The 2005 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.

The sun 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!

Friday 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.

We started 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.

 

Saturday 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 Event....

John Huebner

Trailguide (Tailgunner), Ridge Rambler

14 August 2005

SEE YOU AT THE 2006 TRJC ILLINI SAFARI!

 

Mandatory Trail-Head Meeting

Entering a loop of Trail - The Hula Babe isn't Shakin' at all!

Climbing out of the Creek on the Foundation Loop

Crossing the Log Bridge in Walnut Grove

Riding Along on the Trail

Crossing the Pasture

Down and up on the Party House Loop

Rusty's Buggy (Yes, it's a CJ-8)

 

The Mistress!

 

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All photos property of John Huebner, c: 2005.