May 27th, 2017

Tasker's Gap and Peters Mill, WV.

Rigs and drivers pose for a group shot at the end of the first trail. From left to right:

2010 Chevrolet Silvarado 4x4; driven by Raven
1993 Ford Bronco, 4x4, on 15" Ram Charger rims with 33" BF Goodrich A/T KO2's; driven by Kurt with wife Michelle riding shotgun (photographer)
1989 Ford Ranger, 2 wheel drive, lifted on 31s; driven by Kat
1994 Jeep Cherokee, 4x4, lifted on 31s; driven by Chris
1997 Jeep Cherokee, 4x4, Lifted on 33s; drive by Adam with friend Alex riding shotgun

The start of the day and a somewhat new group. Due to past experiences, Kurt took the Bronco to the trails on a the trailer. So just in case anything broke, the trailer was nearby. A Chevy Silvarado and a second Cherokee have joined us this time.

The Bronco ready for a third attempt at off-roading without breaking something. It is now sporting new locking hubs, new badges and a new spare tire cover.

The drivers gather for some pre-trail talk.

Couldn't resist the small ground spring beside the trail head parking area. The recent heavy rains had the ground water up. Which means, hopefully, lots of mud puddles for the boys to play in.

Those who wanted a softer ride lowered their rig's tire pressure. We have an air tank along if needed.

While the driver's aired the tires down, the photographer headed for the loud running water. You have to admit,the scenary is beautiful.

Chris and Adam compare ideas on what their Cherokee's are capable of. Let's see what shenanigans these two do.

The day started off with the Cherokee's in the lead. The 2 wheel drive truck is in the middle, just in case.

So there was this 4 wheeler trail off to the side that the Cherokee's started to try. They didn't make it far before they were stopped by trees.

Of course we found the mud pit from last time and Kat took Pepe in after the boys took the Cherokee's in. They didn't leave much mud for Pepe, but he still had fun.

Chris's white Cherokee is still white, even after the mud pit.

Kurt felt the Bronco had enough mud just from the trail.

Raven actually found more mud on the trail than Kurt did with the Bronco.

Adam threw the most mud with his Cherokee. His Cherokee is lifted and has larger tires that sit further out of the wheel wells. It was the most capable vehicle in our group this time.

Chris had to prove that his Cherokee could climb the hill backwards just as well as Adam's could.
We stopped for lunch in a parking area and had sandwiches, chips, and cheese sticks out of the coolers before we hit the next trail. It sprinkled a little rain on us during lunch, but no one cared. Everyone was swapping stories, since Adam had been off-roading before and Raven had not been with us before.

Of course the past breakages were a favored topic.

We left Tasker's Gap and went to Peters Mill run.

Adam had to prove his Jeep's capabilities, but even he said the down angle was too steep sideways and backed off of this hill.

At one point there was a large rock in the middle of the road. The exerienced drivers in the lead went around it. However, the longer Silvarado needed some external guidance. Kurt and Kat talked Raven around the rock with the front of the truck, but he straightened out too soon and ended up going over the rock with the rear wheel.

A close up of the rock. The gray shrapnel around it is the pieces to a Cherokee plastic hubcab. Chris clipped the rock with one tire and Adam said it was a cool explosion of plastic bits.

One of the shallower mud pits the boys went through. Kat took Pepe through it as well, after the camera person had returned to the Bronco. Missed a good shot of rooster tails.

Then of course they had to try this steep hill. Of course with the photographer being in the last car, I missed Adam's Cherokee up there. This is Chris's Cherokee. Pepe tried but could not get enough traction. The Bronco tried, but bottomed out on the side steps.

Towards the end of the second trail is the large mud pit. Chris went into this one without checking it - and got stuck. He was winched out by Adam's Cherokee.

However, while Chris was off getting stuck, Adam was going through the mud and tagged a tree. He dented both doors on the driver's side.

And he dented the passenger side front door. He said he was going to leave them as badges of honor.
Considering the late afternoon hour, everyone decided to head home. We took the small winding road to get back to the parking area. So Kurt loaded the Bronco and we all hit the road. Adam took the lead and got separated. Then an accident on I-66E had us plotting an alternate route. In the midst of communicating with Adam, he noticed he was losing oil pressure. He pulled off the highway onto an exit, but didn't pay attention to which one. It took us several minutes to locate him. Kurt offloaded the Bronco and the Cherokee was loaded onto the trailer. Adam drove the Bronco home and we brought his Cherokee to his house.
Several days later, Chris took in his Cherokee for inspection and it failed the emissions test - again. After several checks, the manifold was cracked (a notorious fail point for that Cherokee engine) and the catalyic converter sounded like a maraca as the inside baffles had been broken. Considering the cat was less than 2 years old, we figure the trails got it.
So in case you haven't been keeping tally, we've been off-roading 4 times now and have managed to break at least one vehicle each trip, for a total of 6 vehicles:
  • First trip 2004: shattered the aluminum transfer case on a 2002 Jeep Liberty
  • Second trip 2016: Bronco's fuel sending unit
  • Third trip 2016: Bronco's transmission and Pepe's rear leaf spring
  • Fourth trip 2017: Adam's Cherokee's oil filter adapter seal and Chris's Cherokee's catalytic converter


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July 2016