There was some hesitation in sign up day when I found out the powers to be had made the Mongo Trail, trail # 13. Yes that would make it Friday the 13th trail. Now, I am not superstitious, but it just didn’t sound good. The good part was the trail sign up only yielded three Jeeps besides Todd and myself, as trail guides. I think the weather made people a little leery of Mongo with all the hills and ravines.

Friday morning found us belly up to the great buffet provided by the American Legion’s dedicated and friendly staff. Once we stopped eating, everyone began to look over the array of vehicles assembled for the 4th annual Safari 4x4. The Mongo trail line up had been moved across the street to the parking lot of the Sears store, Thank you, Sears! After the driver’s meeting, we were off to the trail. Just a few miles into the ride out to the trail, I began to feel like something was not right with my Jeep. Since we were headed to the trail via gravel road I just attributed the squirmy feel to the off road tires which tend to lose a little air due to hauling too much dirt around in the beads. At one point in the travel to the trail, the road becomes “paved” that is oil and rock chipped to those of you familiar with this type of pavement. At that point I figured I had better stop and look. Sure enough the left rear set of lug nuts had begun to remove themselves from the vehicle. I remember thinking before I put the Jeep on the trailer, I should run a torque wrench on all the lugs, but there was a phone call, the broken bolt that held on part of the bumper, the broken weld on the spare tire holder, and a myriad of other distractions that needed my attention, so that didn’t happen.

As any good trail guide would do we looked at the problem and tried to fix it quick then made the decision to leave me to fix it, while Todd the super trail guide without any breakdowns, continued on to the trail and showed our guests how to run Mongo. All of our guests for the day were very helpful both on the road and on the trail. Randy and his new found Jeeping buddy, Brent, were running a 2004 Rubicon Gold with not a whole lot of modification. But a very capable driver and helper made the run quite enjoyable. Randy hails from Strawn, IL, and Brent is pretty much a local to the jeep club hailing from Mt Sterling, IL.

A special thanks to Jess and Kathy from the Decatur area. Jess and Kathy are true die hard 4 wheelers. Jess and Kathy met thru a set up date at Attica. Kathy says it helped that he had a cool truck, a Chevy then but now she wised up and now they play with a ’99 black TJ. Jess has been wheeling since sometime in ‘93 and Kathy since’ 95 or so. They are planning a wedding soon and really would like a Jeep theme of some kind. The special thanks they deserve is for the great pictures, no matter that they show me broken down.

Last but not least of our guests for the day, Darrell and Trish. Darrell and Trish drove from Indianapolis area (Noblesville) to join our trek into the woods. Darrell and Trish are in the Red ’98 TJ. Darrell just cruised along like there was nothing to our trail. They didn’t give up much personal info, but it looked to me as though they were sandbagging. I think Darrell is really a rock crawler in disguise, because he made everything look to easy.

Todd the super trail guide, had no problem keeping up with winch line toting, trail guiding and didn’t even roll his Jeep over for fun this time. He did miss his graduation commencement for becoming an LPN so he could be a trail guide. Thanks and congratulations, Todd, on your achievement.

Created: 14 June 2005