Image 50: Getting ready for the strap on Widow Maker
Image 49: Taking the strap over Widow Maker on Metal Masher
Image 52: Attempting Widow Maker (4+) on Metal Masher
Image 71: Coming down Wipe Out Hill (4)
Image 99: Starting the Z-Turn on Cliff Hanger (4)
Image 98: Maneuvering thru the Z-Turn
I liked the story about the S-10 towing the big Ford, and I have a similar story for you:
Last summer I was out for the day at the McLean Creek off road area near Bragg Creek, just west of Calgary. I came accross an early-mid 80's full size Blazer off to the side of the road with the hood up. Dead. No idea why. Wouldn't even turn over. Its two occupants were ready to get the mountain bikes out and cycle off to the convenience store (and phone) near the park entrance, several miles away over the hilly gravel road.
Since I was there, and had all day to kill, I offered to give them a pull to the store. Maybe save them a bit of time and $$ if the poor old Blazer still couldn't be made to go. They looked at me kinda funny, shook their heads, and said I could give it a try if I really wanted to. So we hooked up the tow rope, locked in my hubs, selected 4-LO and off we went. No problem!
Oh, by the way ... did I mention I drive a '91 Tracker?
Yep, a 1991 Chevrolet Tracker (the Geo name wasn't introduced in Canada until the '92 model year). Its 1.6 L 4 cylinder with all of 80 horsepower, and about 200,000 km on the odo, was puffing pretty hard in 2nd Lo, and I needed to turn the heater on every few minutes to keep the temperature gauge away from the red, but we did it! You should have seen the looks on the Blazer guys' faces when we rolled to a stop outside the convenience store. Priceless!
And one more real quick story:
Friends of mine used to own a British imports dealership (Ellis Autodrome, Lethbridge AB), and still have an early 70's Series III Landrover SWB which they claim once towed a semi (with trailer) a short distance. No idea how much it was carrying, but the tractor alone must have weighed several times as much as the little 'Rover.
Ain't it amazing what a stout engine and low gearing can accomplish?
The truck is very conservative in appearance. Especially since I still run on OEM rims. My wife wants me to paint the red Rancho parts black. It seems women don't like the red color, but I get a lot of comments from other guys.
Maybe someday I'll make it to Moab.
Big rigs are the best! Here are some pictures from a couple of runs in an area called Reiter Pit.
Stats: SLE Model, factory towing package, 4.10:1 gears, lockers, oil cooler, tranny cooler, skid plates, 350 cid engine.
This story is back when IGOJPN (plate names used to protect the indolent), and I first started wheeling. Me and the "tolerant one",(my wife), had just gotten our first Powerwagon, and needed to try it out. I called IGOJPN to see if he and his Scrambler wanted to do some trails and a little camping. He told me about a mudhole up on Seven Mile Creek that could swallow a Samarai without any problem. Since we were new at this, we hadn't learned to respect the need to follow any safety precautions.To make a long story short, we went up and down this trail, and traversed that mud hole several times. We were both pretty full of ourselves. My wife and I decided to camp at the end of a little road that night, and IGOJPN and his wife would meet us the next day and camp together. We told them if they got stuck, to honk their horn and I'd come a-running. This was pretty funny as we obviously could climb trees without even spinning a tire! But you never know. We settled down for the night, got into bed and never heard the honk of a horn. I unholstered my .44 mag in case any 2 or 4 legged varmints decided we had something that they wanted. Just as I entered that area of half sleep, right before the chainsaw fires up, my wife shook me and asked the question that every man hates, "did you hear that?" As my wife is a light sleeper, and can hear every time a chipmunk passes gas, I disregarded her question. But then I soon heard some faint voices. I grabbed my trusty revolver and awaited the worst. As the voices grew louder they appeared to be singing, "99 bottles of beer on the wall, etc." Of course they got stuck. With no moon out that night, and with the trees so close together it almost seemed like you were in a tunnel, you couldn't see your hand in front of your face, and the CB was line-of-sight only. Being prepared offroaders, they had not brought a flashlight with them. They followed the trail by feel. When they felt a tree wap them in the face they turned the other way. As they approached our camp, they were afraid I would shoot them, so they started singing the only song they knew all the words to.(They had just graduated from college) After we made sure they were all right, and stopped laughing, I drove back and pulled them out by headlight.
Fortunately God looks out for fools and 4-wheelers, or am I being redundant.
We look back and laugh at out first fledgling steps, and wonder how we made it this far.
-Submitted by "MUDDOG"
As I asked "Yes could I," I felt my stomach tighten. What was I thinking? I'm 58 years old, I don't need to prove anything to myself (or anyone else) at this point in my life! But, being me, once I said that "yes", there was no changing my mind. Lose face? Never!
It had all started as a fleeting thought about two-thirds of the way through the Beef Basin Trail. What if I drove over Elephant Hill when we get there? Elephant Hill is one of our favorite places in fact, just having gone over it the day before from the opposite direction. Today's trip being about our fifth time over, so I'm pretty familiar with it.
No, the thought was gone, replaced by the awe of the beauty of Needles area. Wait, there it was again what if could I? Was that the third or fourth time it had flitted through my mind? OK, a bargain with myself, I'll make the final decision when the base of Elephant hill comes in view, plenty of time to decide.
The Canyonlands is one of God's most beautiful spots on earth. I pity the poor motorists who fly by on Highway 191, maybe driving through Arches National Monument and say "Been there, done it."
(NOTE: this photo is NOT from Elephant Hill)
Oh my gosh, there it is Elephant Hill! This is it, now or never. Now! No - Yes! "Honey, want me to drive over the Hill and give you a rest?" Did I really say that out loud? I must have. My husband, Bob, is looking at me like, "Did she really say that?" He says "Do you want to drive over it?" No backing out now. "Yes, could I?" "Sure," said my husband, who could have given me an out by saying, "I don't think you're ready for this." Climbing out of our 1980 vintage CJ7, I felt an odd sensation in my knees. "Probably the altitude," I told myself. But they managed to hold me up as we exchanged places in the Jeep, Bob now becoming (in my opinion) a brave passenger/husband.
Now, this was far from my first jeeping experience. We are semi-veterans of most of the trails in the Canyonlands and have been on probably three-fourths of the trails in the Moab area. We trek over from our home in Parker, Colorado, at least twice a year for our favorite fun thing, "rocking" in our dependable old Jeep. We have done the Golden Spike, Steel Bender, and Behind the Rocks (including White Knuckle Hill), just to name three. I have driven over a few of the "gnarly" spots, but this was to be my first long, continuously "gnarly" spot. Could I handle it? Oh sure I'm fine on short obstacles, but this was going to take minutes!
Our CJ, which I fondly like to call "Timex", for obvious reasons, is well-equipped, and I have ridden in it up and over things that no vehicle should be able to do. It never ceases to amaze me! So, needless to say, I have unending confidence in this four-wheeled wonder, but confidence in myself? Is Bob actually going to ride with me? He is; that says something.
OK, here goes; put Timex in "granny gear", no pun intended, and let out the clutch, and we're already up and over the first ledge! Small turn coming up; it's hard to see over a hood that seems to pointing straight up, but made it and over the next shelf.
Bob is telling me that I'm doing great; what a husband! Does he have white knuckles? No time to look; here's the place where we have to pull in forward and then back up a section about fifty feet long. Can I do this without backing off the hill? Yes, I'm a good "backer." Is my confidence building? I think so. Into reverse and up that fifty feet; no problem. Now, forward again. Wait, I don't remember this next section being so steep and rough. Bob is still telling me how good I'm doing. Are his teeth clenched? I find the easiest thing to do is to just point Timex in the right (?) direction; give him a little gas; and he does all the work, seemingly effortlessly. Ah, up over that, and here's the next (last?) really steep obstacle. Halfway up, I'm almost there! Oh, no! I stalled the engine! I've got to start the engine and get us going again without rolling back down the hill! But Lady Luck has intervened and our back wheel is on the good side of a rock. So, we're moving again. Last leg; pull over the ledge in front of us; too tight to make a turn, so back up and forward over; what seems by now, a baby difficulty. We're on top! I did it! What a rush! I am Woman! I am Invincible! Well, let's not get too carried away, but I am immodestly proud of myself!
Both sides of Elephant Hill are sort of "hairy," being rated a 3+ (Moab rating). This is, by no means, a tough trail for veteran "rockers," but for me, for my "virgin voyage," it was great! I highly recommend it to "get your feet wet" and, hopefully, you'll have the encouragement of a husband-wife team like mine.-Lynn Marvin
I really like my Ford but that S-10 has got to be the best $750 investment I've ever made. Things I learned is two wheel drive pickups in snow are absolutely worthless and don't sell the small trucks short. For those familiar with the northern Colorado front slope, the first 4 wheel trail I took the S-10 on, before the lift and winch, was the Kelley Flats trail and I made it without a hitch. Did polish up the frame, skid plates and rear bumper pretty good though.
-Submitted by Larry Smeins
Project "Thumper" began in Sep. "96. We bought a military 2-1/2 ton truck complete with a 30 ton winch. First we shortened the wheelbase to 117" (the same length as a Chevy short bed), then lifted it with 8" blocks. A set of springs from a '52 Ford 2-ton (don't tell Dad!) softened the ride. To accommodate a set of 1600-20 Military tires (52" high), we had to make our own wheels. We used four military wheels and four Daytons. They were cut and welded together to form four wheels, 20x14" wide. We were running the original cab (1950) and motor. We were very pleased with the performance until the flywheel came off and fractured the bellhousing. At this point we decided to start over.
For creature comfort, we purchased a '79 Chevy Silverado body originally equipped with a diesel engine. The powerplant required would have to be a cool-running torque machine built to withstand the abuse of off-road/no-road 4-wheeling. We chose the powertrain from a '65 GMC road tractor: a V671 Detroit backed with a 5 speed road-ranger tranny. This feeds a Rockwell transfer case equipped with a Reb. Kit from Memphis Eqpt. Co. This kit enables the driver to manually dis-engage four-wheel drive. Differentials are Rockwell top-loaders, 2-1/2 ton. A radiator from a 5-ton truck equipped with a 671 Detroit was reworked to accommodate the V671 and the short Chevy clip. Dual flex-fans from Summit are controlled by an adjustable thermostat. We raised the suspension to 12". The body was mounted on 8" channel iron. The driveshafts were reworked and tiebolts were made. The motor and tranny were installed on the new 8" frame. Total lift is 20". A pair of large chains from the frame to the bottom plate of the tiebolts holds the front end in place (this enables mounting large obstacles). A pair of heavy eyebolts on each end of the truck are for the unforeseen or uh-ohs. A pair of 3" aluminum straight pipes remove the fumes and smoke from the nasty 2-stroke supercharged diesel. This motor produces enormous torque at idle (500 ft/lbs): with the gears engaged the tires slip on gravel each time the cam rolls over. And I did say "roll" as in roller cam! Steering is by John Deere: the pilot-actuated steering valve came off a combine, the pump from a cottonpicker. These control a 24x2" cylinder with a 10" stroke. Fluid coupling enables excellent control of the 52" tires in the woods without steering-wheel shock or jerk. The battery compartment is located under the bed and welded to the frame. This allows easy access for service. The original brakes were removed and a single disc brake from a Ford LTD was installed. We positioned the rotor between the transfer case and the rear driveshaft. This device works great! In fact it will completely lock the rear tires on asphalt. The main advantage is the brakes stay "high and dry".
The entire project is not yet complete... many thanks to all my friends free labor and advice. Special thanks to my Dad for all his time, labor, and advice. I'd also like to thank the girls (Tammy and Mom) for not killing us, as this many-month adventure took place. As for the cost, it wasn't stated for the above reasons!!!!
WE'LL SEE YOU IN THE WOODS !!!!-JEFF DEMPSEY - Forney, AL