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Big Bear Mega Run

Submitted by Bob Boltner on Fri, 11/01/2019 - 21:36
Run: 
Big Bear Mega Run
Saturday October 26th was this years Big Bear Mega Run. You may ask why MEGA Run? It is the first time that we (OTR) have run all 4 of the most difficult trails between Big Bear and Lake Arrowhead all in one day. When I checked with our historical advisor (Mike Whittington) he seems to think that this could be the most trails ever run in one day by OTR, His mind is a bit foggy lately. Here was the roster for this event: Bob Boltner – Run Leader Jerome Blunck Mike Whittington (Jerome’s Co-Dog) Kenny Lombino Mike Dobry Rich & Corky Wholers Kevin & Felicia Marcus and Trail Dog Lucy Justin Edgerly (trailering) Gary Martin We met at the Porter Ranch park n ride at about 0545 for a 0610 departure. A quick 10/100 and fuel stop at the bottom of the mountain. We met Justin at the Chevron , as he trailered his rig to this point. We then began the ascent to the trailhead. About ¾ of the way up the mountain I got a radio call that I was leaking some fluid from my Jeep. I could smell ATF and thought it was my transmission as I had filled it a bit over full the other day. I pulled over for a quick look and assumed that it was minor, and we continued to the trailhead of Gold Mountain. We met Kenny, Kevin& Felicia, with Lucy the trail dog at the trailhead. We all aired down, I gave a quick pre-departure briefing and away we went. Gold mountain trail was a bit benign and we made short order of the First trail. Start 09:20 End 10:30 A quick transition to the John Bull Trail took us about about 30 minutes. We are making great time. Just as we are about to arrive at the gate keeper another group got ahead of us. Dang it!! We got to the trailhead and it was a gaggle of 4door JK’s, they were nice, but not the most experienced group. Some made good time through the gate keeper but others struggled. The bad part was we were behind this group for the entire trail. It was a lot of slow going up most if not all of the obstacles. Our guess was that this group set us back about 1 to 1 ½ hours. We needed every bit of time to ensure that we complete this 4 trail challenge. Tic toc tic toc time was slipping. The On The Rocks gang made short work of all the John Bull obstacles. As we finally cleared the difficult sections, we decided to let the other group clear the trail and we would stop for lunch at the overlook that looks down towards the Lucerne Valley. It was a beautiful day with almost perfect weather. Temperature was in the mid 60’s, no wind and not a cloud in the sky. It was a true blue bird day. I had received a few more radio calls before lunch that when I would get my rig pointing up, that I was still leaking significant amounts of ATF. I crawled under my rig and it turned out that I had melted my nylon sight tube in the transfer case that I had recently replaced. My vendor seems to have given me a piece of tubing that did not have the correct temperature resistance and it was close to my catalytic converted. Luck would have it, the trail leader was well prepared and during lunch I dug into my box of parts and I found a piece of tubing that would fix my issue. About 30 minuted later the tube was in and my gearbox was refilled. Not a breakdown, Just a quick fluid change and tube replacement. After lunch we ran the easy parts of John Bull and finished the trail at about 1:30. From John Bull it was a dash to the trailhead of Holcomb Creek Trail (3N93). I told the group that I would be moving fast today and to try to keep the group tight. It was the only way we were going to finish all 4 trails before dark. Holcomb Creek trail is a fun trail with a few creek crossings and a few fun rock gardens. We got lucky as we started this trail, there were no other groups in sight. OTR kept the pace going and we all cleared the obstacles with little of no issue. We were just having fun, enjoying the beautiful day with friends out in nature. This is what OTR is all about. As we made our way up and down the hills and through the stream crossings, it looked as we were back on schedule to finish this Mega run before dark. Dun da dun dun. As we approached the last obstacle of HC trail. It’s a fun rock garden that is about 200 yards long. It usually doesn’t pose much of an issue for our group and this day would end up much the same for OTR, BUT!!!!! Not all are lucky enough to part of OTR. As I turn the final bend to enter the rock garden, I see the trail is littered with rigs. Even worse there is a winch line out between two vehicles. I dismount to investigate. There is a 4Door JK at the end of the winch line….. and its missing a wheel. Ah Sh^&. Turns out they had sheared all the wheel studs on the right rear wheel. The group was cool and were working hard to get their wounded rig off the trail. They had been there 4 hours when we arrived. They had been to town to buy new studs.The studs were installed and they were just trying to get the vehicle jacked up high enough to get the wheel back on. It was a bit difficult, as there was a nice size rock in the way causing them to have to Jack it higher than normal to get the wheel on. Lucky OTR was on the scene, and Rich Wholers quickly offered up his new Ford F-250 high lift bottle jack. It less that 45 minuted we were showing the other group how OTR owns the rock garden. 3 down, one to go. Up next is Dishpan Springs Trail. Again it was a dash to the Crab Flats Campground and the beginning of Dishpan. As I was driving like I was at Willow Springs (Kenny’s words), my steering was pushing a bit and wouldn’t hold the turns at high speeds as it normally does at Willow Springs. I knew something was not right. How do I fix this without Mike Whittington finding out? I’ll never hear the end of this. I stopped at the trailhead and called a quick 10/100. A quick peek under the front end revealed what appeared to be a loose track bar bolt. But wait it has a self locking nut. Better look closer. Like a black cat at night, I quickly grabbed my tools and had that bolt out in two shakes of a cats tail. RATS ITS CRACKED AND READY TO FAIL!!! Quick grab the hardware bag. I pulled out the ziplock with all the large bolts. FANTASTIC I have one! I Slam it in…. And tighten it up! Mike is none the wiser. Whew!!! Let’s Rolls everyone! We hit Dishpan as the sun was dipping lower on the horizon. It’s looking good. We get to this first obstacle. It’s another great day for OTR and we all clear it “easy squeezy lemon pleasey” On we go. One more obstacle to go. The gate keeper. This is the first challenge when coming from the other direction. For this direction it’s a downhill obstacle. I go first and the center is a pretty steep drop. I go right of center and caution the group via radio. All is going well until Kevin decides to give the center line a try. The lights are on and the sun is setting. I hear a shrill feminine scream, I think Mike Whittington has seen a mouse or something. It’s actually Felicia, Kevin has gone for the steep line and is in a bit of a pickle, his left rear tire is about 5 feet in the air and its looking like he is close to a roll over. We quickly get a winch line on his rear tow point to steady him and he drives down with no problem. Down comes Rich Wholers, as we all know well, Rich like a challenge. He takes a line that’s a bit tough. Then the comes the radio call. Something is wrong. Rich cant steer to the right. We start to look over his steering and it appears that he had bent his pitman arm. We adjusted his drag link to give him enough right steering to get off the trail and home. Turns out that it was a Bent tie rod. The sun has set, its 6:30PM and we are at the end of the trail. We hit the air down spot all in one piece and all together. We met our goal, 4 trails in one day… Success!!!!! Everyone is tired and hungry. I find a local Pizza joint in Lake Arrowhead and the entire group but Rich & Corky makes the short trip to the pizza restaurant. Oh it tasted good. What a great day. Thank you all for coming and making this one for the OTR history books. 30.88 miles and 9 Hours 18 Minutes on the trail https://www.gaiagps.com/public/AbE8C4DbAR54RuMtq7VFj1Lj It was my pleasure to be your trail leader. Bob Boltner