Flexy Jeep - Jeff Hanley
The Details . . .
Well for those that don’t know me my name is Hip and I live in the Everett neighborhood called
It’s nestled in the Snohomish river valley and my house is about 80 feet in elevation above the river.
Sunday morning was a beautiful morning with a thick fog hanging over the river below me with nothing but sunshine rising over the cascade mountain range above the fog. I love looking at "My Mountains" in the early morning, I look at them everyday I can actually see them.
Well that scene didn't last for long because when I got out of the shower it had rained. I figured it would clear up soon so my mood was bright, I get to go play trucks. I noticed movement across the street so I remotely opened the shop door and started making coffee. As soon as the coffee had enough in the pot to fill the first large cup I was out to the shop to gather gear, I grabbed all my rigging gear I had and threw it into the recovery bag. Rocky starts getting all excited as soon as he realized we are gonna load up the Jeep. Ritch “nwmud” shows up about this time parks his purty white bronco in the driveway and gets all his gear into the rig and helps me load up. The neighbor (Greg) is over to get his 93 Jeep Wrangler
out of the shop sporting his brand new cage. 2 days of bending and a week of fitting spreaders along with about ten cans of paint and he is feeling much more confident now.
We are all ready to go and Greg tells me he will hook up with me at Mc Donald’s he has to go by his friends house real quick so Ritch and I are off to the "Winchfest 2005" or AKA Reiter Pit Clean Up. See I know what our prey is for the day and its gonna be tough, real tough.
We pull into the parking lot and immediately see the 2Bigbroncos area established with trucks. A few handshakes and a quick trip into the Safeway for some stuff and we are ready to leave Mc Donald’s. At this time we have: Tony Eaton in his 78 Bronco, Carrey along with his wife Tracey and friend Lee in his Bronco
, Mike "I’m Game" along with his wife Tammy in his Bronco , Greg Rice his wife Laura, son "Mr Club President" Jackson in their Chevy, Wally along with his wife in their Rubicon , Joey Stokes in his Bronco, Eric Friendly in his (what the hell was that anyway?) , Jeff in his awesome electronic gizmo jeep (TJ ZJ YJ) , Greg, Jack, Richard, and Aaron in his 93 Wrangler YJ, with Hip in the front. Me being in front always seems to lead to body damage but this is just a clean up so it should not be too bad. “Evil Grin”.
We arrive at the Pit missing Mike and Jeff, I think I heard something about an auto parts store but I never found out what it was about? We all sign up for the clean up including driving time so the state officials can know how much time and effort is donated to the area cause. It helps when the money is divvied up between agencies so its a good thing for our sport. Lots of mingling ensues as we discuss things like: not airing down much till the task is accomplished, whether or not to wait for Mike and Jeff, and various modifications to the rigs.
Look at all the groovy stuff on the Chevy and the Rubicon, my anti-wrap device, etc. We decide that Mike has been on the road before and its one left turn off the main road and we should get CB coverage so we load up and move on in search of the prey. After a short run down the paved road and a short run up the gravel road we arrive in the spot. We all pull over to maintain the roadway clear as at some point we will "need" to block the road.
The prey is now visible, its a red full size 2WD dodge truck and a mid size silver car down a very steep embankment about 60 feet or so. The dodge has the wheels locked to the side and two flat tires sitting on its wheels nose down. The silver car sits on its side/lid kinda on a steep angle against a tree nose down with no wheels. After a quick survey and a little lets keep safety in mind talk we start rigging the vehicles for the Winchfest 2005. We start on the Dodge. rig a large logging chain around both frames and choked back to two ends sticking out about ten feet each. we hook them into two loops with large shackles and hook Wally’s hydraulic 10,000 lb winch and Tony’s 8274 and start pulling with each rig hooked through a snatch block for the proper angle and to keep the road clear. We manage to make it move barely. so we re arrange some stuff and start pulling with four winches. The hyd winch pulled slow and steady and it was like an orchestra with me as the conductor. As the hyd would pick up the load the warns would hit the juice and the front suspensions would dip and winch motors groan. The warns would pull the load till they were maxed out and would hold till the hyd caught up and took the load, the the warns would all start up again in a orchestrated event to drag that dead dodge back to civilized road. It was awesome and a large crowd had gathered along the road to watch and cheer us on.
Well any where a crowd gathers the Big Sausage seems to gravitate there. The Big sausage is a huge buggy sporting 49.5 Irocks and the drive train to turn them. He asked if he could help us dovetail the dodge so we said sure. Soon a 49" tire was in the bed of the dodge
and Robin had a big grin on his face. He asked us if we wanted him to drag that dodge to the pit for us and me being the tom sawyer I am immediately agreed. We wrapped the chain around his rig and he put on an awesome display of power by putting his rig into a front wheel only dig and cranking his steering to the stop and hammered it. He drug the dodge around into position and set off.
Now, comes the silver car. We decide to try to drag it out on its lid as it might slide easier so we rig it with that in mind. Well the conductor failed to rig it exactly right and when we started pulling it ended up on its belly. Well this rig put up a vicious fight to the very end. It took every bit of the same four winches and even a fifth at one point. At the very top we flipped it over onto its lid and that’s was when we knew we had the battle won. We cleared up the road block and arranged to drag the dead car to the pit. I used the 82 CJ7 to drag it and we started off with a long column of vehicles behind full of garbage to the pit feeling really good about ourselves. We have Greg out in front warning on-coming traffic and as we get into the curvy part we hook Carrey’s rig up as a rear steer device and we are moving right along with sparks flying and the club picking up any pieces that happen to fall off. We come around a corner right before we get to the final destination! and I get a cool looking Rubicon pulling in front of me with his lights flashing. I’m thinking cool a police escort. Well that now what happened this officer was really pissed. He read me the riot act and then told me to remove the vehicle from the road immediately. I asked him where to put it and he said I might as well finish taking it to the pit. So we continued. We arrived to a cheering crowd and the staff guiding us to the proper place for the county to pick it up.
We all ate donated hamburgers and beverages and had a good time for a few minutes. After lunch we headed out to run a little trail called Sack-Up. Right as we are leaving camp a little group of kids asks us if we could help their dad, he has a bronco with a broken axle and no spare or tools and they are stuck on a trail. So we quickly re organize and break into two groups with my friend Yotanut (Jason) takes one group to the trail and i take the other group to save a fellow bronco mate. When we get there the guy has a nice early bronco sure enough with a broken axle. the guy does have tools and is installing his spare rear axle. he only needs gear oil. we all search our gear and come up with two qts of motor oil. he is happy with that to get out to a store. We head off to run Sack-Up. As soon as we start the trail we can talk to the other group in front of us. Rocky gets out and takes the lead, he knows this trail well. Hey its better than Hip leading. We start the trail and get into it pretty good when Tony blows off his power steering return hose. We get him going and get ready to go and the other group radios that Rocky has met up with them so we know we are close. Sure enough a couple corners and we meet the other half of our group. We all have a good time in the shady trees (oh by the way it cleared up just fine). The trail is dry but not too dry good traction and everyone has something to challenge their rig at their own level along the way. Lots of trees and off camber stuff some of the off camber stuff is right in the trees so I think some damage did happen but I don’t remember the details. Eric had a good time in his open diffed rig and got hung up at one point. His tires seemed a little hard so we aired him down a little more and he didn’t have any more trouble after that.
On the way back down the mountain we pass right by a place called the Rock Face. Its just that a steep slick solid rock climb.
Yotanut in his toy buggy thing tried the steep slick part with his Irocks and was denied when he started wheel hop. He moved over to the right side and crawled right up the rougher side of the rock face.
I tried the same point on the slick side and was also denied by the front wheel hop and quickly moved over to the right side line. Yotanut showed me the proper line and I crawled it with no problem other than a little seat entry.
Tony was next and his ride got interesting at one point with a mighty wheel stand. He eventually climbed out of it and walked the rest of the face. Jeff all locked and loaded with new suspension mods was next. His ride got interesting enough he hooked up the winch for a tug over the tire picking area.
Greg was next in his wrangler with 33's and a lockrite in the front attempted it. He ended up a little off line and also got into the tire picking hole and his aggressive driving style launched his rig into the air and i thought he was gonna be testing that new cage but he eventually broke a driveshaft u joint strap. Then this guy in a Toyota drove up and he just walked right up the steep part and showed us the proper tire placement. we considered and talked a lot but we were all beat up and tired enough to call it a day and head back to the pit to load up/air up and head home. But now that we know the right line.... ill be back.
When we got Greg’s jeep loaded on my trailer to head home the previous mentioned officer pulled into the parking lot. He immediately spotted me and made a beeline to talk to me. I’m thinking “oh crap, now what?”. The guy apologized to me about seventeen billion times, we had a good talk after that and discussed this core group effort I’m volunteered for to help maintain access to the Reiter area and what a citizens group can do to help. Well at least I made a new friend. He was very receptive overall to the wheeling community, I mean he gets to drive around in a awesome rig and wheel for a living while policing us so if we go away his awesome job goes away.
Well we all made it home ok and Rocky slept for two days so I will hope to see ya’ll on the trails in the future.