Shiloh Ridge 1999
By
Bob Fleming

The decision to combine the monthly Southern High Rollers club meeting with a run to Shiloh Ridge proved to be a very good idea.  We had the largest turnout in several months for this meeting/run, with over 25 vehicles with 16 of those being members. Even the folks that run/own the Shiloh Ridge park told us we really “made their day” with the large number of vehicles.

  For those of you that couldn’t make the meeting/run, Shiloh Ridge is a privately owned park of approximately 1000 to 1200 acres and located about 30 miles outside of Lufkin, TX.  Shiloh Ridge caters to the off-road vehicle owners.  It has rolling hills, wooded trails and some pretty fair obstacles to play on.  The park allows all types of off-road vehicles, from motorcycles to quad-runners to all sorts of four-wheel drive toys.  The fee to play in the park is only $10 per vehicle plus $5.00 per person, with no additional charge for any tow vehicles. (This is for 4-wheel drive vehicles, not sure of the charges for motorcycles and ATV’s.)

 The Southern High Rollers and guests arrived in basically three groups.  The 1st group of around 12 vehicles left from the southern area of Houston and got to the park around 10:00 or so.  The 2nd group left from the Woodlands area at 8:00AM and had another 10 vehicles.  That was the group I was in and we arrived at the park around 10:45.  A third group arrived immediately after us and had yet another 4 vehicles.  This was going to prove to be a really excellent outing!

 

  The park had reserved us a prime campsite on top of a hill overlooking the entire park.  We immediately set about setting up the tables for our potluck dinner and club meeting. 

  Of course, it started raining just as the food was being set out and everyone scrambled to protect the food.  It ended up that we had to fill our plates and eat in our vehicles to try and stay somewhat dry.  The rain combined with the cool temperatures to make it rather cold, but, as the saying goes, “A bad day 4-wheelin’ is better’n any day in the office.”

  The hit of the dinner proved to be Linda Burrough’s black-bean and sausage “soup”.  She had a Coleman stove set up and the soup was good and hot.  It warmed us all up and helped keep us all in good spirits.  It tasted pretty good, too!  Ken Womack had his tasty sausages and others brought sandwich makings, potato salad, coleslaw and a goodly selection of deserts. Everyone had plenty to eat.

 

A soon to be member – Eric Barton on his first “tricky” hill

The weather gods must have gotten their laughs for the day, because no sooner had everyone scattered to their cars to eat, than the rain slacked off.  Swede (yes he’s still alive and was actually present at this meeting!) called the meeting to order and we had a brief business meeting.  After the meeting, we packed up the tables and remaining foodstuff and headed out for trails

 

Eric Barton finally having to be strapped

The first obstacle was a tricky little downhill into a rather muddy ravine and a steep slippery long climb to get out.  Since the ground in the Shiloh area is mostly iron ore and red clay, the rain made for some pretty interesting trails.  Our groups had vehicles of all types and all levels of modifications, from bone stock to the well equipped.  One thing about mud though, it’s a great equalizer.  Some of the more modified rigs had trouble in the mud, whereas some of the stock rigs made it look easy.  We had several visitors with us and a lot of these folks were experiencing their very first off-road adventure today.  Some of these folks stayed all day and others left early.  I guess it all depended on how much fun or difficulty they had with their rigs in the mud and goo.   

 

Bob Fleming’s Looney Tunes

Linda and Steve opted to bring only their 4x4 pickup this time and were among the early departures.  Linda took a lot of good-natured ribbing about having to leave early so she could clean the truck for Steve, but we all know that they were heading for a full service car wash!

Rusty Bryce - Getting to try out his new winch

The rain stayed away for most of the remaining day.  This was a real blessing and allowed those of us that remained to experience all that Shiloh offered.  We found some nice trails in the woods, which offered plenty of challenges when wet.  We even found a long steep hill that proved to be more than anyone wanted.  Of course, that was only discovered after one vehicle attempted to negotiate the downhill.  The sacrificial vehicle was Shawn Pagan’s beautiful black TJ.  He volunteered to go first and see if it was something that the others should attempt. He started down and was actually in control for the first ten feet or so, then wet clay and gravity took over.  He slid for over a hundred yards before bouncing off a tree and finally coming to a stop.  Once he had composed himself he quickly radioed that no one else should attempt that downhill.  The 12 of us at the top of the hill quickly agreed and we started back down the way we had come.  We radioed Shawn that we would meet him at the bottom.  That was the last we heard from him for almost 20 minutes.  When I finally was able to raise him on the radio again, he informed us that he had crashed the Jeep and needed help.  No one in the remaining group was really familiar with the area, but we finally located them after another 15 minutes or so.  Shawn’s Jeep had headed into an oak tree and had bent his Tomken bumper pretty good.  Thankfully, he, Chris and Sierra were shaken but otherwise all right.  The hill that Shawn had come down was barely negotiable on foot and he required a winch to back him away from the tree and a strap to pull the Jeep sideways around the tree. 

 We got Jeep Thrills into position to winch and the Looney Toons Jeep provided the strap pull.  After about twenty more minutes or so, we had Shawn and his Jeep safely back on the trail.  We all agreed that Shawn had “earned” the right to name the hill, since he had “christened” it.  OF course, several suggestions were made.  I only hope he selects a name that can be printed in this newsletter (J)!  (Please see article: Stupid Things Done By Experienced Drivers)

It was now almost dark and we headed back towards our campsite.  It took another hour or so before everyone was ready to head back home.  On our way out, Ken Womack stopped to talk to the owners about the possibility of an overnight event.  They said that if we had a minimum of ten vehicles, they would give us a special price of only $25 per, for the whole weekend plus camping.  This definitely has some possibilities!

While I couldn’t begin to describe all the events that happened at Shiloh Ridge, allow me to say that it was a very good event.

-Bob Fleming  

Other Members on the Trails