Trail Report: Pa Rockers May 10-11 2003 

Author: Dave Jacobs 

Ok, so it's not exactly the mother of all trail reports, but it's mine! Hadn't been feeling good thurs/frid, so wasn't actually too motivated for Pa's. However, bought a couple of axles from a kid in Duluth who dropped them off at Pa's on friday, and I had to get them. Plus, Shane and family wanted to go up friday and stay at camper in Spooner. Heck, I'm sure they did since I invited them to do so! ;) They came over promptly after I tooled in from work. The kids were excited and that's enough encouragement for me. We headed out around 7pm after tossing more than enough crap into the truck that we wouldn't use. Got up to the lake around 930 I think. Unloaded the essentials and moved it into the camper. Gave the Oakdalers a tour of my cousins' two nice garages, and warmed up the camper for the night. Didn't sleep all that great, several Loons on the lake were probably amorous or something, lots of noise. Next morning arrived too soon, got up to more than gray skies, but no rain. Left spooner, took in some fuel in Trego, and then headed nort on 53. Took the AA exit and backtracked to that lovely road P. Next excess cash donation by the club, we may want to consider the wisconsin dept of transportation. And easy 10 bucks might more than double their annual allotment to that excuse for a road! We 'rumbled' in to Pa's about 830 concerned that we might have missed the driver's meeting. ;0 However, 20 vehicles, drivers, kids, dogs, etc., gave us more than enough time to get ready. Had to bleed the brakes on the 'expert' disc brake up grade I did. Instead of 5 pumps for brakes, Tom K. and I got it down to 2! Bonus, better than the Ford I drive everyday. AFter much jawjacking, cajoling, we took off in two groups. Our group hit the sand hills I call them, including the 5 sister's. Beat the crap out of the jeep as per the style of wheeling at Pa's. Crossed one big pond up to the rocker panels and got stuck. Chuck P. pulled me out with his Willys. Chuck had a few problems with his FrankenJeep. The clutch started giving him the willys (heh, heh, heh!), and he couldn't shift. So after jamming the stick a few times, the stick said, ok, I'm yours, and gave up. Tim pulled him back into camp. During the afternoon session, Chuck hit this loop de loop series of hills and his rear driveshaft dropped to the ground. Took his rear transfer case output shaft with it. Front wheel drive going backwards was the ticket to getting back to camp! We had some new people on the trail today. Well, new to me, since I'm old, I may have met them before! Rich and his son in a blue '89 YJ, Islander package was there, they bought a tranny and t-case from Shane. Warms my heart to see those stripes and sun stickers on a clean jeep! They did well, took a strap a few times. A guy in a fiberglass CJ on top of a bronco II chassis, think his name was Scott? The jeep was deceptive though, the 2.8L ford motor sounded like a dying beer fart, but the light weight rig did quite well. After honking down some chow, most of us went back and reversed the order of the trails. Highlights were many, culminating at a 6 o'clock appointment at Baldy. Jen and Paul Stelszig and Jerry Hunnicutt arrived in time for this trip. Around 530 we arrived at the rock garden. During that time, the Wild lost in double overtime, and Jen was kicking the shit out of the rocks humping and bumping the GW up the rock hill. Way cool to see the entire drive train shiver and shake it's way over the stones! At the top, the front right spring did a U-turn to oblivion. Thankfully, the Duluthian axle combo back at the ranch included a GW spring pack. The 38's did a nice turn on the rocks. John explored the ranges of his new auto and converted most in attendence what it means not to have to restart his engine several hundred times on a trail ride. Ok, I made that one up! Todd Wick went out on a limb and hammered his CJ/YJ on the rock hill. Needing one more locker, Todd took the rest of the hill off! I went up one more time and we took off for Baldy. Getting there we found the other group waiting for us to arrive. The usual suspects were out of their jeeps sitting behind the back hill for us to initiate the Baldy Hill Trials. Fiberglass jeep guy was first in line, guess he was first, since he was first in line! He hammered his jeep up the qualifier hill, can't remember if he made it or not. He didn't make it up the big hill. But I was up next. Took a couple of swipes to the top of the qualifier, and the third time she went up and over in a blaze of sand. Sand in my face, my jacket, elsewhere too I suppose. On top I stuck it in 2nd gear and hit the skinny pedal for the top of Baldy or close to the top as it worked out! The 5L roared with plenty of power and it sounded good too. No ruts, or water anywhere, and the sand going up was pretty firm; for a few trips anyway. At the top the peanut gallery had gathered, lead by their stay-at-home-jeep Matt McDubbin. I hung up at the top and after a few jears, braked the jeep back down the hill. Back at the small hill top, the jeep took off in 2nd gear, and the 5L roared once more, the momentum up the hill in the new tracks seemed better than the first time. The learing, jearing McDubbin and his sidekick Anderson, lead the crowd and cheered to great lengths as the red Jeep kicked up and over the hill first. Ok, I made that up too, except making it up baldy! Several others made it to within a few inches of getting the front wheels up and over the top. Then Chuck Howard breezed up the hill in his red, by the way, TJ. And the score was red jeeps 2, everyone else, nothing! However, by then the holes dug at the top were massive, not much was going to make it up. But, Mr. red jeep Howard wasn't thru... Chuck did another remarkable climb, losing very little momentum from the get-go. However, the top of the hill greeted Chuck with a little less enthusiasm than the peanut gallery. The jeep hit the rear-wheel holes and the front hit the air, only to have the rear wheels hit the front holes and the jeep came down kinda hard. Hard enough that he spit out a busted front pinion and some liquid gold. Gear oil that is. Bonus round though, the top of the hill was smooth again, thanks Chuck! ';) Ran to the jeep to try it again of course. Went up as nice as before, and we all had had enough and to the camp ground we went. Mark S. had set up the club canopy next to one of his. A fire was going and he was cooking some chili to feed the hungry crew. Matt took member videos, showed them on his tv, and we watched and rewatched the red jeeps climb Baldy. Ok, there were others involved too! We shared stories about the everyone's experiences, and had quite a good time. Paul jacked up the big waggy and proceeded to remove the bad spring and put in a new one. The weather was still nice and we sat around the campfire till late, 830 or so, and everyone started yawning like they were old or something! One by one, the group got smaller and by 10 or so, lots had left, me included. Around midnight or so, this familiar voice was talking to me outside my tent. Shane, who had left earlier, was back! In the rain, late at night, hmmm, can't be good! Rear U-joint doesn't exist anymore, or words to that effect he said. Of course it was raining, even Ranger wasn't dumb enough to leave the tent! We found a spare ujoint in that front drive shaft I hosed at the DTC last fall. Hoped it was the same size as a rear 1310 wrangler ujoint. Wacked the old one out, and put in the new one, still raining of course. Mark S. had come over with a real flashlight so we could see the rain! He couldn't sleep, said Mark P. was snoring too loud. Actually, it was the dead silence due to me not snoring all of sudden that woke him up! Still raining as Shane took off once more down the road. Back at tent central, the cold in the bones didn't contribute to sleep much, so tossed and turned till morning. Greeted with more rain, we slowly got up. Jerry Hunnicutt Incorporated Breakfast Nook, early breakfast special, beckoned us down the hill. Nothing is better than hot food when body is cold and not happy! AFter much hot coffee, flapjacks, eggs, more coffee, biscuits and gravy, sausauge, and more coffee, time was near to break camp. Did I mention that it was still raining? Paul and I hoisted the new axles onto the trailer in the rain. Monica and I took down the canopy, in the rain. Loaded up the jeep, said adios, in the rain, and took off for St. Paul. Went down 53 thru spooner and 63 down past cumberland to Turtle Lake. Took off west on 8, waved at tim and diane's general direction, and headed to taylor's falls. Around then noticed that the rig wasn't stopping real well, mostly truck braking. Hmmm, not good. When brakes applied the brake controller light just blinked, more not good. Confirmed that truck brakes only worked, and then not really good, took my time and with plenty of space between vehicles, made it home around 2pm. Unhooked trailer and applied brake, no more blinking light! Bad wiring some where, never had had that problem before!!! Lot's of laughs, and other than that pesty rain, had a good time. Good to see 22 trucks with their families make it up to Pa's. Strong outing by a pretty good club!