Back 40 - 2002 Safari
Saturday was a much nicer day than Friday. We ran Back-Forty as gunner for Walt Gilbert and Peej (Doug Maxheimer) both days. We weren't 20 yards on the trail and the first thing we heard over the CB was "This is already better than yesterday!" coming from one of the guests.
The traffic on the trail Friday and the nearly continuous rain made for a slimy, gooey mess on Saturday (where did it not, right?). Well, it didn't take long and we were pulling wenches. After a rather slow beginning, we made it to "Gasoline Alley" (or "Carburetor Alley") where more than half the jeeps had to wench. Including Rick Miller (Blue CJ-5) when he got himself stuck reversing down the hill. Go figure.
As we wound our way around to get up to the pasture where Walt promised us home-made cookies, the trail claimed three front axle joints, a rear u-joint on a drive shaft, and two small fires at the top of the hill we've now dubbed "Smokey Hill". One of those fires was Heyward's wiring. After it was put out, the guys noticed the pretty new wench with the cable wound all nice. They were determined for Heyward to get stuck so he'd have to pull his wench.
We lost three jeeps due to those breaks, but Randy was able to fix his left front axle there in the pasture. He also fixed his wench cable that later came in handy.
So after a very short "lunch", we started off again headed for the watering hole. And the fans loved it. The Kansas Krawlers definitely dug it.
When we got all of us through the watering hole, it was almost 3pm. Since Friday was so slow for everyone, we decided to run a new short loop to use up our last hour. So across the creek and up the pasture we go. And in the pasture, in the pasture mind you, we nearly tipped three jeeps. First the black Cherokee, then the Comanche, then the Jolly Green Giant. I can just hear the razzing now, had that happened.
Frank Smith joined back up with us after fixing his drive shaft. Then we went across the pasture, down a very steep hill and a hard left. Being gunner, I only saw about four jeeps go down. Randy was right in front of us. He went down the hill, made the hard left, and we heard that all too familiar pop. He broke his right axle joint and spindle. He wasn't going anywhere by his own power. He ended up taking his tire off and wenching up his front axle. Heyward had to pull out his pretty new wench cable to try to pull Randy up backwards.
It ended up taking Walt and Heyward's wenches to get Randy half way up, then Heyward and Peej's to get him to the top. Heyward then drove down the hill to retrieve Randy's tire and drove back up the hill (still not having to wench himself). Peej towed Randy to Tom's where he parked his jeep till later that evening. And that was our Saturday Safari. Can't wait till next year!