by Paul Hearn
We headed out for Barnwell on Friday (11/22). We had the usual delays but met up at 1-45 and 242. We had four vehicles to caravan out to Gilmer. Ray & company, Eddie & company, Paul & company and of course Josh and his rig. We stopped for gas and to let Eddie catch up who was running a little late and discovered Josh had a trailer tire flat and of course his spare was flat as well. After an hour of working on that and some fix a flat we were back in business.
We hit the road and made good time getting to Gilmer although the delays had cost us several hours. "Wrong Way RayRay" a.k.a. "WWRR" was kind enough to show us some of the detours and scenic routes, which kept things interesting. We checked into our roach motels after hanging out a bit we called it a night.
The next morning we were up early and on the Mountain by 9:00am. There were some seriously built rigs in the parking area. The weather all weekend was as perfect as one could ask. We unloaded and headed out to the trails. If you haven't been to Barnwell you must make it out! It is a great place to wheel!!! We were having a blast on the trails and met up with Maddog (V.P. of JET) and he showed us a few trails. Josh attempted "Dewoody" and discovered at about 8k rpm + all four tires a foot off of the ground = the rear axle breaks!!
Back to camp for lunch and repairs….3 hours later and after some choice words by Josh we headed back out to wheel with his spare axles installed (thanks to an innovative funnel and motor oil for Josh's rear pumpkin instead of gear oil). I heard a squealing on my rig, which was my passenger side front caliper that was seized up (I knew I should have replaced it but was lazy and I would pay for that). We decided to wheel into the dark because of the downtime. Coming down a down in the dark I pushed my brakes and got nothing. We stopped and took a look only to discover it screaming hot. That was it for the day….back to town in hopes to buy a new caliper. We were 20 minutes too late to get the part. The next morning we headed down to O-Reilly's and got the part, installed it and head to Barnwell (thanks Josh for the help).
We hit the trails (another beautiful day) and met up with Brad Gross (aka
"Old Man Pucker”) who had come in to visit Ray and show us some
trails. We rode some trails and came up to "Dewoody" and
Josh had to try it, again. This time the took another line and was
doing great until his brakes failed and he came down the hill hit a
boulder, up on two wheels and over (ain't gravity great??).
Having met his two-roll minimum Josh was
shaken and somewhat disturbed but that is normal for him.
Josh had no brakes but we continued to wheel for a bit. Coming up
"Houston Creek" Ray aka WWRR lost his front slip yoke (Ray's
natural habitat) and we pulled him to safety and decided to call it a
day and head home. After some lunch and a swarm of bees (which
buzzed the park all weekend) we headed home. We made a few scenic
turns and visited with some locals in Kilgore we made it home safely.
I highly recommend you consider joining TMTC!! They have done a great job with Barnwell Mountain and have plans for another park!!