AZ Run IV Tuesday March 15, 2005 - Sunday March 20, 2005 On Saturday, people started trickling in from out of state. Robin and Brian showed up at the house in time to go get Will from the airport. From there we went to Mikey's to check on the progress of wrenching on Flip's truck. They got the lockright in the back, and while Flip was under there, Mikey was able to weld some art deco on the tire carrier. Beer drinking ensued. Then it was off to John's to meet Keith. More beer drinking ensued - enough that it seemed like a good idea to roll Jove's Blazer over. Which we did....a couple times. Sunday was the grocery run. AZ Runners attack Walmart. The X came home with beer on the roof and bacon in the back. Into the fridge/freezer with it, and off to John's again for the pre-run wrenching party. We watched Jove build sliders for Flip's truck and Keith put the finishing touches on his ride - new air lines, some radiator protection, and a swingaway crap carrier on the back bumper. Jove's Blazer stayed upright. Monday - morning of the run. Load up our shit and head east to the rendezvous point. Lower Woodpecker. First Obstacle. Damn rain storms put a couple huge rocks into what we thought was the only line for IFS trucks. I tried it a few times spinning all 4 but was unsuccessful. Mikey's junk was running the lower wash and of course, showing off. Not to be outdone, Duerk hits the lower wash with those big ol' 35's and gets over the rocks, then proceeds to use the entire driver side of the truck as a rock slider and got through in a display of grit, courage, and truck abuse. We move some rocks around on the upper bypass with the winch and Dennis hits it in the XJ. Slow grace carries him through with a scrape here and there. Then Rondo shows off the monster SAS Frontier in the same spot. Then came JW. In a spectacular display of throttle and armor bashing, he is through. I wanted something different. I go halfway up the bypass, then turn left into the wash against a huge rock outcropping. The truck does a beautiful 90 degree pirohette against the rock and I bang and bash through the lower wash. Now Ivan. Nope, the unlocked X just can't get over the rock. Then came Flipper. After trying unsuccessfully at the lower wash, he showed us some funky steering action. Then he hits the high line and gets over. Then the A-arm bolt comes out. Our first breakage. It takes a while to get it back in and the rest of the pack heads up to Upper Woodpecker. Dennis and Mikey lead Chris, Keith, Robin, and Carl in first. Ivan and John leave shortly thereafter. I'm hearing two radio conversations in the middle - one was the progress on the Pathy and another was a call out from up on Firehole. Keith sheared his skidplate bolts and needs the welder. The rest get to the trailhead and we take the big Chevy and the welder in to the rescue. In no time it was welded up and ready to go. The Firehole bypass is the first of many obstacles on the trail. 3 separate groups pick their way through. The weight of the welder did in a tire on the Big Chevy and progress was slow in the back as a result, but we eventually all get through without incident. Damage report: Duerk's doors Flip's A-arm bolt Keith's skids Perry's tire Robin's rear quarter dent Once off the trail we make for the day one campsite. In no time, Tent City was up to protect from the unseasonable warmth and Ivan has his beer bong out. In between him telling all of us how much he hates us, a few of us give the old funnel a try. It's been a lot of years, but those things still work Morning came too early (a recurring theme). We broke camp and pondered the route. It was time to test drive the bumper dumper, so it was installed on the back of our X and the keys were passed. The bumper dumper works. The plan: Lower Ajax, then head into Martinez Canyon. After a short delay for a very dehydrated and vomiting young lady riding with Chris, we hit the trail. DL in the bone stock X found a nice spot to get twisted up and cease forward motion. After some unsuccessful attempts at getting her through, some scolding for too much throttle, and a scuffed front bumper, I threw out the strap and got the line moving again. Many in the group tried more challenging lines and much fun was had, and there was no breakage. Near the end of the trail there was the mishap of Ivan's gas cans tipping over in the roof basket and giving his truck a nice bath in gasoline. That smelled lovely. Ivan told us he hated us and we moved on. The group lined out back on the main trail and we proceeded towards Martinez. The big Chevy decided it needed to blow another tire tho, so with no spares left, Perry and JW headed back to town to hit a tire shop and we didn't see them again until camp that night. At Martinez cabins we decided we'd send two groups in staggered to keep things moving. We offloaded the trucks so we could run this one empty and Carl elected to lounge around the cabins and wait for us. Obstacles start quickly on Martinez. In no time we were at the waterfall and much fun was being had. The meany powered up it with significant bumping and banging. Marshall followed with EXCESSIVE bumping and banging, but you could see the pride on his face when his ARB locked stock geared 5 speed crested it. Ivan got to the bottom of the waterfall and immediately snapped a tierod. I walked down with an EOE spare and the appropriate wrenches to help swap it out, and in no time he was back at it. He told me he hated me and it was my fault it broke. We spotted him and others through the "bypass", which really wasn't any better than the boulder strewn waterfall - just different. As he and Rondo snaked through that line, Mikey decided to climb some impossible boulders. While the photo ops he provided were cool, the snapping sound his front axle made was cooler. Damn if Mikey didn't carry a spare tho, and he was repaired in under 30 minutes, but that took a lot of the adventure out of him, since he was driving out that night and leading DL in the Xterra. We continued on to the next series of waterfalls. I drove up and then spotted some of the others....and I stacked a bunch of rocks that were immediately spit out with each truck. Rondo tried an alternate line past the climb and snapped one of the heims that locates his front axle. The truck was sitting all flexed out in the middle of the creek at the time. He was able to winch to somewhat flatter ground, but the repair still had him lying in the drink and they had a helluva time getting that heim installed. The rest of the group decided to press on, as the second group had caught up with us. We proceeded through a few more obstacles and started up the switchbacks. The switchbacks are very reminiscent of some of the high Colorado trails and have some equally disturbing dropoffs. We pressed on and crested the pass near the upper mine. One last big uphill obstacle to go. Locked guys drove up with minimal drama; the unlocked guys made up for it. After a few tries, we were at the top with nothing more than a few frazzled nerves. The rest of the group remained down with Rondo giving him way more advice than he needed. Next up: The Luge bypass. Basically, this is about a 45 degree descent on golfball gravel with a right turn at the bottom. Makes me glad I got gears. Others used the old E-brake trick to keep the front wheels turning so you could steer. The first group was down and we headed back to the cabins to set up camp and pound a well deserved cold one. Marshall pitched the hammock, took a sun shower and got all prettied up for the rest of us. The dutch oven came out and he started cooking up a mess of yummy stuff. Mikey and DL headed home. Radio silence was broken by a call out that the R50 destroyed a halfshaft. After a couple more hours we start hearing radio chatter again as the second group started down the Luge. Dennis basically dragged the R50 in 2lo all the way up the mountain - quite the challenge! And Keith came down the Luge in 2wd. Now THERE'S a story for his flatlander friends! From the first radio contact, I had my spare halfshaft dug out and we were assessing things. When Keith rolled into camp, we ran it up on my hi-lift and realized he lost his wheel lock socket. Good thing Perry and JW were just pulling in on fresh tires! A socket was welded to each lock to remove wheels. Leland also showed up that night in his super sweet '88 FJ60 rolling on 35's, dual lockers, 4.88's, new bumpers, and a winch. It had come a long way in the like 2 weeks that he owned it. We laid out the shafts and they werent quite the same, but the inner ends were, so we disassembled my spare and used the inner piece and the boot and had him fixed back up in no time. Good food, plenty of adult beverage and Blue Collar Comedy Tour on a laptop provided the evening's entertainment. Carnage report, Day 2: Ivan's tierod center Mikey's axleshaft Big dent in Flipper's right rear door Rondo's heim Keith's halfshaft Another tire on Perry's big Chevy And various scrapes, contusions, etc. on the rest. Day 3 - eat bacon and break camp. We drive out to the intersection of the Martinez Cabin and Coke Oven trail and pick up Matt and Alba in his Frontier for the day. Carl heads home. The Coke Oven trail is easier and goes pretty much without incident. Something mysterious was leaking from Matt's truck but we never did figure out what that was. And off to the Coke Ovens we went, followed by the normal curious questions and poking around by folks that have never seen them before. And off to the Gila River we went. Ivan was in his element. After screaming out how much he hated us, he proceeded to zigzag all over in the river seeing how much water he could splash. Duerk almost made it but blew a tranny cooling line right before the crossing. While that was being fixed, Jove got a bumper dumper ride in the river and I did the best I could to dump Ivan into the drink off my hood, but I was unsuccessful. He said he hated me. Ivan saw mud in the river bottom and got goaded into giving it a shot. We figured he'd bury it because the stuff looked like it had no bottom, which, unfortunately, it did. He banzaied across the muck but couldn't stop and killed a dead tree the rest of the way with his ARB on the other end. Damn, that was funny. He told us all he hated us. We headed east back up to the ovens, then along the river to the battleaxe trail. Walnut canyon was our destination, but we had to stop the group like 30 times to fix Dennis' antenna which could not be fixed. Just when we thought it was OK, his boy needed a sandwich. Eventually we all got moving. About halfway there, guess what? Yup...the big Chevy lost its 3rd tire. We eventually found our campspot. Marshall was feeling green this St. Patricks Day, so he retired to the back of his X to fire up the oven again and make a mess of corned beef. Went will with my ribeye that night, I must say! Perry headed out to find more tires and to address an overheating problem. Chris and the girls bid us farewell. Keith and Robin ran to town on an ice run, and the rest of us proceeded to the normal camp routine of beer drinking and telling lies. I also finally made up with Pheobe that night (Jim's little rodent dog). She still hated everyone else....just like Ivan. Carnage report day 3: Perry's tire Dennis' antenna Duerk's tranny line Day 4 - Hackberry! We broke camp yet again and headed into Superior, AZ for gas, ice, and misc goodies. The shitters in the convenience store never stood a chance. The line was long, so Marshall asked me if anyone was in the women's room. I wiggled the doorknob and found it open. That's all I needed. I came out just in time to completely dishearten Rondo's wife who was waiting in line for the women's room Another Matt with a nice Pathfinder joined us this day and we headed east out of town about 8 miles to pick up our next trail. This one, while rated less than some of the others we ran, would prove to be the baddest trail all week. Tire sized rocks litter the trail, and the line changes as each truck passes. We did OK until the big obstacle - a rock wall followed by 200 yards of wicked rolling boulders. I was 4th in line. Dennis gets his XJ up the obstacle and Ivan was next. After a few tries, he takes the strap and the Jeep reluctantly gets the Vadermobile up and over. Marshall was next. Despite best efforts and plumes of tire smoke, Ivan drags him over. We send those three up ahead to tear up the rock garden for the rest of us. I go next and make it under my own power, followed by Leland in the big FJ. We left the FJ there as a tow truck and he got instant action by pulling several more up the wall. I picked up pulling Robin through the rock garden and I wonder even now how I didn't destroy my drivetrain in the process. Dragging Robin's truck is one thing, but dragging his truck with him actually IN IT was simply amazing. I picked a bad line and got him quite wedged. It's hard pulling when you can barely get over the rocks yourself! Here, the TF&J special 2x4 steel slider got kinked over. After much grunting, we get out of the rocks and to the top of the hill. Leland, in all his heroic towing, popped a bead on a tire and had to go for the spare. Ivan is already up there with the hood up. He's got idiot light issues, probably due to all the hate he has for everyone. We were parked under the powerlines and everything he touched underhood was shocking him - even with the battery disconnected. Was the damndest thing. A little looking confirmed our suspicions - he broke a driver side motor mount on the climb. I was back down the hill spotting several of the trucks up. I went back up and Keith had one of his special "klinker straps" ready to tie the engine back down, and it worked. After nearly 2 hours the whole group made the hill. We looped around and went down to Hackberry Creek where we found cattle. Matt's centerlink in his Pathy was toast after 1/2 of running and we stopped to lower the tbars to help limp it along. Hackberry creek is like a mini Rubicon. Big rocks and lots of fun. Eventually we got back to the end of the loop and to the exit road. And what an exit road it is. Big rocks, steep grades, super tight switchbacks, and a big rock garden at the top. Locked trucks scratched and clawed their way up. Robin took a tougher line in his Fronty and had to take a strap over the top. The rest of the group picked their way to the top, and then Keith came over the radio - he grenaded another halfshaft. The big FJ pulled him over the rest of the way. The downhill wasn't much better. Big sheetmetal grabbing rocks everywhere. Robin added to his rear quarter dent. We picked our way to the mini lions back and one by one, we picked our way up. Keith got winched, as he was back to 2low. We finally conquered the loop and found our camp. DL met us, as well as Perry and Shauna. DL only stayed for a little while, but Perry and Shauna were on the run now. Steaks were eaten, Ivan said he hated us, and we finally crashed. Temps went from the 90's to below freezing that night. Day 4 carnage: Leland's tire Robin's slider, leaf spring, and rear quarter Keith's halfshaft Ivan's motor mount Matt's steering Day 5 - Ralph and Matt with the Frontier hooked up with us to run for the day. Today was to be the easiest day of the week. We ran half the trail and came up on the quad accident, which I won't cover here because Duerk already said all there was to say. At the end of the day we made it back to the highway and aired up. Town was a mere hour away, as was the long-awaited shower. On Saturday morning, a few of us went out to finish off the run on a good note and wheel the rolls at Saguaro lake. We played for half a day on the hillclimbs and enjoyed watching others take on the challenging hills. A modified Rubicon tried making the meany look stupid...and almost succeeded, but my friend, Mr. Throttle got me up and over. We headed back to John's for spirits, burgers, and video. The video will be AWESOME. Somehow the Blazer got tipped over again I want to extend a huge thanks to everyone who came on this trip. You guys rock. Ivan hates all of us. Special thanks to Jim, Shauna, and Chris for their CPR efforts, and to Mattman for helping me with the 911 calls on Friday. Also, special thanks to John and Jove for capturing the week in Swankyvision. The video will be the best ever, I'm sure! Finally, thanks DL for getting N4W off the ground and helping us pull this whole mess together. What will AZ run V be like? Guess we'll have to wait and see!