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How I Died Trying

By Lee Arney


On the first of October, Greg and I decided to do Die Trying again and invited an experienced 'wheeler, but new to Montrose, Eric Crist. Eric drives a locked Bronco with long arm suspension and 36x14.5 Swamper SSR tires. The trail seemed tougher this time than in the spring and some of us got hung up a time or two.

Die Trying
The TJ's partial roll on the first trip.
Die Trying
Be prepared for off-camber fun!

Things went down hill on obstacle 5. This obstacle requires a little throttle, due to a mostly dirt surface. Typically, a rocker panel guard catches a boulder on the right and forces the 4x4 right, allowing the right rear tire to climb the boulder. But, for me, the right rear tire started to climb the boulder, the left rear tire came off a rock and fell into a hole. Forced flex like this under throttle caused the left rear to over extend and allowed the axle to move too far foward, resulting in the drive shaft being forced into the transfer case and cracking the 700R4's case.

Die Trying Die Trying

Needless to say, without a transmission, the TJ was dead in the water. We had already been on the trail for six hours, and it took another six hours to winch and strap the lame TJ out. It was a real long day. But without the help of several fellow Western Slope 4-Wheeler members who came out to assist, the day would have been even longer. Special thanks to Terry Hawkins, Craig Ross, Shannon Pittman, and Glenn Nickerson and the guys I was with, Greg Wall and Eric Crist.

Die Trying
Jerry working the last obstacle. Die Trying fights the whole way
Die Trying
Carnage central. Not only did the TJ lose the transmission, but the rear shocks and drive shaft, the left rear spring popped out, the right front u-joint puked, and the right front tire came off the bead.

At least this happened toward the end of the season, and there is an entire winter to make the TJ better so I can take on Die Trying again next spring. Maybe then, I'll be telling a story about my 2 1/2 trips over Die Trying.

For more information on the trails in Montrose, CO, contact the Western Slope 4-Wheelers at ws4w@yahoo.com