2008 Ma Earth Run by Mark

Additional photos here by Jim and Angel.

Dennis sent in a great video of some of the Atlas fun. Click here.

Saturday October 11th was another great day in Pittsfield for the final club run of 2008.  The only trail open was Atlas due to the rest of the land owners leasing their property to outfitters for the hunting season.  Even so, a wide variety of Jeeps and people attended.  Before we left for Atlas there was the usual great breakfast at the VFW, the Annual General Meeting, and then a short board meeting.

Even though some of the Jeeps were not rated for Atlas they stayed around to ride, trusting that Alan Grady would get them through.  Jeff and Dan were wondering if Alan could make it though as Thomas had stayed home, his daughter Annie was with him, and he hasn’t driven much since Thomas started driving.  We hadn’t gotten a block from the clubhouse when one of the Jeeps suffered a flat tire.  A couple of minutes later and the tire was aired back up and we were on our way. 

In the morning the trails were pretty dry, Alan kept us on some of the more moderate trails, and I think everyone enjoyed the extremes that they found there.  Even staying on the more moderate trails provided much steeper and longer hills and tighter “V” notches than many people had experienced before.  It’s always exciting to start over the top of a drop and not be able to see the bottom until you are totally committed, especially if you’ve never done it before.  A few Jeeps made more than one attempt to climb some of the hills and a winch or two were needed.  Right before lunch one of the Jeeps suffered a broken clutch linkage, it was trail repaired and it continued to fall apart several times during the day.  The owners never gave up and had lots of help to make repairs as they continued on.

After lunch we started to find some mud here and there and some of the terrain became a little more difficult.  Even though a couple of the Jeeps were relatively stock, no one turned around and everyone gladly accepted a tow strap or winch cable when needed. 

As we turned into a pretty deep “V” notch I finally got a dent in Rubi 2 when I drove over a misshapen log and it stood up into the side of the hood.  After I got over it Dan had problems with it resulting in his front sway bar brackets and connectors becoming bent and then broken.  I think it must be Dennis’s fault as the log was fine until he ran over it and moved it into our way.  We then reached our first large and deep mud hole, and there was no backing out of it.  Alan entered it, got stuck, tried to get out repeatedly and then had to pull winch cable.  I think most everyone had to use a winch except for Dennis and Dan who had been there before and both did very well. 

I made a huge mistake in the afternoon and was very lucky that no one got hurt as a result of my negligence.  After getting to the top of a large hill Justin and I drove straight off of the trail and into a wooded area as the Jeep with the broken clutch was behind us and we were waiting to see if they would need some help.  We sat talking for a couple of minutes with the engine running.  When the Jeep didn’t reach the top of the hill I turned off the engine and we walked over to assist.  Dennis and Jeff were there and started pulling winch cable and I asked Justin to get my tree saver from beside the driver seat.  The next thing I saw was my Jeep rolling backwards at a pretty good rate of speed.  When I realized that there wasn’t a driver in it I yelled for everyone down the hill to run and then it luckily struck a large Oak tree and came to rest.  Just as soon as Justin opened the door it had started rolling and he was unable to get into it or to reach the emergency brake.  If I had put it into gear and/or set the emergency brake it would not have rolled, but I apparently had my head where it shouldn’t be and I failed to do so.  Rubi 2 suffered a bent frame horn, and damage to the driver’s side rear end, taillight, quarter panel and rocker panel.  We had to take the door off as it would no longer close.  It goes in to get the frame straightened this week.  Luckily no one was hurt and I can fix the Jeep.  Since the incident several people have told me that they had their Jeeps roll away when they failed to park properly.  I know that this is something that I will never forget.

At the end of the day Alan told everyone that there was one more “V” notch by the exit that had a few large rocks to drop off of and it would take about twenty minutes to get through the area.  A couple of Jeeps chose to not go into the notch and a few wished that they had not, although I think they had a good time.  Alan isn’t very good about judging time as I think it was closer to an hour and a half before we finally got through the notch.  Some big rocks hung up a Jeep of two, deep mud gathered in a few, and the final ninety degree turn at the base of the last hill proved to have a lot of deep slippery mud to get through while trying to make the uphill turn.  I know that I had to use my winch to make the turn and I believe that a few others did also.

It was about 6:30 when we got off of the trail and several of us headed to the new Mexican Restaurant in Pittsfield for a lot of good food.  I think that everyone had a great day and found that Atlas was a lot of fun and pretty exciting.  With a lot of good people offering help and guidance everyone got through it relatively unscathed.  Some learned why the club inspects Jeeps and then rates them for the trails that they are capable of completing.

It was a great way to end the year and it will be a long time until February comes around so we can get back onto the trails.  At least the Christmas Party will get everyone together as a social event.  When the Christmas Party gets announced, please sign up as soon as possible so that it doesn’t get cancelled like last year.  After it was cancelled last year several people said that they intended to go but they had not signed up.  Numbers need to be counted in order for everything to be ordered and arranged so there is a cut off date. I hope to see everyone there. 

Created: 9 Jul 2007