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  #1  
Old 09-29-2006, 07:38 PM
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Default Flat n Nasty

Okay, Matt and Ken have been out there, what's the scoop? Photos? Real time report?
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Old 09-29-2006, 08:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rzeppa
Okay, Matt and Ken have been out there, what's the scoop? Photos? Real time report?

If I had to guess I would say it is relatively flat and somewhat nasty.
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Old 10-01-2006, 11:22 AM
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I have learned that riding to an event has two great benefits: one, your truck is safe at home. two, you have a lot of time in the car to type on the laptop, while the memories are still fresh. Hope you have a full cup of coffee and enjoy the following...


Months ago the wife and I set our calendars for the last weekend in September to go to Moab with some friends. Take our 13-month-old son, some bikes, the camper… do the family thing in the desert one last time before winter. Then two weeks beforehand the wife’s best friend backs out, can’t get the time off. So now the trip is reduced to just us, and driving 6 hours with the kid to a place with no bathroom suddenly doesn’t sound that appealing to the wife anymore. So in my best attempt at putting her needs first, I suggest “you know if you really don’t want to go camping, I could drive out with Ken to Flat Nasty in Missouri… I do already have those days off.” Without much discussion, the time away was approved, and the wheels were in motion. Road trip!!!

Arrived at Romer’s house only about an hour late, was tough saying goodbye to the wife and son. But they are wonderful at supporting me and my Cruiser-centric needs, and know I’ll be safe and will return soon with many stories to tell. I mean, how could I pass up a road trip with my buddy Ken, and attend a TLCA event I know absolutely nothing about? This was truly an opportunity, and I’m especially excited since the only TLCA even I’ve know is Cruise Moab I’m hoping to learn a few things as well, and meet some new folks from the boards.

I didn’t bring much with me- some clothes, my sleeping bag, a pillow.. even forgot my MP3 player. Didn’t matter at all since Ken had thought of everything. As long as I pull my wallet out every 250 miles or so he assured me I wouldn’t be hungry or thirsty all week.. sounded like a fair deal to me so away we go. As I write this it’s 10:05 PM Mountain time, we’re still in Colorado almost to the Kansas border, we figure we’ll be there around noon tomorrow if we stay on pace.


Wednesday started with the surreal feeling of having stayed up all night. Despite a few naps in the car, we were both feeling pretty wired and a little out of it as we sat in a Jefferson City diner for a quick breakfast. Two more hours and we’d be at Flat Nasty, so the attitude of “lets just get there” presided over any other conversation or idea of side trip. As we gassed up for the 6th time of the journey (I was wrong before, more like 150 miles per tank) we set down the rolling hills of central Missouri.

There is a different road naming scheme here than we’re used to. We left the 72’s and 19’s then found our way to “K” road, then “ZZ,” making sure we didn’t take a wrong turn on “Z” or “B” or any other letter in between. But the directions provided by Tornado Alley were perfect, and we found Flat Nasty at about 11:00 local time. We’re greeted at the top by Sheila, who is the camp owner along with husband Rob. She has us sign their waiver form, hands us a couple trail maps, then sends us down the hill. The trails are rated like a ski area: greens, yellows, & blacks (blues are ATV-only).. all spread across this 850 acre parcel with a camp site smack dab in the middle. Man this is cool. One the way down to camp we meet Ron who’s driving back up to the front in one of his trail rigs, a built-up Mini truck.
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Old 10-01-2006, 11:22 AM
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What a beautiful country- thick, full trees with leaves of every shade of green and yellow, few orange. I’m sure in another two weeks these trees will be all orange and red. The camp site is about one mile down a dirt road, in this enormous grass valley near a creek bed. Perfectly level, we could have 10 soccer games down here simultaneously. “Camp anywhere” is shouted to us as we creep around the grassy field, and we’re greeted by our new neighbor for the weekend, Eric Christensen.

After we got the camper set up, most things settled, and a tour of Rob from Kansas City’s camper/bus creation, we decided a good nap was the best way to start the afternoon. Great choice, one of those naps where you just shut your eyes for a minute and a half hour goes by. Perfect, then it was back up to Salem for some last minute supplies and to reach cell service so we could check in with the family at home. This was truly “roughing it” no cell service, no power & water hookups, no WiFi… compelling us to rely on our batteries, generators, and portable hot water shower like the early pioneers did.

On our way back out of the camp site we ran into (almost literally) the FJ Cruiser team, who were making their way down to set up. Awesome, were hoping they’d be here early, as we are both looking forward to catching up with our buddy Robbie. Salem is about 20 minutes from camp (nearest civilization) and after a few quick errands we were back down in the valley.
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Old 10-01-2006, 11:22 AM
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Later that evening Robbie led a quick “creek run” then took us on the #2 pretzel loop, consisting of just his FJ and Ken’s LX450. There is a drainage ditch that runs behind the camping area, actually rated “yellow” on the trail map. Hopping in a truck with Robbie was worth the 14 hour drive in itself, as we talked the whole time about just about everything, did our best to catch up as much as we could. And his line selection (both driving and spotting) never disappoint, as both are equally impressive and made a very fun evening run. He let me drive the FJ most of the time which was a lot of fun, particularly on some of the harder lines where the A-Trac kicks in and gives you an almost “all locked” sense of capability, without losing any handling ability. In it the simplest explanation, the A-Trac activates the brake of whatever tire is spinning, thus forcing the other tires to get it going. It sounds like the ABS it coming on, but you get used to the sound very quick as you start aiming for larger obstacles.
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Old 10-01-2006, 11:22 AM
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Wednesday night was a fairly typical “first night” at the event. There are probably 25 folks in attendance, and everyone did their best to mill about, introduce themselves, offer refreshments, and share stories into the evening. The stars that were visible once all the lights went out were absolutely incredible. Our camp was joined by Alan Loshbaugh, Craig the Pirate, a brief appearance by Kowboy, and ¾ of the FJ Cruiser team Robbie, Rod and Garret throughout the evening.

The evening was fairly mellow, and by 11:00 most everyone had found their sleeping bag. The clear night clouded up, and by 2:00 am it was pouring rain, a rain that lasted long into the next day. Glad we remembered to roll up the windows, and the Romer camper proved to be 100% leak free.

Thursday started out very wet, it rained off and on until about 11:00. some folks went wheeling on some short runs near the camp, I caught a ride with some Great Lakes 4Wheeler guys from Michigan, rode with John in a green 40 that had coils & a 4-link in back, leafs up front. Definitely a budget-mobile, but John knew it well and knew how to drive it. The other guy on the run was Dar, and he had an impressively built red 40. We made it about 10 feet up the trail from the valley in which we were all camped when the first obstacle revealed to Dar that his right front tire wasn’t turning. About 15 minutes later he had the hub swapped with an older one and all was well. This was “15 road,” one of the “black rated” trails, and by this time I was pretty eager to ride along on a more difficult run and meet some new folks.

The obstacles really don’t look that bad- in Colorado or Utah just about any of our trucks could walk right up this stuff, but the loose gravel and endless supply of thick black dirt made for very poor traction (especially after a few new inches of rain) but the 36” Boggers eventually prevailed and we made it up the hill & back down to camp in about 20 minutes.
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Old 10-01-2006, 11:23 AM
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This is a really cool place to camp, as there are runs that exit from just about all sides of this valley, that take anywhere from 10 minutes to 4 hours to complete. Fun to start a run at 11:00, and make it back in time for the 12:00 driver meeting.

The noon driver meeting started at about 12:30, and lasted for about 15 minutes. A very brief welcome & thank you was conducted by Mike Costello, also Eric Christensen said a few words as well. The message was very simple: have fun, don’t go out alone, ask for help if you need it. After the meeting we all signed the FJ Cruiser waivers, the TLCA waivers, and purchased some additional raffle tickets. With all the business out of the way, we ready for some wheeling.
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Old 10-01-2006, 11:23 AM
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Hill & Gully

It’s always fun to finally meet old friends from the forums & lists for the first time, and it seemed appropriate that Ken & I lead a wagon run, inviting all the wagons plus anyone else who wanted to tag along. On the run was Romer in his LX, Tim A (Tarbe) is a nicely built FZJ, Buck (Buckru) in his unlocked FZJ, Nick Stone in a stock FJ60, and Robbie & Garret in a blue FJ Cruiser. We decided to run “Hill & Gully,” which is the longest “green” run. Robbie encouraged everyone who wanted to to drive the FJ, so being without a truck meant when I got kicked out of the FJ I got to drive just about everyone else’s rig while they took their turn, something I enjoyed very much. If you count moving Eric Christensen’s 40 under a canopy to get it out of the rain earlier in the morning, that day I drove a 40, a 60, a ‘94 80, a ‘97 80 (get to count those separate since they have different dashboards & trannys) and an FJ Cruiser.

The run itself was without any major incidents, a lot of steep ups & downs, loose dirt, and tight trees. These trails are all cut much narrower than what we’re used to, and the trees that line the runs come into play more than the rocks & roots beneath. We had to make 3 or 4 multi-point turns, and on the last descent back down to the main road Tarbe slid off the trail and had to be winched sideways using the FJ and a snatch block. He tried to take a corner wide (to avoid a tree) then got on the loose stuff and it was all over. We hooked the strap to his Hanna slider which did the job quite well, and Robbie turned the effort into a quick recovery lesson which everyone enjoyed very much.
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Last edited by nakman; 10-02-2006 at 08:28 PM.
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Old 10-01-2006, 11:29 AM
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15 Road

After a sandwich back at the camper, Ken wanted to run something else, and try something harder. I suggested he take a look at the “15 road” I ran earlier that morning in with the Michigan boys, figuring once we got past the first obstacle the rest of the run didn’t seem that bad. We walked over, he decided to give it a go and went back to get the truck. Tarbe and Buck were also interested, but wanted to see Ken do it first.

With a few attempts, a few well-placed rocks, every button pushed, knob twisted, and a healthy dose of skinny pedal Ken was up & over the first obstacle. But much to our dismay, the battle had just begun. The loose rock provided no traction, and the AT tires filled up quick and ended up doing a lot more digging than biting. After about 20 attempts and roughly 20’ of progress, we decide the best course of action was to get out the winch (there are plenty of trees, btw). The hill climb is about 300’s long, and we made the next 280’ under winch assist, right up until the final rock of the run (literally) at which point the M12K was nearing the end of its third full pull and had enough. With the only other option running back down to camp to bring in another vehicle from the top, Ken decided to just go for it and got past the final rock.

The rock was about 2’ high and occupied the left half of the trail, forcing the truck into, you guessed it, a tree on the right edge of the road. In hindsight, we could have stacked rocks opposite the rock that would have allowed the truck to remain more level and away from the tree, but no one had that thought at the time and Ken was in full “just get me the hell out of here” mode so up the rock and into the tree he went. He caught a nice scrape on the RR quarter panel, small dent on the back door, and also lost the front section of the fender flare. Other damage from the run (not the final rock though) was the exhaust pipe was completely crunched near the cats where it crosses under the frame, and almost completely closed in the back where it had been pinched under the rear bumper. Though the exhaust damage was mostly done in the creek bed the night before, we just added to it on this run tonight.

The last picture shows the tree that took out the right side. This was attempt 1, we ended up stacking rocks on the outside of the big rock to get the front diff to not hit (it's spinning free in the pic)
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Old 10-01-2006, 11:30 AM
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Back at camp I was felling like a total chump for suggesting we try that road in the first place, and did my best to remove door panels to attempt to “pop out” the dents as best I could (and I couldn’t, BTW,) remove the dangling flare, and stay out of Ken’s way for a while. But all was well, and Ken took the high road and accepted full responsibility for the decision to run the trail, plus we know a great body repair guy back in Denver. The damage earned Ken quite a bit of attention that evening, and Rob from Kansas City was equipped with a sawzall, welder, and flex-tube and offered to repair the damaged section of tail pipe that night at camp. Ken took him up on the offer while I erected the shower tent and hooked up the hot water, and a few beers and a warm shower later the smiles were back on everyone’s faces.

Matt Farr showed up this evening as well, and was about 3 stories and 6 beers behind the rest of us, but did his best to catch up. He crashed in the Romer camper that night (and the next) and enjoyed meeting all the other TLCA folk in attendance. He also pulled up in his dad’s Jeep wrangler, and caught a nice dose of comments from everyone in the valley. By this point the camp area had close to 40 “trail ready” Toyotas, some tow vehicles, campers, tents, trailers, and was filling in nicely.
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Last edited by nakman; 10-01-2006 at 12:27 PM.
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