Two Rivers Jeep Club 4x4 Blast was another great success. Pittsfield,
Illinois once again played gracious host to this event. As usual,
Pittsfield was covered with "Welcome Jeepers" signs! While the attendance
was down slightly from the previous year's event (gas prices?),
a good time was had by all, and we had 9 vehicles per day signed
up to run Ridge Rambler.
was high for the event, and the temperatures warm...very, very warm.
The sign on Farmers State Bank said 99 F on Thursday. Typical August
weather in the Midwest! Weather forecasts for the weekend told a
different story, though. In the Midst of a bad drought, The Jeepers
arrived in town with a good dose of rain in tow!
morning began sunny and warm. After the normal drivers meeting (and
Doom and Gloom speach) and the required trailhead meeting, the Ridge
Rambler crew was ready to hit the trail. We missed many of our Regulars
(Steve, Norm/Debbie, the Wests) but had a really good crew of folks
eager to run trails. We had a good mix of experienced four-wheelers
such as Rusty and OR, and made many new friends.
off slightly different this year, entering the trail on the south
side of the farm, running the Slide for Life and the Pipeline before
moving over to the normal trail head and starting to run trail.
Lunch found us back at Hamer and Jenny's most excellent lunch spot,
their log cabin. After lunch, we headed across county to run the
farms on the south side of Pleasant Hill. We ran south farm first,
and our first real "Problem" occurred....Trail Guide Hamer's
Jeep decided that it was just too warm, and the nice shaded spot
in the creek was a most excellent place to take a nap. We had a
small medical incident on the trail, and began looking for an opportunity
to exit a couple vehicles from the trail to get some medical attention.
About this time, the clouds started building, and thunder started
to be heard and a trail meeting was called. With inclement weather
preparing to set in, Jenny took a number of people off the trail
who decided that they'd had enough fun for one day. The remaining
intrepid souls dove back onto the trail, now reduced to a single
trailguide Jeep. Fortunately, we had O.R. Freesen riding with us,
providing some training to a new Jeeper. He agreed to take over
tailgunner responsibilities, and off we went. 20 feet into the trail,
the increasing winds had taken the top off a hickory tree, quick
work with Hamer's chainsaw got the group moving again. After running
the rest of that trail, we ran a couple loops of the trails on the
north side of the road before heading back to town. Hamer stayed
behind, and his Jeep, having taken a nice long nap, fired right
up and made it home safely.
saw a number of people who had run with us on Friday moving down
from trails they had signed up to run...our new friends learned
that while Ridge Ramble is only rated 1+, it has challanging sections,
is very scenic, and covers alot of ground. Of course, maybe it was
the rumor that a couple trails saw total rainfall over two inches
the night before! Ridge Rambler had a total of 6/10" of rain
overnight. Not enough to seriously slick up the trail, but more
than enough to add a little challenge, and more importantly (from
a tail gunner's point of view!) to keep the dust down on the gravel
roads we run to reach the trailhead! With a nice sized group of
ten vehicles, we began the trail running from the normal trailhead.
We skipped over loops of the trail we had run the previous day,
and headed down to the "Foundation" loop. we ran the loop,
and made our normal "offer" to anybody who wanted to attempt
to climb out of the creek using the "old" exit. To our
surprize, most everybody gave the old exit a try, and most made
it, with Hamer's excellent spotting. We headed to "Flying Squirrle
Hill", and everybody cleared the loop and hill with no problem.
We returned to the Cabin for lunch, and some of our crew took a
short break to get a little fishing time. And yes, they did catch
fish! After lunch, we headed back over the the trails on the south
side of Pleasant Hill, beginning with the normal trailhead and running
to the party house. We had a little excitement at the old pond,
when the Grand Cherokee got high centered on the old pond berm.
Quick work with a tow strap resolved that problem. We turned down
onto DeerKill Loop, then ran the TV loops. We called another Drivers
meeting at 3pm, to offer anyone who wanted to take an early exit
the opportunity to head back to town and get cleaned up before dinner.
Three Jeeps elected to continue on, including the Liberty which
had acquitted itself well all event. We decided to run the trail
backwards (a first for that trail), and clicked along at a good
pace. While climbing out of the loop, the Liberty slid on a piece
of slick trail, and we elected to winch him out of his predicament.
What a day....Strapping and Winching on Ridge Rambler....does it
get any better? We exited the trail at 4pm, everybody having had
two days of excellent trail rides.
I hope you
enjoy the selection of pictures below...and join us next year at
either the Safari or Blast!
Until the Next
(Tailgunner), Ridge Rambler
YOU AT THE 2006 TRJC ILLINI SAFARI!