Trouble Knows Our Name
We kicked off the first morning of the official event with a great group led by Tim Saunders to run a cool combination of Renegade and Rollercoaster. Plenty of cool rigs in the group, we were excited for a day of fun! The first big obstacle was wicked looking, but everyone made it through alright.
After a few smooth warm up obstacles, we all rolled up to a very intriguing V notch crack in a sandstone wall where we got to spend some time practicing our recovery skills. Tim managed to negotiate the obstacle alright. Then it was Dan’s turn.
Jeeps Need Naps Too
Dan followed Tim up the notch, crawling along alright before his rear driver tire slipped down into the notch at a bad angle. Any further forward, and he was going to mutilate Reverendkit’s body. Mike stopped him just in time. Reversing out of the obstacle proved to be a tricky feat as well. Mike took the bypass and we hooked Dan up to The Party Wagon with the Warn winch and Factor 55 gear. This wasn’t enough, and next thing we knew, there were two winches attached to this JL as well as 10 men and a dog yanking on a tow strap to the side in an attempt to save the fenders and paint.
Eventually we got Dan unstuck, unfortunately not without a toll. His fender was toast, but at least the gas cap and filler door still functioned properly! Billy was next to come through in the buggy and managed to get himself laid over on the opposite side. The buggy looked like a dog taking a nap. We had to get another Jeep above him to winch him back over. Only one other rig, a bronco buggy, bothered attempting this line before we all moved on.
Spare? Never Heard of Her.
We all floated through the next couple obstacles with relative ease before Dan had to get wild again. Dan came upon a good size wall of rock followed by a goofy off camber turn. It was crucial that he didn’t go too slow to avoid a rollover on the other side, and after being denied a couple times, he really ripped it. Sand and rock went flying, there was a loud pop, and then up, over, and around went Reverendkit. Unfortunately his success had come at the price of a popped driver front tire.
While the rest of the group made it through the obstacle, our guys worked to patch Dan’s tire well enough that we could continue on. We were able to get it to hold some air, however it was continuing to leak slowly. We would let the group go on without us while we escorted Dan and Reverendkit back to the house for a tire change. Mike let me drive the Party Wagon the rest of the way back out which was so fun!
We rushed back to the park to try and catch one more leg of the trail system with the crew we had began the morning with. Dan & Mike were racing through dunes before we caught up with Tim and the crew. Then we realized Dan was no longer with us. So we once again peeled off from the group to go find Dan who had just blown the patched spare we had replaced the first flat with. What a bummer. Another solid 45 minutes was put into patching the fist sized hole which had appeared in the interior sidewall of the tire. Luckily we had an awesome group of dudes to work through the issue with.
After once again feeling that the patch might hold just well enough to limp back to the staging area, we began to head off again towards home base. As Dan turned around and pulled up next to us we noticed another peculiar thing: Dan’s undercarriage was pouring liquid as though he had just driven through a large puddle. Only, we were in the middle of a dry dune field. It was fuel. Not great. Then whilst diagnosing the fuel leak, the tire had gone flat again; add that Reverndkit is running full hydro steering which doesn’t budge when the engine is off, and we had found ourselves in a wee bit of a pickle.
It’s Not Always What You Know, But Who You Know…And What They Might Know!
The saving grace was the fact that we happened to have with us Masters of Recovery in Justin Andrews and his fabulous crew from Factor 55. After a bit of brainstorming, we had the perfect plan to safely tow Reverendkit out of the dunes.
First, we swapped out a wheel with a good tire off of The Party Wagon. Then, we used two Factor 55 Tree Savers in an x configuration to overcome our lack of steering capabilities. This did the trick. We made sure everyone knew the plan and then the convoy set off for the staging area with JR in El Chingon LJ towing with his extra supercharged power!
Might As Well Enjoy The View
Mike and I had no choice but to sit back and soak in the gorgeous sunset unfolding before us while we awaited the return of another good tire from the house. Just as it began to get dark, Jeremy showed up and we headed back to the staging area to meetup with the rest of the group. We had one more small challenge getting the jeep onto the trailer, but this was again solved by some ingenuity from Justin. Using another Jeep with a winch and a rope retention pulley attached horizontally across the trailer, we were able to redirect the other Jeep’s winch line to pull Dan’s beloved Reverendkit up.
Some days on the trail just don’t go quite like you’d like them to. What makes the off-road community so incredible is how we all react when things don’t go as planned. Rarely will you see more natural teamwork emerge from thin air. Every one that passed us broken on the side of the trail stopped to make sure we didn’t need more help. Everyone that was there to help stayed to help until the job was done. And every person out there was smiling, joking, laughing, having a great time regardless. Our true character shows when times get tough. This community shines in this aspect. Our highest thanks and respect goes out to the guys with Factor 55 & Warn Industries. Justin & his crew are top notch dudes (this wasn’t our last rodeo with these guys for the week either)
Back at the house we enjoyed another night of great grub and YouTube videos. Dan had a pork shoulder in the Traeger all day that absolutely smacked and was exactly what we needed after a long day.