Although the weather didn’t really cooperate and made everything at least twice as hard, I know I had fun and I hope you did too. Thursday afternoon David, Tammy, and Dawson Conkin, Brandon and Ashley Moretz, John and Jennifer Stowe, Richard and Sandra Queen, Brandon Rummage, Billie and Jerry Fuller, JR and Becca Miller, Eric Velazquez and Jamie Williamson met at Windrock to wheel Friday. Friday morning we woke to rain which meant the trails were going to be slick. We were met by RQ’s friend, Toad, who is a local and knows Windrock very well. Toad led us onto trail 22 to start the day and then we worked our way onto trail 21, which turned out to get the better of us this day. John Stowe was trying to get up and through the first obstacle of the day when his front driveshaft let go. We pulled the remains of the driveshaft from the axle and transfer case and he got turned around. RQ went with him to get him back to camp. We worked our way to the second obstacle of the day and when I was working my way into it, I heard the ominous sound of air rapidly exiting a tire. It turns out the JR had punched a hole in his tire. I got through the obstacle and then loaded up JR to head back to camp to grab his spare. We ran into a little rain on the way back to camp but it turns out that those left on the trail got quite a downpour. On our way back to camp I got a text from David Conkin that he had busted a rear axle shaft. When we got back to the trail I found Moretz pulling Conkin’s JK out of the trail. David had worked through the obstacle and was starting to work out of the last part when something let go in the rear end. We went back down into the trail to where JR’s jeep was disabled and ate lunch and then changed out the tire. David Conkin headed back to camp to try and troubleshoot exactly what broke. He later called us on the radio to tell us that the axle shaft had broken and taken out the Detroit Locker in the process. Once JR’s tire was changed we got through the last couple of tough spots and then were going to finish trail 21 in order to meet u with RQ, who was waiting for us at the bottom of trail 15. As we were getting ready to start a little hill climb we heard JR over the radio say that Eric had blown the bead on one of his tires. Moretz turned around to help and I waited up on the hill. Once we got rolling again we headed to trail 15. The entrance to 15 claimed Eric V’s passenger side fender flare when he rubbed up against a tree. Trail 15 turned out to be very slick and nasty but we made our way up and through it. By this time it was late in the day and we decided that it was time to head back to camp. Because of the rain and nasty weather we decided to move the family style supper to Saturday night in hopes of better weather. Friday evening Daniel Huneycutt and his dad Jeff and Peter Zmolek arrived for the wheeling day on Saturday. Also, John Stowe had gotten the parts together to get his driveshaft repaired and Moretz was able to weld it back together to get John back on the trail for Saturday. Unfortunately the Conkin’s had decided to come back to Charlotte as Tammy had been sick the entire weekend and David’s jeep was down. Saturday morning, with yet more rain, we set out on trail 22 again but decided to run it in its entirety. There is a nice little rock garden near the end of 22 which was nice and slick. Peter Z dove right in and did a great job getting through it without any issues and we drove on up to the gravel road for lunch. After lunch we set out to try a trail called “Stair Steps”. It is a steep hill climb with ledges near the top. I set up to take a run at it but the rain set in and I let my better judgment decide against trying it. I backed off of the hill and we set out for trail 3, which we knew would be very slick with the rain. We dropped into trail 3, which goes downhill to the bottom of a ravine. Daniel H put a scare into us when he nearly nosed his Cherokee end over end when he lifted the driver’s side rear tire about 5 feet in the air. We put a cable onto his rear bumper and pulled him back down to earth. Daniel then promptly crunched his driver’s side rocker panel on a rock. We hung out at the bottom of 3 for a bit and then made our way back up the hill climb, which considering how slick it was went very well. We then headed back to the area of trail 15. I, Daniel, and RQ went to run 15 again while the others checked out Rattle Rock and Little Mule to see if we could run those. Daniel put on a driving lesson going up 15 like it was nothing. Once we got to the top we decided to go try Rattle Rock, which is a huge rock garden. Moretz dove in first and got up into the trail and then the rest of us that wanted to try it followed. John Stowe was hammering on his CJ5 to get up a rock when first the track bar let loose followed by his rear driveshaft. However, by this time it was late in the day so we decided to head back to camp for dinner. We all met at one of the cabins for a nice supper and hanging out around the campfire. The weather was nice and cool and RQ tended the fire for us. Sunday we got up and packed up our vehicles and headed back to Charlotte. Luckily the rain wasn’t too bad on Sunday and we made it home safely, although we were very tired. I know for me I had to pressure wash the jeep to get all of the mud off it before I could put it in the shop. As far as carnage goes, we had a busted fender flare, broke rear shaft/Detroit locker, a tire, two drive shafts, a track bar, some as yet undiagnosed problem in Daniel’s front axle, a rocker panel, and Windrock lost a pressure washer……
July 2014
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