Oklahoma is home to the famous Three Stage Hill,
which we've reported on many times. This time when Wiley Johnson
rolled his Samurai, the cameras were rolling. Luckily, nobody
was hurt. Please remember to wear your seatbelt and install harnesses
and a proper roll-cage if you can.
you are not real familiar with Three Stage Hill, the lowest hill
is several hundred yards long and is basically slick, solid, hard
rock with a 12 to 18 inch step about one third of the way up.
The trick is to get your front wheels up on the step. Then, just
as your rear wheels are at the step, you hit the throttle and
keep on it as the rear climbs up over the ledge. If you are tentative
or use too little throttle, you will not make it. But, of course,
you do not want to bounce your vehicle and break something serious.
up was a Jeep and after a couple of tries it drove on up the hill.
I was next. Shawn Pagan stood at the step to spot me. Dana and
I got in and put the Sami in 4 to 1 low-low and crawled up the
loose rocks to the slick part. I lined up on the left side and
drove up to the step. I walked the front wheels up on the step
and hit the gas. 4000 rpm and 12 mph. It was not quite enough,
so I let it roll back down to where the front wheels were just
on the edge and hit the gas again.
am told that I actually got the rear wheels up on the ledge but,
all of the sudden, I was not making forward progress!!! I was
rolling backwards, even in gear with the gas pedal down. I immediately
mashed the brake pedal to the floor and kept rolling backwards.
I yelled for Dana to get completely back inside the Sami and steered
backwards for all I was worth. It started to back left which would
have turned us across the hill and set up for a multi-turn roll-over
but I steered it straight. Unfortunately, the terrain on the side
behind me was a steeply sloped bank. the Sami rolled back up on
it and laid over on its side. Whew!!! Oh no!!! We are going all
the way over on my head. Ouch!!!
asked Dana if she was ok and then, immediately, there was someone
there putting his back under me and helping me release my seat
belt. Shawn Pagan was on the other side helping Dana get out.
So, Kyote’s lil' pup now is Kyote’s lil' turtle. Not very dignified,
but everyone is ok. Shaken, not stirred.
at the underside of your vehicle is an amazing thing when you
can just stand next to it. Also, it was immediately evident why
this had happened. The front drive shaft had come apart at the
slip joint. It had not been recommended to extend the driveshaft
when I did the 5 inch lift on the Sami, but evidently, the motion
at the step there on Three Stage caused it to slip out (pun intended).
guys there immediately started recovery and pulled it over on
its side, then slid it around enough to turn it back onto its
tires. We then used the winch to slowly back it down the hill.
The Pagans went to camp and came back in their new Dodge Ram 4x4
to pull the Sami back to camp. I removed the rear driveshaft while
need a windshield frame, a windshield, the basket hoop over the
top and all the rest of the top end to put it back on the street.
I have some serious body dings, particularly on the right, rear
corner. I cannot even put the full soft top on right now.
Sami will go into the garage for repairs and the addition of a
full roll-cage and maybe a new paint job. I have already tracked
down the pieces necessary to get it back on the street.
it was expensive but it was fun and nobody got hurt. That is what
4-wheeling is all about; fun times with good friends and family.
Oh, and Dana did not even threaten to kill me but is ready to
get back in and go again. This time, I'll try to keep all four
wheels firmly on the ground.