The meet up was scheduled for 10am with a hoped for roll out after a drivers meeting by 10:30. Fortunately everyone showed up at least 30 minutes early.
A loose vehicle check / discussion and story time ensued for a good 45 minutes. We had six vehicles and twelve people.
- Hinmaton Hisler + Guest from RVA Rock Crawlers
- Alan Staiman + Wife and 2 dogs
- Dean Rose + 3 very hung over passengers
- John Nolan + Wife
- Paul Neubert
- Anthony (guest of John’s)
Around 10:15 I tried to corral and start the drivers meeting, make sure the paperwork was taken care of.
Then an early CJ5 pulls up and the driver asks where we are going. I hope someone took a picture.
But to paint a picture: no door / no top (well.. a tiny bikini) a sweet dog and a driver that looks a bit like Santa but with shorts on- kind of a cross between Ol’ Saint Nick and Jimmy Buffett. The Jeep is bedazzled in hotrod-ish stickers, tiny wide street tires, and has a paint job that I can best describe as: the faux pebbly stone look that one might find on a McDonalds bathroom stall.
Anyway- to make a long story end- He was a really nice guy, but maybe a little lonely.
I cracked the whip and we spooled up the rigs and rode the 30 mins to the trail head.
Once there, we did the air down and disconnect dance for as long as that takes, then put it into gear and hit the start of our @10 miles of Jeep Trail.I took the lead.
The start of the trail is a bit ho-hum, with lots of little whoopdee’s, tight switch backs and rocks strewn about. Then you get into a section of larger rock out crop option that put you off camber. The real fun begins at the ¾ mile “Alternate Route” which is a long winding loose rock channel through Mountain Laurel and Scrub Pine. There are a few large holes tucked behind large dislodged rocks that catch people and then get deeper.
All doable with a stock vehicle, but you have to pick your line. I believe it was here that Alan received the little scallop on his tire and a nice long scrape on his rim.
It was here that we ran into two other vehicle head the other direction, thankfully they backed up and found what could be the only parking spaces available in the densely packed underbrush along the trail.
We shortly after broke back onto the main trail and continued heading up the trail. The trail continues to have a lot of rock, but spaced out and not as sever as the Alt route. There is one large rock option (two large boulders spaced wheel width apart with steep ramps on both sides) easily doable, but sure to smack your rock sliders. I think I was the only one to take the line.
There is a perfect wide spot in the trail at the half way point,so we pulled off to take a little potty break and walk around a bit.
Little did we realize there was a large wall tent tucked around the corner with a large barking dog doing it’s best to break free of its bonds.
The noise coming from the dog was enough to cause a bit of discomfort and confusion, but we did our best and did our business. Which is when John had is poo-foot debacle.
Alan knew of a foot trail with a view he wished to re-visit, so he took the lead to scout it out. It is at this point on the trail, where the terrain changed from rock and sand to roots and ruts. There are large puddles and a lot of them, some of them pretty deep. One of them deeper and softer then the rest.However, they had dried out a bit and where less spectacular than I have seen in previous trips. All the chagrin of Dean, who could not get enough mud on hisJKU.
Alan found the trail, so we pulled off and took a short walk into the woods. The trail ends atop a rock cliff, with a stunning view.
Well worth it.
I took the lead again, and we made our way to the end of the trail.The last few miles are bumpy and twisty, but otherwise rock free, so we made quick time and popped out onto the Blue Ridge Parkway.
We ate some lunch, talked about vehicles, watched Alan fly his drone.
It was at this point where Alan breaks out his lunch of Caviar andCheese. Like a pro!
I also got to finally see one of Dean’s passengers. Well I take that back, I did occasionally see them on our trail side stops, but only for brief moments as they scurried to the side of the trail and back.
People aired up and went their ways.
I turned my Jeep around and hit the trail in reverse. Which was great, the trail is completely different.
We did find a camp fire that had been left smoldering. And for quite some time. We stirred and poured what water we had over it (maybe two gallons worth), but it was so hot it just kept on going. Fortunately, I keep a trail shovel in my kit, so we were able to smother it in sand. But it took us nearly 30 minutes to put it out all said and done.
The sun was slowly going down, and I was ready to get off the trail, so we skipped the Alt route, and made our way off the trail.
I’m glad I made the return trip as the trail was very nice in this direction, but I certainly had enough of being jostled about to last me a good bit.
Hopefully enough to keep me sane until Wheelin’ 4 Hope. Maybe…
Off Camber Crawlers Prospective Member