The size of this initial page is about 860K, and the full size images average approximately 64K each. All told, this report is about 14MB.


Summer 1999 DML BBQ - Saturday July 3, 1999


I'm not exactly sure where the idea first came from, but between Jason & Norah (Bleazard) and myself chatting back and forth at various meets, through e-mail, etc. it was determined that having a BBQ and trail ride at my place might be a Good Thing(tm). As it turns out, it was. :-) Jason hadn't seen any of the trails yet, so I went down and took some pics. Since I had absolutely no 4x4 experience, I was hoping he'd be able to get an idea of what might be involved. You can click here to see that page.

It seemed like it was do-able, so we decided to go for it. Here's the description that was posted on the DML Events page:
Nothing fancy... Just a get-together at my house. We'll throw some burgers and hot dogs on the grill, there's a pool here if you feel like swimming, and we're hoping to be able to do a lil' 4x4 excursion through the woods, maybe all the way down to the ravine, if possible. We might have a BBQ up by the house and head down to the ravine if anyone is interested, or possibly have the BBQ down there next to the (small) waterfall. Who knows? Depends on who is interested in coming and what they want to do. :-)

There's a good chance we might hop in the Daks for a convoy down to the local ice cream stand (about 10 minutes away); that would be a good opportunity to turn some heads and have a photo-op. :-)

Obviously, this is still being hashed out, but at the very least, we'll get together, check out some Daks, and have a BBQ. :-) We can even do this thing indoors if the weather turns bad. (That might make the 4x4 rides a bit more interesting!) ;-) Indoor parking will also be avilable, if desired.

Jason and Norah came down a couple of days early, to help get ready. Norah worked on the BBQ type stuff while Jason & I prepped the trails. On Friday, we posted a page of pics that we had taken while prepping the trail to give everyone a preview of what was to come (or what they were missing). ;-) That page is here.
Note: Clicking on a thumbnail will bring up a larger picture.

Usually what I do for these things is to label everyone in each picture, but that just takes too much time and disk space. :-) So, I'll show you a group shot of us, identify everyone, and then you should be able to figure out who everyone is in the other pics... Click here for the group shot
These pictures are in chronological order. (Or as close to it as possible...)
Early in the morning, I jump into the pool in an attempt to keep cool for the rest of the day. Unfortunately, Norah had the digital camera handy. Grrr... :-) Randy arrives shortly after, followed by David and Carolyn Martin. We sit around talking for a bit, then head down behind the house where everyone has parked to check out the Daks.
Here we are checking out the Daks; David's in particular. Notice the custom rear bumper and all the heavy duty hardware! This is one mean looking truck, and it needs all the heavy duty components it can get 'cause David drives it like there's no tomorrow. :-)

While sitting around, David gives Timber (our black lab) a toy from the back of his truck to play with. We all head back up to the pool area, where you can see Timber is well into the process of training Randy to fetch Poolaris (Timber's favorite pool toy) off the bottom.
After sitting around and talking for a while, we decide that since this is supposed to be a 4x4 run after all, maybe we should fire up the Daks and hit the trails. Norah stays behind to watch for anyone else who might be showing up (we know Eddie, Lisa, and Ed will be coming for sure, but we're not sure if any of the other prospects will make it). I take a 250cc Honda ATC (All Terrian Cycle), Jason jumps into Norah's Dak with Randy riding shotgun and taking pics, and David & Carolyn take off in David's Dak.

We head on out, stopping periodically to check out certain aspects of the trails. You can't see it too well in the first pic, but there's a decent sized ditch that has to be crossed. There's a culvert which is used as a crossing, but it was washed away and too narrow for the Daks. That ditch would later claim some parts on Ed's Ranger. :-)

The infamous mud hole. Jason drove through an innocent looking mud hole (where David had just blasted through) and got stuck. Turns out that there was a branch in there which complicated matters. David had driven through at triple digit speeds (ok, maybe not quite that fast) so it wasn't a problem for him, but as Jason crawled through, the tire slid along the branch and put him into a position where he just spun all 4. As you can see, Jason's mud filled tires look more like racing slicks than all terrian tires. A new set of tires to replace the pathetic stock ones are on the Bleazard's wish list. :-)

We head on down "the unavoidable hill" (mentioned in the trail ride preview pics page I created for Jason), down a steep bank (groomed by Jason and myself to be less steep than it originally was) and drive along the bottom of the ravine.

David heads up to the top of the waterfall. Jason drove up there the previous day, but it was a little hairy on those stock tires, so he opted out today. (There's a rock ledge on one side just waiting to tear up the sheet metal and a large hole on the other side, and the whole thing slants towards the hole. I didn't even mention the slippery rocks, algae, and leeches. Its an accident waiting to happen.) :-)

David goes truckin' through the ~1-1.5 foot deep stream. This generates a lot of steam and a strange vibration. Upon closer inspection, David discovers that he has snapped a blade off his Black Magic electric fan.

After letting the trucks cool down a little bit and noticing that we've been gone for some time, we head on back to the house where I lend David my Dremmel tool and he grinds off the blade on the opposite side of the fan, which cures the vibration. We all take bets on how many blades David will have for the drive home.
After arriving back at the house, we discover that Ed has arrived, and as we're sitting around the pool and talking, Eddie & Lisa drive in, thus rounding out this motley crew. As you can see, Randy's training is complete. Timber repeatedly drops Poolaris in the pool and coerces Randy into retrieving it every time. :-)
It wasn't long before we all had the itch to hit the trails again. Oh hey, speaking of itch, Norah, Jason and myself obtained some nice souvenirs in the form of poison ivy. (For a couple of weeks, it was the gift that kept on giving...) :-P

Anyway, I grabbed the ATC, David & Carolyn got into David's Dak again, Jason hopped into the driver's seat of Norah's Dak with Norah riding shotgun and Randy crammed into the club cab. Ed's Ranger headed out with Eddie driving, Ed riding shotgun, and Lisa *really* crammed in the back. (The Dak's club cab is like the Taj Mahal compared to the interior room in the Ranger...) Plus, the Ranger's seats are sideways facing "jump seats". Ed said that he heard Lisa's head knock against the glass more than once. Hey, maybe next time we should throw Eddie in the back and you can drive, eh Lisa? :-) While I'm on the subject, look carefully at the following pics, and you'll notice that Eddie Estoppey, a self proclaimed anti-Ford activist and member of the anti-Ford webring, is driving a Ford Ranger, and enjoying it! If this isn't prime blackmail material, I don't know what is... :-)

Here, Eddie learns that the proper way to traverse a ditch is to take a diagonal path, rather than heading straight over it and planting the throttle. :-) In a move that will perhaps redeem him for driving the Ford in the first place, Eddie tears off the front license plate, rips out the left front fog light, and generates several interesting grinding/crunching noises. In the last pic, David and I patch up the fog light with a piece of grapevine, Ed displays the evidence, Eddie makes a triumphant gesture, and Lisa attempts to regain consiousness. By the way, at the time of the writing of this report (almost 3 months after the incident), the little Ford is still sans front license plate and that piece of grapevine is still doing an admirable job of keeping the fog light in place. Ed says he hopes to get around to fixing them before winter. :-) (Note: Ed finally replaced the fog light in April of 2000, a couple of weeks before selling the Ranger so he could take delivery of a 2000 Dakota Quad Cab Sport 4x4, with the 4.7 V8 and a 5-speed!)

We continue the trek. Some of these mud holes are really starting to look nasty! :-) In fact, we opted to come back a different way as there was this particular hole that had a tendancy to throw you towards the trees as you attempted to steer out of it and onto the path. Now that the branch was out of the aformentioned infamous mud hole, Jason had no trouble going through it, and the Ranger plowed right through too.

We head down into the ravine once again, and this time, go up on the other side too. But, since there isn't anything particularly interesting up there, we turn around and come back into the ravine.

Once again, we drive up the ravine to the waterfall, and David heads up on top again. We mill about, take advantage of the photo ops, and talk about Daks. If you look underneath David's Dak in the first picture in the 2nd row, you'll notice that he's managed to work something else loose. No big deal though, he just grabbed it, ripped it off, and threw it in the bed. This, ladies and gentlemen, is a real truck! Posers need not apply. :-)

All good things must come to an end, and so we make our way back out of the ravine. (Ed takes over the driving duties of the Ranger from Eddie. After all, its his truck, and he's never had the thing off road, so he wants some fun too!) About this time, it began to sprinkle. We didn't get a lot of rain and it stopped almost immediately, but it still made the forest floor quite slippery.

As we get to the "nasty hill" (mentioned in the trail ride preview pics page I created for Jason), David gets up it without much fuss, but Ed gets stuck. Eddie jumps up and down in the back to try to generate some traction, but to no avail. Eventually, Ed was able to drive up the hill. However, by this time, it was so slippery and torn up that Jason was unable to get Norah's Dak to climb it. The Dak and the Ranger headed home and I went with Jason to find another way back. (Note: the second pic with Norah's Dak in it isn't the hill; its Jason waiting for Ed to get up the hill so he can have a go at it.)

At the bottom of the hill was a slippery bog, and it took Jason a little while to get the Dak turned around in that stuff (first pic), but he got 'er out of there and we doubled back. We headed up through a different part of the woods that nobody else had a chance to go through, and came back along my partially constructed airstrip.
After getting back, we take the opportunity to get some group shots of us and the trucks while we still have light.
At this point, David and Carolyn had to get started for home, as they had a ~5 hour drive ahead of them. After exchanging goodbyes, David backed out of the driveway, lit up the swampers, and was gone; the only evidence of his presence being several thick black marks which are still on the road in front of my house. :-)
Now was as good a time as any for damage assessment. I notice David's grapevine patch job on Ed's fog light is still holding strong. In fact, Ed would drive around like that for quite some time (about ten months). :-)
I don't recall exactly when, but at some point, we took a time out from all the drivin' and photo taking for some burgers and dogs. Later, we had some DML cake. :-)
It was well past dark when everyone finally headed for home.
As you can probably tell from this report, the DML BBQ and trail ride was a whole lot of fun!! :-) I am considering making this an annual event, which I guess would make this the "First Annual DML BBQ and Trail Ride"... I'm also thinking that a fall version of this event might be a lot of fun too. If you didn't make it to this one, then what's wrong with ya? :-) Keep an eye on the DML Upcoming Event Profiles page for the next one!
If you find any errors, please let me know.
Jon Steiger
September 18, 1999

Go Back to the DML Home Page
Jon N. Steiger / / SUNY College at Fredonia