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Photos Return from Tellico.. and the marks it left behind.

thanks jason, i useally forget to take pictures of my own explorer cause I am too busy taking pictures of others trucks.
 



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Uh, were to begin! Lets start here. My day started off early on Sat morning, and got to the trailhead late:rolleyes: But anyways, met the guys I haven't met before, Rick, Kris, Travis, and Josh C. It was great meeting all of you. And it was also good to see familiar faces, Randall, Micheael, Gerald, Jason, and Patrick, as always, it was great seeing all of you again.

So, after airing down, and stretching a bit after the drive, Gerald leads the afore mentioned by Jason group on what I called the "Pup Run")Thanks for doing that again Gerald!! I was very pleased with the performance of my truck. My 122" wheelbase was not that big of a disadvantage, like we were all thinking. I got to try out my new sliders several times and would have much damage if it were not for those.

Gerald's theroy was basically made into a fact. A "super stocker" can do SOME of the trails at Tellico. I was one of the under dogs w/wheelbase and limited slip. And Travis was the other w/limited slip in his sport.

Overall, our group had an awesome time. We met the Big Dawgs only 2 times the whole day on the trails, so I don't know much about there day, except for the damage they had when we saw them.

Our groups day started off very well going up trail 6. We all had a great time on this trail. JoshC got to try out his suspension really well on this trail. Josh, it did great, until the unfortunate started. (And I will let him tell that story when he gets time and when he gets home.) Travis got the first "whoops" of the day as Jason said, but he fixed it with duck tape and zip ties(those 2 "tools" are one of the greats fixing devices man has ever created) We went and took a look at Peckerwood Ledge on trail 7 and had lunch and watched 2 J**ps play. They gave us a good lunch break show as they made it up and proceeded up the trail. We got all of our turning around done and headed back out to go down trail 4. We get to Fain's Ford and run into a traffic jam. We watched several rigs come up and cross the river and play on the other side and then it was our turn to let those who wanted to go off the ledge and come back up give it a try. This was the real test for my truck and the wheelbase. This is the obstacle that we didn't think my truck would have enough clearance to do. But, I went down it and came back up without a hitch or a scratch!! I was very pleased and was on top of the world for a while. After Fain's Ford, we went back up 4 a bit to do trail 8, and this is were our trip started getting long. On this trail is were JoshC started having his troubles, and we decided to turn around and get him back to camp ASAP. But soon, never really even applied to the situation. We head back down 8, and I get high centered on a culvert pipe that goes across the trail, and I left my mark on it. I flattened it the whole width of the underbody of my truck. Jason comes back up to give me a tug and we are off again. We decided to take trail 5 back down, cause it would have taken us a while to get JoshC back out, and from Fain's Ford, 5 is only about 1 mile out. But this was the longest mile of year. Josh's situation continued to worsen, and Gerald and I played tow truck to get him out as safely as we could. We got the river at the exit of 5, and it all hit the fan. This part I will also let JoshC tell.

Overall, I enjoyed the trip very well, and enjoyed the company of the whole group, and those folks we met along the way. If anyone from the campground is browsing the boards, thanks to all for helping with JoshC's truck, I know that he is very much thankful for your help and patience in his situation. And my hat is off to you for your efforts as well.

Travis, your truck did great man. You really picked up alot out on only your 3rd time wheeling. I'll give you the most improved award. I thought that those Thornbirds were gonna give you fits, but they turned out to work great for you. Thanks for giving us an "Air Show" You did however get out good with no rocker panel damage considering you were the only one who didn't have have sliders. But do count your blessings though, cause next time you might just make up for it. I look forward to wheeling with you again in the future and good luck with your job enterview!!

JoshC, like I said before, your truck did great!! It was a treat to see it in action. Sorry again for how things turned out for you man. But I know you were having fun until your day started getting dark on you. I look forward to wheeling with you again in the future as well. We will have to do it again soon.

Jason, what can I say man, always a pleasure wheeling with you. After seeing how much difference the locker made in you truck, I will be getting one for mine. Your truck did really great, and your sliders did as well. You tried your's out 1st thing on 6. We will get together soon and do a NE GA run or something.

Patrick, get a 4x4 so you can play with us!!:p It was great seeing you as well again. Make you sure you try to get together with us this summer.

Gerald, thanks again for taking you Sat and leading us smaller guys around. I know you wanted to go do Big Dawg trails with the Texans, but you showed us a really good day of wheeling. It is always a pleasure wheeling with you and seeing the abuse you put your truck through. Sorry you guys got rained out Sun too. We'll do some more local wheeling as soon as we can get something together.

Guys in the Big Dawg group. It was a pleasure meeting and seeing you guys again. Didn't get to talk with you guys much, but thanks for all the help with Josh's truck. And I look forward to wheeling with you all again in the future.

I'm glad to see that everyone made the drive to Murphy safely. And for the guys that are already home, glad you all made it home safely.

I look forward to hearing what the other guys have to say about the trip. Thanks for the compliments about my truck as well. As was as surprised as y'all were:cool:

Thanks also to the guys that let Brady ride with them! He did have a great time riding with you all.

I will get my pics from the digital camera posted tonight and the others when I get them processed this week.
 






Ok, upon further inspection of the truck, I did manage get to get some damage!!!

Here is my damage:
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a closer view
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Not much, but it IS damage kinda!!
 






Here are some of my pics:
Jasonb and TravisC at the lunch stop we made on 7
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My truck at lunch lady land
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Ole Krusty at Fain's Ford
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Another one of Herc
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JoshC in action w/his improved beast
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Michael at Fain's Ford
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Rick(Bionic Marsh) at Fain's Ford
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Here's another for you Kris
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Mudd***** at Fain's Ford (I love the way the bead locks look on there)
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Another of Randall
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JoshC takin a bath
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Here's the culvert I got hung up on
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I think to put the size of that ledge into perspective, you have to know that the Red and Green explorers were both running 36's. That drop off is a good 2.5 feet and the picture where you see JoshC comin down, that dropoff is about 70 degrees and about 8-10 feet tall, it was incredible seeing what these Explorers could do.

It was an AWESOME trip and it was nice to be able to now put a face and personality with all these people that I see on here. It was nice meeting everyone and hope that everyone makes/made it home alright. Yall be careful goin back to Texas fellas.
 






One more of my truck
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Can you see Jason's pinstriping
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Here is my view of the river experience
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just for you josh...
only good pic of yours i have.. my pics all sucked.
 

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Thanks Jason. That is a really good shot!!
 






Jasonb and TravisC at the lunch stop we made on 7
I'm not elite yet, so I can't post the pic, but how did the guy on the left get that much flex out of the IFS?
 






Disconnected sway bar. Thats all he has done w/the exception of a TT
 






Damn!! Looks like you all had some fun out there even with the carnage. I am sorry to hear about Josh C first time out and all. I can't wait to see some of the pics from the big dawg run. Those trials look like some of the ones we have around here in western Colorado.

BTW: what size tires are on the ranger? Stock 31's?
 






I am running 295/75/16s. BFG ATs. I also have a 3" body lift.
 






after reading all the posts this morning.. it sounds a little exaggerated. josh c's truck is really not damaged that much. the damage that occured caused a lot of problems, but those problems were related to time and effort. he has no body damage, and damage only to a bracket and two shocks. there was definately potential for a LOT of carnage going across the river but that didn't happen. so don't everyone expect to see a mangled truck, because it really isn't. a little welding, thinking, and time... and he'll be ready again.
 






Jason is right; Josh didn't get any body damage that I know of and everything that broke can be fixed and/or built stronger for the next time. I honestly thought that his rig would be destroyed winching it out of the river ( I remember telling the Jeeper that pulled the first winch "I don't know what is about to happen but it's gonna be expensive" ) but we got it out with everything still intact. Whew.
 






Sorry i haven't gotten on yet to tell my story. Things have been crazy!

Like Jason said, it wasn't nearly as bad as it sounds. It just took forever!!

Lets start where the problems began. After going up the hill (not sure what trail) where Josh Adams got hung on the covert, i noticed my ujoint on the rear was pinging. Well thursday i had put my lift blocks on the rear. So i thought no biggy, i just need to retighten the ubolts. So i get out and look and notice a little bit of space inbetween the perch and the block, so i get back in and kind of pop the clutch in reverse to set the axle back down strait. Get out and tighten the crap out of the u bolts. Start up the trail, cross the covert pipe and it started again. Now i was mad. Got back out only to discover that it had moved again. So, once more i cranked on the ubolts and so did my Travis. Get back in, didn't make it 5 feet and it did it again. Now i was PISSED. Get out and crawl up under the truck only to discover that both of the perches on the front side of the axle had bent down creating a nasty pinion angle opposite of the way it should be. Not sure what caused the axle to wrap up like that. I bought them from my local 4x4 shop a couple of years ago and had them welded on by a machine shop here in town. We noticed that they weren't near as heavy duty as the factory perches.

Oh well, that kind of put a damper on the rest of day, so we decided to remove the rear driveshaft and limp down the trail so we can get back home. Thanks to Sammy (Josh Adams navigator) we got the shaft off and threw it in the back of Josh's Ranger and started back down the hill. Luckly i have a locker in the front cause that's all i've got right now! I told them i knew what it felt like to have an Atlas II cause i was in FWD.

Got down to the bottom of that hill, started across the creek, crossed it and came to a little snag in the road. There was a huge rock that looked about like this \ and on the right hand side was a bank with a root sticking out. So to get a good picture, it was like this \__|. I believe this is the same root that got Rick's navajo. So with a couple of guys standing on the DS rockers and a couple of guys pushing on the PS of the truck, we managed to get Gerald across with no damage. Alright, no biggy, my turn. Did the same process to mine, just cleared the root so i was home free from that. NOT! I was watching out my window so i could see where to steer when just as i got past the root i saw my tire just disappear into the wheel well. I instanly new that the trac bar had broke. Luckly i was past the root or the body would have rolled right into it. Limped it onto flat ground and then i got out and looked at the damage. I just knew for sure that the weld i had done to the trac bar on my frame had broken free, but it wasn't. It was the part of the axle that the trac bar was bolted to. It just snapped clean off the axle. Cory's weldes held just fine, but the location of the bolt up was weak. It was the mount for the steering stablizer.

So, okay now what? I can't steer the truck. I borrowed a tarp from Josh again, along with 2 ratchet straps which i still owe him, and i crawl up under the truck and make a X with the straps across the front of the axle to kind of hold it in place till we get across the creek. The problem with this is that i can't steer unless i'm rolling, and i can't really drive myself. So we go ahead and hook up Gerald with a strap just incase. Didn't make it 10 feet and something was banging like you wouldn't believe. So i stopped again, crawled out and noticed the upper control arm on the DS was leaned over from the shift and was smacking the ujoint every time the drive shaft rolled over. So, once again i borrowed the tarp, crawled up under the truck and removed the front side of the shaft and zip tied it to the frame so i wouldn't have to remove the whole thing. Now i'm in the middle of the Tellico, no driveshafts and limited steering. Luckily i'm with a great bunch of guys. Well, since Gerald is still hooked up, we take back off. Didn't make it 20 feet and the banging was still unbearable. Stopped again, crawled under the truck again and noticed that the control arm was smacking the yoke now. So again, the tarp and tools come out. I remove the upper control arm on the DS cause i knew the PS arm would hold the axle and i really didn't want to tear up my yoke. So, with that off, we take off again. Start down the trail and ever time my tires started to navigate one way, i'd hit a rock then they'd just shift and i'd be stuck. Josh Adams starped me backwards several times so i could get my wheels strait, then Gerald would pull me again and we'd start over. I couldn't tell you how many times we had to do this. Sometimes we'd make it 50 yards, sometimes we'd make it 10 feet before i'd have to pulled backwards.

Finally we make it to the bottom of the hill and i can see light at the end of the tunnell!! The only standing in my way now is the creek. And of course this wasn't your typical creek. This sucker had some bolders that would claim any sheet metal it could grab. Not to mention the holes on the other side of the rocks that would swallow the front end of a midsize SUV. So as you can tell from the earlier pictures, Gerald straped to Jason, Jason straped to me, and me to Josh for support from behind. Gerald takes off and bangs and beats his way across the creek dragging Jason along with him until Jason could get caught up. Next, my strap starts to tighten and just as my front PS tire drops off a rock my rear PS tire comes about 5 feet off the ground and i hear a huge SNAP and a girl scream. In the mist of me almost rolling my truck in the creek i thought for sure a strap had snapped and hit this girl. We had a good 50 people or more watching this as bystanders. I looked out the window and yelled to the girl to make sure she was okay, luckily she was. Then someone yelled out "you blew your front right tire." Great, what else can go wrong! Then Travis comes up to my PS window and tells me that my coil spring fell out and my shock pulled in 2. Great, more outstanding news! So i crawl out the truck only to discover the the tire, wheel and axle were almost completly under water. Couldn't even see the axle. Now i'm screwed. My rear tires aren't even in the water yet and i'm down a shock, tire and coil spring. Nothing i can do. I don't have a winch, no way to get a high lift in the water to jack me up to get the coil back in. Fortunatly for me there was an old CJ up on the other side of the creek sitting on 38.5" swappers with a winch. We asked him if he could come in the creek to kind of pick my front end up like a tow truck and back me out. No problem, i'll be out in a few minutes then the traffic built up behind me can finish their day. Get out in the water with the rest of the great helping hands that were already up to their knees in water helping, work out a stratigy with the winchers and start pulling cable. We tried pulling the from bumper but it was just to tall with the location of the winch on the Jeep. So we back off the winch and we're back to the drawing board. We decided to borrow a spare tire, thanks to Josh Adams, and place the tire infront of the axle, under the bumper on the PS and run the winch cable throught the bumper, under the tire, under the axle, through my rock slider, back on top the slider, over the axle and back up through the tire and bumper. This setup will allow us to pick up some more. It looked ugly, but it was going to work, yeah right. This failed too. Now what? Still dead in the water. Screw it, just pull me through the creek, i'll buy a new rim when i get back home. He back out of the creek to the bank and starts to winch and pull. Then another SNAP. The Jeep snapped his front ujoint.

Nothing, could hardly budge me i was in such a bind. Son of a *****. Man, i'm beyond pissed, i'm hungy, wore out and i've broken everything beyond drivable. Look up to see another YJ pull up on 33's with a winch. We talk him into hooking up the other side of my bumper. Nice, i'm almost home free now. I'm watching the cables tighten up from inside my truck now, just waiting to try to steering myself once i get rolling. Start to roll, and of course i can't steer and i'm headed up on a huge rock that i didn't need to be on. Honked my horn to stop everyone. We took a few minutes to think out a new plan when we decided to use 2 straps and 2 snatch blocks to pull my front end to the side to get me lined back up with road. That worked great. No big deal. Finally get lined back up strait and the CJ pulled me up the the edge of the creek where Gerald strapped to me and pulled me the rest of the way. I'm finally on solid ground after walking knee deep on rocks and ICE cold water.

Now for the damage assesment. Not to bad. Coil spring was out, shock pulled in 2, rim just had some
rash on the outter ring, tire has a hole on inside. I was happy considering what had just happened. It could have broken a bunch more!

After and hour drive back to camp to get my truck and trailer, and an hour drive back to the creek. We finally get to start to repairs to get it rolling at least. With some more help from some local camping folks, a come along from a tree to my PS slider, a sissor jack, my highlift and a ratchet strap, we're able to get the tire off, coil spring back in and the new tire on. What a long freaking day.

That was the longest drive back to camp. Coming up trail 1, pulling my explorer up the mountain and back through some switch backs. I had to stop and put it in 4lo cause of the fear of sliding off the cliff.

I owe a huge thanks to everyone that was on the location. All the explorer guys were just a tremendous help and never hesitated to jump in and turn a wrench, or lend me some straps and tape! This is one for the WHOOPS for sure. Although i did some damage, it won't cost much to fix it, just a little tender loving care and she'll be back on the road again! I offered to give the Jeeper some money for his ujoint but he said no. Just the nicest bunch of guys i would have asked for.

So that's my story. I had fun while it lasted, but now i can look back and say, wow, what a trip. This won't be forgotten by anyone that was watching!

You guys can post pics if you want. Cory and i are working on a new bracket idea right now.
 






Here is Travis with his newly acquired 33" thornbirds with some new AR 767's.
 

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Josh's super Ranger.
 

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