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High Desert Roundup


Friday, May 27, 2016 to Monday, May 30, 2016
Club Run
Bob Boltner

Event Reports

HDR 2016 Trip Report

Submitted by Bob Boltner on Tue, 06/28/2016 - 15:38
High Desert Roundup
HDR 2016 Trip Report As you all may have heard this was a large group. People started arriving on Thursday. I know that Rich W., Mike Sullivan, Jed, Paul Rourman and John Labbatt. Their first mission was to secure an area that was large enough for this record breaking OTR event. They did a great job and taped off an area that was perfect. Thanks guys, it’s always better when no one is on the outside of the circle. The Thursday arrivals setup camp and then they set out on the first run of the event. CITATION****** Ric Freymond rolled in Thursday evening Friday was when most everyone else was scheduled to arrive. Corey & I rolled in at about 02:30 Friday morning and we crashed for about 5 or 6 hours of sleep. John Cary rolled in as well at about 0900. Others were arriving later in the day Friday. Mike Whittington, Joe Picker, Duwayne & Tina , Kevin & Brandon Hay, Tim Reagan (and his pal Rosie) and Chad, Joanna and Nash Oellien. Friday Late Morning: Pumpkin Eater Trail The morning group set out for the first run of the day to Pumpkin Eater Trail. (Rich W., Bob & Corey, John L., Jed and Phil, Mike S., John C., Mike W. & Ric Panamint Paul in his super moon buggy) This is a class 1 Buggy trail and a 4+ Jeep trail. After a transit to the trailhead we began the ascent of Pumpkin Eater. Rich Wohler’s led the group and before long we had our first technical malfunction. Ric was having a difficult time making forward progress. We quickly determined that his rear locker is not working and there was no way he could continue. Luckily there was a bypass and we got Ric off the trail. We came to the first real obstacle, a waterfall. The sensible and easiest line was the right side. Well Rich and his years of driving skill and his amazing buggy went for the crazy line on the left. It was really fun to watch Rich negotiate his buggy up the waterfall and over rocks bigger than my jeep and a crevasse you could lose your family in. Rich struggled a bit and at one point I thought he was going to snap an axle and or a driveshaft as his left rear tire was in my opinion hopelessly wedged tight. But with a few slight maneuvers and a bit of judicious throttle, Rich was able to shift his position and he crawled his way out of what we thought to be an impossible situation. It was fun to watch for all and cheers broke out when Rich clawed his way to the top. Well done Rich! The rest of us concentrated on the more realistic line on the right. John Cary and his red buggy make it pretty easy, Corey in our TJ got his front wheels up and under Rich’s direction coaxed Corey into position for an attempt. With our short wheelbase it’s a challenge. Corey made a few bouncing attempts and at one point I got my green TJ really really tippy. After a bit we decided to winch and keep things moving. John L. in his LJ was able to get up. Jed in his new Black Buggy got up easy as pie. Mike Whittington who usually makes things looks easy needed a little winch love. Sully in his new LS super buggy and Paul’s one man rocket ship hardly had to blip their throttles to get up. We had all the remaining vehicles up and moving forward. Next on the trail was a rocky climb with a left turn that narrowed between two large rocks. Sounds fairly easy right? No. The surface was composed of soft dirt and loose rock and was kind of steep. Rich easy. John L. had a bit of a struggle but succeeded. I took the wheel of the TJ and gave it a try. I slipped off the line a few times and after one attempt rolled back and the front end unloaded and the nose got really high. (I almost went over backwards) I got a bit rattled and called out, no I pleaded to pull my winch line to secure my vehicle and help me up. That did the trick. I was up, whew that was exciting! I won’t bore you with Jed, Sully, Paul & John C. all the buggies took it well. Although John Cary’s buggy does like to dig holes and at one point he got a bit far over on his left side, but backed away and recovered. Mike W. had a bit of a fit as the surface just got worse and worse. A few well-placed rocks and Mike was on his way. At the top of the trail is a little bit of trail extension that I found out later is called Pumpkin Pie, created by OTR (legend has it that Keith broke the trail) or so I was told by Tony Pellegrino. There is a bypass, but if you choose to take the trail, it goes up another 50 meters with a left off camber U-turn at the top. I took the bypass but everyone else went for a piece of the pie! As John L. in his LJ rounded the corner his left front dropped and his right rear tire went up really fast and we all gasped as we thought he was going to roll. We yelled to stop and he did in just a nick of time. He was teetering with his right rear tire about 4’ in the air. We all rushed up and jumped on his right rear to steady him. With a few hundred pounds of human ballast we coaxed him level and he drove away. Damm that was close! We stopped on the way down for a break (I had to change my shorts as well as John L.) We started rolling and Rich W. had a flat left rear tire. Break out the plug kit and we fixed the side wall leak and we headed down off the mountain. We didn’t get far and another halt came across the radio. It sounded a lot like “Houston we have a problem” It seems that Paul in the lunar moon buggy was dead on the trail. It has full hydro steering so a tow wasn’t going to work very well. We figured fairly quickly that it was an electrical fault. The “double pole single throw” master switch was shot. I grabbed a jumper lead from my kit and bypassed the switch and we had the beast howling again. I elected to escort Paul back to camp while the rest of the group went exploring. Quick recap, trail #1- 1 broken rear locker, “almost” 5 rollovers (I may have omitted a few), a flat and an electrical fault. Great first run!!! This weekend was off to a great start. We rendezvoused back at base camp to shake out the jitters, change underwear and make repairs. Paul installed a new master switch and poor Ric was out of action for the weekend. We still had plenty of daylight left so we decided to do OTR trail. Friday afternoon: OTR Trail: After lunch the group headed back out for a run up one of our signature trails aptly called OTR trail. In the group were Corey & I, Jed, Rich W, John Cary, Mike W, Mike Sullivan, John Labbett, Joe Picker, Brandon & Kevin Hay and Paul in his moon buggy. We began the climb up the canyon and over the first few obstacles. Bandon was driving the Hay Jeep. He is a bit green but was learning fast. We realized the he was having locker issues, and that was causing him a lot of difficulty. The buggies were in the lead and as we approached the last quarter of the trail to the ridge Sully, Rich and Mike W all cruised up without too much problem. Next was Jed. He made an attempt and we quickly realized that the soil was really soft and imbedded with loose rock. Jed was giving it hell with all wheels spinning. He started to hop and BANG!, Jed broke his rear driveshaft. Let the recovery begin. We determined that up was the best way to get Jed out. So we linked Sully & Rich W together and then played out 2 straps and Jed’s winch line and proceeded to pull Jed to the top of the mountain. All the while john Cary was attempting an alternate line up the very loose slope. He just didn’t have the HP to get the momentum required to climb the hill. Now Paul was a different story. He decided to take a line to the left and hit the gas. A few slips but with a hearty amount of throttle he climbed like we all knew he could and he was on the top in no time. That left all the TJ based rigs at the bottom of the last climb to make a decision. We decided that the only way for us was to turn around. Not easy as we were on the side of a steep narrow trail. We carefully did K turns while having the vehicle above attach a safety line to the cage of the vehicle turning around to prevent a rollover. It was slow but it worked like a champ. And we all got turned and down we went. By the time we go to the bottom the buggy team was there and waiting. Back to camp we went and only one break. Saturday Morning, Cal4Wheel run, Jack Rabbit Trail: Saturday we decided to run with the Cal4Wheel gang. We don’t usually do this but they had a new trail and we wanted to try it. Let just say it was a lot better than I thought. I won’t go too long on this one. There were about 20 rigs in the group and almost half were OTR rigs. It was a fun trail with some challenging obstacles. A few tight v notches and also the dreaded v-notch that caused Mike W so much angst last year. The only issues that we had was that Chad got a flat tire and John Labbatt was having difficulty shifting his transfer case. Other than that is was a really fun run. It wilol be even better when we can run it alone and explore some more lines. Saturday Evening Group Dinner: This was another great OTR group meal. The club provided the Tri Trip and all the members put out an amazing spread of fantastic sides and desserts. Not much more to say other than YUM YUM it was awesome!! Sunday Teeter Totter Event: What can I say? This has to be the most important part of why we come to HDR. OTR has been doing this for many years. It is our way to give back the organization that support us and helps to keep our lands open. Thank you Cal4Wheel. We had another great OTR all hand on deck effort. Everyone pulled together to setup, run and tear down. We moved our site slightly this year on the main entrance road the Slash X camp to a spot near a few trees, that gave us some all to coveted shade. This had to be the smoothest TT setup to date. The weather was really nice and maybe in the high 80’s. There was a fairly constant stream of contestants. One memorable contestant was edging onto the ramp and just as his rear wheels on to the ramp his rear axle seemed to not be engaged, but the event staff informs everyone to be sure that their vehicle is in 4wheel drive prior to beginning up the TT. Well as he began up the planks he suddenly spun his front tires and his front end slipped off the ramp. It was an exciting moment with no real damage except for his ego, considering it was our own Mike Whittington. Can you believe that Mike actually blamed it on his wife! Since Laura had driven the Jeep earlier on the TT with no issue. Shame on you Mike. We all had a great laugh and it’s just what you get when you are an OTR member. It’s all in fun and we love it when we can razz each other and some slip or sticky situation that causes not harm. We love you Mike! We had another successful Teeter Totter fund raiser for Cal4Wheel by raising $285.00. Thank you everyone who helped out. It was an awesome team effort and lots of fun. If you couldn’t make it, try to come next year it really is a lot of fun. HDR Awards and Raffle: A few of us went to the raffle event. Me, Corey, the Marshall’s, Tim Reagan and Kevin and Brandon Hay. First the awards, OTR just about swept the awards. From the Teeter Totter, to the RTI ramp there must have been 6 OTR winners. Most weren’t present so we kept sending Corey to receive the certificates. I will bring them to the next meeting. I won two gift bags. So excited that I had won something and not really paying attention to what the MC was saying was in the bags, I ran up and collected my gift bags. I didn’t look in the bags until I got back to camp when the group around the campfire asked what I had won. My answer was, looks like a fleece blanket, as that was all I could see in the bag as I handed the bags to Corey and Jed. They quickly go thru the bags and it turns out that I had won a fleece blanket, a $650.00 Magellan off road GPS system and a $100.00 gift card to Tuffy Storage systems. OMG I was shocked. Booya SCORE!!!!! It pays to buy raffle tickets and to pay attention what the announcer is saying. Sunday Evening Buggy Run up Pumpkin Eater: We were all sitting around the Rv’s after a successful TT event and someone suggested that we make a quick run. It was decided that Pumpkin Eater was the trail. Most of the non-buggies bowed out because we had heard that the Cal4Wheel group had torn it up pretty bad. Rich offered to let me take his V8 powered buggy. I was like “Hell yea!” I was joined by Jed, Sully, John Cary and Paul. After a quick tutorial on Rich’s buggy Phil and I mounted up and the group made a dash for the trail. I have to say Rich’s buggy is just awesome. Having never driven one I was just shocked how much better it performed than you’re average Jeep. Now I know why he is always taking the sick crazy lines, because he can. I took the lead and ate the hell out of Pumpkin Eater. It was actually easy. The group was up and down in no time at all and then it was a playful dash back to camp. I felt like I was driving a race car in the KOH. I think Phil was having fun or was scared, it was hard to tell. Thanks Rich, it was a thrill. Monday Morning: Exploration Run: The few remaining members on Monday decided to go on one last run. We headed west looking for something to do with Rich Wholers in the lead, following were Corey & I, John Cary, and Jed & Phil. Before long he found a nice draw up a hill side. He pointed his buggy upward and away he went. John followed with Jed taking line a little draw up a mountain. The soil got a bit soft. The buggies made it look easy. My little TJ was a bit too heavy and a bit too short to make the hill. Corey and I made a few attempts but as the hill got steeper the tires just began to dig in. We turned back and the buggies were last seen on the ridge top enjoying the view. Corey and I headed back to camp and the rest of the group met us there in a bit. It was time to break camp and head on down the highway after a great weekend. Did I miss anything? Let me know, there was so much going on. It was a truly a memorable time because of all of you that attended. Thank you all. Vaya con dios my friends Bob Who Broke: Friday; Ric Freymond; Rear locking would engage. No repair, down for the weekend. Rich Wholers; Flat LR tire, Plug installed on the trail. Paul Rourman; Died on the trail. Faulty master switch, temporary field repair made to drive back to camp and a permanent fix was made in camp. Saturday; John Labbatt; Could not engage low range, was able to sort it out on the trail. Joe Picker; Front locker would not engage, down for the weekend Chad Oellien; Flat LR tire, Changed the tire on the trail. Kevin Hay; Rear locker wouldn’t remain engaged.