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2008 Safari
Fellowship and Good Cheer
by Doug (Cannonball)

As a long time member of the Two Rivers Jeep Club and trail ride participant for more years than I can remember, I have been away from Pike County and Pittsfield for 8 years not by choice. An auto accident took me out of a Jeep seat for several years. Some of you will remember me and others will say “who”? Never the less, fortunately I was able to make the trek again this year with my wife (I couldn’t come on our 18th wedding anniversary without bringing her with me) to the 2008 7th Annual Safari.

Upon our arrival with a contingency of support vehicles and fellow members of the Legendary Civilian Jeepers from Wisconsin, I immediately noticed things. Things that had changed and things that have not. These things made me smile knowing there still is a constant in the universe. Things like the quiet community with open arms and warm smiles. Things like a great meal and a cold adult beverage after the trail ride is over. Things like a good trail story and a little BS (well okay a lot in some cases).

As I walked into registration I was apprehensive. Had I been away too long? What did I get myself into with all the high tech rigs I saw out there in the parking lot? I then started to see the smiles on the faces of the people around me. Workers, trail guides and participants. Some new and some old and some who were just kids when I was last here greener than the grass. Others who are now sporting a seasoned weathered look or perhaps a little gray, faces with names like Lee, Walt, Durrell, Bob, Tim, Rick(s), John, Hamer and OR. Then I ran into a face no one could forget, a true spokesperson for the community or at least he would tell you so, Gary! I saw faces all sporting those welcoming smiles. Some of them recognized me others hesitated, some faces I will never see again. Two Rivers Jeep Club has lost some wonderful members dear to us all over the years, we will never forget them and nor will I.

The trails were as always something to be reckoned with, something with a little more difficulty this year because mother nature threw a few days of rain our way first after a winter full of heavy trail damage the guides dealt with prepping them for us. Then as one would pray for the sun came out and warmed the air and gave us some perfect weather for Jeepin’.

County Line on Friday had our guide Pete worried as he looked at the group of Jeeps transferred to his trail, sporting much larger tires and rigs than he was prepared for. We did some crazy stuff and spent plenty of time strapping and winching. And some more time breaking stuff but by days end I think we had him smiling because we were able to lay his fears about big rig trail damage to rest. Respecting the land is what we all are about.

Saturday Murphy’s Law was present on the trail too! We were dropping rigs like flies, broken spring hangers, axles, flat tires, hydro locked engines, and even one of the guides had a broken tie rod. The first trail fix weld didn’t hold for long and it broke again forcing us to re-weld it again. There is something so exciting about arc welding a tie rod while standing in a creek of running water. I personally just can’t explain.

It was a perfect weekend of fellowship and good cheer by all. After all it’s not just about Jeeps it’s about the people you find in them. And when you travel to Pike County Illinois & Pittsfield you will find the greatest people on earth all smiling because someone wanted to go for a simple Jeep ride many years ago. Yes there is a constant in the universe, one can travel to Pike County, Illinois, & Pittsfield and always find the Jeeping and the people remain the best of the best.

Respectfully and thankfully submitted by

Doug A.K.A Cannonball

Created: 19 May 2008