Dry River, Old Rt 33, Kephart

Jackie and the Zuk


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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 replaced.

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.


Break on Dry RiverJackie and crew at Dry River

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.

Crossing Dry River

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?

OCC Adopt a Trail

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.

Zuk in the Mist

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".

Rock Stack Central No More Rocks Stacked
Stacked Not 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...

Stacked Rocks

Liberty on Kephart

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.

Jackie on KephartJackie on KephartJackie on KephartJackie on KephartJackie on Kephart

Ryan on Kephart

Paul on KephartPaul on Kephart

Roscoe on KephartRon on Kephart

Not again...
Roscoe on Kephart

Ron on KephartRon on Kephart
Ron on Kephart

Paul on Kephart

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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