2008 Safari
Words from the Trail Coordinator
by Doug W.

Well, my first big event has come and past. I think by far the 2008 Safari has been my favorite & most fun one since we joined. The weather Thursday wasn’t very cooperative but it made for an interesting Friday. A side note…. thanks to all of those who helped Thursday afternoon to get things set for registration. There were a lot of things to get done and we got most of it done.

Friday was perfect. After we ate breakfast & heard some inspirational words from our president, Lee Ator, we hit the trails. I went out with Doug, Don, Mark & Chris on New Salem. This 2 rated trail proved to be a little harder than that because of the rain from earlier that week. The first obstacle wasn’t even supposed to be one. After much winching & pulling we got everyone through. The next obstacle proved to be just as difficult. I made it up no problem (pure luck). A few others made it up unassisted while others needed a little help. Mark was determined to make it on his own and he did. It was an impressive sight to be seen. After that it was fairly smooth sailing until I could not make it up a particularly slick hill. I was strapped up the hill & waited for the others. That was when disaster struck. My good friend Charlie Ater (the one who knows how to spell his last name) has a slight mechanical failure. I thought he had perhaps forgotten to put his Jeep in gear. He instead tore the center out of his clutch. This is why I love this club. He had several offers from other members to use their trucks & trailers to fetch his Jeep & take it home. Since I am responsible for him (someone has to be), we took him back home since he only lives 15 miles from Pittsfield and got his truck & trailer. We still had a great time.
Saturday proved to be a better day for us. We went out to Mossy Mountain with Chad & Frannie Suhre and Carey & Janet Levoy. Again the weather was perfect for Jeepin’. We had a few that were fairly new to running trails. They all did very good. I was extremely happy with the YJ.  It ran very well thanks in part to my ace mechanic Chad Suhre. It was running so well that I had a chance to show off a little for some people on the Great Crevasse. I tried to put it on its side. I almost got there. My wife, Jennifer got a good video of me going up it. The rest of the day went without many problems. Dolly’s Inspiration proved to be a little difficult for those who weren’t running bigger tires but we got everyone up & out. Everyone made it back to supper on their own, which is a good thing.

I would like to take this time to thank all of the trail guides for all of their hard work this spring in getting things ready for this year’s Safari. Pike County was a complete mess from the winter storms and left our trails devastated. But, with their help and the help of the committed volunteers that braved the cold, sloppy weather and the high gas prices, we got the trails ready. I was so relieved that everything got done even though it came down to the wire. I hope everyone enjoyed themselves on the trails & at the dinners Friday & Saturday nights. Don’t forget to come back to the Blast in August. Tell anyone with a Jeep to come. Big or small, we have a place for them to come and experience what it is like to see what their Jeep can do.

Until next time, keep the shiny side up…….  Doug
Created: 19 May 2008