Trail Report: RPM Feb 2004 

Author: Dave Jacobs 

For all of you that sat home and watched TV, you missed out on a great day in Wisconsin! Of course this Nancy Boy didn't really decide to go until early this morning! Glad I did though, the weather was spectacular, and so was the snow. The drive north of Menominee is beautiful in the summer, but the white, untouched snow in the fields was incredible. We met up at the McDonald's around 730, except the caravan committee chairman, JN, didn't arrive quite at that time. Ahem! Anyway, Jeff, me, John and Dave from Ken's 4x4, Garth, Mike, Chuck and Anna, made our way east. At the Menominee exit, we stopped at the gas station just north of the highway. John's new 4800 mile Dodge had developed a steering/braking problem. He found out that he had lost steering and braking due to a bad power steering pump or hose. Hosed! While John tucked under the truck, Chuck dragged me by the hair, kicking and screaming into the WallMart to buy one of those hand held radios. So now I have a radio! After some head scratching, John decided to take the truck to the dodge dealer in town. CHuck went with, and they dropped the big Dodge off for some warranty work. Later in the afternoon, John called and they said it wouldn't be ready till wednesday. So, what to do. Chuck came up with a great idea, he dropped his jeep off his trailer, John drove that up nort dere, and Chuck hauled John's jeep up nort dere! Perfect! So away we went. Well, most of us had left earlier! The roads were kinda wet and slippery on the freeway. The trailers were swinging back and forth at times, and not all that fun. The roads into RPM were snow covered.

We checked in at the mobile home, I remembered my registration number and paid the 40. After a quick tech inspection, we unloaded our junk. Quite a few people were there already, and RPM had plowed out a couple of parking lots for us. Lots of familiar looking bugs, er, samis were buzzing all about, and there was a new 'bug' I hadn't seen before. A guy put an early VW beetle on a 4x4 frame, cut out the fenders, and ran big tires. Looked like a rear engine thing, the radiator was back there, and it was quite ugly! It did quite well though, and it wasn't as ugly as this unpainted tube thing on a truck frame. It had more pipes than the plumbing in my house. And, it ran tractor tires, the nerve! ;) Next in line of unbelievable, was this S10 Blazer that was mostly stock, and had tire chains! We wanted to be in the next county by the time he took off. But I'm sure most of them saw that red Wrangler junk and thought, what was he thinking!! At that time Don Ryman pulled into camp.

The guys who drove aired down their tires, and we went back to the mobile home to get ready for our run. The sun was blistering bright, and was thankful I brought along my nerdy clip-on sunglasses. There wasn't much wind, but the ride in the open air jeep was a bit cool. So, I traded my hat for a nerdy looking stocking hat with this white yarn ball thing on top. Matched my sunglasses fairly well. Oh, yeah, the trail report, I almost forgot.

An RPM guy lead us up the trail road, getting into that was an obstacle in itself. But, momentum and some horsepower and the jeep went over a snow bank and up we went. We went past the Red and Yellow trail entrances down the hill to a big open field. The fields were pristine white, and full of snow. The fluffy white stuff had about as much of a water content as a glass of water. This made it easier on the drivetrains, enabling us to literally plow thru the fields, sometimes at high speed. Think of a power boat going thru the water and that was us. The snow just flew past and you could hardly see the jeep next to you as it looked more like a comet. We were laughing and having a great time. Being a camera guy, I brought along this ancient film camera, almost forgot how to use it! But, camera-boy here didn't have a good battery in said camera and maybe I took two or three photos. Grrrrrr, bad camera boy! Our group took some long turns and runs in the snow, except Jeff! There was a slight rise in the field and the snow was deeper there. Jeff found that spot! John hitched up the tow rope, we used them plenty, and pulled him out of the deep snow. We went to the end of the field and gathered to find a new spot to run.

RPM dude in his nice Scrambler, with a 304, custom frame, fiberglass tub, shiny front chrome grill, took us down the road to a farm. We had to open a gate to the pasture land/hill, and the cows didn't seem to care too much for us. In fact, one of them really didn't like John's dog Molly, more on that later. The pasture had a small, but unseen little creek running through it. Not all of us saw it! Chuck found it and lifted the front of the jeep up and the air bags evened things out for him on the landing. Not bad! I'm sure the SOA junk would have bounced till next friday. The hill climb was fun, lots of wheel spin, and most of us made it after a few tries. The sun was still intense, and the carharts were plenty warm. On top, the hill was sorta narrow, leading down the back side to a bowl that had hills on three sides. THe open side had a fence line along a road. So, Garth and John just had to head down into it. The hills all had deeper snow, since the wind probably dumped more on that side, neither John nor Garth could get back up the hill. Thinking that V8 power would be helpful, according to John, the V8 took a trip down into the bowl too! Dumbass. Now three of us were stuck down there and Chuck came to our rescue. We hammered up the hill as far as we could, and he pulled a strap, well 2 or 3 of them, and pullled us up one at a time. We played around the big hill, going up and down it several times, and we ended up on top of the hill to move to another area. This area is part of a vast valley where the farm was located. The hill we were on actually was a long hill with trees that lined the valley, and we tooled along the ridgeline to the other end of the valley. The trail went thru the woods and dumped out to an open area that unfortunately, had it's own hill. And deeper snow. Most of us made it and we had to pull Garth and Jeff out of the deep snow. Mike did a hairpin turn to the left to go down into the valley, but met up with a small, a really small, tree (Mike are you listening!!) that dented his rear left door. That end of the valley had more hill climbs going just about anywhere you wanted to point your truck, and we played quite a bit on that end.

We spent a lot of time in that valley, finally, we went back to see the cows and break for lunch. John broke out the luncheon things that we both like so well. Those crackers, fake ham, and fake cheese! Molly got out and begged for a few crumbs. Dave gave her a few pieces of his sandwhich and she was happy. After awhile, I noticed Molly was getting near the cattle. A brown looking thing stood some ground and the hair on Molly and the cow were pretty high. I don't think Molly would have faired too well if the cow took things too personally! A kodak moment for sure, but.... After much jawjacking, the dog safely back in the jeep, our group took off for more adventures. Oops, I skipped a part, sorry. We went to this gravel pit area that was close by to the back of the valley we were in. This is a very small gravel pit, and has some pretty high walls. But, we went down into it and tooled around it and back into the woods, up the hill and around back down into the pit. No big deal, except in the middle of this pit is an SUV sized hill that Chuck just had to climb! However, Chuck didn't just hit it straight on like some level-headed Norwegian, he hit it just right that his rig started to slide down the driver side portion of the hill, Chuck wisely stopped. I was witness to this semi-carnage, and then heard this little voice over my new radio, Dave, can you ride the right side for me? I carharted it thru the deep snow, gasp, and stood on the passenger side rock rail. Chuck then calmly pressed a button and the right side of the jeep lowered itself almost level. I think he was trying to impress me! He backed off the hill and we all had a good laugh. This is when we went back to the farm and had lunch.

After lunch, we went back to camp and watched other people eat lunch. It was about 2pm or so, and we weren't quite ready to load our junk back onto the trailers. So, the Scrambler dude said it would be ok for us to take a trip on our own, which we did. John led us back up the trail access road, and we took the Red trail, Mike went with me. The trail is an easy tour in summer, we didn't take the forest trails, but went ahead to another field. The trail is tree lined and before the field is an uphill climb and a left turn. John had to take several attempts, and the left rut was deep and pretty close to the trees. AFter the trail was broke, the rest of us had little trouble getting up the hill. Some throttle and a lot of bounce, but the junk held together. We got up into this field, and it was hardly touched. Chuck took the lead and whipped the engine to the throttle limiter and plowed thru the snow. Most impressive. The snow was flying, and pretty soon all four of us were rooster tailing it thru the deep snow. We were curving back and forth almost hitting each other, right Chuck?, and having a great time once again. This field is at the top of the big whoopdedoo hill that Dan O, and Keith slid down sideways a couple of winters ago. Remember that? Nasty! John was first down the hill, and it looked like they had added a few more berms to the obstacle. The snow was deep and it felt great to move through it. We got to the bottom and John, me, and Don took a left to go into the woods. This trail was dug out a while ago and you'll remember it as the part of the yellow trail after all the hill climbs. We made it not too far, but were able to experience the axle articulating holes that they dug not too long ago. The end came when the trail came to those hill climbs, and we weren't able to traverse an uphill climb at that point. We boogered the jeeps around and I came in contact with this little tree that racked my roll cage pretty good, but reverse gear took the jeep out of harms way. We went back down to check on the others, and Jeff was stuck on one of the down hill berms. Chuck drove down the access trail road next to the hill climb, and pulled Jeff with a tow rope. Garth was next and made it no problem. After, we all went west to that series of small hill climbs that are quite nasty when they're wet. We went to the top of them via a road to their right, and went down the hills a few times and had some fun. By then, the sun was getting closer to the horizon (of course in the winter it's there all the time!) and we went back to the camp. It was closer to 3 something pm, and john was low on fuel, and we were all pretty tired by then. We pushed and pulled each other several times today, but that was part of the fun. Lot's of laughter, at each other's expense of course, but a good turnout of Trailriders, and RPM did a great job getting everything ready for all. We went into town and had pizza at but what, our favorite pizza place, Pizza Hut. Didn't inquire about any beer limit however! Took off down the road and got home around 740pm. Dog not happy. Ooops!