We started the morning by meeting at the Clayton Country Inn around 9 am. As we sat there and waited, more and more vehicles showed up, so Don Huddleson and I decided to break into 2 groups. I led a group if 6 vehicles. My 1987 Wrangler, Chris in his full size Bronco, David in a new Jeep Unlimited, Jaime in his TJ, Marty in his Suzuki Samari and finally Donald in his usually reliable Jeep TJ ( notice I said usually reliable, you will see why later).
We started with the Purple Headed Monster. Once we headed in we decided that the full size Bronco could not make it through the trees and rocks due to no locker in the front and no lift, so we sent him down the fire road to meet us after we were finished. We made it through with little excitement, although that pumpkin grabbing rock at the beginning of the trail gave us a little trouble. Once we got everyone over that obstical it was smooth sailing up the rest of the trail.
After finishing the Monster, we headed for 3 Stage. Donald was first and drove up with no problems. Then it was Jaime’s turn. He had a little trouble getting his back end up, on his second attepmt he laid on the throttle and crawled right up. Everyone went up first stage with the exception of the Bronco that opted for the by pass. We crawled up the 2nd stage with no problems (there wasn’t a drop of moisture anywhere). The Bronco took the fire road down once we got to the start of the 3rd stage. After making it to the top we all had a turn on the slab of rock at the top.
Next we headed down Valentine. At that moment Donald noticed he had broken a front U-Joint and stub axles (he wasn’t sure where he did that). He decided to wait to fix it until we reached the bottom of 3 Stage. This is where we ate lunch while Donald pulled his broken axle out.
After lunch we headed back toward the Charcoal plant to hit the Powerline trail. We all made it up the first part without incident. As soon as we reached the road between the two power lines Donald and I drove around trying to find a place the Bronco could meet us after the trail. Once we established a good spot to meet up, Donald and I started down Powerline to go meet the rest of the group up on the ridge.
On the way, Donald bent his tie rod, so we found a place to stop and began to remove the bent rod. After we removed it, I stated “sure glad its only bent and not broken” thats when we proceeded to straighten it and of course you know what happened next, it broke. Thank goodness for the good ole Oklahoma two part warranty. We broke it in two pieces and Donald got to keep both of them. It was off to Slims for some light welding. Donald stayed with his Jeep and I led the remainder of the group out back into town.
When we got to Slims there was already a line forming,(apparently a Saturday night hot spot) so we waited for our turn. After Slim got it back together (and I might add after a heated debate whether to go back to Donald or meet everyone else for supper). Jaime , Marty and I thought it was best (after flipping a quarter) to go back and help Donald get out. We got his tie rod back on, then turned around and headed up Powerline to Wildwood Acres. We were just about to paved road when Donald over his CB informed us (I do realize I have mentioned him a lot already) he cut the side wall of his tire. So we helped him change his tire and headed to town for a great dinner at the Clayton Country Inn.
We had a good day and most of us made it out with no breakage.
The weather was great and I am looking forward to running with everyone again!!