By: Terry Pergentile
On Sunday, February 8, set up by DAVEM23, five TRS’ers met on a clear, bright, very cool day at a large quarry to get to know each other better and, more importantly, stretch the legs of some winter bound Fords. E-mails flew, maps forwarded, phone calls made and the connection was made. Two didn’t make it; GONRACIN (St. Thomas) and 4X4CANUCK (Toronto) couldn’t come. They missed a good day.
DAVEM23 (BroncoII), SLEEPY HEAD (Ranger), FOBRONO (Explorer), SLAYER101 (Ranger) and (although late) RAGINRANGER (Ranger) got together and checked out the quarry. Scouted a few weeks earlier by DAVEM23 and SLEEPY HEAD, Dave knew that this was a great spot, not only for off-roading, but, being close to the highways, it is a good meeting place for the out-of-towners. It is a good central spot.
The on-time four started out after stocking up at Tim Horton’s. A short drive later got us into the quarry with no problems. The tracks made by snowmobiles gave direction and a good foundation for our trek in. We headed for one of the best features first, the hill.
It’s quite steep, wide, open and fairly long. There are good spots at the bottom and some bad, Jamie found that out – he is now an expert on the bad. Terry came to his rescue with his shovel. All thought Terry was going to dig but he threatened to hit Jamie over the head for getting stuck right off the bat – first thing! There was no hitting but after a little digging, Dave’s tug was successful and Jamie was mobile again. Not new to off-roading, experience gathered by a tired black Ranger, Jamie brought out his stock Explorer and did surprisingly well. Meaning that it seemed to have only two positions, idle and full-out, when Terry suggested Jamie get the gas pedal fixed, Jamie replied “Yeah, it doesn’t go far enough!”.
Concentrating on getting Jamie out, we were joined by RAGIN. Once Al sorted out the difference between north and south, he found the spot, and us. He locked his hubs and joined in. Al now has new respect for mechanics’ wire. He performed a marriage ceremony between it and his clutch pedal; you owe Dave two feet of mechanics’ wire. Al’s Alberta truck did not seem home sick as we did not hear one Ranger complaint about the area – except for the footbrake smell. Mostly stock, except for 29’s, his Ranger is quite capable and a recent addition of a CB proved very helpful, we almost wore out channel 8. Al’s new tow strap was christened and worked just fine. More on his tow strap later. Al and his Ranger did very well, neither were shy for joining in, they conquered almost everything put in front of them – almost.
Knowing the area helped Dave lead us in with his BII, raised, new 35’s, new Dana’s, locker and lot’s of off-roading experience which he gathered by a previously owned Ranger. He too brought a shovel and both were needed and used. Although everyone helped everyone, which is the way it should be, Dave and his BII were chief tugger for the day. If not busy enough, Dave kept his digital warm by making it work.
Craig might be new to off-roading but tried most things and did well once we coaxed his dash switch to the on position. His wet sanded, Black Ranger is stock but he knows what he wants to do to his truck. He got a very quick lesson on CB and F.R.S. (Familty Radio Service) Communications is key in off-roading, almost to the point where I think it should be the first accessory. He has a lot of automotive/truck experience and he and his two kids always had a smile. Craig was the first to volunteer for anything, especially work. His first attempt up the hill is where he learned a valuable lesson in momentum. Momentum usually works.
While dodging air born snowmobiles, Dave ventured off the top of the very windy, very cold other side of the hill. Right behind him was Jamie in his white-on-blue Explorer. The dark gray Ranger of Al’s was close behind. Dave did okay and was even able to turn around when he found the trail ended in a choice between an impassable thicket or a grade which would have put a piece of quarry onto his hood as an ornament. Still at the top, were Craig and Terry. Warned of the soft spot at the bottom, they hadn’t ventured down. Instead, this was when the discussion of the CB and F.R.S. comparison took place. Dave dodged the two stuck and with help, got back up to the top of the hill. It took some digging, some pushing, some rocking and the joining of all three tug straps but we got the two stuck out of their dilemma. It seems neither wanted to camp out, strange, it was a nice day!
Back together, all thought it a good time to call it quits. Time for a photo. Four were lined up. Terry did very well all day. Staying out of trouble, his stock Ranger’s only advantage was four snow tires. Although undersized (205’s) , the combination seemed to work – not one stuck, until now. Trying to turn around and line up, no go. Al volunteered to push by hand. As soon as everyone saw his stuck, out came the camera’s. Got to get a shot of Terry being stuck. He reciprocated by attempting some white rooster tails, sorry if I got you Al. We’ll have to see what the pics give. A quick push and he was mobile, we lined up and digital clicks were heard all over.
Weirdest sensation. I know how steep this hill is. It is the first time I’ve had to accelerate, going down hill!! Must have been the crusty snow.
Back to Tim Horton’s, comments and e-mails exchanged and we headed home but we’ll be back. ~TRS