@ Shiloh Ridge
Ahh, Graduation! Long years of schoolwork come to a close!
It’s the beginning of summer. Time for parties and celebrations with
family and friends, Great Idea! Well, that it is, and Larry Crawford took
that one step further by planning a 4x4 Party and Run for his son Tony. He
planned this 6 months or more in advance, and invited The Southern High
Rollers to join them.
I met Larry Crawford and his family
as well as Allen Dunbar and his family at the Hot Springs Jeep Jamboree in
1995. Larry had a yellow CJ-7 back then and Allen had a blue YJ. We ran
the trails there and had great fun and I invited them to join SHR, which
they did. Tony’s love of 4-wheeling grew over the years, owning a Dodge
Raider and a Suzuki Samurai before building an awesome orange vehicle that
resembled a flat-fender Jeep, but with a longer wheelbase, V-8 power, low
gears, full cage, and lot’s of axle articulation. It worked very well on
the trail and was quite an accomplishment for a young guy still in high
This run had past, present and
possibly future SHR members on it. Larry Crawford and his Family
(Larry’s 2000 TJ, Tony’s Truck & Girlfriend Lacey’s 2WD Chevy
Truck), Allen Dunbar and family (4WD Chevy LWB Truck), Eric and Sheri
Rachunek, (Cherokee XJ), Vince Grubb and brother Keith (98 TJ), Tim and
Nicole Dorsey (2003 Rubicon TJ), Jonathon Parks (2WD Ford Truck- No Fear),
Cecil and Amanda McElveen (The awesome orange Jeep that used to be Hoopty),
Jason Sybert with son Heath and his buddy Manuel (2000 TJ), and myself in
Red Rocker (1991 YJ).
Larry and Allen and their crew had got up to Shiloh early Friday afternoon and set up their RV’s. It was supposed to be very hot that weekend, but we got a break. Instead of 95 deg. plus, it was in the low 90’s during the day, and high 60’s at night, very pleasant, and a surprise, too. I got up there about 4:30 PM and got set up.
Later we got a run going, and Larry took us to the ravine
area to play. We ran several of the steep ravines and had a great time
playing in the woods. Jonathon Parks in his Ford truck had just 2WD, but
that didn’t stop him from having a total blast on the hills and in the
mud, which he was in most of the time, slinging mud 30 feet in the air.
We got back, had some supper and
several of the guys and gals wanted a night run, so they took off for the
ravines and mud pits for some late night fun. The next morning, Jason,
Heath and Manuel rolled in and we all were getting ready. Tony, Allen and
Larry all had been working on fixing little things on their rigs. We all
finished up, aired down and got ready, except for Larry, who was doing the
cooking on the pit.
We started back at the ravines, then watched the folks do the mud pits, then took off to the steep, rutted hill next to the entrance to the Helicopter Pad. It had some interested holes in the trail, some deep ruts and a pretty good ledge on it. The rigs with smaller tires had a challenge getting through these, but all made it.
From there, we did the ledges along
the main road. These will test your rig for what it could do. There are 4
ledges, one mild, 2 mediums, and one nearly impossible. That one makes for
some nice photo ops, even if you can’t make it up. After playing,
grinning and taking pictures, we moved on down the hill road to the right,
taking us along the fence line down a steep hill and up 2 more hills until
we got to the Rock Garden. We played there for a while, before going to
the back of the property to The Hill.
The Hill has 3 approaches, one nearly impossible, one doable, but hard, and one that was medium just the last time I was there, but is now a Rock Dog Delight! It got washed out and looked impossible. More on that one later….
We ran that one until lunchtime and
headed back to camp to wash up for lunch. Larry, Carol, and Renee and the
girls had been busy cooking and preparing the meal. Larry warmed up the
briskets that Eric Rachunek’s dad had cooked, plus, cooked sausage, pork
chops and ribs! Wow! We were in for a feast! We sat down and ate a
fantastic array of food. It was very Tasty, with a capital T!
Full and happy, it was now Larry’s turn to ‘wheel, since he was Master Chef for the morning. We did pretty much the same loop we did earlier, but played more on the Rock Garden. Larry was ready to ‘wheel, and enjoyed it thoroughly. Tony had a blast with his new blue truck and it worked well on the rocks and in the mud. We crawled over rocks and boulders made of iron ore. We went back to The Hill and Allen Dunbar wanted to try it with his LWB Chevy. He made a good try of it, but with a huge stump in the middle along with huge rocks and loose rock in between and no lockers, he didn’t make it, but it was fun to watch and he had fun trying.
Next was Cecil in the orange ’42 Willys, he nearly made it before getting stuck on the stump. He made it over, but slid sideways, and got stuck up against a large fallen tree. Allen came around from the top, hooked up to the tree and pulled it away from the front of Cecil’s Jeep. He hammered it and finally scrambled up. This is the rig that Cecil bought from Tony. He has done some work on it; it works very well and could compete in a rockcrawling contest.
Jason had to go back home that night, so we said our goodbyes
and headed for the Helicopter Pad. This giant hill has 4 sections, 2 are
relatively easy (dry) one pretty hard, and one medium. We played here for
a while before leaving back to camp for supper. On the way back, my
transfer shifter came off in my hands.
Seemed the rubber connector had wore out. We reattached it, but it
was very loose. I called it a day and just chilled.
After dinner, several of the group wanted to run again and
did. They came back muddy and grinning. The rest of us showered, chilled
and enjoyed the cool air and good friends.
The next morning, I packed up to go back, but most everyone stayed on for more ‘wheeling. They don’t get to go real often, but when they do, they make sure they get their money’s worth playing hard.
It was a really fine weekend, a time to celebrate Tony’s
accomplishments, High School Graduation, and his building of his Blue
Truck. It was Families and Friends, old and new, enjoying themselves
immensely 4-wheelin’. Many thanks to Tony for giving us a reason to
celebrate, Larry and Carol for inviting us, and for preparing such a
wonderful meal, and to all that attended, and to Shiloh Ridge. It was