THE SHOP, MARION, NC
The Shop - August 2017 The CORE run at the SHOP today consisted of Fries, Queen, Daniel Queen, Hunneycut, Hickman, Velez, LaHaye, Blake, Alexander, and Toad, and SHOP guys. We started out the day in the hole, We were on schedule to arrive somewhat on time but Toad's lug nuts on his trailer sheared off so we spent some time on side of road but eventually unloaded his Jeep and I jumped in his truck and limped the trailer to the SHOP while he drove his Jeep, 17 MPH tops for 7 miles! But alas!, we were not holding up the group as the Fries had to return 45 minutes after leaving their house to retrieve a much needed part! At around 11:00 am we headed into the trails towards the Pebble Garden (it's really a rock garden) I went up first and got about half way only to discover that I had a loose shock mount so I exited for some bolt tightening. Daniel Hunneycut was next and he worked his way up into it as did Toad. Eddie LaHaye started up and bounced off of a rock and blew a bead on his front. He was in a precarious situation so it took some time to get it jacked up and aired back up. Daniel Queen and Grant Fries also took their turns at the lower portions. Then we were planning to start on the loop around the property and decided to split up into two groups due to the vast difference in trail conditions between built and non built rigs. Myself, Toad, DH, LaHaye, DQ, and Grant headed up trail 33, AKA “Carnage Hill”. After I got into it, it was very apparent that this was a very difficult trail. While I was working my way up, Eddie LaHaye broke a rear axle and broke off a valve stem so Fries, and DQ helped him get back to his trailer so he could head home. Thanks for the team work guys! Bruce Hickman, Rod Alexander, Mike Velez, and Jeff Blake trekked off on some easier loop trails while being led by the SHOP guys. Myself, DH, and Toad worked our way up Carnage Hill. I got through most of it only to have to pull cable near the top. It was a wet and slick creek with massive rocks and lots of fresh soil to make it slick. Next Toad came up and had to winch thru one crevice and then also at the top. DH hammered his way up and the last 75' proved to be the denying factor for each of us. After winching the first of the top section, DH was trying to make the last part for several minutes and was getting closer to conquering the peak when his front end lifted and he tumbled down the hill. He went from wheels up to on his side after rolling one and a half times. Time seemed to come to a halt as he was rolling but he tucked in very well and came out unscathed. We attached his winch cable so that once we righted the rig, it wouldn't go tumbling downhill further. Six of us put it on its wheels by hand and gathered up his spilled stuff and made sure he was ok and that his rig was also ok to continue. After reinstalling a starter wire his Toyota fired right up and we winched him on out. It was getting late so most of us made a beeline to the parking area but DH and Toad hit two more trails on the way out. Once loaded most of us went to a local Mexican Food Eatery and had a nice dinner and festive conversation recalling the events of the day. The SHOP needs a couple of years of travel to break in the trails and possibly open a few more less challenging ones. What we found was that it was all or nothing. I am sure that some of our attendees felt unfulfilled with the experience as the loop trails were merely dirt tracks that were easily traversed, plus the fact that myself, DH, and Toad spent most of the afternoon getting up Carnage Hill. I do wish there were some more intermediate trails to hit while we were there. But…there’s always next month at the Gulches!
AUGUST 2017
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