8- The Proving Grounds
folks just know! They have nothing to prove to themselves. Then,
there are others. They have just got to prove it! Whom they
are trying to prove something to is a question. What they are
proving is often more obvious to those watching than it is to
you're a 'wheeler and you feel that you've got something to
prove or if you are just into extreme (like the two could really
be separated) then you need to visit the PROVING GROUNDS. I
have nothing to prove so I did not attempt this trail (yeah,
right). OK, my rig and skills just aren't up to a trail like
this "yet" so I watched.
saw riders that are serious wheelers and many have competed
in major Rockcrawling events. Driving were Kelly
Sheets of 4
Wheel of Moab (TRAIL LEADER - yellow "CJ"), Ian
Liljeblad of DCS Welding (Yellow rockrail), Greg Muhsemann of
Flexible Fabrication (Flamed rock rail), Mike Schaffer of Mike
Schaffer Fabrication (black super Suzuki), Mr Ed of Mr.
Ed's Excellent Adventures / Videos (Maroon CJ w/yellow cage),
Ned Bacon of Mountain Motors (Killer Bee rock buggy), Rod Pepper;
journalist (Purple CJ), and the sleeper of the crowd, Curt Hildebrand
of Metal Made
Right/Revolver Shackles (YJ Revolver Shackle rig that looks
close to stock).
I watched was not just a bunch of awesome driving up amazing
obstacles that exceed or match those in the different championship
events, but also shows of character when they conquered or when
the winch came out, because they failed.
star of the day was Kelly Sheets of 4wheel Moab. He worked at
it hard but made every obstacle. Good thing, since he was the
lead rig and had no winch. The other rig that impressed me was
Curt's Revolver Shackled YJ, with finesse, good technical driving
and engineering (YJ had his prototype Z shackles).
first obstacle of the day was a good indicator of the difficulty
of this trail. It started with a series of steps last used by
a few hard-core 4-wheelers and the dinosaurs. Both would have
a hard time climbing them. In fact, we started with eleven rigs.
After this obstacle was attempted only eight remained and this
was just a warm-up obstacle.
next obstacle was actually about a mile away and truly started
the PROVING GROUNDS. This one was a slickrock wall that got
you rather tippy, backward. Most climbed it.
now to then next obstacle. It put you into a canyon crack with
a straight-up exit stage left then right. Kelly Sheets climbed
like a mountain goat and stopped nose up to be a possible winch
anchor. Each driver did the same and then endured a climb out
of their anchor spot over a diff-clinging rock making the trip
up somewhat white-knuckled.
next big obstacle of the day was a a climb into a canyon that
had a nasty wedged hump the size of a Suburban and then a wall
entrance into a rock and sand alley. This wall stood as tall
as that same Suburban on it's end, who was standing on the left
tailing face at the end of this climbing canyon. The result
meant driving a climb to the left at the end of this canyon
up this wall. It took a left line then a swing into the right
wall and a ride on your rock guards - or a winch.
four made it without a cable; Kelly, Curt, Mike Shaffer, and
Ian, who climbed it after a well-balanced tail-stand. Two broke
hundred feet away was the next mini-wall, which was about a
VW bus-sized. This was climbable by those in 4WD. Greg in his
flamed rock rail had replaced his broken axle while others were
climbing. Mr. Ed was in a bind because he was now a 3-wheeler.
Winch - and on to the next obstacle.
route to it was around the top of a canyon and on into another
climbing canyon. Trust me, the route itself was a little hairy.
the the next obstacle everyone took a winch, but then again
there is no choice because it is straight-up and approximately
the size of a vertical mini motorhome. Winch anchors had been
placed in the rock above by the discoverers of this trail. The
ride up is like one in an old creaky freight elevator, with
the clicks, clangs of your rig scraping on the walls and your
life seemly hanging by a thread...ok, hanging by a winch cable.
few more dinosaur steps and a downhill bob and weave that holds
a high pucker-factor brought you back to the trailhead. All
in all, only those few obstacles and 8 hours later, you start
to breathe again. Then go home to check your pride.
will be a lazy day to prepare for my trip home. I need to do
a front-end allingment so I don't wear away my new tires, check
my fluids and find a way to strap my 4 old tires to the roof
rack. I was only intending to by two tires, but get a man around
new tires and out comes the credit card for those new macho
monster testostrone producing tires. Any one want to buy 4 BFG
Muds (33x12.5x15)? Two have 60% tread. firstname.lastname@example.org
| Day 9