mud track

4th Annual DML BBQ and Trail Ride
Forestville, NY

Friday July 5th, 2002

mud track

Saturday morning rolled around quickly.  I awoke with a mumble as Jason and Norah arrived in Norah's new 2001 black Quad, along with their neighbor's son James.  A short time later a Jeep Liberty rolled down the drive, signaling the arrival of the SCORE Jeepers.  

Hellos and rig inspections take place. Before too long everyone is airing down and firing up their engines.

Let the carnage begin!!

The F-150 was first into The Pit - followed by a Wrangler and a Cherokee.  Bets were made on the odds the F-150 would lose its front license plate! To my knowledge the plate never fell off.

Unfortunately there are not very many still photos from The Pit that afternoon. More images were taken of the waterfall. However some undeveloped rolls of film may yield more images at a later date.  There are however, an abundance of MPEG's on the BBQ Video Page.

Pit side highlights include the F-150 smoking its clutch nice and toasty.   After that - the Ford was not run through the mud againheh.  Adam did some powerful sideways thrashing around and around in The Pit - with James riding shot gun!

Chris Quonce - owner of the green Cherokee, took his brother's red Wrangler around for a rather rough ride in the wet muck. Yielding along the way - some very unhealthy metal crunching sounds.  Rob's Jeep would earn the nickname "The Axle Snapper" later in the day - for obvious reasons heh.

Dakota was performing 2wd runs with 12 foot high rooster tails. The large nubby treads on his Thornbird tires, more than adequately flung large hunks of mud in all directions.  

Jason Yates made a few passes through, once dropping the nose of his Dakota well into the water. A maneuver that would eventually claim his engine. He sucked in just enough water to stall the truck and leave it struggling to get out of The Pit's death grip.  The liquid damaged the internals of his engine. Upon returning home he found that he had burned up pretty much all of his oil.

The 48 Willys CJ-2 was very impressive considering its stock nature.  The tires on the little Jeep however, were of little use - even aired down. They were too hard and gave very little in the way of traction. This year was much different for the Jeeps than '01. No Jeeps required recovery from The Pit in '02.  The only Pit extractions were on Friday, twice being me, and once being Adam.

Just before we headed back to The Barn for lunch, I had the privilege (or should that be misfortune?) of riding shot gun with The Adam Blaster as he bolted around the mud, and made successful back and forth passes in 2wd!


The BBQ part of the 4th Annual DML BBQ took place upon returning to The Barn.  The grill was dragged out and pressed into service, with Adam at the controls.  Burgers and dawgs were devoured with little hesitation!  After eating and freshening up we started out for the waterfall.  More carnage awaits!

A line of Dakotas and Jeeps head down the side of the airstrip with Adam taking the lead.  A call comes across the radio alerting us to some problems with a couple of the Jeeps - it seems they have no electrical power!  The mud had taken its toll on the alternators of the Cherokees. Tweety Jeep was also having some gear shifting problems.

I relayed the message across the CB to the others Jeepers.  Ed informed me later, that the message I put out on the CB, was immediately followed by the raising of many Jeep hoods around us!

After a little while more - the caravan finally began moving. We worked our way over and up Slippery Hill, and through Pine Forest, and into the ravine.  

Dakota fell nose first into a rather large hole down by the bottom of the waterfall and it was interesting watching him get back out heheh.  Don Metrick was the first to reach the bottom of the slick rocks and proceeded to take his teal Wrangler right up - and after only a minute - was at the top and had scaled the falls!  

Looking to be the next up the falls, the red Wrangler came in next.  After a few attempts the Jeep started bouncing up and down like a bucking bronco.  This proved to be too much for the differential locked rear axle, and a sharp metal snapping was heard.  At first it was thought that only a c-clip broke.  However after Rob jacked up his Jeep and popped the diff cover - it became obvious that the axle had twisted right off.  The wheel/axle/brake assembly was walking right out of the axle shaft.  Recovering this Jeep from the ravine, and back up to The Barn later, proved to be a challenge.

On the heels of the Axle Snapper - we had Paul with the 48 Willys.  Reaching the top was just out of grasp - literally - for the tires on the Willys.  He lost traction and had brake fade.  Slipping back down the falls - the Jeep landed with a thud - and wouldn't restart.

"You're the next contestant on "Break Your Jeep!"

Up next was Scott with his Tan wrangler.  He got a good start but became off balance.  Don attached his winch cable to Scott's front end preventing him from slipping back down.  Scott made it up and over under his own power.

With all this going on - its no shocker that Adam would be the next to attempt the lower waterfall.  A few attempts later - Adam's truck found scraps of traction, aided by his limited slip diff, and powered up over the top much to everyones surprise!!  There were mutters of "this is a bad idea" when Adam first started up.

What's that? Sounds like Dakota's exhaust rumbling up.  The Thornbirds rolled their way over to the falls and minutes later - there were four, count em FOUR, rigs at the top of the previously unconquered waterfall.  What a sight!

Everyone successfully winches down the falls and the trek back to the barn begins.  For some this will be more difficult than others.  The majority heads back to base, with Jon, Dakota, and a few others staying behind to help, and film, the recovery of the wounded red Jeep.  At first Don was riding along side to the right - pushing the wheel and axle back into the shaft - with his front left tire.  When they reached the exit to the ravine - it was clear they had to improvise something else. What they managed to do was winch the rear of the red jeep up to the front end of Don's.  The hanging axle was secured with a tow strap.  This was very effective.  Steering was accomplished by the front wheels of the red jeep - while Don held up the rear.  

Not the best way to achieve a 6x6 off road rig!  

After the winched Jeeps are back at camp - a tow truck is called to haul the disabled wrangler and to tow the green Cherokee.  While they wait at the barn for the flat bed to arrive, the rest of us head down to the ice cream stand in a victorious muddy convoy.  We receive the usual stares of wonder, disbelief, and envy from people as we invade the parking lot. Adam starts having serious engine problems - its not accelerating and it wants to stall out.  With Jason Yates following him - he manages to limp into the parking lot.  The Jeepers say goodbye and roll out after ice cream and chatting for a bit. Andy, Neil, and Dakota head back to the barn with Jon.

Jon returns in his Dakota, with his laptop and engine software. Its determined there is some sort of problem with the timing. The truck won't idle and needs to be towed back to the barn.  This particular flat bed would see more of Adam's truck as time passed. Heh.

We watched the video tape from earlier in the day - and reflected upon a wonderful weekend of mudding and carnage.

That night, Jason and Norah, James, and Adam, headed back to Canada.  Adam, had to be someplace the next day and had to lave his truck at Jon's until he had an opportunity to decide what to do with it.

Sunday morning, I woke up to find that Neil and Dakota had already left.  It turned out it was a good thing they left together. Dakota's transfer case exploded all over the highway,  a short time after leaving.  With help from Neil, it would be two weeks before Dakota's Dak was back home.  

Andy and I rolled out next after a few more photo ops.  Andy was having transmission problems which had fixed themselves by the time we hitthe expressway - but they would later return.  Loss of 1st gear and the overdrive, required a tow the rest of the way home.

I made it home under my own power - but I was still having oil pressure problems.  I kept telling myself it was just the gauge - which it was.  If I had zero oil pressure for the length of time the gauge said I did - I would have seized the engine up before I left New York.  I tookI-90 home this time.  I later had to have my passenger side bearing replaced. My starter also failed as did my alternator.  But those were actually unrelated problems.  Though the bad Karma from The Pit undoubtedly had some part in it.

Jason and Cameron Yates left after us.  Jason later had to have his engine replaced due to the damage inflicted upon it by The Pit.  He was able to locate a 318 engine with less miles on it than his old engine.  His truck is currently in storage while he is serving with the Air Force over seas.

Adam's truck was washed and towed to a dealer where they repaired the timing problem.  Adam would later make two attempts at getting home. Each would fail.  His idler and tensioner pulleys both seized on separate occasions - shredding the drive belt each time.  He eventually made it home after having to be towed the rest of the way back.

As for the Jeeps, we didn't find out what happened to them for a week after the BBQ.

Most of the Jeep crew departed at about 8 PM Saturday from the ice cream shop. Patty (Tweety Twuck) led the way, with her sister Mary (Black TJ "Who needs roads"), Don (Teal YJ), the purple Cherokee (he found a replacement alternator in Fredonia), Paul, with the Willys being trailered by the F-150, and maybe one or 2 more.

Patty quickly discovered that her tranny wouldn't move out of 1st gear. She decided to ride it out, hoping that it would break free finally. It didn't. At the first rest area after the I-90 on-ramp (about 10 miles), they pulled off. She was towed by Don the rest of the trip. Her alternator was also dead; the needle dropped quickly.

Just past Buffalo (Exit 50), they came to the realization that they'd misplaced the F-150. Didn't know where they lost him, when, nothing. Couldn't raise him on a radio. Pulled into the next service area and frantically tried to make contact. No luck. Even had the few truckers they could raise on CB looking for him. Everyone was getting pretty upset at this point, then Mary called home to get the cell number for Rob Quonce (owner of Q's towing and the guy who snapped his axle) to have him keep eyes peeled, as they were being picked up by the flatbed.

Rob's brother's Cherokee was being towed by the flatbed because he fell victim to the alternator curse as well, and the only one he could find was a 2 hour drive from Jon's; no point in driving 4 hours round trip when home was just as far AND he had one waiting for him that his mother had picked up for him.

Turns out Rob & Co. had just left the F-150 back at the Angola rest area. Seems the F-150 ingested some muck into the alternator and suffered the same fate as Patty and the 2 Cherokees. Happy to know everyone was at least safe, the forward crew kept rolling. Got home about 2 AM, but didn't sleep well knowing that some of their guys were still out there.

The F-150 was stuck. They untrailered the Willys and all 3 of them piled in for a drive to the next exit, figuring that if they could find a battery they could make it home. Or maybe an alternator. Well, even the 24-hour battery store was closed. They found a kind soul who let them make some calls from their house, then they rolled back to the F-150. *They spent the night sleeping in the truck in the rest area.* 3 people sleeping in an F-150 extended cab...not comfortable, I imagine.

Come morning, one of his sons said "Hey Dad, since Coke seems to eat away at stuff and clean things, what if we try it on the alternator?" Hell, it was worth a shot; the alt. was dead anyway if a Coke cleaning didn't fix it. Doused it with a can, let it soak a few minutes, then rinsed it with the runoff from the cooler and reinstalled.

The truck fired up right away! Put the Willys on the trailer and headed for home. Got home at 11:30 AM SUNDAY.

Back to Patty's TJ. Turns out Mary had to get a new tranny last summer for some reason, so they called the same shop down in Texas; the woman working there remembered Mary as "I think you're the only person we've sold a transmission to in NY! And you were so nice! Not like most NY people I've talked to!" Told her what she needed, she called back 30 minutes later. Patty now has on the way to her a USED, not rebuilt, tranny out of a wrecked '97 with only 12K on it. Her Jeep has 86K on it, so for $500 plus shipping, she's getting basically a new transmission and gets to keep the old one to rebuild. Since Rich (another SCORE member) is a DC tech, he can do the install for her.

Now, her alternator was dead too. She found out about the Coke trick and tried it. Worked great! Lesson? Always take a can of Coke in a cooler w/ ice on the trail.

The 4th Annual DML BBQ would not be the only time in 2002 when The Pit lashed out at a 4x4.  In October, during Daktoberfest - Jon's Ram was hydrolocked.  What a year!!

Now on to 2003!!!   

[ 2002 BBQ Home] - [ The Carnage List ] - [ Friday 7-5-02 ] - [ Saturday 7-6-02 ] - [ 2002 BBQ Videos ]