By Todd DeSchepper
We woke up on Saturday to a nice light rain. The problem was it was about 40 degrees outside also. We pushed by the unpleasant temperature, and started getting ready for wheeling. The crowd started to show up around 8:30. Most of them were a little brighter than myself and had stayed in a hotel. A hotel didnít sound bad right about now.
By 9:00, we had our Southern High Rollers group together. In attendance were: Ray Duncan, John, Evelyn, Brandi, and Jennifer Chaney, Tony Figueirdo, Steve and Beth Snyder and family, Glenn Ratzel and his daughter, David & Diana Lewis, Dana Woodruff, Seth Bothner and Carly McGee, Mike Watson & Corrinn (someday I need to learn her last name), Ed Ciecko, Andrew Parker, Billy and Carrie Morgan, and of course, Drew and myself
Then it was time to hit the trails. They split us up into 4 groups: One for open differentials, another for 33-35" and locked, one for extreme, and one for Steve Snyder and group. Steve wanted to try Backbreaker, so Shain drew him a map in the dirt of where it was, and send them on their way. Steve never ended up finding Backbreaker. I guess he should have carried that map with him.
So, those of us a little more mild than Steve went with Shain to the Cotton Bale Trail. As we got close to the Cotton Bales, I reminded John Chaney about the time we were here and he backed up into some rocks and bent his tailpipe. About 5 minutes after razzing John, I ended up in a situation where I needed to backup. Wouldnít you know it, I ended up bending my tailpipe as well. After a bit of ridicule from John, he pretty much yanked the pipe back into a position that it was drivable again.
Well, now I am getting really wet. Did I mention it hadnít stopped raining since this morning, and it hasnít gotten any warmer yet, and my Jeep hasnít run a top or door since they contributed to my layover in Clayton? Well we all sucked it up and kept going. This is one of the only places you can keep wheeling is rain like this. The rock had lost some of itís grip, but was still sticky.
On our way back to camp for lunch we meet up with Steve and his group. Tripod has another dent in the hood (we couldnít really tell, but Steve said it was new). He has been messing around and rolled it again. This time, he ended up right on his top. He claimed that he was showing Seth what it was like to push it too far, but I think it has just become too natural for Steve.
After breaking for lunch, we really had a hard time convincing everyone to go back out again. I spent my lunch break warming up in my truck, and calling to get a hotel reservation. Luckily I had just enough cell phone coverage, and with the help of Jodi, I got a room. Now I was feeling much better. Even though it was still cold and wet, I would be able to warm up and dry out later.
Then it was time to head out to Aggie highway, and over to the Wall. Even before we get to the difficult part of the Wall, Shain breaks a rear axle. OK, now we are following a trail leader that is running in 3-wheel drive. Good, we can finally keep up.
Well, not much other excitement for the afternoon. Time to hit the hotel and get a nice hot shower.
Sunday started out looking like it might not be much better. Still a little cool, and very foggy. But, by the time we were ready to hit the trail the fog was completely gone, and what was I seeing, was that the sun??
This time Steve wants to try to find Backbreaker again. So, Shain draws him another dirt map, and Steveís group is off on their way again.
My group decides the Waterfall trail would be fun. One of the first obstacles on this trail is Bump-n-Dump. This is a wall that has put a few rigs on their side or top. Well, John Chaney takes an aggressive line on this wall, and has me concerned a bit about him rolling over. But, with just the right amount of skinny pedal, he some how manages to make it up the wall. I tried a similar line, but couldnít even get into position without dragging my spare. Drew then tries it and ends up catching his tailpipe and bending it.
By lunch time, it was getting very nice out. Now it was time to try the wall again. I tried it first, but wasnít brave enough to hit it hard enough. Drew then tries it with a lot of spotting from John. I would feel better with my son in this position if I had a human-powered strap on him, so I put one on to help. After a few tries, and a lot of effort on my part, Drew finally pops up the wall. Nicely done.
John wants to try it now. After just a bit of key spotting, and some good tugs on the strap, John also pops up the wall. He is getting pretty confident by this time.
Dana and Tony both make it up after us. We found a little better line, and put a few more people on the strap and got them up without too much effort.
All in all it was a great weekend. This is probably the neatest places to wheel in Texas. We had a blast wheeling, didnít break much, had great company, and ended up with some very good weather (at least on Sunday). I definitely will be back to this place again, and encourage everyone to check it out. Everything from stock to radical can have a blast at this place.