View Full Version : Red Efelant Hill, 9/10/05

09-12-2005, 05:28 PM
So, a tad late but not too much, I arrive at the Downieville Burger King to help Matt (gcmandrake, and Senior) out of a J**p-infested lonely morning. Nobody else showed up, so my son Forrest and I joined Matt for what promised to be a nice, relaxing run up a hill that isn't too hard (but does have its moments). I decided to air down to 18psi, higher than I normally take it.

Start up the hill behind the houses at the bottom. Gee, they must have had some real vandalism problems judging by the signs. Hope we don't lose this trail due to some miscreants who probably don't even OWN a 4x4.

As the trail steepens, I find the Mighty Red Chili ain't too mighty. Huh. Matt is having an easy go of it for the most part, with an auto and no lockers, yet I have to lock in the rear or lose ground to wheelspin. Wassupwidat. Oh, well, I guess 18psi and big tires. I guess?

Get to the first real obstacle, and Matt ends up a little more tippy than I care to - especially when my confidence seems shakey for some reason. So I go a bit to the outside, nice angle, ready to climb, the rear slides to the right (not my favorite direction just now) but it does make the turn quicker. Then I hear a rock rolling down the hill. Better judgement takes the moment and I ask Matt to spot me.

It wasn't exactly a cliffhanger moment, but I was glad I stopped. The tire was RIGHT on the edge. I would not have liked it if I slid even two inches more to the right. WHAT in the WORLD is going ON here, Matt had only a little trouble in Senior.

Caution and Safety (leveraging a lesson I had recently learned from those two mentors in Moab) tell me to use that heavy thing on my bumper, I bought the winch for a reason. I winch over the rock and slide no more, under Matt's watchful eye. Whew. Now my confidence is really gimpy. Not my best day, no reason for it that I can see.

We make it up Red Elephant, over the top, down to Mill Creek and break for lunch.

Some people call moments like the one by Mill Creek "epiphanies". Some merely refer to them as crystalizing events, clarifying perceptions, "AHA!" experiences. Or perhaps for me it was something like getting whomped by a hammer upside my stupid head.

My driver's side hub was unlocked. There it was, in front of God and everybody, but unnoticed by me. Pointing to 'Free', as in not currently engaged in my employment of it.

I had ascended Red Elephant Hill in two-wheel drive. OK, occasional three-wheel drive when I thought I needed my front locker engaged, which for inexplicable reasons seemed inordinately often, sapping my sense of capability and well-being.


The truck felt much more assured, and my confidence incredibly boosted, for the drive out.

Didn't need my lockers even once.

DOH! I suppose I deserve SOME kind of award for doing a rather testy trail in 2WD, but I fear it may be a dunce award...:p

But I learned I have subliminal instincts to which I should pay attention!

09-12-2005, 05:36 PM
Wow Chilli. Your a nut. :o

I was wondering how the run went and really missed not being able to go.

09-12-2005, 08:03 PM
Precisely what you need to do to make Red Elephant Hill more challenging. Either that or strap on 31's :D

09-12-2005, 10:14 PM
I sure hope somebody got pics of this(Matt, i'm looking in your direction). Other than that, sounds like a good run :)

09-13-2005, 11:47 AM
That happened to me last year on Chinamans - well not EXACTLY that...

I was going along fine, until we hit the Whale-tail, and I was POWERING OUT.

I thought "wait a minute! Since I put the 4.24:1 low range gears in, I have NEVER powered out, even at Moab"...

Sure enough, I was in 4-HI... Sheesh!

09-13-2005, 09:17 PM
It was a beautiful day and unfortunately I was having a "Senior" moment and forgot my camera. We should have had Forrest sketch the scene for us. :) We had lunch beside Mill Creek and watched a bird do the jitterbug and what looked like brown trout feed. Very nice and relaxing day and got home in time to mow the lawn.

I'm still amazed at what Senior can do with all that articulation, no lockers, and 31" tires. (Wish list: new gears, lockers, 33's, and a 5-speed transmission... I wonder if I could get ARB to sponser me?)


09-14-2005, 08:49 AM
Yes, I was very impressed by Senior, and the fella piloting him.

Greg Luer
09-28-2005, 03:42 PM
Well Bill, I tell ya. As long as we are admitting our expertise in this fine art we dump alot of money into let me tell my finer moments. No not the one last fall that now has the runner in wrinkles. You all know about that one.

In Moab I have done two rather difficult obstacles with, how do you say, dumb stuff. I did Hell's Gate on Hell's revenge with 3 of 4 tires aired down to 8 lbs. The right front was at street pressure. Not the place for inconsistent traction. But I did it fine nevertheless.

And two, I did Rose Garden Hill on the Onion Creek run with one front hub unlocked. Had a hard time on the ledges towards the top. Gee. Go figure. Discovered this when we got back out to the road by Dewey Bridge.

Both places could have done alot of damage. So one big Duuhh for the brainy ones. Just goes to show you what happens when your in a hurry.


09-29-2005, 08:31 AM
Hehe, we need to start an 'embarrassing moments' thread for these stories...

I would love to say I did my stunt because I was in a hurry. But no, I had all the time in the world, I just wasn't paying attention (hmmm, I did that in Moab too, hmmm...). I was jawin' plenty, just not paying attention.