2009 Blast
New Salem - Friday - By Mark & Chris

Photos are HERE.

Friday Chris and I were the lead trail guides on New Salem, Justin ran as the tail gunner.  Doug and his wife were celebrating their anniversary and he seemed to think he should spend time at home with her.  Guess we know who has their priorities in order.  As Don did not have a ride he hitched one with Walt on Atlas. 

Our daughter Adrienne purchased a Jeep the Saturday before the Blast, joined the club and then signed up for the Blast.  Her husband Shaun picked it up on Monday and then proceeded to work double shifts the rest of the week in order to get Friday off.  So they hit the trail with a used Jeep that had not even been looked at and Adrienne had not driven until Friday at the Blast. 

Things went pretty smoothly on New Salem, at least compared to the Gilligan’s Island adventure at the Safari.  I managed to keep us from getting lost and there wasn’t too much drama.  At midmorning Adrienne broke a front driveshaft u-joint.  Shaun pulled the driveshaft and they drove without it until lunch where they got a new u-joint from our friends Mike and Julie.  Everyone pitched in to replace it and reinstall the driveshaft and they were repaired and ready for the afternoon.  They did very well for the rest of the day.  On Saturday they went to Lake Shore and late in the afternoon they managed to bend their tie rod which ended their day.  The guy that built the Jeep did a spring over lift and instead of going to a high steer or using the proper parts he simply put a bend in the tie rod and it of course destroyed itself when Adrienne needed it. 

In the morning the ground was pretty dry with mud in the creeks and mud holes.  We pulled a few Jeeps that didn’t have lockers or drive shafts.  After lunch it started raining and we kept going, right back to the loop that took over ten hours to get through during the Safari.  At the Point of No Return we got everyone down but the last few almost hit the tree and we used the bypass to climb back out of the ravine.  On Saturday Doug had Justin leading the trail and he hit the tree bending his new bumper and front fender.  The next Jeep down the hill hit the tree and Justin said that the damage included a bent frame horn.  No one else attempted the Point of No Return on Saturday.

As we got further into the loop we ran into areas that we had damaged at the Safari and which were pretty muddy and slippery again.  We winched a few more Jeeps and got through the loop in only a couple of hours.  We then went to the main mud hole and ran the bypass through it, running on the edge of it and climbing out.  Even that proved to be a match for some of the Jeeps, if you took the wrong line the mud hole ate your Jeep, as Adrienne found out.

We had a great day on the trail, met some new people and it was the first time that I led.  We didn’t take very many pictures as we were too busy doing our job as trail guides.  I think Doug scheduled his anniversary just to teach me a lesson after the Safari.  Doug showed up Saturday morning and he and Don went back to New Salem, Chris and I decided to go with our friends Mike and Julie to Myer’s Mayhem.  

We’d like to thank everyone that rode with us on Friday and for helping our daughter.

Created: 11 Aug 2009