A Jeep Weenie Does Jeep 101Ö
by Evelyn Chaney

Most of the members of this club know that I am a Jeep weenie, more specifically, a ledge weenie.

For those of you who donít know, first a bit of history.

 

In The Distant PastÖIíve always been a wimp when it comes to activities that involve any kind of an adrenaline rush.A couple of years ago, I was on Sierra Skyview with John.I was very nervous, white knuckled and eyes squeezed shut.As we began the ascent out, his phone rang.I immediately yelled at him (as he was reaching for it) ďDonít you dare answer thatĒ.Of course he answered it anyway.He talked for a few seconds and then hung up when we reached the ledge at the top.I was not a happy camper.He crawled right over the ledge and as soon as we leveled out at the top, I got out and didnít do another trail of any sort for the next 2 years.

 

In The Recent PastÖActually at some point last month, I got the crazy idea that maybe I should go to Jeep 101 and give trail riding another try.Two weekends ago, at the Kicking the Pagans Out Of Texas party, I got the nerve to ride with John again.I figured if I was going to be driving at Jeep 101, I ought to at least ride a little.I really canít tell you which trails we did (again, on most of the trails I was white knuckled with my eyes squeezed shut) but I did manage to stay in the Jeep for almost 15 minutes.On one ascent (by the way, John was open on both ends because his ARB compressor wasnít working) he began the climb, but the mud was just too slick to climb and he had to try and bump over the slick spot.That was it, I was out of there.I climbed to the top of the hill and waited there.John, however, was pretty happy that I made it that long in the Jeep.On Sunday, John blew out the rear end and I figured (with a minor sigh of relief) that I wouldnít be able to do Jeep 101.John, however, had other plans.He spent the week between September 27 and October 1 making sure that the TJ was ready to go.Alas, Jeep 101 was back in my future.

 

 

In The PresentÖ

 

Saturday

 

Okay, so, here we go again.Our second trip to Barnwell in as many weeks.The weather was beautiful when we got to the mountain on Saturday.The wind had just a bit of chill to it, the sky was blue and we had a good crowd.We gathered at the Pavilion for the drivers meeting (my first), Todd D. gave us some instructions and off we went.

 

Our first trail of the day was a two diamond trail with just a few obstacles.A good trail for newbies.I really enjoyed it.I donít remember the name of it, probably because I was nervous to look at the sign.I stalled the Jeep a few times, but John was calm and gave me good instructions and slowly I gained some confidence.Maybe a little too much confidence.On our second trail of the day (I donít even remember the name), we came to another minor obstacle.Okay, everyone thought it was minor.Jack Brinks was spotting (let me just say, Jack Brinks rocks as a spotter!).John was giving me instructions from inside.With two experienced guys like that, it should have been a cake walk.Well, except for that confidence thing I had built up on the first trail.John was telling me to move right, Jack was waiting at the top for me to get to a point where I needed him and I thought I was king of the world.Oops.Not so fast.I told John, right didnít feel right and instead turned the wheels left.Not such a good thing as it turned out.Left was an embankment, a steep embankment, and as I got the wheels on the side, the Jeep started climbing, the front end started going up, and pretty soon, I was in a bit of trouble.Like, my seat was in rocket liftoff position.Well, even a newbie like me knew THAT wasnít good.I slammed the brake and the clutch at the same time (still not sure how I managed that) and the Jeep starting rocking.Mmmm, maybe I should listen to the spotters now.Of course, I canít see Jack anymore, but those trees up there sure are pretty!I have to give John a TON of credit at this point.He didnít freak, even though his daily driver was about to be a little squished (probably on his side!).He calmly told me to let off the clutch and brake and let the Jeep roll backward.I did and Wala! I could see Jack again!Jack was little paler than the last time Iíd seen him a few seconds ago, but was also calm.Now, this time, he said, letís try to right side.Okay!He did point out to John that if I stalled it going up I was going to fall to the right pretty hard.No problem John said (Good ole John, calm in the face of me potentially trashing his Jeep).So here I go.John says, you may have to double clutch it to get it up.Okay I said, still pretty calm.In hindsight I realize I had no clue was double clutching was.Maybe I shoulda asked?So I start up again, get to the right (oh this feels much better!).Up we go, the engine starts chugging and John tells me to do that double clutch thing.Well, having no clue, I stall it, the Jeep falls over into the rut on Johnís side and Jack says I was afraid of that.So, try three.Start it back up.Begin the ascent yet again and what do you know, I crawled right out!John and I jump out to the look at the right front side (where Jack is currently standing and shaking his head).Fender flare?Who needs fender flares?John finished what I had started and threw the fender flare in the back. We went back and looked at what I had just climbed.They showed me the tire tracks of where I was the first time (that ďinterestingĒ left line) and where I should have been (that oh so much easier right line).I learned a valuable lesson there.Newbies should ALWAYS have a spotter they trust, AND they should always listen to their spotters!And after that, I did.

 

The rest of the trails that day were relatively uneventful (nerve-racking for me, but otherwise uneventful) until we got to Sierraís Skyview.I did the entry and the rest of the trail (which, by the way, is a very pretty trail) and got to the exit.Oh, this doesnít look like fun at all!But, itís Jeep 101 and Iím supposed to be doing this, so I start the ascent.Of course, Iím on the side where the ledges arenít.Part of the way up, I stall the Jeep (again).Iím shaking, my mouth is dry and I REALLY donít want to do this anymore.I tell John weíre changing drivers.He says okay and puts the parking brake on.It wonít hold.Crap.Iím gonna have to drive up after all.John tells me itíll be fine, just do it.I sit there on the easy side while the rest of the group goes around me.Iím still shaking as I look at the line Iím supposed to take.Gee, thereís a bunch of people standing right there.I ask Jack to ask them to move.Once the way is cleared, I start up.Unbelievably, Johnís phone rings just as Iím restarting the ascent.Smartly, John doesnít answer it this time.But what are the odds of his phone ringing on the same hill at almost the same point?Amazingly, up and out I go.John is laughing and shaking his head.Iím just shaking.But I did it.I actually did it.Whew.  

Next task Ė Twister.  

Yep, Twister.Amazingly, I did it in 1 try, didnít stall, & even enjoyed it. Whatís the matter with me?

  

Sunday

 

Back at the mountain after a good nightís sleep (I wonder why?) we meet up with the group at Twister.Weíre discussing which trails to run and someone mentions Houston Creek.Iím thinking, what are you people, nuts?Iím like Linda Gail, On Any Sunday, We Show?Any of those.Whatís this Houston Creek nonsense?Jack says the only bad part is the drop in.Yeah right.We get there and I go watch Tolan on the descent and decide Iím not ready for prime time.John tells the group weíre backing out.Then he says do I want to passenger it?Okay, maybe Iím ready for that.We switch, he drives down and I actually keep my eyes open!What is happening to me?Once weíre down, we switch back.Horrors, now I can say Iíve driven most of Houston Creek, including the bypass out.

 

Next?Linda Gail please, pretty please, pretty please with sugar on top?Sure, but youíre leading!Iím what?Oh geez, me and my big mouth.So, which way is Linda Gail again?John directs me, we find it and Iím in the lead.Well, if youíre going to lead a trail on your second day of driving Barnwell (ever), Linda Gail is a good one.Smarty pants John tells me that as trail leader Iím supposed to give a narrative and maybe some history of the trail.What?Iím still shaking from Houston Creek.You want me to drive AND talk?Okay, hereís a tree, thereís a tree and look up thereís sky.Iíd give you some history, but I donít know any.I lead until we get to the part of Linda Gail that ascends to the top of the mountain, where youíre supposed to go to the right to continue.Of course, Iíve got no clue so I just drive to the top and park.Whoís next cause Iím done leading, thank you.Tolan says letís do Desi Way down and takes the lead.Yeah!Thatís a nice one.Pretty scenery and lots of switchbacks and no ledges or hard climbs.Iím a happy camper!After that one, Drew says letís do Horseshoe Gulch.Horseshoe Gulch?Never heard of it, but okay, letís go.Jack leads, I follow Jack and John follows me, now on our two wheel drive ATV.Iím all alone.I drive to the edge, get out and look down.Oh, I say, this doesnít look too bad.As long as I line it up and drop down straight in, no problem.I think aliens have taken over my brain.I get in, get lined up and what do you know, actually drop in nice and slow.Wow, that was even kinda fun!Now I know Iím possessed.Down at the bottom, I need Jackís help getting over a little ledge with a tree and itís roots on the left side.No stalls, no hesitation, I just drive right up.Jack continues to the ascent.I watch.He goes to the left where there is a bit of a ledge.I eyeball it for a second and decide Iíll take the right.No ledge.Cool.Just as I put the Jeep in gear, John comes barreling up behind me.Wait, wait!I stick my head out of the window, holler back What?Iím going to the right. And up and out I go.I think the alien transformation is complete.

 

I have to give a great big thank you to all of the trail leaders, guides, spotters and participants of Jeep 101.It was a huge success.It was great fun.I learned a lot.I donít think you can ask for any more than that.

 

Carnage for the Weekend just on Johnís Jeep

 

1 right side fender flare removed by force

1 left side fender flare now has a few less bolts holding it on

1 right side marker broken

3 out of 4 tires with a slow leak due to the trail debris stuffed in the bead

New rock rash on 3 out of 4 rims

Claw marks in the steering wheel that may never come out