Easter Jeep Safari 2000
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Story by George Jessup

Easter Jeep Safari 2000

Day 7- Upper and Lower Heldorado

OK. OK. I really would rather go someplace else, but you guys (the Big Daddy Dogs) have been good to me so I'll ... I'll go... again! "Man," I think to myself! (yeah I do think sometimes, though it hurts) "I paid $160.00 to go on sponsored trails over five days and I haven't done one yet. So why am I doing this one twice? Besides I already have shots of this one for the best 4WD off-road magazine on the internet. Oh! That's why. That was YESTERDAY we ran this trail! Today is today, not yesterday, so that makes the trail different! Hmm, how profound.

Well, It was different! VERY different. My trip on Lower Hellderado started with a few wrong turns after stopping to take some pics. I kind of got left behind. After finding my way back, our new group of friends for this trip had grown. We had many folks from US and Canada, from fairly wild (you got to be set up a little wild to even attempt this trail) to very wild.

Not long into the run, one of my weak links (tie rod) took a turn for the worst. A forty five degree turn actually. Tim Hardy in his miniature version, minus the yellow on the roll cage of the Mr. Ed's rig used the handy dandy winch and pulled my tie rod straight after wedging in between rocks.

Working together, he orchestrated our impromptu trail fix team into a professional crew. The rod came out straighter than it had ever been. As I bolted it back up, I put on a piece of angle iron Mr. Ed donated to the cause with some hose clamps. Tada! Now I have a straight and reinforced tie rod. Very needed since, after closer inspection, I concluded this one bent, mostly because the 35's I'm sporting (with 6 pounds of air in them) just bit so well that when I turned the steering wheel while twisted up, the object with less resistance moved! This time it was the tie rod.

If I go to 35's soon, this will have to be remedied. (Tomorrow?) During my fix-it time, Mr. Ed broke and went thru a fix-it time, as well. It was his turn to loose a U-joint on his rear shaft. In Mr. Ed style this break did not become apparent until he was trying to take the hard line on a hill climb and his front end began to walk him over the edge. A BIG EDGE. During this dilemma Mr. Ed kindly suggested his passenger exit "very carefully". He did also ask if he (Brad from Sacramento, CA) would kindly hold on to the roll bar, too, as he exited to help keep the rig from rolling.

A winch-tug to straighten and some wrenching put us both finishing up our fieldwork at about the same time. He, near the front of the trail, and I in the back.

We met again at the head of Upper Hellderado. This time, he, Dave and many others planned to conquer the beast. This section would be best left up to Don Quixote to ride on, in the style of that great piece of literature. What these guys were attempting was downright...stupid...nah... bad... Hmm. I'm at a loss for the right words. You folks email me at coachgeo@hotmail.com and help spark my lapsing literary genius!

This section of the trail has approximately four obstacles. That's it. It is only a hundred or two yards long. It takes three or more hours for approximately 12 rigs to navigate it. The first climb is a yucky, evil straddle and climb, and sidewall thing. With the next obstacle being a climb over a hump-back whale, immediately followed by a small boulder garden.

There is a squeeze-around outcropping that is completely avoidable, but today being today, and not yesterday, most avoided it and headed on to the Wall.

My last report of the Helderados left you with somewhat of an idea of the winch-over waterfall (dry by the way). Most did the Skyway to Heaven, winching up the wall, but (there is always a but) there is always someone who has to be different.

Now, I was introduced to the real Tim Hardy and his RK BOUND! I had grown to respect his trailworthiness after watching him both with my trail repairs, his spotting, and his driving. Now, I know him as the most cool and calm extremist I have ever met.

The line he took was straight into the verticle hole of Heldarodo's water fall. He climbed and crunched his way in and up with the demeanor of a demon, but with the planning of Einstein.

Ok, so some of the plans did not work as he thought, but let's just say he made it. Sort of in pieces, but drivable. It took three winch points, a broken front axle, and enough body damage to look like a single Samurai that met in battle a real mad Genghis Khan and his army.

In the end, I headed back into town to return my "Try and Rides." DARN! I was too late. He was not in. Guess I'll have to return them tommorow! After the PROVING GROUNDS!


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INDEX | Day 8

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