November RS Trip

     Happy Holidays! I hope all of you are having the perfect holiday seasonl As the year and millennium end we can reflect on so many awesome memories that have been made. I personally have had a wonderful year and I want to thank Rising Sun for being a big part.of it!

     Below is a short trip report of the last trail ride that was scheduled for 1999. I have been working on the year 2000 calendar and will be posting some proposed trips/activities to both the Newsletter and the RS web site. Please e-mail or call me soon and let me know of trails that you would like to run this coming year. I would really like to schedule some new runs this year in addition to some of the old favorites. I also plan on doing some family/social activities that will be a lot of fun and great ways to meet and learn more about each other. I will be badgering you all at the meetings for input and ideas so be forewarned. I'm not asking you to lead trails but rather just let me know what and where YOU want to go play. I'm eager to get out on the first run of January as it's always a great start to a fun 'wheeling year! The trail ride to Bill Moore Lake/Empire Loop was the perfect ending to the 1999 year of 'Wheeling. 10 rigs showed up for an unusual November trail ride. The vehicle line up was impressive and included the following, 2 FJ-40's,1 FJ-55, 2 FJ-60's, 1 FJ-62, 1 Tacoma, 2 Four Runners, and 1 Samurai.

     We all met up on time and after airing down and locking the hubs we proceeded to conquer the mountain. The vehicles with lockers took on a nasty rock filled chute as the non-locked rigs looped around and watched them from the top. The "Big Boys" made short work of the chute and made it look real easy. From there we took the route to Bill Moore Lake. As we bumped along the forest roads we all made Several comments over the CB about the lack of snow considering it was the middle of November and we were climbing well over 10,000 feet! The toughest challenge on this trail is a steep, rutted and very rocky hill climb. Everyone did make it up even though it was a challenge for the open differential rigs. The altitude also became a challenge for one of the FJ-60's as we climbed past the 11,000-foot elevation mark. We encountered a large fallen pine tree very close to the trail end which we cut up and relocated in the by pass that was getting made around it.

     We had a nice lunch stop at the lake and then headed back down to the Empire Loop area. At the fork in the trail three rigs decided to call it an early day and returned down the mountain to Empire. The rest of the adventurous group, 7 rigs, decided to do the whole “loop." This proved to be a fun decision full of many challenges. On this trek we encountered snowy side hills, numerous rock gardens, large sheet metal hungry boulders, and the biggest problem, extremely tight paths and switchbacks. Somehow we all made it through the whole loop with the only body damage being minortree branch "pin striping." All the rigs to take on this section where lifted and had at least one locker except for the FJ-60 named Clifford, driven by Chris Colangelo and family. Chris definitely showed off his incredible talent by piloting "Clifford" basically un-scathed through the nastiest of challenges while listening to horrifying screams from the "rookie" passengers in his vehicle. The screams were more in fun than actual fear but the effect was basically the same. The trip was a total delight and a very nice end to the 1999 dry' wheeling season. The following day the high country started getting some real snow.

    A big "THANK YOU" to all that attended! It was a fun day that will not be soon forgotten!

Kevin (Uncle Ben) Ehrlick