At the last minute I decided
I needed some trail time. Jackie Cooper was taking a group out to GWNF to try out her
"new" to her Zuk. It sounded like a good time so I threw in with them.
I had recently rediscovered
the joy of driving doorless so I had removed the doors and top. I decided not to carry the
door surrounds and windows for the top. My reasoning was that without the doors, the top
would not be very much use...
We met at Wendy's at the
usual time. A few people showed up and a nice small group set out for the forest. Just as
we were leaving, Jon noticed a problem with his engine (Check Engine and some hostile
noises) so he side-lined himself and waved me on. He indicated that we should leave him
and so I relayed what I knew to the rest of the group. Ron, the nice guy that he is,
doubled back to check on Jon and later reported that by the time he got back to where we
had left him, found no trace. We later learned that Jon's Jeep needed some plug wires
We arrived in the
Harrisonburg area and took on fuel and supplies. I gave a shout on the CB for Roscoe and
sure enough he answered. We reformed at the entrance for Dry River. Nobody but me and
Roscoe aired down and disconnected. The Zuks probably don't have disconnects, and the
Liberty was not yet modified. Ron didn't disconnect and given the trails that day, it
probably wasn't all that necessary. I don't know about Roscoe, but I prefer the soft ride
that airing down and disconnecting provides so I was doing it regardless of the trails.
Dry River, as always, isn't
too challenging but is fairly picturesque. We drove down to the spot visited on an earlier
trip when Mike McCready had doused his alternator trying to cross.
On this day there would be
no such drama as the river was indeed dry. As we doubled back we drove through the
campsite of a small group of folks who apparently did not notice that they had set up in
the middle of the trail...
The popular mud hole was
cordoned off and marked off limits. That was no great loss to me as I really don't care
that much for mud. We continued out, passing by a lone gentleman out for a ride. Perhaps
looking for the same peace that I sometimes find out there?
After navigating the portion
of the trail that shares the stream bed, we took a break to chat and look around. Then we
hit the road. Soon Jackie turned in and showed us Old Route 33. I find it interesting that
in all the times I have been out here, I have never taken the time to explore it.
Basically, it is an old section of Route 33, probably from about the time of the first
cars. It is a switchback trail that hugs the side of the mountain. I drove the whole thing
in two-wheel drive, but it was a beautiful little path worth exploring. Once again we came
upon the same fellow out by himself. We also found some rubbish that will need to be
removed when we make our Clean Up run in August.
Back on the road, we
continued to the entrance to Kephart. Owing to the success of my trip over Old Route 33
without using 4-wheel drive, i elected to remain in 2-Wheel drive and see how far up
Kephart I could go. It turns out that I made it all the way to the last 100 yards where I
decided that the rock field and final obstacle probably merited more traction.
Along the way we stopped for
lunch. Jackies 40th birthday was celebrated, complete with a cake decorated with an edible
picture of her TJ! The talk was about her new Zuk and the similarities and differences
between them and other vehicles (like the TJ and Willys).
Everyone took on the
obstacles but not before we removed all the rocks that had been stacked on the large rock.
There had been some debate about whether or not the obstacle had been "stacked".
There is no doubt that
indeed, it had been virtually paved with rocks that completely eliminated any challenge. I
had driven over it in the dark without so much as a scrape the last time I was here, so I
never had any doubt that something was not right. We removed the extra rocks...
The only moment for the day
was Avi's bad fortune to find some rocks with his fender flare and rocker panel. He took
it well and has already had it repaired, along with a vow of rocker protection (been there
done that). Driving out was pretty uneventful, again using 2WD.
Here and there were
sprinkles of rain but nothing too threatening. Jon had mentioned a large rain cell that
was out our way but it never let go on us. But there was some light rain here and there
that had me praying for the weather to hold - at the very least until I could get under a
bridge or something.
We aired up and connected at
the end of the trail. Jackie and a few others took a scenic route home and saw some Bear.
I headed straight home because I was afraid I was going to get wet. It did rain but as
long as I kept moving, I was fine. It was a great trip.
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