Red Efelant Hill, 9/10/05
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!
Heb Dduw, heb ddim; Duw a digon
I'm that gun-totin', farm-raised, evangelical, pro-environment, OHV ridin'/drivin', Southern civil rights pro-labor Liberal yo' momma told you couldn't possibly exist.