Sunday Oct 12th. The semi annual Reiter Trail Watch cleanup took place. WATTORA was there with a few people along with many other clubs and offroading types. The object was to cleanup all the litter and trash from past off roaders and campers. Turned out to be a beautiful day with plenty of sunshine.
The wife and kiddo tagged along and it was an early morning departure for us to Reiter pit. It was long looked forward to as I haven't hit the trails in some time nor had the wife or my son ever been out for a day of wheelin.
The debrief of the problem areas as well as what to look for in regards to makeshift meth labs, guess it's a bit of a problem out in the forest. After receiving our marching orders we aired down and departed. Our group consisted of one completely stock FJ Cruiser, one slightly modified FJ Cruiser, one more than modified FJ Cruiser and one Tacoma (98 or 99) that was raised 6 inches and SAS'ed.
We snaked along the road on the way to the ever scenic Index Wall. After following the Forrest service road for some time we came to a Y in the road. Feeling that this was a good area to start looking for trash, we did. Anthony stepping out of his Tacoma took a look around as I, Paul and Chris were getting some trash bags and gloves ready for the chore at hand. Anthony stepped to the passenger side of his rig and screeched with joy as to what he had just found. Laying there in the bushes slightly covered by ferns and growth laid a Dana 44 solid axel with a passenger side diff complete with disc brakes and calipers. As excited as a little boy at Christmas he clamored through the underbrush as we came running to the scene. Imagine the disappointment we all had as we pulled the axle out from its temporary grave we noticed the diff housing had been cracked at the axle. We proceeded to load the only truck on site with the axle and what appeared to be the remains of some poor 4x4's frame cut into 4 pieces.
After gathering all the trash in the area we all piled back into our respective rigs took a left at the Y. The trail was nice and wet with puddles the size of swimming pools, thankfully not as deep. We ended up at a point which was quite impassable due to a rather large rock and stump located in the middle of one said puddle. We stepped out of our rigs to survey the scene only to surmise that going any further would do more harm than good to both the existing environment and our rigs. We turned around and decided the best course of action was to head back to the staging area, offload the day’s booty and grab some grub.
After filling our bellies with processed meat products, oily fried potato slices and the heavenly carbonated beverage Dr. Pepper Chris, Paul and I chatted about what to do next. Decision: Hit the power line trail. Still aired down and on the road we made the left. Chris was leading I was second and Paul was last (Anthony had departed after lunch). As we winded up the trail Chris comes over the CB to claim "Hmmm I don't remember it being this washed out" and proceeded to put his bone stock FJ through its stock paces. As he inched along over rocks that could only be described as 1st generation Mini Coopers I looked to the right to see the disapproving look on my wife’s face. The unholy sound of metal against rock was a bit un-nerving but we were there and I wasn't about to back down off the trail. Chris proceeded along like a seasoned pro with no damage other than minor dings to lower control arms and the stock skid plate. I was next and still the look on the wife’s face said it all, neither the FJ nor I would enjoy this very much. I was a little more nervous than if I were stock, the added weight of the ARB Bullbar and Warn M8000 had me concerned about the clearance of the front end. I paused for a second, slipped the transmission into neutral, slipped the transfer case into neutral and engaged the rear diff lock. I pushed forward only to lose traction once as the sound of the rear tires screamed for traction against the Mini Coopers. A clang here, a thump there and the sound of metal against rock I found myself past the mini rock garden with no damage to the FJ. Paul like a seasoned pro showed us how it is supposed to happen, well with 3 inches of lift it does help.
The rest of the trail was uneventful and we chugged along the power line trail to its end. We made our way back to the staging area, aired up, said our thanks and departed for home and me with a newfound respect for Toyota and their engineering of the FJ Cruiser. Spot on Toyota, Spot on.
And now the pics!!!!
Me in front
The Mini Coopers
Under the power lines
And some of my favorites from the day.
I hope you enjoy!!