Meeting Minutes September 26, 2001
Meeting called to order by Vice-President, Marty at 7:05 p.m. followed by the pledge of allegiance. Welcome to guests.
Members Present: Charlie and Becky Babcock, Matthew D. Parkes, Scott, Lynn and Sydney Nixon, Marty Boetel, Ed Lyons, Steve Graham, Linda Luik, Micah and Christina Coleman, Norm and Carol Harris, Ted, Loran, and Jacob Gersztyn, John Tash, and Jay Kopycinski.
New member; David Frasier was voted in.
Linda Luik is looking for a tail-gunner for the Jamborees Coke Oven Trail on Friday. If you are interested please contact her.
Meeting Adjourned at 7:30 p.m.
Meeting Minutes Submitted by Becky Babcock
Trip Report: Cottonwood Creek
Charlie Babcock – 73 K5,
Matt Parkes, guests Jeff and Kendra – 66 FJ-40,
Mike Tutor and Ron Couch - 98 Toyota Tacoma
[Editors Note: I'm usually lucky if I get one trip report for a particular trail. This month I got two for the same one. I'm publishing both since they each put a lot of work into them, and because they provide two different viewpoints.]
Mike Tutor's Report:
We met at 8 AM on Saturday, Sept 8th for what was suppose to be a half-day run starting at the Four Peaks road turnoff from the Beeline Highway. Three trucks showed up in all. They were Mike Tutor and Ron Couch in the 98 Tacoma, Charlie Babcock in the Blazer, and Matt Parkes in the 66 Landcruiser. Matt brought along 2 guest riders. Charlie was the trip leader.
We drove without incident down the 2.5 to 3.0 trail for about 10 miles until we got to the tough section, which was rated a good 4.5. There were many large rocks sitting in soft sand. This is where we decided to abandon the Tacoma and ride along with the rest. It wasn’t long before the highlift came out and Charlie started jacking and stacking and pushed the Blazer deeper in. One mistake was jacking up the truck by the rim, stepping on the gas, and ripping off the valve stem… time for the spare. The second mistake was doing it again! After screwing around for half an hour, the valve stem was replaced in one tire. Charlie finally decided to abandon his vehicle and we hoofed it along side Matt’s Landcrusier to the end of the trail and back. (Nice rig!) The trail ended on the SE corner of Sagauro Lake. There were a few boats pulled up to the shore and several swimmers. We hung out a while, then headed back.
On the way, we picked up Charlie’s truck. The power steering pump was bad and prevented him from being able to steer. Charlie kept pouring fluids into it, which just ran out on the ground. (Note that if your pump is bad when you leave the house, it will most likely be bad when you get to the trail!) Matt hooked up his winch to help pull Charlie around and blew out his rear driveshaft CV joint… not good. To top it off, Matt’s winch decided to go belly-up. (We later found that his battery was fried, so the winch is probably OK.) Now we have Charlie stuck in the rocks, Matt with no rear driveshaft or battery, and the Toyota temporarily safe at the head of the trail, but not for long.
I went back and got the Tacoma while Ron, Matt, and Charlie continued to try to move the trucks. After about 2 hours of winching myself down the trail, I was close enough to get the cable to them. I pulled Charlie off the rocks first. Matt's truck wouldn’t start so we jumped it with Charlie’s truck. A quick tug got Matt over the rocks and able to move on his own. It wasn’t long before Charlie took off and found his way back out of the trail. Meanwhile, Ron and I continued to assist Matt. It was nighttime by now… we were hoping to be back by 2 to 4 PM. We managed to get to within 150 feet of the exit when Matt’s truck stalled again. There was no way I was going to be able to pull him without some assistance from his front axle. I was asked to keep pulling. I had 80 feet of strap connected to Matt and my winch cable was hooked to Charlie’s truck… almost home, but… after another 20 minutes of worthless pulling, I insisted that they either start the truck or leave it there. They choose to leave it. So close, but without the engine running, it wasn’t doable. (I later heard that Matt got his truck out on Monday with no problems.)
We got back to the highway about 11:15 at night. That’s when the cell phones started working again. We all made a few calls and found out that the family of the two guests got worried and sent the helicopter rescue team out looking for us! Also, Mike Kennedy (Lo-Ranger) was gearing up to come look for us. So were Brenda Couch and Dawn Stockey. We were able to stop everyone before they got out of town (except for the helicopters).
The Tacoma wound up with more damage on this rescue mission than it received in the previous 3 years… There is now a big dent in the bed / cab area, both rocker panels have further damage, the exhaust system is bent and rattling, the new skid-plates look like the ones I replaced, the transfer case was shoved into the bottom of the floorboard, the drive shaft and yokes are damaged, and there’s probably a few other things that I haven’t discovered yet.
Did I mention that the two guests showed up with no lunch or water? Ron and I shared what we had. We even drank the melted cooler ice.
Looks like there are a few lessons in this one…
Charlie Babcock's Report:
Matt, Jeff and Kendra arrived at my house at 6:50am but due to Kendra’s baby sitter problem we didn’t leave until almost 7:30am. We arrived at the Four Peaks parking lot just off of SH87 at about 8:15am. Mike and Ron were waiting for us. After unloading Matt’s rig we headed off for our adventure. I missed the turn onto Cottonwood Camp road and we were headed up the Four Peaks road before I turned the small group around. After back tracking a couple miles we found the turn and made our way to Cottonwood Camp. At the camp we dropped down into the sandy wash and headed south to Saguaro Lake.
We made good progress dodging any of the annoying obstacles until we arrived at the main boulder filled section. We all walked ahead to scout out a good path. Mike decided wisely to leave his Tacoma at this point. If I were smart I would have left my K5 here also. I went ahead and threw both levers forward and started bashing sheet metal in double low. I was soon stranded, the boulders easily swallowing up my 38" TSL’s. Matt kept asking where the obstacles were, while rolling along on his 42" monster tires. Everyone pitched in to help High Lift and stack rocks for the extrication. We finally got the Blazer out of its jamb only to drive into another stuck just down the trail. Out came the High Lift and the process was repeated several times until I sheared a valve stem and decided to replace my tire, stop for lunch and turn my truck around so I could walk the rest of the trail.
Kendra took off walking towards the Lake soon after I blew the tire. She had no lunch. After changing my tire I started up the wash towards the Lake also, knowing that Matt wasn’t going to need much help. I passed several obstacles that looked like they would remove my doors (that might look cool) if I could ever get through them at all. The nasty rocky section is only about a ¼ mile long and after that is another stretch of sandy wash maybe 2 miles long before we reached the Lake. A mile from my K5 Matt and Jeff caught up with me in the Cruiser. I climbed aboard noticing that Matt had forgot Mike and Ron who were walking behind him in the boulders. Note for Matt, don’t leave walkers behind they might save your butt later! The last part of the trail had given Matt a slight challenge and he mentioned both rocker guards had made contact in a squeeze between 2 boulders (with 42" tires?). We cruised to the Lake and caught Kendra coming back (surprised her didn’t we Matt). Kendra jumped in and we made it to the Lake. We all waded in to cool off and Kendra went swimming in her clothes. Mike and Ron finally arrived only to be told that we had to leave. It turns out that Kendra had left her 6-month-old at a 1st time baby sitter and told her she’d be back by 2-3pm. I think it was 1:30pm or so. The 6 of us piled in/on Matt’s 3-seated Cruiser and headed back the way we came. Ron, Mike and I riding on the outside received only minor scratches from the mesquite trees. Thanks again for the ride Matt, 2 miles hiking in sand, in the heat is a pain.
After we reached the K5 I told Matt to take the lead so he could pull me through obstacles when (not if) I got stuck, to speed up our trip back. It was a good idea in theory but not in practice. Matt made his way through the giant boulders with ease staying just ahead of me. I got jammed in the same spots that I was stuck at going in. So we hooked up the strap and jacked up the High Lift. Matt started to pull and ka-bang the rear driveshaft dropped to the ground as the CV blew up. So Matt removed his driveshaft as the rest of us tried to move the Blazer with the High Lift in the wheel. Psssst, another valve stem was sheered off, doh!
As I tried to remove and install the valve stem Matt and Jeff hooked up the winch cable and started to make progress in front 2wd. I gave up on the valve stem and Mike took over. Matt’s winch quit working and he then proclaimed to be hopelessly stranded. Mike’s patience paid off, he got the valve stem in and I slowly pumped up the tire with my 12-volt compressor. 20 minutes later the tire was inflated and everyone joined in to get my truck out of it’s current stuck and through a really tough route to get around the broken Cruiser. We were about 2/3 of the way back through the tough section and Mike made a noble decision.
Mike, Jeff, and Kendra headed for the Toyota to come back and bail us out. In the mean time Matt, Ron and I killed our selves trying to get the Blazer past the Cruiser. 2 hours later the K5 was stuck right next to the Cruiser in a beautiful pose. Everyone was exhausted and it was getting close to dark. We could here Mike smashing his truck on the boulders coming around the corner. I walked over to where Mike was and told him to stop there, about 200’ away. We used 5 20’ straps and Mike’s winch to reach my Blazer. With a quick tug the K5 was free, thanks again Mike. Then we hooked up to Matt’s truck and realized something really bad. Matt’s winch was fine but his battery was dead! The Tacoma’s winch wouldn’t pull the dead weight of Matt’s Cruiser so I turned around and came back to jump start it. It wouldn’t start until Mike hooked up a second set of jumper cables. Once the Toy was running we High Lifted the rear and Mike yanked it free while Matt drove forward.
Matt was having trouble getting over even small obstacles (small to him) so Mike had to continue winching the Cruiser when it couldn’t make it. Matt did a great job using momentum to get over some of the obstacles and keeping his truck running. I drove around Mike to stay out his way and made my way back down the trail ahead of him. I got stuck twice more and Jeff helped me High Lift and stack rocks to get out. When I finally got through the last obstacle I made my way back to Mike who was tugging Matt with a strap. Matt stalled the Cruiser in a tight turn in the trail and the Tacoma wouldn’t budge him. So I hooked the Tacoma’s winch up to the back of my K5 and Mike tried to pull the Cruiser free. No luck, without the motor running the hydraulic assist couldn’t be back driven to steer. The front tires pointed into the rock wall and the Cruiser wasn’t going anywhere.
I offered Matt the battery out of my K5 but Matt had made a decision to leave his vehicle where it was and come back for it another day with a driveshaft and battery. I know this was a tough decision and I for one wouldn’t have left my own truck. I’d be camping for the night. We all pitched in to get Mike’s truck through the rest of the trail, which was still a bunch of big boulders. With careful spotting, rock stacking and a little winching the Tacoma made it out, but not without more damage to Mike’s truck. Matt got his stuff from his Cruiser and then joined Jeff, Kendra and I in the Blazer. We drove as fast as we could back to the Four Peaks Parking lot and stopped for me to air up.
Everyone broke out their cell phones and called people to tell them they were OK. It was about 11:45am when we left the parking lot and headed for drinks and food.
Thanks to Mike, Ron, Matt, Jeff, and Kendra for helping me get my poor K5 out of that miserable trail. I want to thank Mike for bringing his daily driver into that trail at risk to his own truck to rescue Matt and I. If he hadn’t of come for us it would have taken us a lot longer to get out.
Charlie Babcock's Report, Part2:
Matt and I met at the Checker Auto on Gilbert near Southern. We made our way east on SH87 talking on the CB. When just past Shea the driver’s side rear tire blew off of Matt’s truck. That’s no typo; the tire came off the truck. I was in the front and heard the explosion and pulled over immediately. Matt stopped behind me and his tire caught up with us just after that hitting the back of the trailer. We jumped out to put the spare on, oops no spare for the truck or trailer. So we put one of the trailer tire and wheels on the Ram. The trailer has torsion axles so the axle barely hung down without a tire on that side, pretty slick.
We were soon on our way again and made it to the Four Peaks road parking lot. Funny thing is, no one was there on Monday night at 8:00pm. Matt and I loaded up his new alternator (just in case), 2 fully charged batteries, custom welding cable battery leads, and some miscellaneous tools and drinks into the Blazer. We took off for Cottonwood Camp road and didn’t miss the turn this time. Then we quickly made it to Cottonwood Camp dropping into the wash just past it and headed for the Cruiser.
I made a wrong choice in the wash and headed into an ever-tightening trail, so I got the K5 turned around and found the right path. We were quickly at the first obstacles and flipped the Blazer around to back through the boulders to a spot 2 20’ strap lengths from the Cruiser. Yes all of the Cruiser was still there. There was no moon out so flashlights were mandatory which caused the bugs to swarm all around us. We got the batteries in the Cruiser and it fired right up. Matt got the Cruiser a few more feet on it’s own with just the front tires pulling. Then hit a ledge that he couldn’t get over. We hooked up the straps and the K5 crawled forward as Matt slowly applied throttle and he went right over. We repeated these process a couple more times and the Cruiser was free from the rocks.
Our problems weren’t over yet; the Cruiser wouldn’t go up any kind of loose rocky incline without digging in. So I ended up pulling the Toy up obstacles a stock Isuzu could drive up. We both agreed that the rear driveshaft was much worse then breaking the front. Matt made pretty slow progress once we reached the sandy wash. He said the truck steered very poorly with front only drive.
We arrived at the Four Peaks road parking lot and loaded the Cruiser. I aired up my tires as Matt told me he was planning on driving back at 40mph. I had my doubts that a single bald Thornbird on one side of the trailer would hold up half the trailer and Land Cruiser’s weight. I guess Matt made it home OK; I stayed with him to Ellsworth and US60. I rolled into my garage at about 1:30am Tuesday morning; beat but happy that Matt’s Cruiser was safe and sound.
I want to thank Matt for giving 100% effort to try and free my K5 at the expense of his own vehicle. I would have done the same for him and was happy to return with him to get his truck out.
Trip Report: Pyeatt Draw
By Scott Nixon
Scott Nixon - 95 Dodge 1500
Charlie, Shelby, and Hailey Babcock - 73 K5
Don and James Munzer - 76 CJ7
Jay and Sandra Kopycinski - 85 RokToy
Just as I pulled up to the meeting spot next to Don and Charlie, Jay pulled in behind. Wanting to get out of the heat as soon as possible, we piled into our trucks and headed north. The trip up to Payson was uneventful, and thanks to two lanes of highway in both directions we didn't make any enemies limping our tweaked driveshafts and oversized swamper products along at five miles under the posted limit.
After a quick stop to gas up and one wrong turn, we found our way to the dirt road leading to the start of the wash. A bumpy hundred yards or so down it, Charlie cried "uncle" and we all pulled over to air down. We continued on with squishier tires, and made good time to the start of Pyeatt Draw.
We walked the first section, but it didn't look like anyone had ever driven it. Staying on FR1256, we skipped ahead a section or two. Once again I made a wrong turn, and wound up at a dead end. Doubling back, we found the wash again, and Jay, Charlie, and Don dropped down into it and started playing. This section featured some really interesting rock formations, and a couple of good step climbs. Once everybody was in four-wheel drive (I won't name any names), the three vehicles crawled easily back to the next intersection with the main road.
The lawn chairs and coolers came out, and we all enjoyed a relaxing lunch in the shade of some large pine trees. Just about the time the breeze was lulling me to sleep, Jay asked where the tougher stuff was, so we loaded up and went in search of it. Once again the three vehicles with real tires dropped into the wash and started to play. A couple of good steps, some nice sized boulders and a tight squeeze past a dead pine tree and they were back to the forest service road. Charlie and Don had had enough, but Jay kept going. The next section was the toughest yet. After one or two waist high, undercut ledges Jay pulled up to a huge deep pit underneath a twenty foot dry waterfall. Off to the side was the only possible line, a narrow slab of rock.
After easily climbing the vertical step up onto the ledge with the help of dual ARB's and some rocks piled up by the last person to attempt this obstacle, Jay stopped to hook his winch to a nearby tree as a safety precaution. Probably a wise precaution, as sliding off the slab would drop the truck cab down into the giant pit. With Don keeping tension on the cable, Jay crawled the rest of the way up.
The next short section of wash provided two good boulder crawls. Having easily conquered the slab, Jay dove in. The first pile left him laying on the passenger rock slider with the rear passenger tire wedged tightly between two big rocks. Rather than risk snapping something in the driveline, he broke out the Hi-Lift. A shot of WD-40 and some elbow grease and the tire was free. With Don, Charlie and I pulling on a strap tied to the roll bar, Jay crawled forward to level ground. The next pile tipped him over on the side again, but with a little back and forth he managed to crawl through.
Tired of watching Jay work so hard, we picked out a nice level campsite next to a flat grassy area. A short time later, some inebriated quad riders drove through. We asked them where the road went, and they indicated it would eventually drop us out at Star Valley. After sitting around for a while, Jay and Sandra headed back towards Phoenix.
It got dark quickly after dinner and not long afterwards we all turned in for the night. Shortly after sunrise a large airplane dropping from 600Mph to 200Mph directly overhead woke me up. I stayed in the back of the truck though, as it was a lot warmer in the sleeping bag. Once everyone else was up, we ate breakfast, took a walk down the wash, packed up, and headed out.
Rather than back track, we decided to follow the road on to see if the quad riders were right. After a dead end and a hallucination involving a downed tree that looked like a mini-van, we found ourselves on FR433. The brush closed in pretty good, dragging down both sides of my truck almost the entire way. There were only a few steep hill climbs, but one section took us between a good-sized tree and a twelve-foot drop off down to a gully. As the distance between the two was approximately one inch less than the width of a full-size truck, this led to quite a bit of pucker. Hoping the road eventually led somewhere so that we didn't have to go back past that tree we headed on. After what seemed like a long time, we encounter a group on motor bikes. They indicated the main road was only four or five miles up, and that there weren't any more narrow spots.
We continued on, with Don Munzer navigating from the back via his super detailed GPS screen. The road finally dropped down into a wash that obviously gets used as the local play area. With a bit of blind luck and some more hints from Don, we popped out into an RV park. Based on the looks of the residents, they don’t see too many full size vehicles come crawling out of there.
After airing up in front of a Star Valley used car dealer we headed into town for lunch. Back on the highway, Don had a Red Ram truck in his rear view mirror all the way to Phoenix. It wasn't till he hit town that he realized it wasn't me. Meanwhile, Charlie and I crawled our way up the hills on 87 as I watched my temperature gauge climb. Once it hit 240, I turned on the heat and fell in behind the slow moving motorhomes. Charlie called back on the CB a couple of times to indicate he smelled hot clutch and burning rubber. We pulled off at a safety pullout and popped our hoods. The smoke was coming from his, an AC clutch had seized up, smoking the belt in the process. Luckily the compressor was all the belt drove, so he cut it off and threw some water on the clutch. We made it the rest of the way home without incident.
The thermometer may not agree, but summer is about over. Time to start wheeling closer to home, or during daylight hours anyway; time for the annual Arizona State Association Jamboree; and time for new club officers.
My second year as editor is coming to a close, and I've decided to step down. It's been fun, despite all the complaining I do about how much work it is folding eighty or so newsletters. I've learned more about Microsoft Word than I ever wanted to, and I've even managed to learn most members' names. There were issues I was proud to see go out, other times I cringed while dumping them into the mailbox.
If cranking out six or eight pages of trip reports, pictures, jokes, or whatever else you feel like sounds interesting; show up at the next meeting to volunteer or let somebody know and we'll nominate you. Heck, if you don't show up we may nominate you anyway. That ought to fill the room next meeting!
Calendar of Events
October 6-7: Jamboree Pre-Runs, call Marty Boetel for details, 480-926-3977
October 19-21: Jamboree!
November 6: Monthly club meeting, 7pm at Peter Piper Pizza, Northeast corner of Alma School and Elliot. Note: This is a Tuesday!
Club officer nominations will be held.
November trip: We need one!
December 4: Monthly club meeting, 7pm at Peter Piper Pizza, Northeast corner of Alma School and Elliot. Note: This is a Tuesday!
Club officer elections will be held.
December 15: Annual Lo-Rangers Christmas party. Bull Dog Wash, near Sagauro Lake. Details soon!
Newsletter Cover Photo
This month's cover photo is a bunch of very large words reminding you that the next three meetings have been combined into two meetings due to conflicts with the various upcoming holidays. They are also on Tuesdays, instead of the normal hump day. Show up on the last Wednesday of the month, and you'll be eating crummy pizza all by yourself.
285-75R16 AT on new 16X8 chrome wheel, 8 lug $40 73 K5 Rally wheels, 15X8, 6 lug with trim rings and center caps $100 Call Charlie Babcock at: 480-812-9101 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hard top and doors for a CJ7, $750. 4 35x12.5x15 tires on 15x8 5x5.5 rims, $250. Call Don Munzer 480-839-9096
1996 USA Venturecraft Trailblazer 2 person tent trailer in good condition for $2000 firm. This is the perfect tent trailer for those who like to do hard core four wheeling but not sleep on the ground. Call Keith at 602 938-4098 or e-mail email@example.com.
4 15x7 5x4.5 chrome steel rims $60 or $200 with 31x10.5 Bridgstone Dueler AT tires with 2/3 tread. Call Bill Blanford 480-759-6297.
Set of 3 folding camper jacks 1000lb each. Pair of red car ramps. 4 chrome steel 16x7 8 lug wheels with hubcaps and lug nuts off a Chevy 3/4 ton. Home built heavy duty 36" sleeper with 4" foam mattress made to fit 81-97 full size Ford, will fit early Dodge and Chevy too. Wood frame 2x2, 3/8 plywood, .04 aluminum sheeting. Has lift gate, roof vent, cab side opening. Cost $320 to build in 1993. Make offer it all has to go! Call Ed Lyons 480-921-1171.
Joke of the Month