Well, after a long time in the planning,
we finaly got the first ever JAOCMJ out of the forums and into reality! On
Friday June 21st 2002, I woke up and started packing. Grabbed all of my camping
things, and threw them in the back of the jeep. After removing the top (completely,
hardware and all), doors, and back seat, i managed to fill the whole rear
of the jeep with suppiles. After meeting up with Rave (we met in my driveway),
we headed off to Hazleton, PA. Hoping that we would be the first to the camp
site to make sure that everything gets setup properly.
Well, Adam (Rave) lead until we got to Hazleton, then we stopped at a gas
station to get some provisions (lighter fluid, drinks, snacks) and we were
standing at the Jeeps talking about how to get to the camp site. Suddenly,
a silver 2000 TJ shows up, as if he knew us. The driver got out, walked over
to us and said “Hi..” Looked at us and said “Jason”. By this time we decided
he must have been from JA and we introduced ourselves. In case no one has
figured this out, this is “2000WranglerTJ”. So, Adam wants me to lead to the
campsite. Jason has directions, but he thinks we’re going to the park (im
psychic). So i lead. I start to head down 924 and Jason asks me over the CB
if i missed the turn. This is where it becomes evident that he thought we
were heading to the park, and not the camp site. Well.. While I’m explaining
myself to him, I miss my turn! So we turn around and then I managed to get
us to the campsite without any further screw-ups.
Well, we broke open the stickers. I had a somewhat large shippment from Al
of Jeepahlics Anonymous Stickers to re-sell. So i sold a few to Jason, and
we put them on his hood. That kept us busy for all of 30 min. So we setup
our tents, and un-packed our stuff. By then Jim, and his ride, Brad, showed
up. We said our greetings and got to know the two of them a little. Brad unloaded
his 4-wheeler and started to get to know the camping area better. The next
member to show was Jollymon (Travis) and his girlfriend MaryAnne. The next
arrival woudl be Rich (gpn4free) with his wife, Heather. Dustin showed up
as well. At this point we decided to do the food run. We needed to get some
food for the night, and saturday. So, Adam and I got into his jeep, Trav and
MaryAnne got into his TJ, and Dustin hopped into his Lumina (it was a lumina
right?) and we all headed to Wal Mart.
After the shopping trip, we returned to find a few more vehicles in the lot.
GreatCJ8 showed up in his Geo Metro (CJ’s still in the garage), and Trish
made her appearance in her beat-up YJ (which was not expected due to an accident
she had a few days before the trip).
Brad, Jim, and Rich managed to get the fire started using a little too
much gas while we were out shopping, I didn’t see it myself, but they hinted
that it looked much like Hiroshima. We had a good time sitting around the
fire, getting to know everyone, watchin Trish and Rich consume too much beer,
and generally having a blast! I turned in at about 2AM. About 10 minutes after
getting into my tent, I hear this rumble heading down the road. Getting louder..
and louder.. Eventually i hear it entering the campground, and it stalls.
Starts up again, moves a bit, stalls again. This process is repeated about
3 times and eventually this vehicle came to a rest. At this point, i just
went to sleep. I awake the next morning to two new vehicles in our lineup.
This scene can only accurately be described by a picture or 2.
One of which, a blue CJ with PVC coming out of the engine compartment, has
its carb. torn apart. This is Over2Land (Pete), and he was the rumble i had
heard the night before. He, Jim, and Brad are working on replacing his
Carb. The other is a dark blue TJ, with its gas tank removed! This is DSLfreak
(Rob) and apparently he came in at about 4AM on a rollback. His exhaust had
melted a hole in his gas tank! So, after fixing the hole in the tank with
a patch kit, and re-routing the exhaust so that it doesnt melt it again. Then
getting the CJ running. We headed off to the park! Well, actally, we headed
to a gas station, to fill up, air down, and get some provisions.
A few on-road shots of us on the way to the station
Gassin’ up, airin’ down.
Pete just loves tinkering with his engine, so he just HAD to open up the hood.
Here we are gathered around the air pumps, getting out of the way to air down
without causing too much clutter.
Now we’re ready to head to the trail. So we all pile into our jeeps and head
to the staging area.
Here is the scene at the staging area
Heres how the seating ended up:
- Pete driving his Blue CJ with Jim as the passenger
- Trish driving her Black YJ with no passenger
- Nate driving his Blue YJ Islander with Mike as a passenger
- Jason driving his Silver TJ with no passenger
- Rich driving his Blue TJ with Heather as a passenger
- Adam driving his Black TJ with no passenger
- Rob driving his Blue TJ with Dustin as a passenger
- Travis driving his Green TJ with MaryAnne as a passenger
- Brad the camera bitch on his quad
So, after registering and getting our flags (which you can see a few of in the photo) we headed into the park with our guide, Kyle. It wasnt long before we were on a trail worth 4wd. Right near the beginning of the trail, there was a dip followed by a turn, this was my first problem. I took the turn a little wide and we leaned a little further to the drivers side than i wanted to, so i backed up and tried it again with Mikes eyes and judgement to aid me. Here is a photo of Travis (who was behind me) going through that same dip.
A little further down the trail Trish bumped into a tree, and it retaliated. It dropped a branch on her head. Leaving a dent in her cowel as well. This was the first dammage on the trail, however insignificant. I believe this trail was called “Chicken Run”. It brougt us back out on to the road that we started on, which looks like an old access road. After coming back to the road, Kyle informed us that the next secion was optional. So of course all of the larger jeeps dove right in. I was somewhat hesitant, but decicded to at least get up to the “Optional” part and see what it was about. Right after entering the trail there was a small obstacle which Rich kept wacking his front axle tube off of. So I took the job of spotting him through it. Then I tried my hand at it. If i remember correctlty someone spotted me here, but i dont remember who. The pictures are courtesy of Travis.
The rock with the scratches on it is the one that Rich kept hitting. Next was the optional hill. This hill was a little scarey. To me anyway, I opted to NOT try this hill, but a few others decided to give it a shot. Pete, Trish, and Rob took a wack at it. None of which made it over the crest. Trish almost backed into a tree on this obstacle. Here are some pictures.
The main problem here was getting the right line, and staying there. Vehicles with lockers just ended up sliding to the right, and carb’d vehicles had a problem witht he incline. I got razzed for it, but opted to NOT try this hill. The trail lead us right back to that same access road as before.
The next trail lead us up a mountain, tward a small rock pile. At this point we all stopped so we could watch as each jeep crawled through this obstacle one by one. Once we stopped, Rob decided to show off some flex by parking or a rock on the side of the trail.
We decided to head to the lunch spot then. So after Travis, Adam, Rob and I got seporated from the group, we ended up in 3 little groups, who all eventyally found their way back to the lunch area. We realized earlier that we had forgotten the cooler with the lunchmeat in it, so we just hung out, and ate what we had and talked to the guide. The guides jeep is quite impressive! He has a custom set of revolver type shackles on the front, alogn with an SOA with custom high-steering. The rear is SOA with buggy springs. He has an OBA which came in handy when Brad blew a tire. I also found out how to fix my POS tomken tire carrier, as he has the same carrier. I never knew that a few cheap washers could make such a differnece!
Here is the scene at lunch
After our lunch (sort of) the next major obstacle was the “Rock Swamp”. I had a personal vendetta against this particular obstacle. Last time I was in the park i got hung up on my front drivers side u-bolts and ended up getting strapped. Well not this time buddy! Unfortuneately, no pictures of me completing this obstacle have surfaced as of yet, but there were witnesses!! Here are some pictures that I took of others completing this obstacle though.
Pete was first
Then came Trish
Then I came through, Then Rich, then Travis, and I believe Rob. Everyone else took the bypass.
The trail then lead us to a little rock patch that I wacked my tailpipe and the edge of my t-case skid on. Not a lot of damage there, but it SOUNDED really bad! Then we came through a hairpin turn, everyone had to slow donw and do a K-turn through here.
Next was a pretty difficult obstacle with a lot of rocks, mud, a steep hill, and a log bridge! We all took our time with this, and Kyle spotted each of us through it. Trish and Adam seemed to have the biggest problems here.
First we have Rob “Posed” again on a rock.
Here is Travis
You can see Kyle down there expertly spotting us.
Jason was after Travis
Everyone traversed this obstacle, except for I think Rob, he took some other route across the little stream that we used the bridge to cross. Our route was supposedly the “Easy” route, so he probably found the “Hard” route. Show off. 😉
This trail lead us (eventually) to a wide open trail, looked something like a firebreak, or maybe something you would expect to see powerlines running through. Right as we entered this trail, there was a rock that a few of us decided to try to Flex on. First Pete did, then Rich did, and then I did. Unfortuneately, the only one that I’ve fcurrently got a picture of is Me. I will eventually have pictures of the rest, but at present, I dont.
There was another rock that Pete tried out further down the trail, which the guide pointed out to us. It was a larger rock, and I didnt get any pictures of it. Again, I am waiting on a few other /jaocmj/images to pop up from other participants. Here is a nice view of the trail so you get an idea of what I’m talking about. You can see Pete standing at the top.
There was also a third rock, which Kyle, Pete, and Rob played on.
Not many pictures of this rock just yet, but here ya go.
We followed the trail and it lead us down the mountain. Kyle stopped us about half way down to show us an extreme trail. Its supposedly the “Hardest trail on the east coast!” He says that ARCA guys havent been able to make it up under their own power! I guess NO ONE has made it to the top of this yet. Man, i should have brought my camera, it was HORRID, man, i would NEVER DREAM of trying to drag my poor YJ over this trail. If thats your thing, then hell, have a ball, but NO THANK YOU!
We headed down the mountain, and back to the “101” course. Here we just played around for a while. Kyle showed us “Picture Rock” which a few of us tried our hand at climbing. They say i was the closest to getting up it, but none of us made it to the top, other than Kyle that is. Here are some pictures.
Here we are in front of picture rock, you cant see picture rock, but its behind the cameraman.
Here is Rich trying out the rock.
Then he got out, and let his Wife back it down! Pretty cool girl if you ask me.
Here comes Travis
Here Travis and I are gathered on the other side of picture rock.
We played around a little more, i was trying to investigate a sound that i started hearing after pulling off of the rock, it went away though, so i’m not sure if it fell off, or if it was a stone stuck somewhere. Next Kyle led us to a pretty steep hill. The whole 101 course looked like a strip mine pit. It may have been, but obviously not in use anymore. This could also explain some of those larger trails. This hill lead us up one side of the pit, there was a hard side, and an easy side. Of course, Kyle went up the hard side.
Here is Kyle coming down the hard side
Rich went up the hard side, but I dont have a picture. Trish also attempted this, but she stalled close tot he top. Here I am trying to go up the hard side. I got almost to the top, and couldnt get over that damn hump.
Here I am backing down like a coward
And going UP the easy side!
Now that I’m at the top, i need to come back down!
I started down, and this is where i got the hell scared out of me. I just crested the hill and it felt WAAAAY too fast and WAAAAY to steep. So out of sheer terror i stopped!
EEK! Nothing catastrophic, I was just scared as hell! Everything from the back of the Jeep rolled to the front, i had a Mt. Dew bottle at my feet for the rest of this obstacle. After some good words from Kyle, and some of the bystanders, i managed to get myself moving again. I mean, where else was i going to go anyway right? Kyle said i should just use 4-low 1st gear to crawl my way down. Well, that didnt feel slow enough to me, so against his wishes, i sort of rode the brakes down.
Damn! was I ever glad to be on level ground again!
A little more playing and we headed up to a small field, which was apparently their old staging area. They had an RTI ramp, so we all took a shot at it.
Travis’s spring seporating from the mount! Mike in the background.
Brad “Air Wheeling”. All 4 wheels off the ground, spinning. You can see the flat that he rode around on all day here.
Then theres Kyle’s Kickass YJ. Showin us how its done.
To follow that, Jason in his TJ. Somehow I think this would have been more impressive if he went BEFORE the guide.
I tried the ramp out, but honestly, I hope the pictures never surface, I was NOT pleased with my ramp.
Then we got some group shots for the record. Rob had left shortly after we got to the 101 course, so he was not in any of these pictures.
Well, thats the day on the trails! Head on to the next page for some campfire comedy and then of course, the damage report.
Well, after a long day on the trail, we headed back to camp. For the most part, we were hungry! I made myself a sandwich out of the lunch meat that we were SUPPOSED to have for lunch to tide myself over. A few minor fixes were taken care of as well. I decided to give my Fiance a call from the top of the sliding board (the only place i could get any signal).
I dissassembled my POS tire carrier to see if I could manage to get it to work a little better. Our trail guide gave me an idea of what to do to fix it. Jason noticed me tearing my bumper apart and came over to give me a hand. Much appreciated, thanks Jason! 🙂
Travis had been talking his steaks up all weekend. He was hell bent to cook us some steaks tonight. So we let him have a go at it. They turned out pretty good, a little spicey for my taste, but good all the same. We had a feast of hot dogs, hamburgers, spicey steak, cold sandwiches, miscellaneous junk food, beer, vaious “Mike’s” products, and a little of the hard stuff. We just had an all around good time tonight, we weren’t sure if we were heading back to the park on sunday or not, and just wanted to have a good time. So some of us drank too much, and some of us just watched everyone else drink too much. 🙂
Ended up that Adam, Rich, and I were the last ones standing. We shot the bull about jeeps, and everyting in between. Eventually the guy from the campsite next to us came over, gave us some firewood, and joined in the conversation. That is, until his wife started to shoot him a look of death. Then he quickly went back to her. He apparently worked for (owned?) the “Rhino Liner” company who professionally installs their brand of truck bed liners. His jeep was primarily painted in the stuff, looked pretty damn tough! Rich gave me a close up look at his custom overhead console, he checked out the switch that I had rigged up for my KC’s. Of course, he thought my switch was the coolest thing, and I thought his console kicked ass. Isn’t that the way it goes?
The last day of our little excursion. We all woke up pretty early. Rich and his wife had to head out early, so they were the first to leave, right after breakfast actually. Trish was the morning cook. Pete was thirsty, and couldnt find a mug big enough to house all the coffee eh wanted to drink. So he found the empty bottle of Absolut and filled it up!
Here are a few more pictures of the morning.
Dustin, sitting on one of the few pieces of wood that survived the night.
You can see the Rhino Lined YJ in the background of this one!
Well, thats about it, we all just slowly cleaned the place up, and said our good-byes. There was some talk of JAOCMJ2 at Uwharrie national forrest. We’ll see how that pans out. All in all, we had a great time! I cant wait to do it again!
Well, all in all, I came out of this one with VERY little damage. I got a pretty nice gouge in my diff guard, and some dents in my T-case skid. But other than that, im pretty well damageless. Adam has a rear shock problem. His shocks have come loose. This should be relatively easily fixed though. Rich lost his wallet, and Brad seems to have misplaced his cool brown leather hat. There was no other major damage that I’ve heard of either. I guess sticking to the slightly less difficult trails was a good idea! No one had to limp home, or even get towed. I think we had more problems BEFORE the run than after!!
I know everyone is picutre hungry, so here are some links to all of the pictures from the trip. I couldnt include them _all_ in the write-up, so I’ll just let you guys thumb through them.