The Group Before Photo - All Shiny and Clean
Tim Climbs the Hill
Gary Climbs the Hill
Jan Brings Up the Rear
Roland Fords the Stream
Rick On the Rocks
Howard Approaches the Rocks - Moments Later He Blew a Tire
After the CJ's Electrical Problem Artie Drove Scott's Rubi
Meanwhile Scott Punishes the CJ on a Black 2
Dennis Just Can't Resist Mud
The Group After Photo - Not So Shiny and Clean
The Yahoo Rubicon Group ran 9 Jeeps with 16 people at Paragon on Saturday, April 15. Of the Jeeps, 7 were Rubicons, a rather modified TJ, plus a 1973 CJ-5. Scott is selling the CJ and we can all attest that it was only ever driven to church by a little old lady and has never been abused. More on this later.
Most of us gathered for a meet and greet at the Fairfield Inn on Friday night and then a few of us went out for a few drinks at Damon's. The next morning we all met at Paragon, got signed in, and watched the video. They now make everyone watch the video (not just guides) which is probably a good idea.
Rick, Jenn, and Cody - Friendship, MD
Scott - Long Island, NY
Artie - Long Island, NY (drove Scott's CJ)
Howard and Winnie - White River Junction, VT and Ottawa, Ontario
Jan and Polly - Norton, MA
Roland and Sue - Claremont, NH
Dennis - NY
Tim and Sharon - Columbia, MD
Gary and Craig - CT (modified TJ)
A few people asked me to list the trails so they could relate to where they had been on the map.
After a quick driver's meeting and some before photos in the staging area we headed out. First we climbed the steep hill out of the play area to give everyone an initial challenge and get across to Turtle Trail #7 - Green 2 rating. Turtle is an easy but long winding decent into the west central area of the park. Next we went further west on Haul Rd.(2WD) past the mining sediment ponds. The ponds are there to help settle minerals from mining tailings out of the water which gives them an irridescent light turquiois color.
Next we ran Outer Spare tire #44, a Green 2. So far so good. We got to the turn off for Rocky Meadow #47, a Blue 2. I asked the group if they were ready to kick it up a notch and noting that even a stock Rubicon is quite capable of running a Blue 2 we decided yes. That would have been an excellent decision accept Paragon had made a change to the trail that none of us knew about and that was not on the map. They frequently block trails, cut new ones, move stream crossings, etc. for various reasons related to erosion control, environment, boundry lines, and to provide new or different experiences.
In this case, Rocky Meadow no longer returned us to a wide 2WD road but forced us onto another blue 2 called Laurel. That in itself would have been okay accept Laurel has been re-routed resulting in a short section of Laurel being equivalent to a Black 1 rating. Those of us with 4 to 6 inch lifts and a good spotter made it through and I think liked it. I felt bad though that a few drivers had some trouble and I did give Paragon some polite feedback about this new section. We spent about two hours getting 9 of us through that section and included some strapping, winching, bumper bending (remember the CJ that has never been abused?) and one destroyed tire. Howard's rig made easy work of the trail but his right front tire's side wall got a big rip in it and the air quickly escaped.
Most of us like some technical rock crawling and some winching and recovery work but by now it was time for a leisurly ride to a lunch spot. That would not happen just yet. We got off of Laurel only to find the creek crossing over to Boy Scout #48, a green 2, had been moved and Roland got hung up there for a few minutes. Once across we went up the steep hill on Boy Scout and easily made our way to a nice lunch stop by the spring.
After lunch it was back east on Haul Road to the other side of the park to run Doe Run Rocks # 89, a green 3. That went well and we came out on Pipeline (2WD) and stopped to see if anyone wanted to play on Rattler's Tail #72, a black 2. Dennis had wanted to but by now he was overheating and Scott jumped into the CJ to give it a try. Good grief, talk about abusing a machine! I think everyone with a camera got some shots of this. He had to turn back after a bouncing over few two foot tall rocks. The CJ hit him back though. It's steering wheel slammed his elbow into the door. The elbow got a cartoon caricture looking bulging throbbing knot sticking out of it. (I hope it is healing well)
On the way down Pipeline before we ran Ridge Road we passed a huge mud puddle but Dennis of course could not resist. Another photo op ensued. I am sure we will be seeing plenty of photos of Dennis up to his crotch in mud hooking up a strap. Gary pulled him out in gear to try and get it restarted. What a hoot watching Dennis' tail pipe go blub, blub, blub, shooting mud and water out as the engine once again came to life!
We still had two hours to be back at the parking lot and went south on Pipeline to Ridge Road #78, a green 1, back across Logging Trail #73, a green 2, to Lucky #80, a green 3, and back up Pipeline to a new trail #70 called Interstate, a green 2 I think. It is called Interstate because it takes you to the eastern edge of the park along I-81 south of Hazleton.
Haul Road to Valley Rd #11 (2WD) to 101 course #13 (also 2WD) and a stop for the after photos got us back to the parking lot with 10 minutes to spare.
Saturday night eveyone met at Damon's Steak house for an excellent dinner and post trail discussion. Linda even joined us and we got to see her new lift and many other goodies. Very nice job on the rig Linda!
I had an excellent time. Thanks everyone for coming. We should do it again!