_TPThe Frontier 4x4 Club arranged to have our monthly trail ride on May 2nd, 1998.
We met at County Market on Montana and Custer at 9am on Saturday morning. Most of us walked over to McDonalds for a little breakfast.. Mike Kelly drove. :-)
_TPDon, Kathy, and Tyler Gordon were there. Don and Kathy were in their
'78/79 Bronco with 36s, 460, C6, rear Detroit and front ARB. Tyler had
his 31" tire shod '78/79 Bronco.. V8/C6, with no traction aiding devices
that I know of.
George (G.C.) Wheeler and a friend of his pulled up in a red CJ5 from Great
Falls.. 258-6cyl, and 31s.. with a nice new Warn XD9000i on the front.
Bryan and Joan Lewis (Club Pres and Secretary) showed up in their blue
CJ5 - 258, open/open, with a 2.5" lift and 32s.
Mike and Loretta Kelly showed up with one of this kids and a friend.. in
Mike's well built Early Bronco. Mike n' Loretta had recently returned
from the Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, UT. Mike's EB sports a 302V8, NP435
4-spd, Bronco 20 transfer case, 4.09 gears, Detroit out back, ARB up
front, with 33" tires. Warn 8274 up front.. full roll cage.. and one
gonzo driver (usually Mike).
Naturally, I was there along my friend Steve. I was in my 1977 IH Scout
II, sporting a 196-4cyl, 3spd, Dana 20, 4.09 gears in the Dana 44s with a
rear Tracklok, 31" tires, and 4" of lift.
One of Mike's friends, Dan, showed up in his Mustang.. Mike's a member of
the local Mustang club and told Dan there was a "run" on Saturday.. Dan
quickly raced home and traded the Mustang for an '82 Bronco - built '69
351, manual tranny, and 31s with open diffs on both ends.
Bryan & Joan's CJ, and my Scout were the only topless rigs there.
Once everyone had gassed up, the 7 rigs pulled out of County Market and
headed down I-15 south to Jefferson City. We then pulled off and headed
up into the hills, past a Pegasus Gold mine, and onwards up to Occidental
Plateau. We stopped at the top of a rise to take a look at the mine..
then continued on.
We stopped at one point on the trail to crash a little snow on the side..
while stopped, I aired down a bit (from 35psi to 25psi). At this point,
we noticed something sticking out of the 32" tire on Bryan's CJ5.. a
large metal spike had imbedded itself in Bryan's tire! Luckily, it had
gone right through the treadblocks on the tire, across the tire. Mike
grabbed ahold of it and pulled it free.. no air leak. Wow. Lucky.
We drove farther up until we found our first good snow run to hit. Don
Gordon plowed into the snow first.. and managed to get that 36" tired,
big-blocked Bronco buried.
Tyler drove out to give Dad a pull.. and got his Bronco stuck. Bryan and
Joan ended up rescuing the two of them with their CJ5.
The rest of us parked a ways back to watch the fun:
And a close-up of Wheeler's friend from Florida..:
After the three stuckees made it through, the rest of us tried.. I think
Wheeler tackled the snow next.. and made it through.. then Mike Kelly
crashed it.. not a problem.
It was then my turn. I backed up a bit, and got a good run at it.. the
Scout felt a little underpowered.. I made it about halfway through when I
lost at momentum.. and couldn't rock or anything. It was around this
point that Mike called out to me that I was in 2wd... and so I was! I
had shifted into 2wd so I could show Wheeler my on-board air setup
(notice the hood up). Don Gordon hooked a strap up to me and tugged me
backwards.. I then backed up again.. locked it into 4-lo, and hammered
it. Hit 2nd gear and got a little speed going.. plowed into the snow,
sent snow n' mud flying up and over the windshield (no top) spraying
Steve and I, and then slipped right out the other side.
Dan then attacked the snow in his stock '82 Bronco.. not a problem.
And.. Don Gordon then drove back around, and took one more run at it..
you could hear that 460 growling as Don crashed into the snow at speed..
as Mike Kelley put it, "NOW the road's open!"
We then climbed a bit farther, and found a relatively dry spot to enjoy
Following lunch, we aired down farther - most to around 20psi, Mike went
down to 15 or so.. and we then started the serious climb up through the
Mike and Bryan drove up a steep hill up and around n' over to the top of
the plateau. Don Gordon took a side trail and dug some ruts with his 36"
tires.. and even *he* was dragging his differentials!
Tyler, Wheeler, Dan, and I came up behind.. and Tyler got his Bronco good
n' stuck on the first steep section of the trail. While he and Wheeler
tried to get him farther up the trail, I pulled off to the side, and Dan
While standing there.. Dan looked at my truck and asked if my shackle was
bent.. on closer inspection, I had lost the nut on my lower driver's side
front shackle bolt! Teach me to NOT check my bolts the night before!
Some quick thinking, and I had my socket set out.. my Carhart's on, and I
was under my Scout removing the bolt that holds my driver's rear shock on
- I had used the same Grade 8 7/16" bolts on the shocks.. a good whack
from the back of my hatchet, and I was able to put the new nut on the
shackle bolt, and my Scout was ready to continue on.
We then drove another 15 feet to find Tyler still stuck. ;)
After some time of shoveling and winching, we decided to take the left
route - that Don had taken.
Tyler went first, and went along pretty well.. Dan followed Tyler, I came
third, and then Wheeler brough up the tail. Our order was decided based
on wheelbase and trackwidth.. the Broncos would pack it down for me.. and
I'd pack it down for the CJ.
Tyler got stuck once or twice, and at that point Mike Kelly had come
down from the other side and gave him a tug.. once past, the rest of us
didn't get stuck at all and reached the end of this section.
We were now almost to the plateau. We were still in the trees, but a
large patch of deep snow kept us from reaching the others on the top of
the flat. Tyler tried first, and buried his Bronco. Mike was trying to
free him when I pulled up. Out of boredom, I started driving in and out
of the snow on another entry point.. and found it to be rather deep.
Wheeler had to drag me backwards once.. at which point we traded places.
I got behind him, and Wheeler took a run at the snow.. Vrroom nice n'
fast, and he plowed into the snow and got on top.. but didn't make it all
The last picture is of the snow that fell out of Wheeler's white spokers
when he got out.
At this point, Mike Kelly blew his passenger front axle shaft while
trying to pull Tyler out.. so off to the side of the trail the EB went.
Out came the Hi-Lift and a spare axle shaft.. and in 10 minutes, Mike had
field changed the front axle shaft, no problem.
At this point, I pulled Tyler back, and he took another run at it.. and
got farther. Don started pulling from the front.
Dan and Wheeler decided to head back.. Dan had to work that night, and
Wheeler had a hot date in Great Falls..
Tyler got towed to the top of the flat, leaving me on the other side.. I
took a run and got buried. Mike drug me back.. I tried again, same
thing. A third time.. no dice. I tried a couple different approaches, I
tried using 4-lo 2nd, or 4-lo 1st.. finally, Mike drove through and
busted some more snow for me.. I made it farther, but then ended up on
the strap and was towed to the plateau.
At this point, it was time to head home anyhow... so we started down the
Loretta took the lead:
and I followed. She made it look so easy.. floating with those 33s and
her creeper gear.. I started off behind her and promptly buried myself.
A LOT. I would go 10 or 15 feet, only to get stuck again.. and again..
At one point, I'd finally made *some* progress, but was continually being
strapped by Loretta.. while tugging, she slid into a tree and munched the
driver's fender on the Bronco.. :-(
Once I finally got going, I was able to follow a little ways.. we then
waited for the other rigs to make it down (I don't feel quite so bad..
they all had some problems too.. except Bryan and Joan in their CJ5..
they just kinda "wiggled" through it all).
While the others worked their way down a bit, I put my soft-top on.. it
looked like it would rain.
We then worked on the rest of the decent.. while bouncing through some
deep ruts and mounds, I ended up sliding my Scout into a tree and
bouncing off.. I hit the passenger front corner on the tree and bounced
off - lucky for me, there was already a dent there! I just scratched it
a bit. Once we got past the "Y" in the road, it was smooth sailing the
whole way home.
We stopped to "corral" near where we at lunch..
We motored most of the way down.. then I stopped to air up, while others
unlocked.. I figured, since I only had 3 shocks, I should probably have
air in my tires..
We then drove back into town.. I went home to drop Steve off and change
my socks n' shoes.. then met everyone at Godfather's for pizza.
An exhausting day.. but what a blast!