Great wheeling trip with my 6yo son!

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Well, my son and I are on our own for 10 days as my wife and daughter are back East for a wedding, then some touring in the Capital. He's just turned 6 and I thought it was time to introduce him to wheeling. A Spokane group had a trip today so I packed his stuff, food and the gear into a big tub, secured it with a shovel and a pair of chairs and off we went. Only three vehicles showed up - a beautiful new Jeep Rubicon Unimited with winch, a nicely prepped 78 Jeep CJ with a winch that arrived on a trailer, and me. Both couples in their late 50s and really nice folks.

We headed up into the Idaho mountains. I have the summer Revos on, and they have good offroad tires - MTRs on the Rubicon and a mud terrain on the other. I put my son's car seat in the front passenger seat where he had a commanding view. Almost immediately, we were in trouble as we rounded a bend to see a foot of snow. A bit of floundering as nobody'd been through it yet, but we all made it. More climbing, then more snow - this time deeper and much longer. Thinking to myself this was trouble, I don't know these other guys skills to get me out, and that my 80 outweighed them I pondered bailing because we couldn't see the other end of the snow. The Rubicon made it floating nicely with several 30 degree slides and then it was my turn - the other Jeep tailgunning with his winch and trail knowledge.

I had aired down to 25, but now aired down to 20 as this snow was going to stop us and I figured I'd let the 80 have her best chance. Darned if the Cruiser simply kept churning, and churning, stalling then finding a log or branch and inching along. It was amazing. I was locked up and on 3 feet of snow and she just would not give up. Fortunately, there was a slight downhill slope on this biggest snow section - about a quarter mile long - and it helped with steering through the two turns we had to negotiate. The CJ came behind with no problem.

Then we dropped down into a brushy valley and the trail became a hellish nightmare of downed trees and logs. These two guys turned out to be very experienced - exceeding my initial impression that they were merely experienced. Like me, they got out of their trucks at each tree stop with work gloves, straps and shovels and we made short work of it. But the guy in the Rubicon had a chain saw and knew how to use it and the guy in the CJ knew how to fell and move timber. They were old buddies. We cleared over 50 trees of about a foot in diameter in about 6 hours time. Various impressive combinations of snatch blocks, watching the Rubicon get dragged by its winch cable, axe work and wedge work were all in use. I was impressed. Finally, about a mile from our destination, we hit a maze of downed trees that even defeated these guys. About a 50 yard section of trail was covered by over 25 trees that looked like a solid mat when I climbed up on it.

My son got some excellent physics lessons, watching us work, and feeling the Cruiser get stuck, then free herself. We crossed a dozen logs of up to a foot in diameter and he leaned out the window to watch the rubber tires mash up against them and slip-grip-slip-grip as we clawed our way over. At one point, a rotten log about a foot in diameter spun lengthwise under us and was under both diffs. The other guys got out because it happened in a very bad spot after we turned around and were going to have to retrace our steps completely instead of being done with the trail as planned. Light was fading. Luckily, I found what I needed right away and came walking back to the truck with a log about 6 inches in diameter and jammed it against the rear tire's forward edge. I told my son what I intended to do, which was to climb up onto my log and thus clear the log high centering me, then drive along it. He watched with the other guys as I got lucky and the rear tire sucked the log under itself, then I drove off the log with the rear wheel lifting me nicely. Thanks, Cruiser gods....

All of us were nervous about the upcoming snow patch, as it was enough trouble coming downhill that morning when it was cold and stiffer.

After we got off the tough trail (snowpack still to come), the trail leader wanted to check out the snowline down a road for an upcoming trail run and asked if we minded. Since we were out of the bad stuff, we agreed and drove a few miles to find a huge snow patch with a late model S10 Blazer stuck and abandoned a couple hundred feet into it. The leader in his Rubicon tried to get around it and got mired. I snatched him out. Then the CJ wanted to try just for fun and also got stuck. A couple of 4wheelers happened along and also got stuck. We got them out, too and considered yanking the Blazer out of the way just with sheer power but opted not to in case we damaged it.

So off we went to the last part of the retraced trail to get home. Several snow patches we'd forgotten about gave us heck, and my lockers were getting a real workout. On, off, on, off. I've gotten a poor impression of the 80s snow ability before, but had a lot of time to work on it today. This is what seems to be the combo that works in really deep snow, both with and without lockers. low range, tranny in 1st gear. You don't want the transmission shifting into 2nd, because then you'll lose the 'feel' for what's going on under you and if you're truly in deep snow the tranny will quickly hunt back down to 1st - again upsetting everything. Don't hit the snow fast, just roll into it with the RPMs around 2000-2500 and just keep it there and gently steer where you want to go. There will be periods where the truck is definitely slowing as it fights through some deep stuff, or the pitch changes to steeper but don't let off the throttle completely and definitely don't panic and add more power. I did this time after time and the truck would slow to near imperceptible motion - letting it ramp down to 2000 rpm - then claw her way back to a crawl again and I'd squeeze the throttle gently back to 2500 rpm. It was a real winner of a combination.

Then we got back to the long snow patch we were all worried about. Again the Rubicon floated across and disappeared around the curve. Then off we went. I'd left enormous ruts and now here I was in them again and grinding away. The truck slowed to barely moving but I was determined to use the knowledge I'd gained all day and fought the urge to mash the throttle. Over and over the 80 ground her speed up and then back down, snow dragging against the pumpkins and tires smearing back and forth against the sides of the ruts. The curve was really bad as the Rubicon had been trying to stay out of my ruts and finally fell in, chewing everything into mashed potato. I stuck with the remains of the ruts because the snow was several feet deep and these two lines were the only place I knew was consolidated enough to hold my nearly 3 tons up. Just as I got straightened out, the left front tire dropped into a hole near a treewell we'd barely skirted going the other direction and I held my breath as we came to a near standstill. Sticking with my plan, I stayed at 2000 rpm against all instinct to give up, and watched incredulously as the left fender began rising, rising and we began barely moving again with the wheels churning in a steady controlled manner. By the time the rear wheel hit the hole, we had momentum again and I had victory in sight. Only 120 feet to the other side.

Then something underneath gave way and two tires dropped deeper in. As we ground to a halt, I chickened out and dropped the throttle. Bummer. Beyond the Rubicon's winch. Immediate reverse got me a foot. Forward 6 inches, then the 2000rpm strategy in reverse and I was able to move! Rearward a carlength. Then back to my 2000rpm forward and we bashed the wheel holes and kept going right through. Still in the steady churn, I flashed my high beams at the Rubicon and could see the guy's smile as he shook his head at the 80s pluck. Down, but not yet out, good ol' Lucy just tucked her chin down and went about her business. My son was taking pictures and yelling and it was just a great moment as we felt the grip of dirt on the the uphill side.

Amazing vehicle. And I continue to be impressed with the Revos. They really held a good account of themselves today. Only 20lbs in them and we were in very bad conditions for a sidewall puncture all day - broken timber, snapped off alders and stumps everywhere. Kudus to the MV50 compressor someone here posted last fall as a great find. It got all four tires from 20 back to 36 in exactly the same time as one of the other guy's PowerTank because he had to lug it around from tire to tire and then restow it. I didn't - hose reached all 4 tires, and it took me 15 seconds to disconnect it from the battery, shut the hood and toss the unit in the back while he was restowing his and securing it for the road.

The breeding of the 80 was evident today. We were in some snotty mud, way more wet wood than I want to see ever again, and deep snow. Rather than being overmatched, I was able to remain mobile and at the end of the day was the only vehicle that did not need the assistance of a winch or strap even once.

Pictures when I find the camera cable...

DougM
 
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Great write up. I took the whole famn dammily on a slightly less adveturous trip a couple of weeks ago. Your observations about plodding through the snow match my experience exactly. The wifes only observation was, "why are we slipping around so much."

I need to bring my kids up as my wheeling buddies!:bounce:
 

MDarius

I break stuff.
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That sounds great Doug! Thanks for a good write up. That is the kind of snow advice I have been looking for. Could you have done it without front and rear lockers? Looking forward to the pictures!
 
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Heh,

He'll never get the pics posted, It would probably be faster for me to drive up to CDA, follow Doug to the trail and take pictures, then return to Moscow, take a nap, change my oil, wash the 80, and then upload the pics.....


































Just Kidding!:D Sounds like a good time, I wish I could get out that way more often, there isn't much to do in Moscow.....
 
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MD,

No, I don't think I would have made it w/o the lockers as it was SO close even with them. In a low coefficient situation like that, I think that having a tire break loose and spin up to drop torque to the gripping tires would have been happening constantly. Once that happens you're stopped. I played with the lockers on/off on several shorter snow patches to experiment, and that's how I came up with the 2000-2500 number. With them locked, no tire can start spinning wildly out of control, so you keep moving. It was impressive and I'm just sad there's no video. It would have been easy to see how the tire speed stayed within a narrow range but the truck slowed and then increased ground speed. Still can't find the camera cord - must be out of town with my wife.

Bigndn - wow, that was an oversight on my part.

DougM
 
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OK, found the cable and uploaded the pics. Can anyone point me to directions to make these appear in the thread? I'm on a new computer and can't recall the name of the free photo host site I used on the old one. Thanks in advance! Heck, go all the way and tell me how to put up an avatar!!

DougM
 
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I don't know about all that photo hosting garbage, but you are a Silver star member so you can upload your attachments and have them hosted here. You need to resize the pictures first, any type of picture program should be able to do this,(I don't know what programs come on the MAC)

The files need to be less than 800X800 to be small enough to upload, and you may have to go smaller than that if the resolution is pretty high. I'd suggest making a copy folder of the pictures and modifying th so you don't goof up the originals. Then in the advanced reply box, click the manage attachments button, click browse and then choose first three files you want to upload. click upload and you will see the files names displayed in the manage attachments box. you can then close the MA box, add any text required and press post. Rinse and repeat as required.

As far as the Avatar goes, navigate to User CP and click "edit avatar" on the left hand side. You will have to make a small file for this. Browse to the file you prepared and click upload. Ensure to press the save changes button, and you should be done
 

MDarius

I break stuff.
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Google's Picasa works well for resizing. It's free, works on the Mac and PC, and is pretty easy to use. You can export the pictures and resize them there, or you can email them and have them resized in the email, then save them off to a file folder. Most apps have the ability, it's jut not always intuitive.
 
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Doug
you sir have a writers gift. Your discription was vivid. if you upload the pics great but I have already seen it. :)
 
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Thanks for the hints, gents! Here's the mighty 80 just reentering the large snow patch. Note pre-hung strap fully expecting to get mired. The snow at this point was like mashed potatoes as you'll see the bottom pick the locked Rubicon is stuck though it looks like he's just parked. In this pic you can see the built '78 CJ well back down the trail:
IMG_0623.jpg


While waiting for Dad and the other guys to clear several trees across the trail, my son opted to relax as only a 6 year old in junk-food heaven can. He crawled up his child seat through the sunroof to lay on the roof with a bag of Fritos, and a bag of Master Barbecue chips and I watched him methodically choose one from each bag in sequence as he lay there contemplating a perfect Idaho sky. We simply don't ever eat that stuff, so it was total food adventure to him - just as I intended. This tree took a while as it took a bad tumble and we had to use a winch and pulley to squeeze past it. Again the CJ tailgunning. That thing was so compact and everything on its outer surfaces was steel immune to rubbing trees or boulders that it reminded me of a donkey in that it just went wherever he pointed it.

IMG_0645.jpg


Here, we'd just decided not to move the abandoned TrailBlazer and the Rubicon driver horsed around a bit trying to get past. He couldn't back back out, and here he's stuck and I'm just visible getting into strapping position. The dog and his owner are from the CJ. Note the sweet winch and bumper on the Rubicon - he just got it last month and this was the maiden voyage. He did not hold back at all, and that Rubicon was used as it was clearly designed. It was very impressive in all ways on this trip. He reverse strapped (non stretchy type strap) several big trees with it so hard the wheels about left the ground, winched his 9500# winch so hard it dragged the thing over ditches before giving up, and basically gave it heck the whole trip. It's his 3rd Jeep over the years and he was one of the most experienced wheelers I've met. Same kudus to the CJ driver, and they both spoke knowledgeably about their vehicles.

IMG_0671.jpg


So, fun trip. Now I've just got to get the 80 cleaned up. It's normally sano but has been in the garage with drifts of potato chips, pistachio shells, wood chips, and pine needles in and on it.

DougM
 

MDarius

I break stuff.
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Great pics Doug! Looks like a really good trip. It's time that can not be deducted from a man's life, and good bonding with the boy. I'm taking my boy out this weekend, haven't decided where yet. We'll let the cruiser point the way.
 
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Guess I have to wait for my DVD :-(

Have a great trip Doug,Guess I will have to wait 10 days for my DVD order I just put in. Gives me time to contemplate the whole process! Thanks to everyone on the forum, I'm now offical and ready to participate with my own experiences 97 40th LC87 Supra
 
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MD,

Some of the coolest things I did on this trip (all for the first time):

-I let him pick the snacks at the store, and I separately packed some healthy things we also ate on the trail.
-I moved his child seat to the front passenger seat on the trail so we could see each other eye to eye and he got to watch me use the controls and such. Totally changed the interaction vs him in the back seat. Fundamental sea change. Yeah, I worried a bit about the air bag, but I know how big they are and with the seat all the way back and his upper anchor strap fixed to the cargo hook directly behind it, the risk was minimal/nonexistent.
-We just got a new digital camera, so I handed him the old one and told him to take pictures of anything he wanted to.
-Swordfights while peeing trailside were mandatory.
-He picked the music.

These are all little things for us, but let me tell you for a 6 year old these things all loomed large. I have a Daisy BB gun I was going to let him shoot for the first time, but the opportunity didn't arise and he was already in a state of animated blissful suspension so we'll do it tomorrow.

I also praised him whenever he made good choices. He's already a great kid, but he was really focusing on the choices one he realized I was seriously letting him make them. Awesome to watch.

I hope you guys have a similar experience. I'm with Tech Dog. In fact, Toyota hardware was present and accounted for in bringing my wife and I together. I even asked her to marry me at sunrise at the Font's Point overlook in Anza Borrego during a four wheeling trip there. In those days, there was no road to FP, and you could just put up a tent right there feet from the edge. Which is precisely what we did - running a rope to the 4Runner's bumper for safety. Never realized the Toyota theme so directly till TechDog said it that way.

DougM
 
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DCario,

Au Contraire my good man! I'm home - that was from Sunday. My wife and daughter are out of town, we're holding down the fort. It'll go out Friday - thank you, sir.

Regards,

DougM
 
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Dan,

Very specific reason. The 93 we bought new. I have an attachment to Bessie transcending the human/automobile barrier. She saved my life in a trailer towing incident. She carried both kids home from the hospital on their first full day on Earth. I knew there would be some paint scratching potential and we got some. That I would never due to the glossy Emerald Pearl on the 93. The 97 is freakishly smooth, freakishly powerful (both have had their heads milled for perf, but the 97 really took to it well) and would be the one I'd sell when it's time for another.

So, that's why.

DougM
 

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