK of a campground host. He was yelling at me for rolling in so late. Warning for those of you making the trip up this week. Take care to avoid the host at the front of the campground (site #1). I made camp (Thank you Jim O'leary for the site) and was at the designated meeting spot before 7:00a. There the ED4 part of the expedition was assembled.
Ed (with son David), Darell, Tom (with brother Jim and nephew Daniel) Jason.
We rolled out of camp within minutes of the schedule 7:00a time. On the long drive (53 miles) from camp to the trail head we all stopped to top off the tanks in Shaver. Drive went quickly. The scenery was outstanding. Creek crossings, fishing spots and enormous vista views.This is a shot of Courtright Lake. This is where the trail begins.
At the trail head we were met by Tad (passenger Mike) and Patrick. Patrick has an outstanding Bronco. If I could have that rig I might actually switch sides and disavow Jeep. Shortly after 10:00a we gave thanks and were rolling.
Seven rigs made quick work of the first part of the trail. We made it through Voyager Camp ground across some granite slabs to the base of Chicken Rock. All of this was in two wheel drive.
At Chicken Rock we chatted for a while as we did some Bronco trail repair. Once fixed up we started the climb. If you have not seen Chicken Rock, it is quite the sight. A massive steep up hill climb. None of my pictures do it justice. I hope that others captured it. I was pretty nervous hitting that hill. Being caburated I was worried if I stalled, I would be in trouble without brakes or steering. None the less, heart was pumping, I made the climb, kept the rpm up and made it without issue. Here is a picture of Ed making the crest. Plenty of great photo ops at the top Patrick's outstanding Bronco Father and son From the top of the rock we continued on the trail as it followed the shore of Courtright Lake. The trail goes back and forth across the Dusy Creek. The crossings are the log bridges and the rocks in medal cages that we talked about at the last meeting. All of this is thanks to the 4WD club of Fresno. At some point after these crossings we had my first break down. I snapped one of the u-bolts that hold the axle housing to the leaf spring. Thankfully Tom had a pair in his gear. We made short work of breaking off the other one and replacing the driver side. Thank you to everyone who got dirty.
As we were winding our way through the woods the Scrambler starting having trouble keeping running. Couple of times we had to jump it and couple of times it would not start. If it was running, it was running smooth and consistent. But a couple of time we had trouble.
We reached this great little obstacle that Jason handled with great ease. It was at this point we made the call that I should stop and go back. Without any confidence of the engine running and not knowing the cause of the trouble, we through it be best that I abort the trip. I wanted to cry but I did not want to do anything that would keep the guys from completing the run.
Ed and Patrick were kind enough to offer to drive with me back to the trail head. 4+ miles back out. As we made out way out I sheared the spring pin on the pass side rear axle. Ed was my hero in fabbing up a contraption to keep the axle in place in the absence of a perch pin. Here is a shot of it before we duct taped it to hell. This silly contraption held it mostly in place all the way back to the trail head.
With the new setup we hobbled back to the trail head. Actually I was the only one hobbling. I was instructed to avoid hitting any rocks with the rear tires. Easier said than done. At one rest break due to the engine stalling issue, we believe we correctly diagnosed the cause of the engine problems. My ignition equipment was overheating and we were not getting a spark. After 20 minutes of cooling off, it starts right back up and is good for another hour on the trail.
We made it back to the trial head without any further issues. We transferred dinner, fuel, water and Ed’s son David and dog Spike into Patrick’s Bronco. Patrick and David started back on the trail to make camp at Voyager Campground. Ed drove me back to camp (53 miles) after another stop for fuel. Then we put Ed’s Toyota on my trailer for the 53 mile trip back to the trail head. We got to the trail head just after midnight. I gave Ed a huge hug. He turned on his rock lights and headed into the darkness to find Voyager camp, his son and Patrick. I crawled into the back of my truck to cry a little bit and to sleep for the night. Drove home this morning.
Ed and Patrick hope to catch up with the larger group by night fall today. I hope they make it. The larger group has most of the food.
I owe an apology to the whole group for slowing them down. It was unacceptable to have the Jeep not in top running order. I did not anticipate these issues and did not have the proper equipment with me.
Thank you to everyone who helped me through the day.
Thanks to Darell and Ed for planning out the event Thanks to Jim O’leary for the camp site. Thanks to Tom for the very expensive u-bolts (get me a part number and I will replacement them) Thanks to everyone for lending a hand Thanks to Patrick for escorting me out of there Huge thanks to Ed for rescuing my ass
I owe Ed and Patrick a day of their lives back. I hope the rest of the trail run is uneventful.
Story is to be continued, by someone else…
-- david grubman