Page updated: 09/09/2003 01:09 PM
Winchfest on Wrecking Ball
A group of what I'd call extreme wheelers were up early, and headed out for Wrecking Ball. Among them were Seth (sethmark), Tommy (TommyJeep) and Greg, from Safari Gard. I talked to Greg about his buggy a little bit, and there really is a Discovery frame under there somewhere. The craftsmanship of this buggy has to be seen to be appreciated. Greg credits one of his guys, Tiny, with the fabrication work. He said they have a waggy in the works for Tiny, can't wait to see that.
We soon had the second group together --never did get a head count-- but I'd guess we had at least 10 rigs in line. We too, decided to head to Wrecking Ball for a day in the rocks. None of us had ever been there so we used GPS to find the trail head. We discovered later that we were on Jack Returns rather than Wrecking Ball. We still had a great time, so it didn't really matter. The only real carnage was the D30 u-joints letting go in a TJ. The trail ended at the Mailbox at the top of Sledge, and he took the escape route back to camp with a couple of others. There were a few scrapes and scratches, but nothing serious.
Some of us ran the upper portion of Sledge Hammer then headed back to camp. We had big plans for a night run up Sledge Hammer. After eating, and sitting down by the fire, that plan soon fizzled. We decided to go find Wrecking Ball early in the morning, and get in a "quick day run"... at least that was the plan! Sunday morning, Derrick (Derrick), Derrick's friend Steve Scardenza, Todd (Jeepnbeer), Scotty (Jeepincj7) and I headed for Wrecking Ball. We found the trail no problem this time, and started up it.
We were making decent progress up the trail, mostly from the excellent spotting we were getting from Sharon and Machelle (spotter). Even Todd sucked up his pride and admitted that the girls might know a thing or two about rocks!
Derrick came to an obstacle about half way up the trail, gave it a shot, then decided to back down and take the bypass. Things are going to take a turn for the worse...
As Scotty backed down, it was determined that his right rear shaft had broken. The trail fix commenced. After getting both the axles out and the cover off the differential, we discovered that the carrier wasn't going to come out, much less go back in, without a case stretcher. We decided to put the broken shaft back in, and three wheel/winch Scotty the rest of the way out. While the trail fix was going on, some of us scouted the trail ahead and we soon found the infamous waterfall.
Derrick and Sharon's dog CJ was patient, but ready to go. Once we got moving again we made slow but steady progress. Derrick was in front and served as Scotty's anchor point on several occasions. We took our time while winching because safety was more important than speed. Scotty's Warn 8274 was up to the task, doing several 100-ft.+ pulls with no issues. The rest of us had to work it, but made it up most obstacles with a minimum of rock stacking.
My wife Machelle busted her butt all day long spotting, stacking rocks, pulling winch cable and keeping Todd in line! Thanks baby! Sharon was always right in the thick of things too. Derrick and I have some good women, that's for sure! We all had a sense of accomplishment when we finally got to the top.