Trip report - Field and forest Fall Crawl

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Offline Muddyfish

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Trip report - Field and forest Fall Crawl
« on: September 15, 2022, 05:41:31 AM »
   The rainy weather subsided about a day before departing to New Hampshire.   Mark, Joe, and I met up at a truckstop on 90 and began our trip Eastward.   After a couple fuel stops and a bit of construction as well as Troy traffic,  we were rolling in to the Field and Forest campground area about an hour before dark.  We seemed like the last ones there and were searching for an area to not only park but camp.  Before even putting the last truck in park, the clubs member at large was being greeted by numerous fellow off-roaders.  The likes of which we would end up partying with over the next 2 days. 
   A quick setup of the trucks and trailers and chef Joe had us sone excellent burgers and squash grilled up on the Blackstone.  A few beers and a camp fire and we waited as several other folks rolled in from our friends in the Rhode Island Trail Slayers.  Ried, eventually pulling in in his "new to him" camping bus - which of course we had to check out before hitting the hay that night.
    Saturday morning had us bundling up a bit in the cool NH fall morning.  A sausage and egg breakfast and a few conversations about how we were supposed to line up with our respective group when there were so many rigs that a line somewhere would not be possible.   Some how we ended up with the proper group and Joe and I set out at the beginning of our Easy Street red trail group. Mark was in a different group taking on 3 black trails for the day with a much larger group.
   Our gatekeeper on easy street was a large rock ledge that all of our other riders besides the trail leader had to pull cable on.  Joe and I managed to basically one shot it along with the tail gunner - the morning was starting off on a good foot.  The next obstacle had most rigs pulling cable several times, it was a big rock with a challenging set of borders and wedges before it.  With such challenging obstacles,  it was difficult to keep track of the front of the group while we were managing our own traversing or which pullin.  As Joe was battling the first Boulder wedge, our trail guides rig ended up on its side further down the trail and numerous other rigs had to pull cable. 
   The next big obstacle was scaling a large double ledged rock.  No one had made it without winching or giving up and using the bypass.  The day would end the same.  I was the only rig to get 99% to the top after several front dig slides back and forth on the ledge to get the right assent angle before loosing grip and ending up back where I started.  Having gotten so close, I decided to give it one more try.   This time one of my slides ended up with gravity winning out and I quickly found the ground with the right side of the buggy.  A winch pull back to upright and putting my lunch back into its holding bin, the buggy had not fared too badly.  Unfortunately the landing had a rock that smashed in to the hood at the right spot to disrupt the relay block.  One of the trail riders was a body man and grabbed a rock and reshaped the big hood dent to a manageable crinkle that would not hit the electrical panel underneath.
   Joe's attempt found him literally wedged between a rock and a hard place.  He somehow managed to slide backwards and get jammed against a tree with his front hard against the big rock - at least he was still upright!  A bit of winching and we were off to the next obstacle, which on this trail was just a few yards away.
   In typical east coast wheeling, the trees were plentiful and the mud was everywhere.  The bottom of every rock or Boulder was so dug out that they each held a good 2 to 6 inches of water.  This mixed with the odd soils of a NH forest rendered our sticky tires pretty useless.  Joe and I realized that some of the rigs ahead of us were very foot heavy drivers, seemingly rev limiting out every obstacle and acting like their rock crawer was a rock bouncer.  This didn't help the guys in the back of the pack because each obstacle had a ton of the mud all over it and even larger pits in front of it.  Easy street , we agreed, should have been named winch street.
   A few more winch sessions in and we were at the bottom of the last hillclimb to the trail exit.   This included an angled rock ledge that had a sharp triangular ledge about 6 feet up and was protruding from a flat, now very muddy, rock face.  I managed to get to the top with no winching and one shotted the steep top hill climb.  This rock being the only dry surface we saw all day.  Joe found his rigs side on one of the very bottom boulders you have to traverse to get to the base of the triangle rock.  He used his "get off of side free card" and his driving skill to back out of the precarious position and I finally caught something cool on camera.  After managing a small whinchpull to the top of the triangle rock, due to his limited HP and therefore inability to bump it.  He ended up one shotting the rock hill climb as well. 
  Thinking the trail was now over, all of us being exhausted and getting hungry for the BBQ dinner, now an hour from start time, when the trail leader said, "we can do the extension, it's short and we have an hour yet."  This comment led us to winchfest 2022.  The extension of easy street is short but it traverses some extremely tight tree areas with differential and belly grabbing boulders stuck in the worst positions.   Numerous attempts at what looks mild at first and the winch ropes started extending left and right.  At one point, I was so hung up that I was Chineese finger cuffed with winches.  Mine out the front and another on my rear, to try to get my rig off of this odd rock and around a sharp bend between loads of trees.  At some point, my winchrope got stuck in the drum because the trail guide had me winching up a tree vertically.  This undercut the outer layers of winch line substantially enough that you couldn't pull the cable out beyond this point.  Enter Joe Bailey, winchman extraordinaire!  Joe had to turn around and pull my front end to get my rig turned vs the rock I was somehow congealed to.  After several attempts and while pulling his rig over some rocks with his brakes locked up - I was sooo stuck - I managed to break free and scoot by him.   Now the tail gunner ended up in the  same predicament and Joe had about 100ft of cable out tied to the tailgunners backend to unstick him from a similar situation. 
  When it was all over, we had a great, albeit winch filled, run.  Knowing how many times our trail guide or tailgunner winched or rolled it, we felt pretty good about our driving skills on a very challenging trail.  The best part was, no one got hurt and no rigs needed any serious mechanical/electrical intervention. 
  We finally left the trail, running what seemed like lightspeed considering how quickly we moved forward for the past 7 or so hours, to park the rigs, grab some beers and head over for the BBQ dinner.  A long line forced our hands to buy some raffle tickets and take our time distributing them in the tent of prizes.  Joe bought so many he had me distribute a handful for him.   The dinner was very good - pulled pork, chicken and brisket with typical BBQ sides.  After a plate and a half, we were watching the announcements which led into the auction.  Joe's dedication to ticket stub jamming paid off with him winning 2 prizes.  I took home a new digital tire deflator guage as well.  After the auction the band started up and people made their way back to their sites or to the stage front.   We got cleaned up and had some beers by the fire again, ending a great day of wheeling hearing about everyone's experiences and rollovers. 
   Sunday morning started off again with some eggs and sausage.  Also a trailer tire replacement on Joe's trailer that dwindled down slowly while we were parked.  He later found yet another bent rim from the trip out having a similar experience coming back from AOAA a few months back.  My lower back issue in my 20s was attacking me again in my 40s and made me decide to head home vs staying and wheeling another day.   I headed out right after loading up and took a different route home than what we traveled to get there.  This route had me travel southwest to Massachusetts and head due west on Mass route 2.  A VERY scenic drive through some very pretty mountains and along a gorgeous river untill finally ending up back in Troy.  Highly recommended for anyone traveling through that area.
   After unloading my rig at home, I decided to respool my winch line and after 10 minutes of doing so, my rig just died all of a sudden.   This clearly was an electrical issue with the shutoff speed that it occurred with.  3 hours of multimeter probing later I found a corroded fuse terminal was responsible.   Thank goodness this happened in the yard and not on the trail!
   Mark and Joe apparently ran a bunch of trails in the abbreviated day, which made me quite green with envy as I wanted to see other, more winchless trails in the park.  But it was great to see they assumedly had a good time.
Until next year!

Offline Wingman

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Re: Trip report - Field and forest Fall Crawl
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2022, 10:32:51 AM »
Thanks Travis!

I signed up for the Boulderdash/Pinball/Buzzkill group, rated "black". It ended up being a group of 17 rigs, ranging from a leaf-spring YJ on 35s to shiny and straight one-ton JKs to full tube buggies! It was going to be a long day.

We turned into Boulderdash and at the first hillclimb, the group had had two tire failures, a steering failure, and a front upper third link failure. Ugh. After the needed repairs and/or bailouts, we got rolling slowly again. There was a lot of drive 50 feet and wait, drive 50 feet and wait with plenty of spectating. As we proceeded through these three trails, it wasn't long before there were more issues to include rear coil springs that kept vacating, a ram mount that kept sliding on the tie rod, and a power steering pump failure. Travis' winch-fest was not an isolated thing; I think I pulled more winch rope in 6 hours than my total combined to date. At some point, a group of the OGs split off and went elsewhere. It was a rough day.

We eventually emerged from the trailhead about 3:30p and I loitered about camp visiting with friends and acquaintances while awaiting the BBQ.


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