Yesterday was a bad day on the trail for me. At the first stop I thought we were waiting to group up again; people started airing down; ok, follow the leader, I'll do that. I asked Jeff "How much farther to the trail?", he told me it was a ways yet but the road ahead was rough and airing down was a good idea...good...well before I know it we are on a snow covered road, my hubs aren't locked in, and I'm holding up ten vehicles trying to lock in, find traction and get my jeep up this first little incline. I am a novice. Please don't assume I know where the trail starts. I would prefer it, when we run a trail, that the trail leader announces we are stopping to air down and lock in.
Point number two, I realize we had a large group, late start for the size of the group; but the pace was too fast; many times I lost track of Ken in front of me; O.k. we have cb's to figure out what intersection to take, but remember the novice part? I would like to see the lines that people ahead of me take up different obstacles. On the way out Mark waited for me several times to watch me come over tricky spots, help if needed. Thanks Mark, I appreciate that.
I ran into exhaust problems coming up the big moguled hill. Somehow my tailpipe got bent up. Thanks for your help in spotting that Dale; it wasn't something that could be spotted unless somebody watched you drop over a bump. I pryed it into place the best I could and we moved on. Farther along, we were in some more twisty stuff and it bent up worse, stuffing under the quarter panel. I noticed it when the smoke from the melting wire insulation started wafting into the cab. I'd like to thank Frank for having a spare muffler hanger, Tom for the large sheet metal bolt to mount it, and Dale for his help in ripping the stock mount off. My jeep box will soon include those items. Now my wiring is fused together in the back end; I have no turn signals and no brake lights; Pat, (in front of me), informs me that my headlights are pulsing on and off. Great.
We come to a stop farther on. I ask three times on the CB why we are stopping and get no reply. Hmmm. People are trying to connect swaybars on a steep road, it sounds like we are in Beirut (Dale heard one bullet go whizzing through the air; not the report, the bullet). It is getting dark and I'm trying to evaluate my wiring. Is this where we are airing up? There is no COMMUNICATION! The wiring is a disaster; this is going to take a few hours in the shop to fix. And my air compressor isn't working. Grrrr.
Dale uses his air to get me up to twenty psi. He is going to run in front of me and act as my headlights in case mine go out on the trip home. Tom volunteers to be the brake and turn signals for me all the way home. A guest, Paul, stays with us because he is a Jeeper and knows what it means to help somebody get home when they need it. Have you noticed a common theme in this rant? Keep seeing the same names?
I apologize to the group for causing some delays on the run. I spend countless hours on my CJ repairing, upgrading and servicing. I am striving to have an absolutely capable and reliable vehicle to take on the trail. On the last run, some clutch linkage problems cropped up. Before I hit the trail again, I made sure I had new motor mounts and a repaired and serviced linkage. Also incorporated a suggestion from Zane's father; How would he know anything about it? Because when it popped apart the first time at Chinaman's Gulch he was under there almost faster than me. That's a Jeeper. That's a man I would run the trail with every time. Ditto Dale. Ditto Tom. And ditto Paul.
I have a few ideas in my head about what a Jeeper should be. You should do everything you can to ensure the reliability of your vehicle; you should carry spares for everything that might break; if somebody needs it you give it, no questions asked. I say to you, as a collective, if you need my spare alternator, it's yours; my spare fuel pump, it's yours; anything on my Jeep that will help you get home will be given freely, without you having to ask. No payment or repayment is needed or wanted. If you need help getting home, I will be with you at your side. If there is plenty of help, I will still be with you, because something may crop up on the trip home.
We pulled up to my house at about eight p.m. I feel bad that Tom and Dale and Paul were delayed in getting home after such a long day. I feel proud to be associated with them for the same reason. Paul said he may come to the meeting this Thursday. I hope he does, that's a man I'd like to run with. Today is going to be spent redoing some wiring; as soon as $$ allows my exhaust will be professionally done, mounted as high into the frame as possible, and as firmly as possible. I'm going to evaluate the wheel articulation, I think I need extended bumpstops in the rear. I will not be on the trail again until this is done; not because I can't but because I won't.
That's what I got to say.
Thanks for listening; I'm just trying to work some steam off, and maybe someone with a brand new TJ that doesn't break down will get an idea of what that guy in the CJ behind them goes through.
82 CJ, some stuff stock, some stuff not
Have you hugged your Jeep today?