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We headed out to Los Coyotes Indian Reservation near Warner Springs, CA. Set amongst the hills, the reservation is a very popular Southern California place for wheeling. Tankota Crawl is held there, as well as numerous other club-sponsored runs. Some rockcrawling, some hill-climbs, and some off-camber crawling, offer a good mix for all levels of four-wheelers.
When we arrived, we were greeted by sunshine and about one foot of snow - not too common in Southern California. We knew the day would be fun. Airing down and disconnecting, Scott Hill, Anders Karlson, and myself went over the basics of saftey, did a quick check of the vehicles, and picked out our trails. The temperature on the dash thermometer said a nice, warm, 65 degrees. You couldn't ask for much more.
The first trail is referred to as Dangerous Road. It's basically an easy flex test on a gradual incline (or decline, depending upon your direction), with a little rock and mud. Add packed snow and ice and you are in for some interesting braking situations. It's a good place to show the importance of 1st gear in 4 low.
There are some green and red lines on Dangerous Road; Glass Alley and a small rock garden. Glass Alley is off-camber and causes you to lean into a tree if you don't watch your line and the rocks. The hungry tree has eaten my over-the-spare rack and a soft top once. Today, we left the tree hungry, thanks to Scott Hill's spotting.
After Dangerous Road we headed out to Up Down Hill. Another test of flex and picking a good line, with the added bonus of being on a steep hill. The stock YJ had sway bar links that were welded on by rust, so it was the hardest for that rig. Once again, Scott's spotting played a huge part in getting him up and down. For the other newbies, this was the first test. Everyone made it up and down. Big grins followed.
We headed on down the trail toward Yucca Flats. At one point in the trail there are several sharp turns that cut up left or down right. One of these is on a huge granite rock with a V right down the middle. Being a good trail leader, I didn't tell anyone that if your left rear gets in that V you will get huge air under your Left front, especially in a TJ. Miraculously, no one picked that line through the turn. I did, though, just to show them how to wave with your tires. The result is about 3 feet of air under your right front and a pretty good pucker for unsuspecting on-lookers and passengers.