I arrived at Jon's barn at about 11pm EST - the 515 mile
drive was about 9 hours 30 mins. There was an open invitation
for Friday if anyone wanted to arrive early. Jason and Norah had
already left for their motel room by the time I arrived, having completed
the installation of the new cat-back exhaust on Jason's Gen II earlier
that evening. (It's loud ain't it Ed? hehe!)
Saturday morning at about 9am, I was greeted by the sound
of Bob Tom's exhaust, and I dragged myself out of my sleeping bag.
The rest of the morning consisted of everyone sitting around and scowling
at the sound of heavy rain pour pelting the barn roof.
After I closed the weather.com web browser window, around
noon, the rain finally lifted. We took a quick ride down to the sub
shop for lunch, enjoyed 15 minutes of sunshine while we ate at the barn,
then figured we may as well hit the trails. Our goal for the day was
to reach the upper waterfall, then to just play it by ear from there.
Waiting around for the rain to go away! I wonder how well the
front wheel drive would have worked in the pit, heh heh.
Bob Tom's truck, my rented Intrepid, and Jason backing out of
the barn after putting on the Swampers.
The rainfall from morning made for some very muddy trails Woohoo!
Jon and I are in the Ram, with Ed and Bob in the middle with
Ed's Quad Cab, and Jason and Norah picking up the rear in Jason's Dak.
We figured it was best to keep Ed's Quad in the middle so if he got stuck,
he could be pulled out. No one got stuck this trip.
Jon and I start our run down mud lane. He starts out in 2wd
and manages to get down a good distance before the tires lose traction
(2nd pic). He shifts into 4wd. We fell into the nice big hole that Andy
had dug out at the BBQ this July, bringing me to eye level with Ed! (4th
pic) Jon regains traction after a moment or two and we power through the
rest of mud lane. [Video
Jason takes on mud lane next. Having witnessed the Ram falling
into the deep ruts, Jason decides to demonstrate driver skill over brute
power. He modulates the throttle, picks the best line and churns through.
Ed points out that Jason missed the hole! Ed then proceeds to
drive directly into the hole, coming off the mud lane bypass, after
having declared it "not Quad Cab territory". [Video
We then headed down Washout Hill into the river and up to the
falls. The morning rain had also created fast moving rapids. The water
level was up maybe a foot or so higher than normal. The water was not
very deep, but the fact that it was moving fast made it look worse than
Jon and I went down first, followed by Jason and Norah. Despite
trying to keep Ed in the middle in case he got stuck, some how he and
Bob ended up coming down last.
Jason and Ed sat at the bottom of Washout Hill for a moments
in what looked like a "you go first!" -- "no you go first!" kind
of routine. Ed eventually dipped his tire in the water to see how
cold it was, and pushed across the stream first. Jason and Norah follow.
Jon and I then drive on, and park at the edge of the water fall
with Ed parking next to the Ram. This took up all the space that was available
in front of the falls. Jason hides in the trees, does a 14 point turn
around giving his GPS a nervous twitch, and parks on the side. We spend
a few minutes looking at the falls and the water. Jon and Ed explain that
there is a deep hole under the water to the left... while Ed illustrates
the water level! [Video
After a while of being unable to hear much over the water flowing
we turn the trucks around and head back up Washout Hill, through Mud
Lane again, and get lost in the Steiger Turnpike. We get our bearings,
Ed backs into a tree while turning around, and we decide to head over to
The Pit "just to see what it looks like"... bad idea...
We arrive at The Pit, and sit there for a minute wondering what's
next. I try a couple times to coax Ed into taking the Quad Cab for "just
one run". All he says is "no" multiple times and makes funny faces. Jon
swings the Ram around to the left side and prepares to make a run through.
Ed in the mean time, is doing doughnuts on the other side. Unfortunately
I did not get any video of this!! Sorry Adam!
From the inside of the Ram, the view of The Pit is good. I remember
thinking to myself before we dove in "gee this doesn't look as bad this
time". The Pit was very alive my friends. It was laying in wait for the
poor unsuspecting Ram.
The tall grass gave the illusion that The Pit was not as full of
water compared to the level in July. I don't know if the morning rain
fall contributed or not, as I did not see what it looked like the night
before. I will assume that it did contributed to the water level. It
definitely had more water in it than it appeared.
Jon started in and remarked as to how sloppy The Pit was. The Ram
almost made it out, but became stuck, and sinking to the left. Jon
put the gas down and only succeeded in digging the truck in deeper. (That
is mud up in the air on the right side of pic 2 above)
He backed the truck up and made another attempt at a greater speed
this time. Remember how I said the truck was sinking in the mud to the
left? The left fender, behind the head light, is where the cool air duct
picks up fresh air for the engine. Jon forgot to remove the connecting
duct that goes from the air hat to the pick up, as he always does. When
he backed up and came forward under full throttle, the truck hit the hole
he had just dug, and it sunk into the water. This caused the pick up
tube to suck in mass quantities of water, not air. The engine hydrolocked
instantly. Jon tried twice to start it up... but it only went "clunk"...
and wouldn't even turn over. [Video
About now, Bob stops filming for fear that Jon might order the destruction
of any evidence that this event happened - heheh. Ed tries
to pull the Ram out of The Pit but only gets his shoes muddy. Um
Ed... why not try to pull Jon out with your TRUCK instead? hehehehe -
Ed figures this out eventually, and brings the Quad Cab around. He
is unable to get enough traction to yank the very stuck 5000+ lb. truck
out of the mud.
Jon manages to get the winch cable attached to his forward anchor
point out in the field and winches his disabled 4x4 up and out of the
pit. After the Ram was out far enough I hopped out and started filming,
unafraid of the consequences heh. I knew I had to get *some* footage
of this, sorry Jon! [Video
Once the Ram was up on level ground Jon took the air hat and intake
tube off and had his fears confirmed. In the 3rd pic above, I circled
in red, the water that was spilling out when Jon disconnected the intake
tube from the air hat. You can also see how much water was in the air
hat. The filter was completely soaked. Below you can see the flooded
The Ram was then hooked up to Ed's truck, and towed back up to the
barn. "Whew, there's some clutch!" Jon's father assisted
us in bringing the Ram into the barn by pulling it with the ATV. In
the process he did a quad burn out on the barn floor. (heh Smoke 'em if
ya got 'em!) Once inside the barn, 14 - 16 oz's of muddy water was
sucked out of several of the engine's cylinders. A couple were dry
- but one was full up to the plug hole. One of the plugs broke off
when Jon tried to get it out. Leaving the electrode and
the plug threads in the drivers side head.
We ordered a pizza that night.... "K" as in King... "I" as in.....
nevermind... the guy who took the order got fired... heheh
With the aid of a couple cans of grape soda, Ed gave us some examples
of how he has conversations with his trucks exhaust. (sending me into a
laughing fit) I think I worried Norah when my face turned bright
red from being unable to stop laughing. (Shut up Ed!) heheheh Jon made it
worse when he dug up this insanity test
Despite low turn out, being rained out in the AM, and Jon's truck taking
a swim... I think everyone had a good time. I know I sure did. Well
worth the 1029 mile weekend trip! Now... lets see - how many days
are left until July 2003?
On my way home Sunday morning... the sun came out heading west.
In my side view mirror, I captured the dark clouds and skies over
the Forestville area just as I was leaving....... leaving The Pit.....
I could have sworn I heard dark, evil laughter as I drove away....
"Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of Mud Pits..."