5th Trail Builder & Member Appreciation - Pokey's Run - April 04, 2009
By Mark

More photos here....

Carnage with Rick (Photos below...)

On the 4th of April 2009 the Two Rivers Jeep Club held the fifth club event of 2009, a member appreciation day. The day’s events included the regular breakfast at the VFW, a club run, a board meeting, a free dinner at the VFW, and a night run. Trails open for the day included Ridge Rambler, Dutch Creek, Pokey’s and County Line with Dutch Creek being revisited for the night run. Over thirty-five Jeeps showed up to enjoy the day with over sixty people registered for the dinner.

Chris and I made our fifth trip to Pittsfield this year and we again found great weather, a sunny and windy 67 degree day. Along with eight other Jeeps we chose to go to Pokey’s with Rick Culberson as the guide, agreeing to ride drag. Little did we know that without Pokey’s adult supervision Rick would make it an exciting day for everyone.

Once at the trail everyone was given time to air down and get prepared for the trail before Rick spoke about club rules, safety issues and introductions were made. We then started onto the trail and it was quickly evident that not everyone knew what to do during the air down time. Some tires weren’t aired down, some winches didn’t have the controls attached, and some tow straps were not attached. As trail guides we really need to supervise during this period of time and ensure that everyone has all of their equipment attached and ready to go before we hit the trail. Being properly prepared before starting on the trail really makes it easier on everyone when the equipment is needed and saves everyone a lot of time on the trail.

We hadn’t gone very far on the trail before it was evident that the rain earlier in the week was going to set the stage for the days events. At the second hill Rick had problems going up and ended up off of the trail and stuck in a deep rut. He decided that the rest of the Jeep should go up the hill and he’d then winch himself out. Several made it and then another Jeep had problems and ended up stuck in the same rut.

When the driver couldn’t find his winch control Drew moved into place and several people helped pull cable and hooked a snatch block to a tree. Drew pulled the Jeep clear of the rut and then another Jeep at the top of the hill finished pulling the Jeep to the top. Rick was then pulled clear of the rut and Drew then made the climb to the top. I stayed at the bottom in case Rick needed more help. Rick made a great effort to finish the climb but the mud won and Rick broke his transfer case. I pulled him around and then down the hill where an attempt was made to fix the problem and when we couldn’t I offered to put his Jeep out of it’s misery. Rick chose to have me pull him back to the staging area and by then it was lunch time.

Everyone came back down the hill and returned to the staging area for lunch. While the rest of us ate, Drew drove Rick back to his tow rig and when both returned Rick rode with Drew the rest of the day. It was a big step for Rick, changing from his rode hard and often put away broke trail rig to a year old four door Rubicon with 37’s. I heard rumors that Rick was planning on following in the steps of his heroes, Lee Ater and Gary Williams, other guides that find a way to save fuel and get chauffeured around the trails.

Chris and I had been on Pokey’s once, two years ago and I had managed to put three dents into our 81 CJ and then broke the right front axle. Chris almost stopped letting me drive her Jeeps at that time but after I made repairs and begged a lot she relented and now lets me drive the 04. It was the first time on the trail for everyone else. We found that Pokey’s had lots of everything, rocky creeks with ledges to climb, steep hills with roots, ruts and rock ledges on them to add excitement, and lots of V notches with rocks, mud and lots of off camber areas. Add the recent rains and it was a fun, exciting and challenging afternoon.

Scott laid his Jeep gently onto its side and after photos were taken Rick guided him back onto his tires without a strap or winch being used. After jumping over a rocky ledge and laying up against a tree I winched once and later I was pulled by another Jeep over a rocky ledge that everyone else made. Several others met the same fate in different areas. Drew was running without his four doors on the Rubicon and hit his “B” pillar on a tree or rock while attempting a climb. A CJ broke a “U” Joint and made repairs in just a few minutes.

Rick and I had told everyone that we needed to be off of the trail by a quarter to four so that we could be at the 4:30 board meeting but that wasn’t to be. At about four we had a Cherokee go onto its side in a narrow V notch. We spent over an hour getting it back onto its wheels and it was probably a pretty good winching lesson for everyone. That ended the days fun and we headed for the VFW.

Rick and I weren’t the only ones late for the meeting as Jeff and Dan had apparently buried their Jeep following Dennis into a mud pit on County Line. I understand that it was exceptionally deep and a lot of time was taken getting the two Jeeps back to solid ground. The board meeting was held and everyone then had a hardy meal cooked by the members of the VFW. There was plenty of salad, spaghetti, garlic bread, corn and cake for everyone to fill up on.

After dinner Lee Ater led ten Jeeps to Dutch Creek for a night run. Chris and I didn’t go as I found a bad leak at a steering cooler I had just installed and I didn’t want to put anymore fluid on the ground. Dan and Jeff were worn out from playing in the mud and chose beer over the night run. Charlie Ator (the one who claims to know how to spell Ator/Ater) later reported that everyone had a great couple of hours on the trails. Dennis lost a tire bead seal but was able to air his tire back up and continue. Another Jeep had a minor problem but he said everyone had a good time.

On April 18th we will be holding a recovery class. In many situations recovery is far more involved than throwing a strap or pulling a winch cable. Everyone should try to attend as everyone really needs to learn about this important but dangerous process. We will of course have breakfast at the VFW and will hold the classroom part of the training there. After that we will go to Murphy’s Law where we will roll a Jeep over repeatedly giving everyone a chance to participate in the recovery (no one will work too hard as a huge part of recovery is planning). Everyone should bring lunch with then to eat on the trail but we will break for supper at the end of the day. After supper we will return to Murphy’s Law for a night run. Sunday morning we are scheduled to meet at the VFW at 7:45 AM (breakfast will not be available) and at 8:00 we will head to Atlas for a three hour run that stock Jeeps should be able to participate in. Hope to see everyone there.

Created: 11 Apr 2009