Badlands - Memorial Day Weekend Trail Ride
Story By Jim Oaks
(Click on the pics below for a larger view)
I would like to start out by thanking RandyM for hosting this run over the Memorial Day Weekend. My FiancÚ Vanessa and I really enjoyed it and it was good to see Randy, Sambo (n9emz) and Will again and meet Bob (fordboy54), John, Bray (redrocket87), Brian and some others.
The weekend started out for me with Vanessa and I arriving at the Attica Family Campground at the entrance of the Badlands Off-Road Park at 2:30am Saturday morning. We quietly set up camp and went to bed. Randy, John, Sambo, Bob and Brian were already set up and asleep for the night. Later that morning we woke up and waited for Will to arrive. After Will arrived, Vanessa and I met up with him and the others in the parking area of the Badlands.
We were on the trail by 11:00am and Will was leading. It was Will, Randy, John, Bob, myself, Brian and Sam. we started out on the Green Trail and started running in to problems. John's Bronco II was on it's maiden voyage and ran in to some electrical gremlins. The Bronco II wouldn't start on the trail. It was running hot and the initial thought was that there were starter problems from the engine heat. I had a Jump-Pack in the truck and jumped his Bronco II. Randy and John headed back to the campground and fixed it. John ended up replacing the alternator and the relay for the engine fan. Brian and Sam disappeared from us as well. Brian left and we met back up with Sam for a little while later in the day.
Will, Bob and myself continued in to the quarry and on part of the Red Trail. Will was working the Bronco II hard trying to climb ledges and hills. At one point I watched Will as he was actually in the truck rocking it from side to side as if he was trying to roll it over. We got in a good day of wheeling without any mechanical problems. I let Vanessa do some driving so she could learn how to wheel. I had her climbing some ledges in the rock quarry. Will had a friend with him and was letting him drive to learn how to wheel as well. We eventually ended up at the dunes where we met back up with Sam and his wife. Sam was letting her wheel for a while. They led us over to Randy and John. Sam and his wife went back to the campground to head home. Randy, John, Vanessa & I went on to part of the Orange Trail. I swear we were on an ATV trail as narrow as it was with all the trees. Randy buried the Bronco II in a mud hole and John tried to pull him out. John couldn't move him so I hooked to John's Bronco II and we both pulled. It was very slow progress but we pulled him free. By now it was 5:00pm and I was getting tired from wheeling and was ready to call it quits. We had covered a lot of ground and decided to head back to camp.
Once back at camp we showered, ate and headed down to Randy's camper to hang out for a while. Sam, Brian and Will had went home.
On Sunday, Randy, John, Bob and I went back out on the trail and hooked up with Bray. We all stopped to admire the extended radius arms and rock sliders that Bray had fabricated for his Ranger. We decided to tackle the Orange Trail first. We came up on a Chevy truck with a busted front Dana 60. After getting past him and the group he was with we headed for the dunes and then went to the Rock Quarry. We spent most of our time at the Rock Quarry climbing hills and ledges. By 4:00pm it had started to rain pretty hard and we decided to leave. We were going to get in a quick trail but were concerned about getting out before the park closed at 5:00pm and they locked the gate. It really started to downpour on our way out. When Vanessa and I got to our campsite it was obvious there was no way we were going to be able to cook anything. We decided to head to Crawfordsville to get dinner. It's only about 20 minutes east of Attica and has some restaurants, WalMart, movie theater, hotels and parts stores. It's the closest place to stay to Attica if you're not camping. We had dinner at Applebees, went to WalMart and came back to the campground. We went down to Randy's camper for a while before heading back to our tent to watch a video we bought at Walmart.
On Monday I got up and washed the Ranger with the pressure washer at the campground. It's a nice feature the campground offers. It did a great job of cleaning the mud out from under the truck thanks to it's powerful pressure. I took a shower, packed up and went home. Vanessa drove half way and I drove the other half. It's nice to have a woman in my life who likes to wheel, is good at wheeling on her own and can drive my F-150 with my trailer and Ranger behind it. Vanessa's hooked on offroading. We've been brainstorming about getting her a Ranger. Don't be surprised if we go to Attica next year and she's wheeling her own truck.
Thanks again to everyone who came out for the weekend. We had a good group of wheelers with good equipment. We didn't have to take any time out for anyone who didn't know what they were doing or just wasn't properly prepared. Granted you're always prone to problems due to the harshness of offroading, but I've seen people come out on rides with stuff they already knew were a problem and should have taken care of before coming.
Thanks again to RandyM for putting this together. Also thanks to Randy, John and Sam's wives who all came out on the trail for the weekend.
I hope we can do this again next year!
Here are some pics we collected from the weekend:
This Jeep was on the Red Trail and climbed a steeper ledge next to where Bob climbed. It was very impressive.
This Jeep Cherokee was my favorite rig I saw all weekend. It had a Ford 9-Inch rear with 35-spline axles and a Dana 60 front. He actually converted the front to 5-lug to match the rear. After getting there this weekend the Jeeps owner intentionally flipped it on its side to see if he could drive it back on to its wheels. The owner named this Jeep 'Paris' after Paris Hilton. Look for it if you're at the Badlands.