County Line - 2001 4x4 Blast

by Mike

What a beautiful day for a drive in the woods! It was sunny and warm and our ride this day would be County Line led by Gerald Bennett. This trail is about 20 minutes northeast of Pittsfield and gave us out-of-staters a chance to see the Illinois countryside.

We started with 14 Jeeps and a 'Toy' truck. The trail began with a small creek crossing and progressed into some up and down hill off-camber driving so it didn't take long before we had some minor problems. First, our newly installed and tested electric fan melted the fuse, so we hot-wired the thing. Shortly thereafter we blew a power steering hose (thank goodness it wasn't my day to drive!) and we made do by finishing most of the trail in 2-wheel drive. This was our 6th event in two years and first time we'd broken anything but at least we could still wheel.

About halfway through the trail you will find the signature obstacle (I'll call it the valley) that begins with a 90 % left turn into a steep downhill. At the bottom is a dry (at least this day) creek bed. Upon reaching bottom you must make a 90 % right turn that will cause you to get great air-time or else get the winch. About half of the group needed to be winched around to keep from breaking parts in their front drive train. Once through the bottom turn you continue down the twisting creek for about 200 yards and depending on your driving style you could really have fun with this short trip. The extremely dry conditions made the whole trail relatively easy but I think with a little water it would drive a lot differently.

We had a couple of pretty Jeeps (i.e. Show & Shine winners) that had some breakage and decided to head out. The only other breakage came when Mark Stachura had to go play while the rest of us ate lunch. Apparently Mark and a friend went back to the valley. Somehow Mark toasted his front drive shaft and had to call it a day.

After 5 hours on the trail we all headed back to Pittsfield. Due to the fact that we drive a 1968 CJ5 some parts are hard to come by. Lucky for us the great auto parts shops in Pittsfield referred us to Buckley Auto Parts on the main drag. The guys at Buckley's made us a new hose and repaired the old one for a back up.

Created: 09/16/01