Father's Day Run - 2009 - by Mark

Mark's photos of Meyer's Mayhem are here.

Joe's photos are here.

The Father’s Day Run is one of the most fun events held by the Two River’s Jeep Club.  Everyone looks forward to the run as Durrell and Rooster have a reputation for making sure that everyone has a good time.  Durrell’s property offers water, creeks, rock, sand, hills, valleys, and tight “v” notches.  Not content to just run your Jeep through the water their run is noted for the amount of water that is shot or thrown at every Jeep on the trail.  Everyone knows that you need to come prepared, bring the biggest baddest squirt gun you can buy or make and plenty of water to reload with just to defend your self with.  In addition there are usually a few water balloons found on the trail.  On top of a great day of fun on the trails Durrell and his wife host a dinner for everyone in the evening.  Club members know from past experience that this is one event that you don’t want to miss and there were eighty-seven people registered for the Father’s Day run dinner at Black Oak Run. 

With all that to look forward to it was looking pretty grim for the Father’s Day Run.  Heavy rains ran through the state the day before the event and they hit the Pike County area on Friday afternoon with more of the same was predicted for the rest of the weekend.  Saturday morning was overcast and hot when we went to the VFW for breakfast and the board meeting.  Even with the rain predicted it appeared that the weather did not stop many people from attending as we ran short of food at breakfast and the parking lot and streets were full of Jeeps.

Our friends Mike and Julie didn’t make it to breakfast as their Jeep stopped running a few blocks away.  Charlie Ater, Chris and I left to help them and by the time we arrived Mike had determined that the distributor drive gear in the engine was gone and there was no way to fix it at that time.  Chris and I towed them back to their campsite and we all helped to get the Jeep back into their toy hauler.  After a short discussion about their options they decided that they had had enough.  The day before they had sat through a hailstorm that did over $4,000 damage each to two of their vehicles, knocked out the skylight and all venting covers on their Weekend Warrior, and damaged the new roof on their home.  They decided that they needed to head home.

When we left the VFW there were over thirty Jeeps signed up to run on Black Oak Run.  We decided that we should run on another trail and Charlie then led Chris and me to Myer’s Mayhem, a 4 rated trail that we had not been on before.  We did not know that Lake Shore had been opened up but we made a good choice.  Dennis and Dave, the new trail guides on Myer’s have put in a lot of work on the trail this year.  They have been working on it at every scheduled trail build, on many other weekends, and during the week.  They’ve had a lot of help in cleaning up a trail that had deteriorated over the past few years and they’ve also added new loops.  Several club members have met with them on non scheduled weekends and weekdays and put a lot of effort into bringing Myer’s Mayhem back from the dead and I’d like to thank them for doing so. 

We arrived about thirty minutes after everyone else and managed to catch up with the group as Charlie is one of the people who have been working hard on the trail and he knows it pretty well.  While waiting to enter a valley and then make a long climb we heard a Jeep making high rpm’s and then a loud noise.  We were far enough away that we weren’t sure if the Jeep hit something rolled over or blew up but we knew it wasn’t good.  It turned out that Brenda finally managed to break her Jeep, blowing a rear end during the climb.  As hard as Brenda drives it and gets it through stuff that some better equipped Jeeps don’t make it through no one was surprised that something finally happened.  She was upbeat about it as she had just told Bill that it was time to put a set of Rubicon axles that he had into her Jeep as she wanted lockers and I bet we see her Jeep with Dana 44’s at the next club event.

On the same hill climb Walt threw the belt on his Jeep, a large stick was seen being thrown under the hood by a tire and it probably got between a pulley and the belt.  Several people jumped in to help and the belt was reinstalled and Walt got on his way.  The hardest part of the fix was getting the bolts loose on the alternator.  Jeep 4.0’s run so good and don’t have many problems so the bolts tend to get stuck.  Alan stated that he and Thomas loosen and then re tighten every bolt that they can on a yearly basis, they check them several times a year, and even break their ball joints loose once a year just so that everything is easier to fix on the trail.  I guess that you learn from experience. 

Dennis and Dave have named every obstacle on the trail, posting a sign at each with names like Soup Kitchen, Slippery When Wet, Hells Gate, Slip and Slide and many others.  Myer’s has steep hill climbs, creeks and a lot of “V” notches with a lot of steep drops and off camber. 

Hell’s Gate is a long steep “V” notch that they run downhill.  It’s tight with high sides and has numerous drops for your tires.  All of the way down you is off camber and leaning alternately to the left and the right.  With the steep dirt banks next to you, it’s not bad enough that you will roll over but your roll bar is awfully close to the dirt walls and it’s pretty exciting.  I have a very poor photo of a Jeep in front of Charlie that took a bad line and managed to lean too far and get hung up, look for the photo with a tail light a couple of feet above Charlie’s Jeep. 

Slip and Slide proved to be a match for many of the Jeeps including ours.  You simply drop into a creek and make a climb up the other side while turning at the bottom.  With the mud it was a lot harder and many of us were winched up the embankment.  Most Jeeps made more than one attempt to climb up and out.  While backing up to make a run at it I managed to go to the right and drop off into a “V” notch getting stuck with the passenger side of my Jeep laying on the embankment.  I have to say that I was completely innocent in this matter, anything to the right of my Jeep is the responsibility of my passenger and she obviously didn’t provide enough adult supervision.  At least I got to try out my new winch which is a lot faster than the hydraulic one was.  After a few more attempts and I failed to make the climb Dennis pulled me out. 

Over past year I’ve had real good luck clearing mud from my tires by using third gear and hitting the rev limiter.  At Myer’s I was unable to clear the tires when I needed to, I was stalling in third gear and could not even reach the rev limiter in second.  I couldn’t figure it out until later in bed I realized that I had been running my air conditioner and wondered if that was the problem.  After talking with Alan and Charlie I then tested the Jeep in my driveway, using low range and going for the rev limiter with and without the AC being turned on.  Without the AC I easily hit it at 5,000 rpm.  With it turned on the engine would not rev over 4,800 rpm on my flat driveway.  Add a lot of mud and an incline and I guess I see why I was stalling in third gear.  Another lesson learned, use the AC wisely.

Slippery When Wet is well named as we slid down a lot of the hill before reaching the bottom and making a hard left turn into another “V” notch.  On the way down there are a few drop offs and some off camber, it’s a lot of fun.

On the Tank Trap you enter a deep creek at an angle, roll against the far side with your front end, and then start moving back and forth while making a right hand turn into the creek.  Some of the Jeeps made it easily, others had a lot of air under one or more tires.  A very well built Cherokee turned over while riding too high with the front left tire on the embankment.  It was quickly winched back onto its tires and it didn’t appear that any damage was done.  After watching everyone else a couple of Cherokee drivers and Chris and I passed, maybe next time.

There was some waiting on the trail due to the mud and twenty Jeeps being there.  Some of us had problems because of driver error or inexperience; others had Jeeps that were not rated for a 4 level trail.   Dennis and Dave worked very hard to help everyone and to see that everyone had a good safe day.  I’ve never seen trail guides that did more walking up and down muddy hills talking to everyone and helping everyone out except for on the Gilligan’s Island run. 

Dennis is planning on offering some night runs and is going to offer a Sunday morning run this summer.  He’s also talking about moving the lunch area as once they got is all cleaned out the lazy cows have taken it over and created quite a mess.  Dennis is trying to keep the level of the trail to a point that lower level Jeeps can go there and have a good time.  One way that he is doing this is by running downhill on the harder parts.  He said that with a much smaller group he might be able to allow the better built Jeeps an opportunity to go up Hells Gate and some of the other steeper areas.  He is still working on non club weekends and weekdays making more loops and improving the trail so if you’d like to lend a hand and get more time wheeling in give him a call at 217-370-1431 or 217-589-4736.  

With the delays that we experienced we only got to run on a small portion of the trail  Chris and I intend to go right back to Myer’s Mayhem to run all of it.  Everyone should take a ride on Myer’s and I’m pretty sure that you’ll have a great day.  Although it might sound like a trail that you might be afraid of damaging your Jeep on there were few problems and there was a new four door Rubicon on the trail that managed to run it without damage or problems.  Dennis and Dave have also made plenty of bypasses so that you can drive around the harder parts.

The weather was clear and hot all day on the trail and when we left for Pittsfield we were driving into dark clouds.  We managed to get back to the motel in time to put our windows back in just before the rains hit.  Again it was a hard driving rain and it rained for a couple of hours.  We drove to the VFW, met with a group of Jeepers and then we drove as a group to Black Oak for the dinner.  Durrell has a large building that everyone was able to sit in so that dinner was well lit and dry.  There was a lot of Kentucky fried chicken on hand as well as more than enough delicious pies for everyone to get a slice or two of.   A lot of BS was spread around and then we left for the motel where more BS was thrown around until Dan decided that it was bedtime.

All in all, another great weekend with the Two Rivers Jeep club.  With the number of Jeeps that are turning out we certainly need to get more trails opened so that there are fewer Jeeps running on each.  Hope to see you July 11th for the 4th of July Run, it is guaranteed to be a great time.

Created: 4 Jul 2009