Winter Fun Fest

Winterfun Fest 2016

Well it’s 5:00 AM Saturday morning and Jon and I are back for more fun, snow and ice with just one hour of sleep after completing the Friday night run. In reality we had both only had one hour of sleep in the last 24 since preparing for the trip and leaving from Sunnyvale Friday morning, thank God for Mt. Dew! Cal 4 Wheel started us off with a breakfast of pancakes and eggs with the rest of the fixings. Fueled up we headed out for the staging area off interstate 80 near the Yuba Gap. Weather this morning varied from light rain, drizzle, and snow flurries to crystal clear. The temperature was hanging around 38 degrees. The snow was much deeper on this run and although our leader Will and his team had compressed the snow on the track the day before the combination of fresh snow overnight and icing made for an exciting run. An important note made by the leader at the start of the trail was that Cal 4 Wheel had received a special permit to make this run as the trial was closed for the year and cautioned everyone to not leave the trail or get so stuck that the road was torn up because it could impact trail use in the future.

We aired down to 10 lbs with my 37” tires and headed out as the 3rd vehicle out of a group of about 36 vehicles. This had to be one of the longest caravans on an adventure that I had been part of. Looking at our leaders (Will’s) tires I thought he was running them flat but he later told us he had a couple of pounds of air in them. He was blazing the trail for us and occasionally had to be pulled or winched back but nothing compared to those behind him that were simply following in his track! By the way even with a partially packed track both vehicles differentials were breaking down the center track. I was getting worn out with the number of times we slid off the track and had to either winch ourselves or the jeep ahead of us out of the drifts which also include the both of us hooked in tandem to get the leader out occasionally! The hardest job has got to be breaking trail and the farther back you are the better packed trail but with it comes all the road rash and holes created by previously stuck vehicles! A CB message was relayed from the back of the group that they were have lots of fun digging out vehicles which resulted in the team getting split up into a few groups. We continued on with blazing the trail.

The snow was like sugar and would not compact so if you slid off the track you continued sinking deeper and making it harder to extract yourself. The three of us in the lead did manage to pass the guys who spent the night camping off the trail and completed about a total of 3 ½ miles and made an elevation of around 6,500 feet before leader decided it was time to turn around. At his point Will turned his Jeep into a snow plow and accomplished the feat of building a turnaround point for the driver ahead of me and myself. It was amazing to watch him go back and forth shaving off up to12 inches of at least a 3 foot snow bank on each pass. This was another action showing that with little or no air pressure in your tires combined with great skill these Jeeps go just about anywhere in a variety of conditions.

In addition to seeing the advantages that really low air pressure provides I also learned that lockers aren’t always the best option. Will suggested I turn them off and using them more judiciously because he suspected they were grabbing and pulling me off the track. Especially as the run got steeper, icier and was on more of an angle. Eventually I dropped my air pressure to 8lbs and prayed I wouldn’t break a bead. Happy trails everything worked better!

Once we managed a turnaround and were headed down I shifted up to 4 high and with less power to the wheels and lower air pressure had some fun skating down the trail but was able to get back on track whenever we slid to one side.

While we were waiting for other vehicles to be pulled free I looked in my mirror to see Will working through another humongous drift on my side. Up and back he went packing the snow until he was along side. I was checking out the depth of the snow and realized he didn’t have bead lockers on his tires. His explanation was one for the books and if I told you I wouldn’t be believed.

We learned a lot about driving in deep snow and ice on this adventure. If you haven’t made this event in the past I highly recommend doing it next year!

We headed back to the hotel for a quick shower and on to the Fair Grounds for the evening festivities. We started with cocktails, visited with ED4 and other club members and finished with an excellent dinner of steak, baked potato, salad, garlic bread, veggies and desert. At around 9:15 prior to the raffle and the rest of the festivities Jon and I called it a night and headed out for some much needed sleep. This was truly a great adventure and we look forward to next year. Dick

Winterfun Fest Part 1 2016

My buddy Jon and I arrived at the Grass Valley Fair Grounds early Friday afternoon and were greeted by a friendly and informative staff for the activities. We checked out the products for sale as well as the numerous items that were available for the secret auction. We walked around the camp grounds and introduced ourselves to several other club members, checked out their vehicles and in general had a good time learning and talking about trails and adventures we had all experienced. Cal 4 Wheel put on a good dinner of pasta, salad, garlic bread, desert, coffee, milk/juice etc. There were games for both adults and kids. I’m happy to report that there were no injuries from all the hip swing and head bobbing to either extricate balls from Kleenex boxes strapped to the back of peoples waists or from the tennis ball hung in panty hose which were slung from the persons head and used to knock over water bottles. With the games complete and stuffed from the meal we were both worn out from laughter and a little lethargic from the meal but rearing to go! The Friday night run headed out at around 8:30 PM. We started out with around 25 vehicles, aired down after crossing the old trestle bridge of South Fork Yuba River and headed towards Bowman Lake. At this point several of members of the group re-evaluated the time and decided to turnaround since they were going on the Avalanche Express first thing in the morning and it was nearing10:00 PM. Weather for the most part was cold and clear. We went through a couple of old towns of which I believe the 2nd one was Graniteville and by this time the snow drifts left and right were about 3 feet. The track itself had been run by the Mudsuckers earlier and was packed fairly well so the going was pretty good although you could still see differentials knocking down the snow in the center of the track. As the trail conditions started to get rougher the caravan started to stretch out and at this point the leaders found a place for everyone to pull off the road for a little play time while everyone caught up. We saw some impressive driving by our team leader Mike who was ploughing through snow higher than his winch. I had stopped in a drift at one point and Jon and I were discussing options only to hear the shill wine of a freight train (Mike’s Scout) headed towards us. As Mike blasted through the snow bank and pulled alongside me, close enough to kiss and leaning my way, he had a true shit eating grin!!!

A couple of other Mudsucker diehards joined in the fun and eventually buried two vehicles and so a new leader took over and we continued on while a smaller team dealt with extracting the two vehicles.

Eventually at what appeared to be the worst possible place to stall out we couldn’t proceed any further due to the depth of the snow and worse yet it was going to be a hair raiser to get turned around. Up and down the line vehicles were off the road, shovels were being used extensively and then came the winches and tow ropes. I was the 6th vehicle back and it took two of us hooked together to extricate the next vehicle up. We eventually worked out an area to make like a 10 point turn and managed to get 5 of the lead vehicles turned around and headed down hill only to find one of the group having tremendous issues. The driver and his mates were working very hard with shovels to extricate the vehicle and get it back on the trail and then turned around however without, lockers, winch or attach points from which to assist him it was an extremely long process. Eventually caution kind of went to the wind and someone cautiously hooked to his axle and extricated him while also getting him going in the right direction.

Needless to say we headed down the road at which point about half the team pulled off to enjoy a bonfire while the rest of us headed back to Grass Valley. Jon and I got to the hotel at ~3:45AM, hit the sack at 4 and were up at 5:00 AM and on our way to get fuel, breakfast and line up for the 7:00 AM start of the Avalanche Express run. We met some really great people on the run, learned about winching and digging at night all of which left us with some great stories and a wonderful adventure. Dick

Winter Fun Fest

Well it was a blast, here is the trip report from my perspective… ;-) Pictures as usual can be found at: Pictures Friday started off Lorrie and I’s weekend attempting to caravan up to Winter Fun Fest with Alicia and John Skier. Through the advent of Cell phones, CB’s, FRS’s, and Ham Radios, John alerted us that his Jeep was having some electrical trouble and that he was going to change vehicles and attempt to catch up with us. Alicia, Lorrie, and I got away at about 3 from Fremont. John and son caught us just off of 80 on Hwy 49 where we had stoped for a quick break.

We got to the fairgrounds in time to check in and meet some people. Alicia had aranged for some awsome lodgings and we settled down there with some refreshments for the rest of the evening.

Saturday started early getting us to the staging area well in time to gas up and grab something to eat. Most were cold but excited to get out on the trail. After safety checks and a drivers meeting we were off to the trail head, where we aired down and began our run.

The snow gods had listened and we had plenty of snow to play in/contend with. Lorrie and I went on the Tundra Trek with most of ED4 I think. Of those I can remember were: Alicia Ellen Joe Farley John Skier and son (riding with Alicia and Ellen) Ole and Sherri Brian Ryder John Ruiz (SP? sorry John) and family Ron Fox and family James Paine John (new member, sorry don’t remember your last name) and family Lorrie and I in El Jeepo Negro In addition to our 10 rigs there were 27 others by one count making the total at 37. The run was basicaly a run out to a “flat spot” where the leaders allowed people to play from there. Most of ED4 got to this spot in time to blaze some trail farther out. I did not get this far so I will have to differ to another for that tale.

The run was not too difficult for most, I on the other hand decided to test the winching skills of the group. On the way to the “flat spot” there were 2 “difficult” sections which were “to the right”. I decided I had to at least try. The first was a good pucker factor for Lorrie and I having never driven in the snow before. But we made it with little trouble. The second proved too much for me and I slid ever so slightly off the trail. After some attempts at pulling be back on the trail I decided to attempt a detour where I thought I could get back up to the trail. Of course this just made things worse. To make a long story short, (pictures are of course available!), Brian and his winch, a very nice Jeep, and a rather imobile tree allowed me to be winched back up to the trail through a great “+” configureation. (I will refrain from ASCII art). On the way back I don’t think anyone took the “difficult” routes, so it was really just a slippery slide back down the mountain.

ED4 was tasked with helping with the Saturday meal so we hurried back to the cabin to get me dried off. I was soaked from trudging through the snow. And then hurried over to the fairgrounds where we served up “one of the best meals” according to one account. Of course all we did was serve it. Ole and Sherri helped in the preperations and it was mostly, “Olin Gophers (??)” Jeep club, who had sacrificed the day to prepair the meal. After dinner we were able to squeze into the auditorium to listen for our raffle tickets to be called. Alicia came away the big winner this time. After all this we pretty much got back to the cabin and colapsed.

Sunday started with a late breakfast where Chris Christensen and his wife told us about the historical tour they had gone on. It was agreed that one year some of us would have to make this tour, as it sounded like a very enjoyable day. After helping a bit with clean up on Sunday we headed down to the “river bottom games”. John and Alicia were going to participate but we got there too late to sign up. So Alicia, Joe Farley, John Skier, little John, Lorrie and I wandered up river to see what fun we could make for ourselves. James Paine joined us later after having participated in the games. Sunday turned out to be real pretty weather wise and was a great little trek.

Finaly, about 3 we packed up and caravaned home. It was a great 2 days. Lorrie and I can’t be at the meeting next month. We are going to be out of town. Have a great one and we will seen you in March if not sooner on the trail.

John Skier Well Ira covered all the bases in his report. I’ll add my two cents worth.

First: Joe Farley did a great job of saving the trip for the club after a mailing snafu. His resourcefulness resulted in the club being able to make use of the run reservations Ole put in place and also landed us on the Winter Fun Festival Dinner Committee. This was really great. ED4 needs positive exposure with Cal 4 and we have great people who sometimes are too busy to volunteer for events like Winter Fun Festival.

Joe was also great in his choice of which meal to serve. He knew the crew would be much better at breakfast than at dinner.

On to Fun Fest As Ira stated my adventure started out pretty poor. As many of you know my Jeep got a new High performance alternator after Panamint. Well the darn thing died when I was on 85 heading to Palo Alto to pickup my co-pilot. Got on the phone with Ira and let him know that I would not be meeting him. Then called a mechanic to see if there were any idea’s about what this could be.

Bottom line turned out to be nothing could be done until Monday after Fun Festival.

Time to make new plans on the Fly. I was pretty sure that both Ellen and Alicia had open seats. I also knew Ira would have a half seat so the decision was made to commander my Explorer from my wife. A sort quick transfer of the required items to the Explorer resulted in my being on the road in 90 minutes. Not too bad all things considered. And heading up 680 it looked like I could catch Ira and Alicia right until the point I passed the 237 merge. Oh Well at least we were on the road.

We finally linked up with Ira, Alicia heading into Grass valley and things got better. I was none too happy however to have left my main CB unit with the Jeep the hand held is just too weak for good communications. Linking up with Ellen and Alicia Friday night Jon and I were able to secure seats. Thank-you ladies.

Jon rode with Ellen this time, at Panamint he hitched a ride with Alicia. He’s learning a lot about how other people drive. And I’m learning what it feels like to be in the passenger’s seat. Not too bad when you are armed with a camera. I became the official navigator when our trail guide said go right once we were 75′ past the turn off. Once we got to head off on our own Alicia handled the Virgin snow wonderfully. I got a chance to watch her newly lifted Jeep plowing a trail. The fresh snow and easy trail made for a wonderful time.

I really missed my Jeep. I was feeling pretty naked riding in Alicia’s jeep with all my gear back in San Jose. You don’t realize how much stuff you rely on in the Jeep. Wench, First Aid kit, Tools, Sleeping bag, Food supplies: In short the works. This is not to suggest that Alicia, Ellen don’t have well equipped wonderful rigs’ they do. I just missed my Jeep.

The later half of the Saturday’s trail Alicia even let me drive her rig. I had some fun traveling over the now rutted mud ice trail that was only an hour before virgin snow. What a difference being at the back makes. It was a bit more challenging slip sliding along in the ruts. We had a great time on trail right up until we needed to air up. There I go again missing my equipment. We drove to a service station for air, yep I missed my on board air, only to find that the compressor very slow and the line was long.

Joe Farley showed up and saved the day with is tank of CO2. What a nice way to fill tires. Thanks again Joe. Aired up we headed to the motel to change and then we were off to serve dinner.

Dinner for 600 in the back was an experience. Little Jon worked the pots serving up corn and hot water. I worked with Sherri making potatoes and delivering them to the serving line. Also delivered Coffee, water, pie, pie and more pie. We served over 600 diners. What a time. At times there was as much slip sliding along in the back of the kitchen as we had on trail. Just when it seemed like the line would end before the food everyone was fed and it was time for clean up. We had a strong crew to handle the clean up and did a super job. Again Mr Farley was there to help, although he arrived a bit late and took some flack for it.

Everyone who helped with dinner did a wonderful job and I for one had a great time. Thanks to the whole crew.

Next came the raffle and Alicia got the only ED4 score. A $400 storage box for her Jeep. Loading it into my Explorer nearly killed Little Jon. We were carrying it to the Truck when he slipped and the box hit him squarely in the head. Good news is neither were badly damaged.

Once back to the motel we were all tired puppies. Little Jon however was determined to hit the hot tub and pool. I supported the idea there is nothing as relaxing as a warm hot tub and a good swim. A beer or two later and life was wonderful. Rested and relaxed we settled into a wide ranging conversation with Ira, Lori, Alicia and Ellen. For everyone who was not there you missed some wonder wide ranging conversation lots of laughs and wonderful stories.

Sunday was check out and the River bottom games. As well as an auto pilot return to San Jose. I got some great pictures and next year I’ll get Ellen and Alicia to take part in the games. They look like fun and I know we can take a prize or two.

I believe that I could have taken my explorer on every trail and into the river bottom with out harm. Perhaps next year I’ll risk the rather of Ruth and take the Explorer rather than the Jeep. There is also the SUV run that sounds really interesting. Either the Jeep or the Explorer could easily handle the SUV run. After hearing about it I’m not sure that it would not be a great way to spend a Saturday. Anyone interested should drag the details from Chris. C.

Bottom line on the trip is it was once again a happy trail with great people. Mr Farley did an awesome job. Alicia also found great digs. It was good fun and highly recommended even without a vehilce.

Pictures are on my server, but I do not know how to make them available just yet. Ira this is your cue to send me an email.