Easter Jeep Safari 2000
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Story by George Jessup

Easter Jeep Safari 2000

Day 4 - Rescues by the Big Daddy Dogs on Golden Spike

Ok, it's another day and this time I am up and raring to go. Cool, I am back in sync. After breakfast I am heading down to registration to see what runs have open slots and Woooooooooow. I see some buddy's of mine gassing up, so I exit stage left. Now these are buddies. They treat me like a friend, yet... they are THE BIG DADDY DOGS. The ones folks see being on top of the rock pile, yet they remain straight-forward good people. Mr. Ed of Mr.Ed's Excellent Adventures and Dave Hickman invitde me along with them to run the Golden Spike trail.

Just out of town and now we are airing down. Ed is in his famous maroon and yellow-caged CJ-5 with mega horsepowered V8 and more trail experience than wild burrows. Dave is in his for-sale super rig (approx. $32,000 is the sale price). I am in a TJ, kind of a humble sleeper that suprises a few folks.

Our first obstacle Ed calls the Golden Spike Bump followed by a little crack to straddle. So far, no problemo! Along the way we get a few tag-alongs; An automotive shop teacher and friends. Now this shop teacher is smart. He knows how to hook kids! Next week he is bringing them here to Moab. The kids have been building their rigs for it all year. Also is a stock rental TJ. The rental did awesome.

Now we head to the Launching pad. This is a rather simple climb. It just kind of has a pucker factor because it is pretty much straight up! Speaking of straight up, us three head on to the hole in which Bruce Brownson rolled his TJ. Black Paint is still on the rocks below it. Both Ed and Dave get a little tippy but exit the hole on their own.

I enter the hole but just cant quite keep up with the BIG DADDY DOGS. At the top I get a strap just to keep me safe (my front end was considering chasing my back end like Bruce's did) a little strap and tug down on my front end and out I drove. Whewwwww, my head was thinking, I was about to be doing vehicular back handsprings. (that's, sort of like back flippy things). Yep, this is one definite way to get your heart pumping to the aerobic level in about 3 seconds.

Man, I wonder If I can sell this as a new work out? Like instead of Billy Blanks Ti-Bo I can do Ti-Wheeling, "Be one with the sky. Be one with your machine. Guaranteed to exercise your heart and your gluteals (pucker muscles) in seconds!

On we go... now we are about 1/3 thru this trail. It is a long trail; approximately 10 hours for the average wheeling group. We figured about five to six for us but...then it happened....... Snapppppp! No, it was not us! In fact, the folks we met up with told us about it. Snapped drive line yoke!

Being the average wheelers we are, we stopped to help! If you are not a wheeler then you have got to understand something right now! We are like Marines! No down man (as in mankind... male or female) is ever left behind. A little easy-out with Ed's air drill (York air compressors are cool) and a little weld from Dave's welder and we have hope that he can limp along the trail. We of course will keep him with us on the rest of our journey.

In the meantime, we discover that Ed had broken a hub. No wonder he was having a hard time. We fix that too. Ohhhhhhh you mean something else? One of our new friends has a broken engine mount. We can't fix it with the engine headers in the way so they put the rig's own winch on the mount, which pulls it back forward and snugs it. Good idea Dave! He drove the rest of the trail this way with no problem...well, at least not with that part.

Throughout the next hours he also had a separated clutch linkage (Glad he carried some spare parts for this and a tire popped off the bead. Before these little dilemmas, the rig with the patched yoke that was depending on our levels of hope, gave out.

Alright! Who out there was not hoping strong enough? JAKE (George's dog)! Figures. Only thing he hopes for is food and a belly rub! Actually, the hope gave out about 50 feet from the repair shop on the rocks. This YJ became a hitch hiker via tow strap on the back of Ed's rig for the duration of the trail. This was now a long evening in the making. Approximately 3 hours later we are actually making somewhat efficient forward motion.

Up.... around... over... creek... creep... climb... pucker... crawl... .and many hours later, at dusk, we approach the famous Golden Crack. All of us actually scale it with not much effort. the Golden Steps and many hours lay ahead of us! It is getting dark and the trail is getting very hard to see. The painted trail markers are getting fewer and fewer. Next time, maybe Easter Jeep Safari organizers can start marking the trails from toe to head, because it is human nature to get mark-happy in the begging and slack at the end.

We lose our way once but finally find a mark and we moved on. In the right direction? We think so. Eventually, we do make it out around midnight. Myself and Mr. Ed get some dinner and now we both crash at the Hostel. The floor of Dave's Box trailer was just a little too hard for Ed. Besides, with no windows, the pitch blackness was just too scary for Ed.


Day 4 Photo Album

INDEX | Day 5

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