2009-02-21 – MJR Meet ‘n’ Greet – Bullfrog Trail Johnson Valley

MJR had yet another meet & greet, this time instead of it being at Bass Pro Shops, it was held at Maxwell’s Burgers Fresh Salads & Subs. Quite a few people showed up, which then broke into two groups. Half the group went on some local valley trails and ended up helping a stuck land-rover.

I went with the group that headed out to Johnson Valley to run Bullfrog trail.

First up was Chicken Rock, which is a quick little warm up to test green wheelers’ nerves. Not difficult once you’re on the rock, but getting from the dirt to the rock proved slightly difficult for a couple in our group. From there, you head around the corner and start the actual bullfrog trail.

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On the trial there were quite a few obstacles that look pretty cool in pictures but aren’t terribly difficult with any kind of ground clearance, especially if you can flex like a beast. This is actually the exact opposite of most trails which look easy in pictures and are much harder and intimidating in person. Here’s a bunch of shots from the rest of the day.

V-Notch

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Drop Off – Droop Off

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Jeep Eater

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The Wall

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2009-01-31 – Coyote Canyon – Northern Legs

I don’t have much to say for this run other than the following:

  • Anza is much more beautiful than I thought
  • Watch where you’re going (don’t bash your steering into rocks)
  • Coyote Canyon is a fun run that would probably be good for beginners wanting to gradually get to tougher trails
  • Anza is much more beautiful than I thought
  • YJs really can flex!!!!

That being said, just enjoy some pictures from the day.

Jeep Shots

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Coyote Canyon Scenery Shots

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My Carnage

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2008-08-02 – AAT – Holcomb Creek Trail (3N93)

For this trip, Tiffany wanted to stay home and get things done around the house so I invited a friend of offroading (a.k.a. froadin’) Scott. He has a Toyota Truck that he does uses for some mild offroading and as his daily driver. He was very interested and wanted to lend a hand with the AAT work as well.

He brought his camera and took a lot of pictures, and there are some good ones!

As we started out, Scott was mentioning how he liked the beautiful scenery, that the terrain looked fun, and how he wanted to come back with his truck. This was before any of the difficult sections, like the first small climb, or any of the rock gardens. After seeing those sections Scott said he’s now looking at buying a Jeep.

We started off at the locked gate to disconnect our sway bars and air down our tires, then made our way past the water crossing. We checked out motorcycle tracks and some other measures we attempted to stop unauthorized access. We saw some bear prints which had to be fairly fresh. It was the first time I’ve actually seen bear prints in person!

Shortly after that, we started loading Scott’s trailer with huge rocks to take and fill in some washed out sections of trail.

The weight in the trailer was too much for one Jeep to pull up some of the climbs, so I started pulling Scott’s Jeep.

The weight in the trailer was too much for two Jeeps to pull up some of the climbs, so Max started pulling my Jeep, pulling Scott’s Jeep!

After a while of this, Max’s Jeep began spewing coolant. Luckily he noticed and we stopped to see why. Apparently the overflow tank’s aren’t held down by anything but gravity. On one of his many trail runs his tank shook loose and today it got too close to the serpentine belt which wore through it. After some duct tape and a little trail magic, we were once again on our way.

We made our way to a portion of the trail which had washed thin so we started dumping rocks, the first load of many.

We made our way to the east rock garden and had some play time. Russ had a little trouble as did Kurt. Two people you expect to drive through *anything*!!! Russ got a tiny bit of a bad line, but once he was free from his center skid, he made the rest of the garden look easy. Erik and his sick YJ took the hard line and made it look easy. Kurt also took his favorite line, which he’s conquered many times in the past, yet today he got stuck! Now I actually have some pictures of Kurt with the winch in use on himself!

After yet another rock fill/dump we stopped for lunch in a nice shady spot on the trail.

At one of the rutted sections of the trail there was quite a bit of erosion on the side of the trail with a steep drop-off. This was another prime place for rock dumping to help give structure to the trail. I think this spot might be one of the other areas which received some gabion baskets on another trail maintenance run.

Max and a couple others played in the west rock garden. Since it was gated instead of getting back out, it was necessary to turn around in the rock garden. I didn’t want to press my luck so I decided to skip the west rock garden on this run. Maybe next time. Scott took a hit to the door, and Max hit his transmission hard. He wasn’t sure if this hit caused the cracks shown or if they were from the Dusey a couple of weeks before this run.

On the way back, we had fun in a big v-notch. A couple of the “big guys” with lockers and fun toys made it through, and I thought I’d give it a try with my open diffs. I had a bit of a bad line the first attempt and got some good air with the driver front tire. A slightly different line toward the passenger side and I made it through easily. Since I did it, Scott had to show off and run through with the trailer and all!

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2008-03-29 – MJR’s 5th Annual IDTT

A few things have changed since the 4th IDTT. For one, Shirley grew taller. Also, my confidence and ability as a driver had grown also. In addition to those two, the experience we had following Russ on a “mild” run we felt obligated to sign up for the “big boy” run. This one took us up Doran (minus gatekeeper) and later down Odessa.

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After the Peggy Sues Breakfast (Obligatory picture shown above) we started the run.

To start the day, we took the bypass around Gatekeeper and parked to watch the show. Kurt was first up and didn’t make it through quite as easily as the first time he conquered Gatekeeper. He still made it through unharmed, it just took a little more finesse.

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A couple of LWB toys came to give gatekeeper a try. The first made it through easily, however the second became stuck, so we decided to just go ahead with our run instead of watching the recovery. Approximate time: 10am. Keep this in mind for later.

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We began the run up Doran and made good headway. We were with a group of well build rigs. The thing I alway enjoy is the fact that my underbuilt (in comparison) Jeep takes almost all the same trails and lines as the “big guys” even though I don’t have lockers.

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We were moving along fine until we hit a waterfall which had changed greatly since New Years. There were some (locked) who walked right up, and there were others (locked) who struggled. I struggled! I ended up needing a tug because I didn’t want to bust my D35, and I had already made a few attempts. I am dieing to go back and make another attempt since I’ve heard it’s become much “worse”. We all got out and snapped pictures as people made their tries up this ledge.

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The rest of the trail was passed easily by our group and we made decent time. We ate lunch at Bismark Mine area and then headed to the always beautiful wall street canyon.

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We decided to skip Odessa due to a washed out area we encountered at New Years and heard had also become worse. This area would be pretty dangerous. We took Philips Loop to Mule Canyon for the return trip, which was an easy and fast return trip. I was happy about this because Tiffany was just sitting at camp waiting for everybody to return. Once the group was back, Tiffany and I decided to go to Gatekeeper to see if anybody else was making any attempts only to find the guy who became stuck that morning was only now being pulled out completely. Apparently he broke something big, and then somebody tried going “around” him (in gatekeeper) who also broke, then they spent the greater part of 5 hours trying to recover the two disabled vehicles. Glad we weren’t around for that mess!

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Back at camp, I had to share a couple more photos. One, of Jill and the strange way she lays on Sarah’s lap. The other of Chris; I’d like everybody to see how much he enjoys cookies… 😀

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2008-04-19 – AAT – Holcomb Creek Trail (3N93)

Recently the MyJeepRocks.com was given the opportunity and privilege of co-adopting the Holcomb Creek Trail with the San Bernardino National Forest’s Adopt-A-Trail program. MyJeepRocks has worked hard on 2N84 Little Bear Peak, however as one of the larger groups in numbers, and hours, we had little to do with such a small trail. Holcomb Creek was damaged severely from the “Butler 2” fire in the 2007 burn season and the weather in the 2007/2008 winter only made things worse. Much of the surrounding brush had burned and hundreds of trees have been damaged, burned, and fallen. Where trees had fallen and brush had burned the weather washed out many sections of trail and washed ledges out very badly. The erosion damage was immense. The program coordinator said the trail was probable to be closed for at least two years!

The two groups who had previously adopted Holcomb Creek Trail (Riverside Ruff Riders, and Sons of Thunder) hadn’t been putting adequate hours into the trail to take care of the problems it now faces, although it hadn’t needed the amount of work it does now. This is what prompted Greg Hoffman to seek more help for this trail. MJR gladly obliged! We were given the trail in March and our first run was already planned in April. This run’s goals were to run the trail and create a trail maintenance plan. The trail maintenance plan lists the safety concerns, goals, and objectives of the group(s) maintaining the trail. Each task is correlated with a mileage from the trail head and a maintenance plan must be submitted by Adopt-A-Trail groups each year. We had Greg Hoffman accompany us on the run since nobody in MyJeepRocks’ Adopt-A-Trail group has a chainsaw certification valid for the San Bernardino National Forest. We knew there would be fallen trees that would need to be moved, and we wouldn’t get much else done on the trail.

The plan was to run the trail east to west, and assess anything blocking the trail and skip everything else (making notes) and return west to east because the trip would look different and we might see things we had previously missed. Simply moving the downed trees was so much work, we only ended up running the trail from east to west and going back via fire roads which saved hours.

I remember two trees specifically, but there were at least 5 which we moved that day. The biggest of the trees required two winches and 3 jeeps just to remove a piece trail-width which was maybe 12-15 feet. This section weighed enough to pull all 3 Jeeps down a ravine, or seriously/fatally hurt Greg operating the chainsaw had something gone horribly wrong. The group of people we were with has extensive recovery knowledge and everything accomplished was done with the utmost professionalism and safety in mind.

Unfortunately for my website, I brought the “bad” camera and was only able to snap a couple of pictures before it died, so this report only comes with three pictures.

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2008-02-16 – Calico Cleanup 2008

We were back out to Calico for the weekend, and unfortunately we weren’t able to make it on any trail runs before or after the cleanup event, but we still enjoyed ourselves. We arrived at the Discovery Center in Barstow at about 7:20 AM to sign up. Then was the driver’s meeting The MJR group was assigned duty to the Tin Can Alley outskirts way out past Mule Canyon.

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After registration, we staged at Mule Canyon where I aired down the tires to help soften the ride on the ‘fire roads’ so it wouldn’t be too bumpy for Tiffany. At New Years we found out that she didn’t do too well with some of the big bumps while being pregnant.

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I know excuses are like butts, but I have to set up mine… On our way to the cleanup we stopped at the gas station with Chris/Tam, Rick/Sarah, and Crash/Chris. I looked at the gauge and like a ‘tard, I thought half a tank was fine because with a full tank the Jeep leaks…

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… I was wrong! Thanks Chuck! Now I owe him, and I need to get a bumper and gas cans so I don’t have to rely on somebody else when I do this again. (It will happen again).

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We came across a CRV who thought they could ‘offroad’ (on the fire roads) and couldn’t even do that. They tore a sidewall. It wasn’t a small tear either, it was a HUGE gash. We helped them change their tire to get back to the pavement.

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This was the end of our trip, other than emptying the trash we found. The calico cleanup bag worked it’s way through Chuck’s rack and was stuck. I also took pictures of a couple of the dumpsters. People say there wasn’t as much trash as last year, but as you can see it was still worthwhile to go cleanup after all the slobs that go dump stuff out in the desert.

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2007-12-31 – Calico New Years

For New years this year we went with our good friends Chris & Tam (and family) to Calico where we camped with them in their RV. Tiffany’s sister Tamara came with us and (we think) really enjoyed herself! On New Years Eve we ran up Doran and down Odessa after stopping by Wall Street and a little exploring in Bismarck mine. Unfortunately as time goes on, it seems to become harder and harder to take as many pictures since we’ve been here before. Not to mention last time we ran Doran we were stock so it took 4 hours JUST for Doran downhill. Now that our Jeep is a little more ‘built’ we ran Doran and Odessa with time to explore in about 4 hours!

Chris started a fire and wanted to go outside to be with everybody:
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I stayed inside by myself…
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From Sunday to Monday night we watched Back To The Future – Part I. Then we popped some popcorn and got ready to watch movies… We then watched Back To The Future – Part II, and even Back To The Future – Part III. All 3 in one sitting! It was great for those of us that made it through all 3 without falling asleep!

The next morning, we waited (and waited, and waited) for Rick & Sarah to show up for the wheeling. To kill time Chris showed Juli (their Foreign Exchange Student) how to drive and how to drive stick. Tiffany and I had talked about making another highlight of the trip to let Tamara drive for her first time. Keep in mind the Jeep is a manual! She didn’t drive much, but she picked it up quickly and easily! She’s already better at driving stick than Tricia ;). Here’s a picture and a video from that:
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Rick & Sarah arrived so we departed to Doran. We (for obvious reasons ) skipped gatekeeper and started up the trail. Unfortunately because we made such good time and the group was small, we didn’t get out and take pictures very much. We have a couple pictures of the others’ jeeps, and even fewer of ours.

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About half way throughthe run we did a little mine exploring at Bismarck mine since Tamara had never been to Calico. These are some of the bigger (yet safer) mines at Calico so we weren’t afraid to explorer here.

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After that we continued to go see Wall Street Canyon and take a couple pictures. We poked into a few mines at the top there as well.

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Then we were going to head back to camp. We had heard some people saying Odessa was impassible so we were going to take easy roads the long way back to camp, but as we got closer to Odessa we found others saying it was ok. While it was much bumpier for Tiffany (the day was getting long for her because of the pregnancy) it was actually a much shorter and quicker path to camp. Here’s the couple pictures and a video from Odessa and back at camp.

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Chris driving Tam’s Jeep down:
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Me:
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Rick driving Sarah’s Jeep down:
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Back at camp there was a minor problem with the RV’s “pooper” which Chris had to remedy using a nice metal stick. The smell was so bad he had to use a leopard tie to keep a rag over his face.
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2007-12-01 – Gold Mountain (in the SNOW)

I woke up nice and early to navigate the snow and ice covered roads for a run while Tiffany was going with her mom to pick up Stephanie’s wedding dress! After getting around the few accidents, ‘parking lots’ where people were putting on chains, and slick turns I found my way to the gas station then the Fawnskin Fire Station.

My Jeep at Arco Lonely in Fawnskin

After the others arrived, we aired down and disconnected our sway bars.

Airing Down

Before the storm, the plan was to run Gold Mountain and John Bull, but due to the conditions we decided to stick with only running Gold Mountain. I didn’t want to chance John Bull with ice all over the rocks! Paul lead, next was Nick, and I ran tail gunner. Here’s Nick flexing a little bit over one of the first obstacles.

Nick Flexing

I was the first to need a little guidance getting over an obstacle. After the obstacle I aired down a little more, and found out I mis-used the gage and my rear driver’s side tire was still nearly street pressure (25psi). I might not have gotten hung up with all of my tires aired down properly.

Starting the climb Flexing with a new line! Making it up

We continued on to the ‘optional’ rock garden. It didn’t seem too bad. Paul said it looked much flatter today than it had in the past, so Nick and I decided we’d be up for it instead of the bypass. Paul was game for anything! Here’s a few shots of each of us:

Paul:
Paul starting out the rock garden! Paul Paul Paul

Nick:
Nick starting the garden! No Windows??? Nick almost through!

Me:
Me in the rock garden! Getting to the tough spot! Almost through!

Then we continued on the trail until we found this:
BIG TREE! Paul wanted to move it!

It wasn’t feasible (safety or legally) to try and move the tree or go around the tree so we turned around and headed back. Then back on the first obstacle I mentioned earlier I popped my front spring loose from flexing too much! (I think Paul has video)

Spring not right!

To fix it, I posed up on another rock, only to lose the bead after getting the spring fixed! The York made quick work of that. A little later, we noticed my rear driver’s side tire was also leaking slightly from the bead. Brand new tires and a couple tire problems! Note to self: new tires have very stiff sidewalls!

It was so beautiful up there today because of the storm that I had to stop and take a couple extra pictures on my way down.

Beautiful View! Beautiful View!

2007-11-23 – Rattlesnake Canyon

Tiffany was forced (ok, not really) to work the day after Thanksgiving, and I wasn’t going to let it ruin my fun! I also didn’t want to do any “Black Friday” shopping and avoid the crowds. A MJR ‘easy’ run was planned to Rattlesnake Canyon. I didn’t want to do anything too tough since my tires were bald. I had a little trouble as it was with a simple tree branch that my front passenger (the most bald) tire wouldn’t grab.

Unfortunately because of the way things worked out, I forgot my GPS and camera, but my Uncle Bob brought his camera and took a couple pictures. Most of the pictures I have are of Max playing around while waiting for Roger’s minor engine troubles!

Staging First Break

Here’s a couple shots of Max playing around (not making it due to a tree branch atop the rock pile forcing a ‘bad’ line.
Approach The Climb Max High Centered

A couple other shots (including stolen ones from Mitch’s camera and Chuck’s Camera… thanks guys!)
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2007-03-31 – MJR’s 4th Annual IDTT

For MJR’s 4th annual “I’ll Drink To That” run, we signed up for the “Mild” run. Last year there were no run requirements for this trip and there were a lot of trail repairs done because of under-built rigs on difficult trails. 31″ tires were the requirement, and my 30’s that measure in at 29’s don’t cut it. The mild run was lead by Russ Chung, a veteran of offroading, and a good friend of MJR.

The plan was to start on Phillips loop. Next we were going to cut over and go through Kramer Arch. Third would be a short trip to Bismark mine for a lunch stop. Finally we’d decide to either go back nearly the way we came (maybe divert to “Tin Can Alley”) or descend Doran. I don’t know if we missed the decision (we were spelunking in some mines) or if Russ just decided for himself we were going to take Doran, but that’s where we headed! That trail was more difficult than I’d expect a “stocker” run to be on, but we all made it safely back to camp without any trail repairs necessary thanks to good driving and good spotting from Russ and also Doug (FishPOET). Thanks guys!

The MJR Group at Peggy Sue’s

Peggy Sue's The Lineup Bob & Joy

Camp!

Camp Black & Tan Our Leader!

The start of the day – Phillips Loop

On the trail! The Hunt The Other Stocker!

CRASH! coming up after me! This Stocker Rocks! CRASH!

Tom Dr. Dirty FishPOET

What a stud! Swbooking Wayne!

Driving Through Kramer Arch

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Lunch stop at Bismarck Mine

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Me Spelunking! Hell of a drop! It's a Mine!

Told you... Told you!

After lunch, we started down Doran Trail… it was tough for a stocker! We sustained some damage documented at the bottom during this section of the run!!!

Russ idea... Poser? Yeah...

That too! OOPS! 70's Hi-Lift

Going Down? In the Canyon! One up, Three down?

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mov03351.jpg Another rough section! Looks too far...

Sweet rig! Pucker Factor Flexed out!

Down another! In the Canyon!
Gatekeeper!

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DAMAGE:

Gas Skid Scrapes Floatie Exhaust

Thank Goodness! Rocker Angle 2 Seeping Diff

Torn Sidewall The Big One!

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