It was a Dark and Stormy Night

By Rick

It was a dark and stormy night. No hold on, wait just a moment, that’s not the way to start this story. So let’s try again. It was late Saturday night and the Safari’s over. Thank God! This puts the second Safari under my belt with the BLAST next. As the coordinator of both events, I would like to THANK the many people who worked their butts off to make the events the success that they are. There are way too many people to name when we start in February opening trails. All the people who show up to clean trails: you folks are great! I want to thank you all for the hours of work and no fun (Ha Ha) you spend cleaning trails. Dave and Graham: a special thanks to you two. I would hate to count the hours you two spend. Like I said, a big thanks to you two. Dino, Deb, and Rachel: you three did spectacular on the raffle. Most of the people got a little something to take home with them, other than body damage.

This brings up another special thanks to the sponsors. Without our sponsors we would not have the prizes we give away. So please visit and use our sponsors, and tell them you heard of them from Two Rivers Jeep Club.

Katherine Ball did a great job with her crew selling raffle tickets. Sales were almost $4000! Don made over $500 with his ice cream sales. Don gets a big thanks for his work and donation to our Christmas basket fund. Tony had such a good crew. I didn’t hear one complaint about registration this year. The Tech team did an outstanding job. I had only one complaint: you guys put a Jeep with a locker only on the 1 rated trails. But then I know who she was and it could have been the driver. (Just kidding.) I know she is a better driver than that. Chad and Frannie you two did one great job. Not only did you have a stand set up to sell our TRJC promotional items, you got the t-shirts for the event, plus picked up and took back everything from the VFW that we needed (raffle tickets, TV, VCR, banners, and a truck load of things.) I still don’t know what the lawn mower was for, or are you trying to keep up with the Tates and have your trail looking better than theirs? Could be interesting! Right, Hamer? Since Craig gave out the trophies for the rodeo, I guess he was in charge. Never did hear, but his crew did a good job on the rodeo. Like I said, there are way too many people to name (American Legion crew, Pittsfield Police, DARE, Lions Club, Jeep washing crews, the people of Pike and Brown Counties, and on and on and on). I also need to thank the Pittsfield Bowling Alley, Sears, and John Woods College for use of their parking lots to stage the many trails we use.

Now for the doom and gloom. Last year the Blast did not sell out. This year the Safari did not sell out. If you, as members of the Two Rivers Jeep Club, want to continue having two events a year, we need help. We need you to find people with 4x4s to come and ride on our trails. If every member would sign up, or if they can’t, then find a person down the street or up the street. Anyone with a new Jeep or older Jeep could be invited. They need to know just what their Jeep can do. We would have to turn people away. The people of Pike and Brown Counties rely on us to help support their community. A lot of these people rely on us to spend what little money we have left after fixing our Jeeps. Come on folks, we need your help if we are going to continue being the #1 Jeep Club in the mid-west. That way we keep trails we have and sometimes are offered new land to build trails on.

Now let me tell you about my time. Everything went well Thursday night. Like I said, only one complaint about the Tech crew. Of to the motel I go, had a drink or two and then to bed. Friday morning comes early. I go get gas and coffee and a bag of ice, ready for a big day. When we get to the line up, I find out I will be going to a different trail than I planned on. One of the landowners has asked a few State of Illinois Department of Agriculture people out to see what we do. The Department is trying to find way to bring tourism to the state using the land used for agriculture within the state. This was a positive meeting with Jeep rides for those who wanted to go. I think all of the people from the state took a Jeep ride, and boy, did we show them a ride from the smiles on their faces. Thanks, Craig, for not taking them on the rock trail you took us on!!!

Then off to Rockport to see if we could find the people on the Atlas trail. I never did find them as I stopped in Pittsfield to check on a few things and never did make it back on the road. After a clean up, off to dinner. That is some good food placed out there by the American Legion folk. I know they work a lot of hours to cook and clean up after us. With a few of the prizes given away Friday night, and me not a winner, it was back to the Pike for a cool one.

Sometime during the night someone defiled my Jeep. Me, being the president of the local FAG chapter in Pana, (FAG = Fans Against Gordon - that’s for you NASCAR fans.) On Saturday morning, someone had placed Jeff Gordon stickers all over my Jeep. I couldn’t even see out the windshield. All I have to say about it is, “He bloody well better watch out!” After a quick clean up (my Jeep, not me) it’s off to the Legion for breakfast. I have TJ, the video man, with me today so we are going to try to hit a few trails. If you remember last year I had TJ with me when a massive log jumped up and took out my clutch slave cylinder within about the first 5 minutes of the trail.

This year all went well. It’s off to New Salem trail. Got to see Dave Christensen do a cluster and get turned 180° around in a simple mud hole. I thought he was showing off and was going to come up the hill backwards. Then he takes off up the trail the way we came until he could turn around and try it again. At this time about 5 or 6 of us are on the ground laughing so hard our stomachs hurt. Dave came back and this time drove right thought it without spinning a tire. Who knows???? Then it’s off to Susie’s Knob. As we drive thought the creek we join up with the group. Randy takes TJ and me with Dave following up ahead to the video location. On a hill that a two wheel drive could make, I snap both upper control arms on my front axle. Now I don’t know but I think it’s the Video Man jinx. Next time someone else gets TJ and I will follow. Or it could have been the bloody Jeff Gordon stickers, who knows? Dave, Hayward, and I are looking at this breakage and wondering how to get the Jeep off the trail. We try jacking up the front of my Jeep but this will not let the axle turn back around. We then put a jack on the differential and jack it down from the Jeep body. Once it’s down we strap the top of the axle back to the skid plate. Then with the winch cable we pull the top back to the front. Hey, it worked better than the stock upper control arm! So off to the road I go, and guess what? We made it. At this point I said lets take it to town and off we go at about 10 to 15 MPH. Look out Pittsfield hear we come! To the motel and on the trailer, just about over.

After a clean up, this time me, down to the Legion for supper, and the raffle. Again the food was great, and then to the raffle. We did have a few thank you’s to give out first. If there is anyone that I have forgotten I’m very sorry. I want to thank everyone who helps put on the Safari, and with your good help again we will have a fantastic Blast.

Created: 06/14/2005