Sunday, May 16th, we headed down to the Gulches ORV Park near Laurens, South Carolina, for an event sponsored by 4 Wheel Parts Wholesalers in Charlotte. They sponsor this event in appreciation for their customers and we had not wheeled at the Gulches before so this was a great opportunity. We had three vehicles there, with Brandon Moretz in his Toy, Heather Yeargin in her Rubicon, and me in my CJ7. Wes Rollins came along for the ride, as did Ashley Moretz, and Heather brought Jim and her parents along for their first off road experience. We met around 10:30 or so and got ready to go but decided to wait for Ryan from 4 Wheel Parts to arrive. We had a few minutes so we decided to go hit an obstacle that wasn’t far from the parking lot. I tried to get over the obstacle with the culverts and into the rock garden but didn’t quite have the wheelbase to get grip and get up it. Heather came next in the Rubicon and with Wes spotting got through the gulley and around the culverts and rock garden. Brandon came next and got up on the culvert but needed to pull cable to get through the rock garden because a couple of boulders got wedged up in his truck. Ryan arrived by this time and after a little bit we headed off by ourselves to break in Heather and her group on some of the easier rated trails. We did a few hill climbs, then some off camber stuff, and they did a great job of making it through everything without any real issue. I think there might have been a dented bumper but that was our carnage for the day. We broke for lunch around 2 or so and at this point Heather and Jim decided to call it a day. We ate and then headed back to the trails. There were some buggies that were climbing a very difficult hill climb so we stopped to watch for a bit and got a good show. We had decided to leave between 4 and 4:30 and we decided to ride just for a little bit more before we left. We came up to a hill climb with a ledge in it and Wes and I talked about whether or not we should try it. Wes urged me on, saying “we’ll hit it one time, if we don’t make it we’ll move on”….I should have known better. I went up to the ledge and started to climb it and the front kicked to the right. I started to back down and the left front began to get light…real light. I backed out a couple of feet to try and bring it down but it kept climbing. At this point I knew I had to do something quick so I pushed in the clutch and let it roll back several feet, eventually rolling back into a tree. Thankfully the front settled back down and I was on all four. I pulled cable at this point and got out of my predicament. Brandon gave the ledge a shot and ended up pulling cable, and we drove out to the trailers and loaded up. We had a great time and the group at The Gulches have definitely packed in a lot of trails in 80 acres. I’d definitely go back and look forward to our next run down there.   (Witten by Tim)
May 2010
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