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Big Bear Triple Threat

Submitted by Bob Boltner on Mon, 11/05/2018 - 22:05
Big Bear Day Run
Big Bear Run Report Saturday October 27, 2018 This turned out to be another great OTR outing. We had 9 rigs with the following OTR members and guests. Bob Boltner (Run Leader) Randy Moss with Kevin Hay riding shotgun. (Recovering from shoulder surgery) Kenny Lombino John Forbes (Kenny’s Friend & a friend of OTR) Brand new JL Gary Martin Skip Perkins Bob Besch Lyndol James, Joined by his wife Mary and son Josh Fred Peterson and his son Mitch As always this is an ambitious run. We plan on doing 3 of the toughest trails in the Big Bear area. Dishpan Springs, Holcomb Creek and John Bull. What makes this extra tough is that we start at the Porter Ranch Park n Ride at 0600 and drive home after. That’s a whole lotta driving with little room for problems. We hit the road from the P&R at 0615 on the money, in fact Bob Besch got to the P&R at 0617 and we were heading down the road. Bob is resourceful and he caught us on the 210, made radio contact and joined the convoy. We stopped just off the 210 on the 18 at a Chevron station for fuel and a restroom break prior to ascending the mountain to Lake Arrowhead. This is where Lyndol, Mary and Josh met us as they trailered their rig and parked it near the Chevron. Once at the top of the mountain we met Kenny, John, Fred and Mitch for breakfast at the Cedar Glen Inn right at 0830. We got in and out of the restaurant in good time. Hit the road for the quick drive to the Dishpan Springs trailhead. We aired down, had a quick safety briefing and we were on our way by about 0945. Just a quick note for perspective: OTR members are known for their depth of Offroad experience. So some might think the trails we ran on this run are no big deal. But for some of the group that have less experience, these trails are the hardest they have ever done. I know you all remember your first few tough trails, I know I do. It’s all excitement and a bit of fear of the unknown. But at the end of the day you feel as you conquered something really hard, because you did! These are not trails that you take lightly, they can be very difficult and they deserve respect. My group did a great job looking out for each other and assisting when needed. Every tough obstacle accomplished was ripe for congratulations and accolades well deserved. Dishpan starts out as a nice leisurely ride in the mountains, but before long it gets rougher and the obstacles start to get harder. Then you get to one the hardest obstacles in the area called Devils Slide or The Wall. It is without a doubt one of the toughest in the San Bernardino Forrest and the site of more roll overs than any other. (I didn’t tell the group this fact) I took most of the group up what I call “The Squeeze” on the left side. This line takes you literally between a rock and a hard place! Just as you get to the tough part, the line wants to roll you to the left into a large tree and a door denting rock. What we also found out is that a 4Door JK/JL on 35” tires or less will surly high center. Nothing a quick tug with a strap cant fix. The old school OTR dudes Bob Besch and Randy took the middle line and showed the newer drivers whats possible, and they made it look easy. As the leader, I was constantly watching the clock. Tic toc- tic toc. We had a schedule to keep and we had to keep it moving east. I told the group at the morning briefing that I was going to push the pace to keep us on schedule. Every strap or a stop for 10-100’s eats time. We had many miles, trails and obstacles to conquer. I hope I didn’t go too fast. We got through The Wall unscathed and continued the trail. Every obstacle presented an opportunity for the newer drivers to learn the finer art of Offroad driving. Reading the trail, Proper throttle and brake application, tire placement and when to hit the gas and when not to. The anxiety and worried looks soon gave way to smiles and excitement that told me that the group was having fun, even though the hideous noise of skid plates scraping rocks made for a few funny faces and comments. Thank god for steel. Just as we exited Dishpan, John in his spanking new JL had a flat left front tire. At first we thought he just popped a bead. After a few minutes of trying to inflate it. We discover at the inner bead was bent and that was why it wouldn’t take air. Out came the BFH and I handed it to the owner of the wheel and told him to straighten it. The man wielded the hammer like a pro and beat the wheel into submission. He taught the wheel who was boss, and it didn’t take long and we had air in the tire and we were back on the trail. We made a quick transition to the Holcomb Creek trail. We took a short break at the trailhead for a trail snack. What waited around the corner was unknown to most. “The Rock Garden”. This is a great intro to the art of the crawl. About 200 yards of all sorts of rocks and boulders. Some of the group told me they didn’t think it was possible for them to get through it. Good news everyone made it with just a few tips and a couple of spots. The confidence and the smiles began to grow. You could see it as we moved forward. The group started to plunge right into obstacles without waiting for direction. It didn’t always work on the first try, but they were learning quickly. That was really fun for me to see. Holcomb Creek has several really fun sections with lines a plenty. If your bored, you just didn’t pick the right line. We came to an obstacle that I will call the “Koi Pond”. It’s a rocky section with just enough water to make it interesting. We had to wait for a group of mostly young military kids from down south, they were in there literally tearing up their vehicles. We got lucky and they didn’t snap an axle or rip a wheel off. It wasn’t for lack of trying. It turned out that the last vehicle was an Ex-OTR Member that was following the kids and he knew Kevin Hay. (Sorry I didn’t catch his name) The other group cleared out and it was our turn at the Koi Pond. Our group dove right in. Some bashed a few rocks, but as I said, they were getting it, and we were moving much faster through the tough parts. Badda Bing we were all out of the pond and rolling. Kenny Called on the radio that he and a a leaking left rear tire. We aired it up and kept rolling. No time to waste as the clock was ticking and we were trying to get to John Bull. We finished the river crossing and the last few rock gardens of Holcomb Creek trail all intact. A quick run to the exit. Now were making good time. Fred and Mitch decided that this was time for them to head to town from this point, as his wife and daughter-in-law were waiting for them in Big Bear. The rest of the group moved on for John Bull. I pushed the group hard and fast as time of remaining daylight was passing quickly. We hit 3N16 Holcomb Valley Road for the sprint to JB. A few miles in came another call from Kenny. You guessed it, the tire was low again. More air or a tire change? Stop, decide…. Change the tire! Badda bing, Badda boom the tire was off and the spare on in less than 10 minutes. GO GO GO!!!! We hit the turn for JB (3N32) STOP! Time for a decision. It’s 1700 and the sun sets at 1800. We wont get off the trail before sunset. Do we take the group on John Bull? It’s can be a tough and unforgiving bugger. Other option. We can do the Gold Mountain trail for a trifecta. What to do?? I took a quick poll. Some for JB and some for Gold Mountain. At this point they would follow me to hell! (Too Dramatic?) Tic Toc Tic Toc. The little voice told me to take the safer option. Gold Mountain it will be. Let’s Roll! Down the road and a right turn up the mountain on 3N69. Just as we were cresting the peak, the sun was sliding over the mountains to the west and out of view. As we crested the summit, the group got split at a fork in the trail. I took the lead group to the left and quickly realized that I was off my track and told the group behind. They took the right fork. The left was really fun with lots of loose rock and I am thinking that this would be fun to go up next time. Randy radioed that he could see me coming down the trail and we quickly rejoined for the final decent to the base of the trail just as darkness set. It was another very successful Big Bear run, with 3 trails accomplished. The record stands. YEA!!! We aired up. Some decided to hit the road, and a few of us deciding that it was time for dinner. We chose to try Thelma’s Family Restaurant in Big Bear. The food was good after a long day on the trail, but the place was really dirty. Not a problem for an Army Veteran like myself, Just don’t touch anything. Dinner was finished up, we shook hands, slapped backs and parted ways. Gary, Bob and myself headed down the mountain, gassed up, coffee tanks filled, down the road we went. I think I got home in Camarillo about 2300. It was a great run with great friends old and new. Thank you all for coming and showing me such a good time. Till next time my friends!! Bob Boltner