Right off, I knew that the
drive along Poplar Lick was going to be little more than a scenic experience. But
that was fine - I really just wanted to see what it was like. For scenery, it is
very good. There are no expansive overlooks visible from the vehicle, but the
various groves that we drove through and the water that we saw was well worth the visit.
We met someone coming out
and a little while later passed a campsite that was active, perhaps the site of the person
we saw coming out. There are several shallow stream crossings, none of any
consequence. There are also some nice side trails but they are all closed, so aside
from a pretty drive in the woods, this area is probably safe from the extreme wheeling
Pretty soon we got to Savage
River Road and spent some time driving along the bank of the Savage River. The
morning was shaping up real nice and the weather was great. It was one of those
crisp, clear days that the sun shone bright and the air was clean and fresh. The
views on the river were incredible. There were several score people out fishing,
sharing the beauty of the day.
Eventually we reached the
entrance to the Backbone Mountain trail. We dropped it into 4-LO and headed up the
ridge. As always, the trail was spectacular. The drop off the shelf road
precipitous and the woods a delight.
Pretty soon we came to the
spot where the trail forks down to the railroad right of way and up into the woods.
Here we found a brand new, sparking gate. And it was locked. We took the lower
branch of the trail a few hundred yards and encountered some fallen wood. Past that
was more fallen timber. There was no point in continuing. We would be there
all day just trying to get another 100 yards in.
We turned tail and headed
back out, with a route set for Keyser.
This was disappointing but
at the same time not surprising. Lately there have been too many uneducated,
irresponsible and downright destructive people out running around causing all kinds of
problems. I am starting to doubt there will be trails on public land much longer if
this keeps up.
I called Joe Stankos and got
him on the cell. He was on schedule and we confirmed our plans to meet at the BP station in Keyser. Surprise of
surprises - when we got there, the gas station was closed. The door was unlocked and
the inside looked abandoned. Across the street, a private residence was being
serviced by the Frostburg Fire Department. There was smoke coming from the house and
firefighters all over it.
I called Joe again and left
a message that we would not be at the BP. Instead, we would go into town and meet at
the Sheetz. Charlie and I drove through town and headed up to the Allegany Wildlife
Management Area to see how the Gas Wells were. We found them gated and closed.
There was a lot of development in the area and the sign was gone. I'm not
sure what it all means except that two out of three trails that we attempted to visit were
closed. Not good statistics. And it was only 11:30 AM.
On the way out we stopped at
Wal*Mart and I picked up a nice 1:18-scale Jeep Wrangler TJ painted in a camouflage
pattern, lifted, with beadlocks, BFG's and the whole business, right down to the winch,
Hi-Lift, and cooler. I had to have it, even though it was my lunch money!
Then we headed over to the
Sheetz. I called on the CB and raised Joe. Pretty soon we were all in the
parking lot, all gassed up and ready to go. Joe and his friend made five, for a
total of seven:
We got on the road, drove
over the bridge at the other end of Keyser, then followed Route 135 through Westernport
and up to the Pinnacle Entrance. As usual, the view from the Lookout was great.
I had a feeling we were not
going to be running Pinnacle. So after I had my look at the view, I ran down to the
trail entrance to see what I would find. It was a new, locked gate. Only ATV's
were getting by - the very thing the Ranger had told us they wanted to keep out!
Three out of four trails closed... A few of the people in the group were pretty
disappointed. I was one. Some said more out loud than others.
I had one last trick up my
sleeve and then we'd be done. I set the GPS for Barton and off we went. Pretty
soon we were on the trail head and found no gate. That made a few people very happy.
Not the most difficult trail in the world, but better than pavement and better than
nothing by a long shot.
I came upon a lone
Moto-Cross rider and he told me to watch for ten of his friends. Pretty soon I met
them and they were looking for the first one!
Some of the guys wanted mud.
I am not a big fan of mud but I knew there was mud on this trail, so I knew that
some of the guys would have fun. I got a small bit of pleasure driving over a deep
erosion ditch without falling in. The rest of the gang came past, most going around.
These guys just want mud...!
And there it was. MUD!
I had been here before. The first
time, Hugh and I turned around and went back without going through. The next time, it was frozen and we drove over it
like solid rock. Today, it was like hot fudge. The guys behind me were in pig
heaven. I picked a line and went through to the right were I knew I could get some
bottom and keep from going too deep. Still, it was pretty soupy. I got through
just fine and got out to watch the fun behind me.
Todd decided he liked the
hard line and showed us how to do it right. Mike was handy when it came time to
strap him out.
This time Todd took the
right line and came through.
We drove in and soon came to
an open area. We drove up a large hill and discovered it was a strip mining
operation. We decided we probably didn't belong there so we turned around to head
out. But someone from the mining operation came up and confirmed out suspicion.
Fortunately they just let us continue on our way out.
We went back the way we came
and this time Joe decided that he would show Todd how it was done. Again I went over
on the edge and got through just fine. Then Joe applied some go-pedal and hit the
mud. And stuck it.
This time it was Todd's turn
to fix it, and he gave Joe the strap.
Pretty soon Joe was back on
dry ground. After that, the deep side of the puddle was given the respect it
deserved. But the antics of people coming through the shallow side still provided
some entertainment and good pictures!
That put us heading back to
the "T" where we came in. I continued straight and navigated the rocky
section by Nightingale Pond. Then up the hill to another pair of mud holes. I
didn't want to go into them so I went around the side and pulled up to watch the fun.
I should have quit while I was ahead...
Todd splashed through.
Chris blasted in and out.
Charlie made it like an old
Mike tip-toed in and out
like it was nothing.
Squints plowed through.
Joe went through though it
was hard to tell who it was because his bow wave looked like a tsunami!
OK. Maybe this isn't
so bad. Six out of six attempts were successful. Two of the vehicles are more
or less the same as mine. What's the big deal? I'll put a few extra quarters
in the car wash and get the chunks off. C'mon Paul, just do it...
I got through the first
section OK - why not? It was a small puddle and I just crept through. As I
exited the pool I felt I needed to get some ground speed so I could make the last part of
the next hole without having to shift. I gave it some gas and the darn thing
launched. I had so much traction that I shot into the hole way too fast.
I couldn't see past the nose
of the Jeep. I felt the engine falter, then die. Poof. There I was, like
sitting at the 50-yard line during half time with my shirt off... No engine sounds.
No forward motion. And goopy mud all the way up to the door line. Crap.
Pig soup for me!
So I turned the key.
Nothing! No click. No cranking. No nothing. Just pretty dash
lights, stereo and CB power, but no combustion. Someone suggested walking into the
pool to put the strap on. Very funny. Instead, Joe backed up and I walked out
on the nose and put the loop on the tow hook. Testimony as to why I left the hooks
on there even after I installed the new bumper with D-shackles. Much easier to hook
up in times like these...
Joe fished me out of the cow
patty and we spent a couple minutes trying to figure out why I didn't have a starter.
One of the guys suggested tapping on the starter and that worked. It started
right up running a little rough but running. Good. I figured I was in for
replacing the starter but at least I could get out of the woods and get home. There
was no mud IN the engine so that was good too.
Had I thought about the
situation before I dove in head first, I would have realized I was lucky seven...
We stopped to regroup.
Todd had to get back so he could make it in time for work so we turned around and
got ready to go.
No one was coming so I got
out and went back to see what was happening. Someone had found a salamander and had
put it on the hood of the Rubicon to look at it. I knew exactly how the lizard
We backtracked out to the
road and drove up to Barton to get air, gas, and something to snack. Along the way I
noticed that my battery gauge was showing no charge to the battery. The alternator
was not working. Super... When we got to the store we rinsed it out but it
still didn't show a charge.
I aired up and reconnected,
and waited while Charlie did the same. Then we hit the road for home. I
figured we'd have enough time to get there before my battery crapped out. I was
right. We had enough time to make a swing through the car wash where I washed out
most of Dan Mountain from my Jeep and engine compartment.
The alternator looked dead
so I ordered a Mean Green 200 Amp unit and
installed it a couple days later.
The starter still doesn't
always work first try but a few clicks on the key and it turns over. That too will
Joe wrote a couple days
later to say that his power steering pump gave up the ghost. So I was not the only
one that was eaten by Dan's Mountain...
Thanks for leading us on
everyone had a great time.
Sorry to hear about your
alternator, but I guess youll be upgrading now.
Chris, David and I decided to hit
Green Ridge on the way home for a bit. I have never seen it so dry up there. We ran about
half of the trail and headed for home.
I got back home at about
midnight, and headed to the car wash since I knew it would be packed today. I think
Ive had my fill of mud for a while
I spent about 2 hours today cleaning the mud
out of the interior. I really gave the shop vac a workout.
Heres a link to some of the
pictures taken by Chris (F250) and I. http://www.pavementsucks.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=68443
Ive also got a couple good
shots of Charlie that you might want. Yesterday was a big reminder that I need gears
and a locker ASAP! I look forward to wheeling with you again soon.
Had a great time
yesterday with Joe 3165, oldskool, 4x4 wannabe, squints, and Paul and Charlie from 4x4
icon.com. Thanks to Paul for working so hard to find us trails to play on.
I have never seen so many
shiny new gates.... We did find some Mud along the way to play in and since the
trails were slim pickins we made the most of it. Mike's Unlimited still
remains unchallenged. That thing just laughs at everything I have seen it go
through. Gotta love front and rear lockers and a 4-1 case!!!
Squints might have been the
surprise of the day in the Cummins powered rig with tow tires on, he just overcame
everything with torque and momentum. A couple of guys tried a bit too hard...... he
he two stucks and a repair not bad for one mud hole!
I had a great time up there
and then on the way home Joe, squints and I stopped off at Green Ridge to get rinsed off,
Yeah right. That place was so dry it was unbelievable. The stream in my avatar was barely
big enough to wet the tires and the trails were so dusty it was crazy. The night wheelin
up there in the dust was like moon wheeling!!! I got some pics and I know the
others do as well. I won't tell all the stories...... Besides a pic is worth a thousand
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