Second Annual Turkey Run
Badlands ORV Park
Saturday, November 29, 2003 - This was my second Badlands Turkey Run with the Quadratec crew. This is always the Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend. My brother Adam, Anna and I met up in Brownsburg at the McD's to have breakfast with Bob and Jeremy. After breakfast we headed off to Attica to meet up with the Quadratec crew by 9:30AM at the gates.
I had decided to run with a group on Green. Bob and Jeremy decided to head to the quarry and meet us at the backend of Green. Since this was my first outing with the new lift/tires, I wanted to take it easy and get used to the new setup. In our group was:
- Jonathan (PUJeeper/yellow TJ)
- Tom (Alpine/Black YJ)
- Elizabeth (Elizabeth/Black 60th TJ)
- Jeff (Tinknocker/Black TJ)
- Me, Aaron (ImperialFleet/Silver 60th TJ)
It was unbelievably cold out (perhaps 15ºF with wind-chill??) making any time spent standing outside the Jeep very short-lived and uncomfortable. We hit Green trail around 10AM and were going up/down the quick break over hills when near disaster struck. This following situation had several witnesses but no pictures, more importantly it happened over the course of only a couple seconds:
On one of the steep break overs, I was following Jonathan (see third photo) and I went straight up the hill and when I started down the back side, the trail unbeknownst to me veered slightly to the right. The only reason it veered right was because the left side had about a 12"-18" erosion gully. This on a flat trail is no problem at all. When I broke over the top of the hill, my left front tire went into the gully (no big deal I thought). But a few short feet later when the rear of my Jeep broke over, the weight of the Jeep/3 people/supplies all shifted forward VERY rapidly and the downhill slope was very steep as well. This coupled with my front left tire in the gully caused the rear end of the Jeep the completely lift off the ground 2-3 feet shifting the weight downhill even further. What does this mean? My Jeep was halfway into what freestyle bike guys call an "endo"; our rearend was about to go up and over the frontend...A ROLLOVER. We were quickly and inevitably going up and over towards my front left tire. In a panic and no time to think, I quickly put the clutch down all the way and let off the brakes, something you should normally NEVER do on a downhill. But in this situation by doing this I saved our collective butts because the Jeep instantly gained a ton of forward velocity and the front end sped out from under the rear end. Folks, I wish I could say I did that intentionally and say that I knew what I was doing but it was a fluke and it saved us from a rollover (and possibly our lives). Fortunately we were all wearing our seatbelts which I highly advocate doing on any trail run.
So after that little fiasco, I was now jittery and frazzled from the adrenaline. Other passengers in my ride were "less than enthusiastic" about further wheeling for the day. So we continued to wheel until we got to a point on the trail where I could test my new suspension flex (tons of poser shots below) and then we called it quits around noon for lunch at Subway in Attica. After lunch Tom left with us and headed back to Indy for an evening of beer'n'eats at Shallo's brewhouse in Greenwood. We called it quits early, but it was just a really bad day on the trail for me, which I had never had. I jest felt that any further driving on the trail was tempting fate for a more serious problem.
(See the last two pictures at the bottom) I remember we were heading out of the dunes area.. probably to go get some grub, and we saw this MASSIVE puddle between a couple of the smaller dunes. I plowed right through it, and Elizabeth was about 50 feet behind me. She also went through it, but was more to the right that I was. Unbeknownst to any of us, that thing was really really deep towards the right. Well, it nearly swallowed her Jeep. I heard her yelling "Help!" over the radio, so I threw it in reverse and started backing up. Being in 4-Low, I wasn't getting there fast enough so I pushed the clutch in and rolled backwards down the hill as fast as I could. I ran out into the puddle where one of her passengers tossed a tow strap to me. I hooked it to one of the clevis mounts on her bumper (the one that wasn't underwater), then sprinted back to my Jeep and hooked it to one of my rear tow hooks. After a few REALLY hard tugs, she was free. :)
Page created on 11/30/2003
Last updated on 5/18/2004