Wednesday May 27th, 2000
After many days of packing it was time to hit the road, so we loaded up the family (Alan, Mikki, my aunt Gladys and myself) and the dog (Dido) and headed out of town about 7:30 a.m. After an uneventful trip we arrive at the South Randolph campsite at about 3:30 p.m. Time to unhook the 715 from the deuce and set up camp, we drop the tow bar and hit the key (yes the key) in the 715 and the battery is dead, got turned one to many clicks to release the steering wheel for the tow. After spending several minutes trying to remember where the jumper cables were and finding them we finally got it jump-started. Finally found a spot that we thought was flat enough to set up camp and proceeded to get camp set up. We got the deuce unloaded and got Gladys tent pitched, air mattresses blown up and things kind of settled in. Now it was time for supper, we grilled some hot dogs, and had some sort of salad that my aunt had made. Just as we were finishing up supper here comes a white M725, it was droptt (Robin) and his wife (Kim) and his kids (Jimmy and Jason). We spent a few hours setting around shooting the breeze, and it was time for them to go home (about 20 minutes), but they would be back tomorrow. After finishing picking up supper it was also time for us to hit the hay, busy day ahead tomorrow.
We started the day with breakfast and showers, and they were wonderful. The showers were warm, but the building was built a little funny and one shower stall was not completely covered by the roof, which was not attached to the walls on the outside, and there were no shower doors. So needless to say it was a little cool when you got out of the shower. About 11:00 or so in pulled a truck with a tan colored M715 on a trailer; it was ks_jeeper (Rusty) and his wife (Candee) and their son (Mason). They found a suitable spot and setup camp, and when they were done we all had lunch together. Again set around shooting the breeze and getting acquainted, then unloaded the food that they had picked up at Sam's Club for FE. Shortly after that Cutworm (Steve R.) and his wife (Rene) and their dog (Mickey) arrived with the cookers, and pots and pans to cook with. Everyone introduced himself or herself and we looked over everyone's trucks and visited for awhile. Mr. and Mrs. Cutworm decided to head back into the settlement to get some lunch around noon. So the rest of us set around and visited some more and got the official paperwork done, and just pretty much killed the rest of the afternoon. Rusty and Candee then discovered around four o'clock or so that their air mattress had developed a leak. So they headed into Manhattan to purchase a new one. Shortly after they left for Manhattan Mr. and Mrs. Cutworm came pulling back in. Again we sat around and caught up with what was going on with each other, until suppertime. Approximately 6:00 Robin and his son Jimmy came back out, and we started supper about 6:30. Rusty and Candee weren't back yet, but we started supper anyhow, they showed up just in time for supper, we all pigged out on hamburgers and chips. Sometime in here Komual (Alan L.) and his friend (Steve F.) arrived with a fire engine red M715 on a trailer behind a Dodge pickup with a Cummins diesel. They got their camp set up and ate supper with us, just a little later than we did. What a great evening, we all sat around and visited some more. Robin and Jimmy got their tent set up for Friday evening and they got ready to go home, they would be back out Friday with the rest of the family. Sometime in here Steve, Rene, and Mickey (the dog) headed back to their motel room in Manhattan. Sometime around 10:30 we all said good night, it had been a busy day and we were all tired. It had been a beautiful day, BUT then about 12:30 a.m. it started raining.
We woke about 6:30 a.m. it had rained all night, we had a small creek running across the bottom of the deuce bed, but we didn't fair to bad Alan and I were dry, just a few items wet on the floor. On the other hand aunt Gladys and Mikki hadn't faired so well, their tent had leaked and it was flooded. They were soaked, and not very happy about it. Gladys clothes bag was setting in a small wading pool, but I guess them Marlboro bags are good, because only a couple of items on the bottom were damp. The bottom of the boxes that we had stored in her tent didn't fair so well, but nothing was permanently damaged, except for the color boxes that were to be given to the kids, the coloring books didn't get damaged, thank goodness. I think Rusty and Candee faired fairly well, they were damp, but not soaked. Robin's tent didn't fair the wind to well, it was on it's side when we got up, so we went over and set up back up right, but it was dry inside. Alan L. and Steve F. faired the storm with no problems. We started breakfast of bacon, pancakes, fruits etc. It drizzled off and on until about 9:00 a.m. and finally cleared up, and shortly afterward Robin and family arrived again. Sometime in here mwmules (Dave) his wife (Janie) and their kids (Jesse and Kaleb) and their dog (Oggy) arrived. We did introductions and they proceeded to set up camp. Robin had set up a trail guide from the Flatlanders Jeep Club to lead a moderate trail, we were suppose to meet him at the staging area at the ORV at about 10:00. We decided to load up and head out about 10:15 fashionably late. With Cutworm, Rene, and Mickey in the lead, Alan, Mikki (not the dog) and myself second, followed by Robin, Aunt Gladys, Jimmy, Jason and Kaleb, behind them Komual, and Steve F., Rusty, Candee and Mason bringing up the rear we head for the ORV area. We got about 2 miles from the camp and our M715 decided to loose ALL power, so we pull over to check it out. Robin pulled in front of us to check out the problem; Komual pulled in behind us and Rusty behind him. We popped the hood to check out the problem. Hmm something electrical, we finally found what we thought to be the culprit, a wire had fallen down on the exhaust manifold and melted. So Rusty dug out the black electrical tape and we taped it up, hmm still no power. CRAP!! In the meantime Komual has his hood popped checking for leaks around his valve covers, yup they are leaking like a rusty bucket. So we decide to tow our rig back to camp to try and figure out the problem and Komual decides that he doesn't want to try off roading with the valve covers leaking. We hooked up our rig to Robin's M725 to pull it back to camp, and Komual heads back too. We get back to camp and start looking things over to see if we can find the problem. Komual has decided to head into Manhattan and pick up yet another set of valve cover gaskets. Thinking that it might be the brain box that is the problem with our M715 we pulled it off to send it with him to get another one for us. Well anyhow we did a little more checking and Steve F. had happen to bump a yellow wire and it broke. Ah Ha!!!!! the problem has been located. The wire inside had broken, but not the insulation, easy fix, cut it off re-hooked it and wahla it was breathing fire again. So Komual and Steve F. took off for Manhattan and Alan and I took off for the ORV area to see if we could catch up with the rest of the group, it's now about 11:30 and they have had a good half hour start on us. We arrive at the ORV area and there isn't a soul around, nothing but tracks in the mud, NDT's and Swampers, must be them, so we start following the tracks. We head down the first hill slipping and a sliding thanks to the mud. We continue to follow the tracks to a creek were they went in, we followed the creek until we found were everyone had come out. Then there was that blasted really muddy hill that it took us three tries and backing into a tree to get up. Shortly after all this we find them stopped waiting for Robin's truck to cool off. We get to meet the trail leader Bob B. of the Flatlanders club driving a white TJ. After awhile we decide to hit the trail again. This is suppose to be a moderate trail, but with the rain it is moderate + some. We head off again and went down hills, through muddy creek bottoms, up hills with a few tries, until we hit a major stair step in the trail. The trail leader made it up, and now it is Alan's turn, with several tries and a damaged taillight he made it up. Next was Rusty in his stock 715 with a locker in the rear and 38" Swampers he went over it like it wasn't even there, he made it look really easy. Next up was Robin in his M725, after several attempts he had to be pulled up, just way to slick. Last, but not least was Cutworm, and also after several attempts he had to be pulled up. We continued on down the trail until we hit the lake bottom, here we stopped and watch as Robin tried a hill called Driveshaft. Named due to its ability to break driveshafts. After three attempts and only getting about a 1/3 of the way up he gave in and admitted defeat, it was just to muddy. After standing around and discussing the activities of the trail we decided to head back to the camp and get some food, it is now about 2:00p.m., we thanked Bob B. for leading the trail and headed back to camp. Upon arriving at camp we see Komual under the hood of his truck and Steve F. scraping old gaskets off of the valve covers, they were attempting to get them to seal so they could join in on the fun. After arriving at the campsite Cutworm started cooking the fish and Rene and I started peeling potatoes for French fries. After eating a good meal and discussing the trail and looking at the damage that was incurred during the trail ride, (Rusty's bent bumper, Alan's damaged taillight, Robin's new dent in his hood, I think Cutworm came through unscathed) it was decided that we should do an easy trail now. In the meantime Woody and his wife (Darlene) arrived with their modified beast. After letting lunch settle we headed back to the ORV to do an easy trail. It wasn't as muddy as it was earlier, but it was still muddy enough to pose a challenge. We had a really good time, I (yes, I was driving) bumped a dead tree with the right rear fender, but did no damage. I guess Cutworm didn't like that dead tree there, because he knocked it down after I bumped it. After running the easy trail we headed back to the campsite, just as we topped the hill to exit the ORV area there was a Chevy truck high centered. So I proceeded to back up to them and we hooked the tow strap on and yanked them out. They were quite happy, because there wasn't another vehicle around, and it is about a 4-mile hike into town. I guess it goes to show why you shouldn't off road alone, unless you need the exercise. We arrive back at camp to find the Mozarkid (Gary) has arrived in a little white XJ. We all greeted him and filled him in on the days activities. At was at this point that we had to say good-bye to Rusty and family, they had prior commitments at home and had to leave, we were all sad to see them leave. We started chili for supper, mmmm was it good. After getting our bellies full we set down to discuss the day's activities, and Komual's disappointing defeat of not getting the valve covers to completely seal, they were still leaking, but it was slow enough for him to try the trails the next day. We all decided it was time to call it a day and headed to bed.
Again we started the day with rain, it started sometime in the early morning, but had pretty much quit by the time that we got up. Everyone was pretty much dry this time, it didn't rain as hard or as much as the night before .We started breakfast, bacon, eggs, pancakes, sausage, milk, OJ, hash browns and fruit again. After breakfast Komual went to visit the Toyota Land Cruiser folk across the bridge. About this time Alan's son Eli showed up to ride his motorcycle out at the ORV. It was decided that we would go do the moderate trail again with Robin leading us. So again we saddle up and take off to the ORV area. Everything went much smoother this time, it wasn't quite as muddy as the day before. This time I am riding with Mozarkid in his little XJ. I was quite impressed with the performance of the truck and Gary's driving. We did scare the heck out of a few trees and his right front fender a few times, but the little truck made it through. When we got to the ominous stair step in the trail Gary decided that it was best to go around, due to lack of ground clearance. Woody also chose to go around due to the broken u-joint he had suffered coming up the last big hill, so he only had two-wheel drive. The rest chose to go over it and made it without anyone having to be pulled up. Dignity restored! The rest of the trail went without incident. We arrive at the lake bottom again and Robin can not resist the call of Driveshaft. This time he makes it to the top. Dignity restored again!!! So feeling brave Alan decides that it is his turn, not without some difficulty, he makes it to the top. While sitting there some guys in a CJ was stuck in a big mud hole, and his buddy was trying to no avail to pull him out. Woody (with only two-wheel drive) decides that he will pull him out. He spins a big cookie and heads over there. With a mighty heave ho and the CJ is free from the muck. If that wasn't good enough the guy who was trying to pull him out decided he would give the mud hole a run, he is now stuck too. So once again our mighty hero Woody saves the day with his two-wheel drive modified beast. Then with a little egging on from us Woody made the decision to show them boys how to go through that mucky mud hole. With a big rooster tail and a whoop from Woody he was off headed in the opposite direction that the others had tried to conquer the muck. He floored the M715 and hit that muddy muck hole at approximately 25-30 mph, and quickly came to a stop within about 3 feet. The front of the truck hit the mud with a loud crunch and the rear came up in the air about a foot, and came down with a thud. Woody gets out hollering that he tried, with the biggest grin on his face, and unhurt.
Well now came the dilemma of getting Woody out of the muck, so I decided to give it a try. I jumped in Alan's M715 and headed off to the rescue. I arrive on the scene and back up so they could hook up a strap that Woody had. They get the strap attached to both vehicles and I start pulling to no avail. So I back up to give him a yank, I hit the gas and snapped the strap. We then dig out our 60,000-lb. snatch strap and attach it to the hitch on Woody's truck. Again I try pulling, but got no where, so back up to give him a yank, hit the gas and the hitch comes off. I guess that if we have to we'll take it out one part at a time. So again we hook up to the stuck beast and this time wrapped the strap around the rear axle. I figure one of two things will happen, either he comes out with the truck or just the axle will come out, I guess we'll find out. So I start pulling again, but get no where, so I back up and tell Mikki to hang on. I hit the gas and we hit the end of that strap and moved him towards dry land and Mikki ends up on the floor of the 715, I told her to hang on. So after spinning for a minute I back up to give him another yank, with Mikki hanging on really tight now we give him another yank and the mud gives up its prey. With us both a grinning and the crowd all cheering we disconnected the two trucks and Woody took off again. What an event, and it is all on videotape. All this fun has worked up quite an appetite so we head back to camp to warm up the chili from the night before for lunch. We got our bellies full and were discussing the morning's events. It was time to do the kids games. They did a dizzy race, a sack race, and a balloon toss with a guy of their choosing. They had fun and got prizes, and were happy. It was during this time that Dave decided to pull out his parachute kite. I have never seen grown men have such a good time, and the women laugh so hard at grown men being drug across the ground by a kite. Finally after getting four people on each handle they finally got it under control, and by then they were exhausted.
So they decided to hook the two handles through the hitches on the trucks, this worked pretty well until they started breaking cords. After replacing the two cords that broke it just didn't fly quite right, but it wasn't due to their lack of trying to get back into the air. They had more fun with that kite than I would have ever imagined. After catching their breath and visiting some more it was time to go do a trail again. Before everyone was to leave we did the voting and gave out the awards, Woody took home Best Modified, Peoples Choice, and Furthest Traveled, Cutworm and Rene took home Furthest Traveled with Truck, and ks_jeeper (Rusty) got Best Stock. (Sorry no picture available) It was before everyone left for the trail ride that we had to say good bye to Mozarkid with much regret. The rest then headed for the trail.
According to Alan the trail ride was pretty uneventful, except for Darlene riding her quad up driveshaft hill. Mikki also got to drive some of the trails, and run over a log that she says, "It just jumped out in front of me" They also finally came across Komual who has run out of gas in his M715, and no one had a Jerry can with them.
I stayed at camp with Cutworm and Rene and visited for awhile and helped them get stuff packed up, before they had to depart for the settlement, they were leaving about 2:00 a.m., to head for Grandpaw's and then home. They departed the campsite about 6:30 p.m. to head back to the motel room to get some sleep before they had to head out for home. I stayed behind and started getting tacos ready for the crew when they got back from the trail ride. Everyone rolled back into camp about 8:00 p.m. from the last trail ride of the weekend. The tacos were just about done and Janie pitched in to help finish up getting them ready. After another belly filling meal we all sat down and reflected on the day's events, and shot the breeze again. Sometime after 10:00 p.m. Komual and Steve F. rolled back into camp after a day of trail riding with the TLC club. They sounded like they had a really good time and the truck performed almost flawlessly. After while some people started to wander off to bed and about midnight we decided that it was time to head there ourselves. The day had been beautiful for trail riding, no rain, and it wasn't overly hot either.
We woke from a night of no rain, and that was a great way to start the day. It was time to get things packed up and get ready to head for home. Komual and Steve F. were the first to break camp, they got the tents tore down and the red M715 truck loaded back on the trailer, they came and said their good-byes and headed for home. Robin and family were next to head out after some horse trading with Dave. After they left we finished picking up stuff around the campsite, and we did some horse trading with Dave also. Shortly after that Dave and family packed up to head for home also. Last but not least we finally got everything packed up and headed for home. We stopped in Randolph and filled the tank on the deuce, picked up some munchies and we hit the road at about 11:00 a.m. We stopped in York, NE for lunch about 4:00 p.m. and a leg stretch session. We started for home again. About 12 miles from home the deuce started to spit and sputter, Hmm now what?? Get out and check the fuel, well there is still some in there, but obvious not enough for the truck to run. We dug out the Jerry can and put another 6 gallons in it, and it still won't run. We have fuel and compression, but still won't start. I call my brother who lives about 35 minutes from where we are stranded, and he said he would come out to assess the situation. In the meantime we decided that it would be best to get the trucks off the really busy interstate. We dropped the M715 off the back of the deuce and pull it around in front of it and connect the tow strap. We had to pull it about 8 miles to the next exit. By the time we got to the next exit the poor little M715 was overheating, so we had to stop and let it cool off, before continuing on towards home. We sat there for awhile and let it cool down some, not only was the truck hot, but it was hot outside about 90 degrees. We decided to try and head on home, well needless to say we made it about another 3 miles and the truck was hot again, so we pulled over. In the meantime my brother was hot on our trail, and pulled in behind us shortly after we stopped for the second time. Alan and him popped the hood on the deuce and started tinkering, and come to the conclusion that there was still air in the lines. After bleeding the air out of the lines the deuce once again roared to life, and we drove it on home. Home sweet home. Spent the rest of the evening and the next day unpacking and recuperating from the weekend events.
As a final note to this story I want to thank everyone for attending, we had a great time, and I'll plan on doing this again next year. I may have organized the MWRFE, but the people who attended are the ones that made it a success. Thanks for a great weekend.
Cookie Baker (Pam Bennett)