I just returned for one of the best trips I've ever been on. The Georgia Trail Riders held our monthly run at Tellico. The greenies are on the attack and they are slowly winning as more trails keep closing. We wanted to ride some of the soon to be closed trails like School Bus one last time.
Ben and I were the only ones that made it Thursday night. We had a great time drinking beer and shooting the schmit. The next morning, we woke up with the first of three hangovers. A big thanks to Doug for letting us crash in his cabin.
Friday morning we moved down to the big house and waited for others to arrive. Hangovers were gone by the time people rolled in. Everybody unloaded and we headed out for our first ride. I guess we had about seven rigs for this ride. We headed up trail 4 to Fains Ford to eat lunch. We had a good time hanging out at the creek then a few of us climbed the ledge on the other side. We came back trail 5 to trail 1 and back to the cabin. After we got back it dumped rain for almost an hour. This was the first strategically placed rain shower. Others trickled in throughout the day as we hung out telling more lies. About 9:00 we headed out for our night ride. We did the same route as earlier in the day only in reverse. Once again a few of us climbed the ledge. I couldn't make the harder spot the I took earlier in the day because of the damp conditions so I climbed a little easier spot. It was still fun though. We got back to the cabin and started round two of the cold stuff. Great fun and Juan and I were the last two standing.
Saturday morning we slept in until Tony let Scout out of my Jeep and he made his way into the cabin. Tony must have closed the door without knowing he was in there and then started calling for him from outside and Scout had to let him know he was trapped. He let out a few big dog barks and everybody was up then. Karma to Scout for making sure we didn't sleep all day. We all chipped in to make breakfast, drank some coffee, ate some Advil, and soon hangover number two was gone. We lined up in the road for our big run and were waiting for a couple of stragglers as a truck with an ATV trailered pulled up behind us. I was in the rear and called on the radio for a path to be cleared. I walked back to let the guy know we were moving over for him when I realized it was the Ranger. He was super nice and asked how many we had in our group. I told him about 15 and he said have a good time and moved on past. Everybody moved over pretty quick when I said let "THE MAN" through. We had a few groups in front of us and everybody had the same idea about their run for the day. It was a bit of a traffic jam at first, but we all wanted to do School Bus since it will likely be closed before we can ride Tellico again.
At the turnoff for School Bus, a few of the smaller rigs opted to continue around Trail 3 and up Pinch Rock. The plan was to meet us at the top of Helicopter Pad. This was where the first mishap occurred. Seth busted an axle on his WJ on the last part of Pinch Rock. As they said on the radio, he was in a pickle. They didn't have a winch in the group but finally got him turned around and Brian followed him out in his JK Rubi. We met up with the remaining member of the smaller group and some of us played on Helicopter Pad. Helicopter Pad was a big hit, but also punched back pretty hard. Chris went first in his XJ and as usual made it look easy. Mike was next in his TJ. Will jinxed him when he asked if he was still running stock control arms with his lift. As he climbed the big part his rear axle came forward and his control arms let it flex past the preferred point. Chris winched him up and all was well.
Next was my turn. I decided to take a little different line than most and Will and company rode with me. It was a fun ride and when I flew the front tire about 4 feet in the air which I anticipated Will almost soiled my back seat. Of course he really squirmed when I set the front down and put us in a big off camber to the drivers side which he happened to be on. As I approached the main ledge, I kept the wheels moving to slide into the position I wanted to attack the ledge at. As I slid towards the bank I tweaked my mirror a bit because I didn't flip it it. Once in position, I made it up pretty easy and it was Jud's turn. Jud struggled a bit because his front locker wouldn't cooperate. When he got to the top, we realized he had bigger problems. One of his motor mounts was busted and the fan put a hole in his radiator. It was leaking pretty good and we still had to go down Guardrail.
A few of us had just seen Xtreme 4x4 and learned how to do a field repair on a radiator. It took us a couple of hours and most of the group headed back to prepare dinner. By the time we cut and rolled the bad veins in the radiator, he had a hole you could put your fist through. Some guy in an XJ gave us a little bit of stop leak which we used to stop the very small trickle that was left. By the time he got back there were no leaks and he never went over 210 degrees. The repair worked awesome and we plan to send pictures and a story into Xtreme 4x4.
On the way out, Will lost a bolt in his front Track bar. We were able to find the bolt and he dug up a new nut and we were back under way. I was riding Tail gunner and Mark stopped because he couldn't find his camera. He never did find it, but that's when I noticed that my dumb ass left my tools on the trail where we fixed Will. I headed back and got them and out we came. When we got back to the cabin dinner was ready and the beer was cold.
We had so much fun Saturday night that it should have been illegal. There was an old foosball table out there and I don't think I've laughed so hard in years. The table was worn out and the rods with the players attached to them would pop out the top like a skewer. A few times people almost lost some of their manhood. Jennifer decided that mayonnaise would work as a good lubricant for the table. Not really a wise idea, but it did work for a great laugh.
Sunday we woke up and nursed hangover number three, the worst one of the weekend. Everybody chipped in and cleaned up. We loaded up and a few of us went to Crawford's for free air and to use there RTI Ramp. Ben, Will and I followed each other back to Winder and Ben took us back through the mountains on some of the Forrest Service roads. I took a bunch of pictures on this trail but they all turned out blurry because of the washboards. This was a beautiful 20 mile or so ride, but was definitely a filling shaker with tires aired up. We ate lunch by the creek and finally separated at Winder.
I have to say, this trip was the most fun I've had in years. Thanks to everybody for making it a memorable time.
Link to GA Trail Riders discussion and more pics.
Link to the rest of my pictures.