We ran up Spring Creek at a moment's notice, to test out a few vehicle improvements. Monica got new lockers and some work done to fix engine problems, and Robert was still working on his overheating and lack of power issues. Only Ladd escaped without any incidents.
Traffic on I-70 was a mess so everyone was late. Robert ended up stranded on an exit in Evergreen but unlike the last few times he's been on I-70 it wasn't because his Jeep overheated or ran out of power -- he was out of gas. He walked to a gas station, came back with gas, then was on his way to the meeting place in Downieville. It was lunch time so we all ate at Starbucks.
The last time we were on Spring Creek a lot of people got trail damage on the first obstacle because it was muddy and pretty dug up at the base of the rock. This time it was dry and everyone just walked right up it. Monica's new lockers were working very well! Bob took the opportunity to try out his new winch, too. A new friend ran the trail with us, bringing up the rear.
We started up the trail and Monica ran over every rock to get used to locked axles. She went over a bigger one on a switchback and looked back to watch Bob run straight into it, bending his drag link. He managed to get it pretty straightened out using a comealong. It was our first trail damage of the day.
The second obstacle was no trouble, and we were all happy to see the third obstacle. Monica tried one of the harder lines that would have been impossible with open differentials, walking right through it with the lockers. Everyone else took the same line and made it look easy. If only the rest of the day was like this!
When we got to the Rock Garden we got out to find our lines. A couple other vehicles were on their way down and they stopped to watch. Monica wanted to try the line she couldn't do before.
The beginning of the Rock Garden didn't give her any troubles, but then she was on the big rocks on the left side in the middle of the biggest rocks. She was able to get to the middle of the section but with 3.07 gears she couldn't get enough power to get through it. You could smell the clutch burning and then she put in the clutch one final time and her Jeep died. It wouldn't start again.
She'd let it rest for a bit and it would finally start, but then die again. Bob hooked up his winch to pull her down and flat. After letting things cool down the Jeep started just fine and didn't give Monica any more troubles, but she had to go around the big rocks. Though no actual trail damage happened it was still more work that needed to be done on her Jeep.
Bob went through next, making it all look very easy and not having any troubles. Ladd followed him and also didn't have any issues. They both took the line through the big rocks.
Robert came through next, sliding off a rock in the beginning and getting high centered. Eric pulled him down and Robert tried again. It was going smoothly until the big rocks. He hooked his newly routed exhaust system on the rocks, pulling it down and away from his Jeep. It also made a new hole where a weld broke, so his Jeep now sounded like a muscle car. He didn't want to risk any further damage so he went around the bigger rocks. This new fix was about 24 hours old and already wasn't working out.
Eric came through next and just drove right through everything. He went over the big rocks with a lot of gas pedal and didn't slide around like most everyone else. Then he was going over some other rocks and ran his tie rod straight into a big one, bending it. It was our last trail damage of the day.
We finished up the trail, having a blast in the final bit of rocks. It seemed to be more dug up than it was a month ago, though last month it was muddy and this time it was dry.
We turned right at the top, coming down Saxon Mountain instead of down Ute and Lamartine like we usually do. Though it didn't seem like it was as far, it was definitely more bumpy. We'll continue to take our usual route down from now on.
It was a fun day, even though we got so much damage. It was Spring Creek at its finest!
Reports from Other Days: 14
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