My GWNF Trail Run 3/6/09...

Bartonmd

Original poster
Member
Nov 20, 2011
545
Well, I took the boards off the TB and put the spare in the cargo area, while we were in central VA (vacation all last week), and the wife and I took Friday afternoon and did one part of the trail that JamesDowning showed before. I took his map and circled in yellow the part that we did. We went in Switzer Lake Road, and wet up to where it T’d with Flagpole Rd. I think James had a picture of that intersection on his write-up as well. We did something like 17-18 miles off pavement (just short of 9 miles one way)

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Starting out, getting down to the lake, it was mostly gravel, with some rocks sticking out maybe 2-3”, and this bridge was shortly after the lake. Before the bridge, I stopped and let some air out of the tires. I set them at 28psi hot (so ~25 cold) because I wanted to let the tires be able to absorb sharp rocks without getting a puncture, but sure didn’t want to slip a bead or anything.

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Awhile later, we did a (very) small water crossing through a steam. As you can see from the pictures, it barely touches the wheel, and has a rocky bottom of smooth rocks. Not a big deal right now, but could get pretty interesting if there’s a lot of rain, I suspect.

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A small dry wash we went through next… It was completely dry, but again, could probably get pretty interesting if there’s a lot of rain.

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A log over the trail that somebody had cut for us.

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Do remember, folks, that this is bear country (see the bear marking tree in the middle)… Remember your bear bags for food, and all that stuff…

http://www.fs.fed.us/r8/gwj/general_info/bear_safety.shtml

Also remember that if your CCW permit works in VA, it works in the forest, as long as you’re not bow hunting.

George/general_info/faq.shtml
“The second exception to this law allows people with a concealed weapon permit to carry a loaded, concealed, handgun either on their person or in their vehicle while on National Forest. This does not apply if the person is engaged in a primitive weapons season or chase only season.”

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Here we are at the top of the hill, at the intersection of Switzer Lake and Flagpole Roads. This was a good place to turn around, because just less than half of our daylight was gone (We got there at 2:30, and it was 3:30… 2 hours away, and I can’t get my wife out of bed on vacation before 11AM), and I wanted to be scheduled to be out of there by 4:30, so if we got hung up or came up on somebody that was hung up, there was extra time before dark. Also, I wanted to go the other way out like James did, but didn’t want to travel down something that I couldn’t get back up, then have something on the other side that I couldn’t get up, effectively sticking me in the middle and getting dark… no thanks. This was especially the case since the roads on the north side of the mountain had melting packed snow on them from the 6” we got earlier in the week. So we turned around. I didn’t know where the rough stuff and deep water crossings that James posted about were located, so the plan on the way in was to go until we found something I didn’t feel comfortable with, then back down to a turnaround and head back out. Apparently, the tougher stuff was on the other side, on the other trail.

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On the way down, I was un-stressed enough to take some pictures once we got out of the packed snow/slick/steep areas. There was rougher stuff than this, but being alone, stock height, and on stock rubber, I wasn’t going to stop in the middle of anything cool. Yes, I did have the Hi-lift (with winching attachment) and shackles/chains/straps/etc for self extraction, but didn’t want to intentionally put myself in a place to have to use it.

In order to not have to use the brakes much going down (especially with the slick snow/slush), I just kept it in 4LO, and locked it in first range, and let it take me most of the way down.

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Here we are back at the entrance of the road, airing back up. Yes, it’s a cheapo compressor, but I had 3 of them with me (took the ones out of my other 2 cars, before leaving home) plus a bicycle pump. I will get one of the $80 “real” compressors like James has, but it’s not been high on the priority list, since most of “our” wheeling is on construction sites and across fields and such, where airing down is unpractical given the amount of time spent off road vs. the amount of time driving to and from.

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Yes, I hit the hitch and skid plate a BUNCH of times on the trail… Again, not something that I was really interested in stopping in the middle of to get pictures… I was doing like I am used to doing with my old S-10, and straddling ruts, and running the tires over the big stuff that I couldn’t miss entirely, but I smacked the Curt front hitch, my Aluminum skid plate (remember, I have the V8, so mine is flat, without the “pyramid” sticking down for the drain plug), a couple “dinged” on the exhaust, and several rubbed on the fuel tank skid plate. These were mostly loose rocks, though, so I wasn’t really worried about it, given the protection I’ve got from the hitch, aluminum oil pan plate, and GM fuel tank skid plate.

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These are my tires… About half gone OEM Conti TR’s… There wasn’t any REAL mud (lots of muddy puddles, but with rock bottoms, and not very deep), and I aired down some, so I didn’t really have any problems with them. This I’m sure is partially because when it started getting rough, I put it in 4LO, and have the G80, so even on the snow covered hills, and unweighted rear tire events, I didn’t slip much at all.

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Cont...
 

Bartonmd

Original poster
Member
Nov 20, 2011
545
We added some “cowboy stripes” to the sides, as you do when you go around stuff and hug the side of the trail from time to time.

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Here we are the next day, back in mall crawling mode. It takes about 45 minutes to put the boards back on (less if I hadn’t put the bolts back in the holes when I took them off, to keep the threads clean). If I hadn’t taken them off, they would have been TOAST when I came down off the larger rocks that I took with the tires. The wife already took the running boards off of (2) rental SUVs (both Expeditions) when working on the pipeline in CO, and I didn’t want to take a chance at that, given their “plastic” nature and all… To that, the only reason the mud flaps are OK is the fact that I purchased the “flexible” flaps, instead of the hard plastic “molded” flaps.

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The only thing I want to know is: WTF is this RED stuff?? Dirt is supposed to be brown!

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In the end, it was a SERIOUSLY good time! Stock height was OK for this trail, but I wouldn’t do it stock height without being REALLY careful of the radiator (If I didn’t have the hitch, that is), and really careful of the oil pan if I didn’t have a skid plate (Yes, I know I sell them, but I’m being honest here… mine is ¾” further up out of the way than yours is, and I still hit it multiple times)… I’d also be VERY leery if I didn’t have the fuel tank skid plate, because there are a TON of small rises that you go over, and I know the front of the fuel tank would have hit on several of them instead of the fuel tank skid if it hadn’t been there. I also think that 2WD with a G80 would have physically made it up this trail (if there was no snow on it, of course), and even without the G80, (but with some careful light braking), but do be SURE that your tires are in good shape! I didn’t slip very much at all, and my tread got cut up some. If you have stock or older tires and spin the rears with any consistency, these rocks are sharp enough that you’ll probably lose a tire, or at least cut it all up.

After doing this, I SERIOUSLY want to hit TECORE, but now I don’t have the vacation time, and would need tires to do any serious off-roading by that time, and the wife needs another job (she’s laid off) before we have the extra scratch for new tires, to here we are… Next year, though… (In case you’re curious as to why I’m b#tching about $$, and just went on a vacation, it was a timeshare, and was already paid for anyway. It just cost us gas, really, since we cooked our own meals in the kitchen in the unit when we were out there, and the points expire this week).

Mike
 

HARDTRAILZ

Moderator
Nov 18, 2011
49,665
Nice report. Need to bring some more reports over here.
 

mika

Member
Dec 6, 2011
82
HARDTRAILZ said:
Nice report. Need to bring some more reports over here.

:iagree: you have some pritty cool ones..
 

bigredtank

Member
Nov 21, 2011
31
Bartonmd said:
We added some “cowboy stripes” to the sides, as you do when you go around stuff and hug the side of the trail from time to time.

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Mike

should buff right out! or just keep them as battle scars!:wootwoot:
 

Bartonmd

Original poster
Member
Nov 20, 2011
545
bigredtank said:
should buff right out! or just keep them as battle scars!:wootwoot:

Those did buff right out (or would have, if I cared)... I've got some now that are deeper and more plentiful, but will also buff out... This was in 2009, but I just reposted from the OS...

Mike
 

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