1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Englewood, Colorado
    Posts
    914

    RE: On the road again

    Ah, the July 4th weekend! All of us look forward to it. It is everything American - Barbecues, hot dogs, hamburgers, potato salad, apple pie and fun (whatever your definition of fun may be). We had planned a great weekend of trail driving for our fun, but it was not to be.
    I ride with Tom, a great friend of mine. Tom got sick and first knew it on Saturday morning. We hoped he would get better and we could go driving on Sunday. Sunday morning came and Tom was just as sick.
    I decided to go on my own with Molly, my Australian Shepard, along for the ride. I planned an afternoon outing so I took minimal supplies. Water for the dog, water for me, 2 soft drinks and a light lunch. I put the dog in the Jeep and set off for the gas station and then the highway to get out of town.
    There is an area West of Denver (I live in Englewood) that has a lot of trails in it. It is between the ghost town of Alice and the casino cities of Central City and Blackhawk. Generally, the area is referred to as Yankee Hill. I have explored the area for years. There is always something new to experience. I figured the area’s trails and some free time would make for a great way to pass a warm Sunday afternoon.
    A soft top is on the Jeep during the summer. I didn’t even take the upper halves of the soft doors. Rolled the back window up to increase airflow as we drive.
    Molly and I explored many trails and subsets. We found a shady area with a stream on a trail under a large cottonweed tree and ate our lunch. There were some quads down the stream a bit so we walked down to see what they were doing. One of the quads had slipped off the trail and the other was pulling it back out. It didn’t take long and they didn’t need my help.
    Molly and I got back to the Jeep and saw a trail at the side. It was labeled “709.1A.” We decided to take it. It was narrower than most trails right from the outset. It went up and over a hill. The trees got closer and closer to the sides of the Jeep. We eventually reached a point that I could not get the Jeep through. I had to back the Jeep up while looking for a spot wide enough to turn the Jeep around. At one point, the passenger side rear tire went off the narrow trail. This was a relatively small area where the trail was a shelf road. I tried to pull straight forward. I was somewhat surprised when the rear tires slipped farther down the hillside.
    The Jeep has Detroit lockers in the back and front. I was in 4 Low and those babies were locked. They were so locked that I could not get them to free up in the back to get me out. I stopped pulling forward when I realized that my situation was worsening.
    I thought about the situation and decided to use the winch to get me back on the trail. I got out the “Tread Lightly” kit. I got out a Tree Strap and placed it around a stout tree. I attached the winch cable onto the tree strap with a clevis. I attached the remote to the winch and started the pull.
    I activated the remote and the cable took up the slack and became taut. I got in the Jeep and started the pull. Even with the pull forward, the Jeep again slipped further down the hill. The passenger side tire in front was now off of the trail and both tires in rear had placed the Jeep perpendicular to the narrow trail. I decided to reposition the winch cable so I could pull it straight up and out. I set everything up and pressed the remote’s button. The winch did a click and nothing else. Unbelievingly, I pressed the button again. The winch was not working. Something had gone wrong. I was now in a dilemma.
    I try not to go out in an unprepared fashion. I have a cell phone, a CB radio, an FRS radio, first aid kits, extra clothes and tools (including a hatchet, shovel, pick and mechanics tools). I have a Hi-Lift jack on the back and the “Tread Lightly” kit. I also had a working winch when I started out. The tread lightly kit includes a tow chain, a 15’ snatch strap, 3 clevis, 2 tree straps and a snatch block.
    It was just 3:30 PM in the afternoon. No one had answered on either the CB or the FRS radio. I still wasn’t worried as I thought that I would just use the Hi-Lift jack and the contents of the tread lightly kit to get the Jeep out. 6 hours later I was still trying to get out. To get a firm winching by using the hi-lift, I had to use the snatch strap, the tow chain and the tree strap. Without using all 3 of those, I could not get the setup to a tree stout enough to do the job. It didn’t work (even though I kept at it and at it). The snatch strap just had too much give to it. I was also hungry and needed water (Molly had to give up her dog water and drink out of a nearby stream). I was also getting physically exhausted. I was able to walk a bit up the trail, got a cell phone signal (one bar) and called Tom.
    As it was almost dark, we decided to get the Jeep out in the morning. It looked like Molly and I were going to camp out over night. I had saved ½ a sandwich and some snacks for me. Molly had a 1/3 of her breakfast. We ate and then prepared for the night.
    Ever camp out in the Colorado high country? It can get cold. I found a towel in the back that almost covered the window opening on the Driver side. Tom’s windbreaker jacket covered the passenger side window. I closed the back window by zippering it shut. That provided enough of a windbreak to counter most of the cold air. Molly went to the back seat and got comfortable. Remember that the Jeep was facing uphill just off a shelf road. This was at a sharp uphill angle. I sleep on my side generally. I started the Jeep, got it warm and cozy inside, turned off the ignition and attempted sleep. First one side, then the other, but I finally got to sleep.
    Needless to say, it was a long night. It was dark and somewhat scary. The heat would dissipate and I would wake up and run the Jeep again. I get the Jeep warm and then turn it off and go back to sleep. I think that anyone in that situation would be apprehensive and look for things in the dark. It was interesting. I figured between 10:00 PM and when I woke up, I had 4 to 5 hours of sleep. Not too bad considering the circumstances.
    6:30 AM and my cell phone was ringing. I shook the sleep off and answered it. It was Tom. He said that he was getting ready to come and get me (we also have access to a Ford Ranger 4X4 pickup). He said that he was still pretty sick but was coming anyway. He asked what we needed. I asked for dog food and water. I gave him basic instructions as to where to meet.
    I got out in the morning light and the Jeep was definitely stuck. I walked Molly down the hill to the little stream and she drank. I was pretty jealous. I was fairly thirsty and had about 8 ounces of water left. Sips were all that I got at that time. I ran the winch cable through the tree strap and the snatch block, then ran it down the trail. I figured the Ranger could hook up there to pull the Jeep out.
    I got Molly ready and we started to walk out to where Tom could find us. It would be about an hour’s walk. It was a nice morning. As we walked, both Molly and I started to respond more and to warm up. I was amazed as we walked that we had gotten so far back in the trail system. Everything went pretty well until the final climb up to the agreed upon meeting place. That was about a half-mile long and straight up the hillside. It took a long time to climb that hill. My water also gave out about halfway up that hill. When we reached the main trail, I just sat on a rock and waited. My cell phone rang. I grabbed it and answered it. It was Tom wondering where I was. About the same time, a motorcycle came by and the rider asked if I was the guy with the stuck Jeep. I told him that I was. He told me he would go and get the guy that was searching for me. Tom told me where he was and I told him that I was West of him on the trail. I told him that a guy on a bike just went by and was on the way to get him.
    When I saw the Ranger, I was one happy guy. Tom was in it and was followed by 3 people on motorcycles. Everyone was ready and prepared to get the Jeep out. I took over the driving and we headed down that steep incline trail. At the bottom, the Ranger acted like it was out of gas. Looking at the gauge, it was. One of the guys on the bikes offered to go and get a gallon of gas for the Ranger. After a while, the Ranger started again. The other motorcyclists decided with us that we should go on down the trail and they would show that guy the way when he returned with the gas.
    I drove the Ranger further down the trail. The motorcyclist’s caught up with us again before we had gotten too far. They followed us in to where the jeep was located. I stopped the truck at the end of the winch cable and hooked it up to the front bumper hard point. I went to the Jeep, started it up and signaled to Tom. He backed up the pickup, I goosed the Jeep gas and the Jeep pulled right out. It was a great thing to see.
    There was some body trail pin striping (damage) and the front passenger side tire was flat. We used the Hi-Lift jack to set the bead then used the on-board air compressor to fill the tire. I drove the Ranger out and Tom drove the Jeep. We thanked the bikers profusely and paid for the gas.
    That gallon of gas got the Ranger to the nearest gas station. I fueled up with food and water while the pickup was getting fueled.
    The rest of the weekend was anti-climatic. Hmm…

  2. #2

    Colorado - SOB Hill near Georgia Pass

    i can't believe i just read all that (and even more that you typed it all!) what an adventure, glad to hear you're ok...

  3. #3
    Fortunately you were equipped with the gear that anyone responsible would have while offroading. Having all that, I'm surprised you broke the cardinal rule and went alone. I'm by no means preaching, as I have done it myself and with less gear. This is a good reminder that although I can tell myself I'll just take it easy and not do anything hardcore, that things can happen in an instant to turn a seemingly harmless ride down a trail into a really rough day.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Englewood, Colorado
    Posts
    914
    That is exactly why I posted it. The area I was riding in is heavily populated as it is so near Denver, Colorado. Even with all of the mods (Jeeps are built not bought - Wait, I didn't say that did I?), things can fail.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Nags Head, NC
    Posts
    3,909
    Quote Originally Posted by TwistedCopper
    Fortunately you were equipped with the gear that anyone responsible would have while offroading. Having all that, I'm surprised you broke the cardinal rule and went alone. I'm by no means preaching, as I have done it myself and with less gear. This is a good reminder that although I can tell myself I'll just take it easy and not do anything hardcore, that things can happen in an instant to turn a seemingly harmless ride down a trail into a really rough day.
    I agree with TC.......I know it's wrong, but I do it all the time. You might think of investing in a nice GPS unit......it would help others find you! And tell your buddy to fill up the tank before he leaves the pavement.........not too many gas stations out in the sticks!!!
    Just Enjoy Every Possibility!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    ▌▌▌▌▌▌
    Posts
    5,278

    RE: My first time on SOB Hill (Colorado)

    <-----------------Guilty of wheeling alone! Too.


    Currently own a 98 XJ bone stock, but click Here: For pics of my TJ and old XJ.

  7. #7
    Hey, how did you set the bead using a Hi-Lift Jack? Never heard of anyone doing that before.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Englewood, Colorado
    Posts
    914
    I have 33" BFG TA-KOs. I have set the bead a couple of times by just lifting the tire off the ground. I have a Quick Air 2 under the hood with a 2 gallon storage tank.
    Lift the Jeep with the Hi-Lift make sure the tire looks even on the bead all the way around (inside & outside) and pump the air into it.
    So far, when I've needed it, I have succeeded.
    If I don't lift the tire off the ground it won't work.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Englewood, Colorado
    Posts
    914

    RE: Re: RE: Re: How to use the "SEARCH" feature

    Oh, yeah...

    I have a GPS unit also. The pickup doesn't have one, though.

    Mess with your suspension and tire size and the GPS becomes necessary to maintain proper speed limits, etc. Once I put the Dana 411 with the Detroit lockers and the super axles on, I didn't need the GPS for traffic, just for fun and tracking.

    I also waypoint the trails and then exchange the information into a mapping program... We also have taken the laptop and tracked our trail in real time...

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Nags Head, NC
    Posts
    3,909
    Quote Originally Posted by cewtwo
    Oh, yeah...

    I have a GPS unit also. The pickup doesn't have one, though.......
    Ooops! Yeah, I forgot....doesn't do much good if unless you both have one! My bad.....Great report! Makes me wanna head to Colorado!
    Just Enjoy Every Possibility!

  11. #11

    RE: More advice for a noob

    Quote Originally Posted by cewtwo
    Oh, yeah...

    I have a GPS unit also. The pickup doesn't have one, though.

    Mess with your suspension and tire size and the GPS becomes necessary to maintain proper speed limits, etc. Once I put the Dana 411 with the Detroit lockers and the super axles on, I didn't need the GPS for traffic, just for fun and tracking.

    I also waypoint the trails and then exchange the information into a mapping program... We also have taken the laptop and tracked our trail in real time...
    I have an Etrex Legend with extra software and LOVE it. Wheelin', hunting, checking my highway speed... love it. It's probably a low end unit but it is awesome.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Wilmington, NC
    Posts
    2,313

    RE: On the road again

    Well heck, I've finally found the advantage that I have over you lucky dogs that live near good wheeling. I can go out wheeling by myself any time I want, and if anything happens, pavement or a house is within an hour or two hike. I love my Nextel service. I just carry the phone, it works everywhere, and if it doesn't then the built in two-way will connect me to someone in my group.

  13. #13
    Nice story, thanks for taking the time to write it.

    What was wrong with the winch? Are you gonna learn to troubleshoot it?

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Englewood, Colorado
    Posts
    914

    RE: some CJ stuff still avail

    We took the winch in to my favorite 4x4 performance shop. It was a Magnum 9K winch. The 9K is an entry-level winch. Originally got it for getting my Jeep out of a situation (PRV -Personal Recovery Vehicle). Problem was, it allowed me to go to all kinds of places and then get back out. It also allowed me to assist other people in getting themselves out of situations where I was the only guy that could assist them. I always did help (2 cardinal rules - 1. You get to hook up my winch cable to your car <that way if the winch pulls your bumper off as it was not connected properly it is your fault), 2. Pay it forward).
    So, I guess that I didn't use it as an entry-level winch. They analyzed it and it would have cost $375-$400 to fix. Bad solenoid and activator. Some other electronic things.
    I thought about it. The cable had seen a lot of use and needed replacing. I decided to get a new winch instead - One more fitted to the way that I use my Jeep. I now have a Warn XD9000 (http://www.warn.com/truck/winches/src/XD9000.shtml). They got it for me at a great price. They also told me what I should have done. They suggested that I take the power (positive) cable and short it to the forward or reverse motor connection - that would have bypassed the electronics. Of course, it also would have wasted the motor, so make sure you have to do it before you bypass the electronics.
    I have already used it. I was on Redcone Pass last weekend and pulled a stock Wrangler out of an obstacle they probably shouldn't have been in.
    I let the guy know that my first field pull was for him and it should have been for me.

    When people winch, please use a tree strap. Lots of trails here in Colorado have half cut through trees by not using tree straps.

    Aint Jeeping fun?

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Englewood, Colorado
    Posts
    914
    Just on a side note - In Western Colorado, the premier cell network is Verizon. Almost every other cell service provider uses them (roaming) to connect calls.

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