Trail Report: Gilbert OHV Area March 1 2003 

Author: Dave Jacobs 

Well, there was a lot of dancing going on at Gilbert today! 415 miles, three days, and I got home at 7pm. Well, it felt like being gone for three days! For the money, I'd say that Gilbert is right up there on the destination list. Everyone had a great time except Ranger dog, he must have felt lonely because he was able to open my rear window in the truck and jump out! Left it slightly open for the CB cable, and somehow he nosed it fully open. We were out for a few hours and when we came back he was in the parking lot to great us! I felt really bad! He also chewed almost through my seat belt. Hmmmm, guess he didn't want to stay in the truck! Anyway, we checked in with the dude running the place. What a boooorrrriiinngg job he must have; at least in the winter. 

We headed out to a 3+ trail and Matt-Man McDubbin took the lead, what a smartass by the way! ;) The trail dumped into a ravine, sort-of, actually, the trail hugged a hill and we came to the first obstacle about 10 feet into the trail. It was a log they put in to keep the ATV'rs out of there. Well, it almost kept me out of there too. Matt bumped and ran the log, but I couldn't get the second set of tires over it. There was plenty of ice on the log, and after the log. I just kept sliding sideways into trees and such. So, Mr. Big-Grin hooked me up to his Barbie jeep and pulled me up and over the 'obstacle'. Tom wound up the Chevy and made it look bouncy and easy. Pedal masher Chuck and his stretch gunned it and we all looked foolish. Chuck managed to accomplish that feat quite a few times today, the bastard! Mr. Junkyard had no fear today, at least, any he wasn't hiding beneath that stoic grin plastered to his face! So, we traveled on, the muscles beneath were about to tighten. What most likely would easily be traversed in the summer, took on new meaning with 3-4" of snow. Next up were a couple of berms jutting out of the hill. The first one had trees on the left side, and you had to hug the right side, near the hill. However, the rear end, if locked, wanted to steer for you. It was uphill and if you got into the trees on the left, you had to get pulled back to start over. Tom had to start over. The pucker factor came into the picture for the first time, and didn't happen to leave till our junk was back up on the trailers. After the first berm, the second one immediately after, sucked up the blue jeans rather tightly. As Tom said, get the winch over here to pull his underwear out of his (fill in the blank). The jeeps wouldn't steer much over this berm, you had to get up on it, and just let it slide almost sideways back down the other side. Time for a smoke break! Then we came upon a picnic area with what I saw was a grill. Anyway, the only way out was up hill on a mini baldy. Except this one had the all too familiar ice near the top. Matt took a few stabs at it, and so did I. I got 3/4 of the way up and then we pulled the cable. Next up was Tom and he slid backwards a couple of times and then winched. Mr. No-Fear was next and with the Buick squirrel cage revving beyond it's limit, made it up. Grin was back. Matt was next and saw how wheel speed succeeded, tried that on his own. No encouragement from us of course! Matt made it quickly to a point, and then he quickly went back down again. Along the way, his right rear tire connected with an rock outcropping and the infamous pfffffft was heard throughout the land. Not only was the tire shredded, his rim was bent out too. With professional hecklers at present, he succeeded in changing his tire at the top after winching up his jeep. After, we tooled on down the trail, taking a switch back route to the top of trail and then out. At that time, we heard Mark telling us that he pulled his passenger front brake cable away from the wheel. We met up the Svares' and went back to the trailers. I put Ranger back into his Ford dog kennel, and we went back to the trails. We found this designated spot for rock crawling, similar to that area we I'd at grand rapids in the marble area. Chuck went first, got hung up trophy-wise, hi-lifted his front end while I pulled him back. Next up was the red jeep, and with some hesitation, proceeded. There was a lot of snow on the ground that hid potential screw-ups! But it was very doable and walked right through it. Tom and Chuck did the same. This rock pile is at a base of a big rock dump hill similar to what is at GR. The pilings go around this big hill, and there is a lot of potential to spend quite a bit of time there. Most impressed. We dumped out of it a few hundred feet or so back onto the main trail. Then we went to meandering on another trail thru the woods sliding up and down slight berms; quite fun. The Svares went another way, and we caught up to them at this smaller rock garden. We went through this pile of rocks interspersed with trees, and had a good time. However, after going up and over the rocks, Mr. Technical Rollover decided to try this natural RTI ramp. Tom took the Chevy up and onto this huge slab of rock and tried to run up and over it. Well, his driver side was still on the ground and the jeep was laid onto it's side. Lots of laughs of course! Matt went to one side and connected his cable to Tom's roll cage. Handy for him lately, the roll cage! The big old rock was on a hill and had a slight outcropping that kept swallowing Tom's right rear tire. Too funny, never saw a jeep try to propel forward while it's mostly on it's side, but it happened. Finally Tom backed out and we played on the rocks for awhile, while some us jaw-jacked. Then we went to the muddin' hole to check it out. It's a bigger open area where they can hold mudding events. In the middle area were two piles of rocks that were begging us to play! The smaller pile of rocks were pretty steep and Chuck did his best to flop the stretch down on it's side. I'm sure he has a pic of his poser shot somewhere by now! The other pile was similar to the pile at the RPM run. We all took turns running through it. Then there was a series of 5-6 big rocks off to the side in a row. I started at one end and slowly climbed each one. The third one, I believe, was big enough to test out the new rocker panel protector Shane's buddy made. After some crunching noises, I landed the jeep onto the rock via the new rocker panel. Too funny, I hooked it with the panel, and with forward motion, the jeep pivoted almost 280 degrees around it. The new panel didn't even budge, and it reminded me of the pivoting we did in SD at the DTC. Tom took a stab at the rock but kept bouncing off of it, so he tried more speed, and more bouncing away from it. He decided to save his front axle for another run! After that I took the small steep rock pile to task. After a couple of attempts, I found the correct line and made it up and over. Chuck probably has that photo on the net too. By now the snow was falling pretty heavily, and we went back to the trailers. We laughed a lot today, we laughed at each other, and at ourselves! We loaded up our junk and headed into town for some greasy cheese burgers and some pretty decent pie. The jeep did well, the 38's were fun, but I doubt that they are going to last very long. The previous owner siped the lugs all the way to the outer ones, bad move. I scalped a smaller inner lug on one tire almost completely off. But I think the jeep runs slower with the heavier tires, and that's a good thing. The snow fell quite bit driving home. I was sooooo tired since I just had to stay up late at the Nutter's! Didn't get the junk loaded till 1am last night, grrrrrr!