2003 4x4 BLAST - Black Oak (2 articles)

Submitted by Chuck

Another hot and humid day was awaiting us as we lined up in the American Legion Hall parking lot! Since Rooster was our trail guide, we knew we'd be in for an interesting and fun day!

We headed out on the dusty trail. A few of the same vehicles, including the 2 Rubicons from the day before, joined us, along with a Hummer and a Ford Explorer. The Hummer and Explorer did not go through all the trails with us but they definitely joined us in the creek! (How could anyone not go in the creek!?!) The ride through the creek was really entertaining and challenging (especially if you were trying to stay dry)! Screamin' and Rooster definitely won the award for the largest bazooka squirt guns! (Deanna came armed with a squirt gun, but definitely not a match, for them!)

Here's a few action-filled pictures to give you an idea of our day's events . . .

Thanks to Syndy and Durrell for allowing us to wheel on their land, and to Rooster for leading us on an exciting trail ride!

Black Oak by Dave, Sherri, Talon and Myla

This was my family’s 3rd trip to the Blast. We had been looking forward to it all year. We pulled our TJ up with our ZJ…and it was a good thing that we did! As usual, Pittsfield made us feel very welcome. As we were choosing our trails for the weekend, we ran into Ken and Royce Keating. We had met Ken and his son Royce at the 2001 Blast and it was good to see them again. My son Talon was very glad to see his friend Royce.

We chose Black Oak for Friday and Murphy’s Law on Saturday. We lined up by the bowling alley Friday morning and got to meet some of the other people on our trail run and also check out the other rigs. There were some sweet rigs from all over gathered there. We headed out to the Black Oak trail Friday morning in a Jeep convoy filled with about every make/model of Jeep ever made. We all introduced ourselves over the CB. When we arrived at the trailhead, we stopped to air down and disconnect. During that time, our trail guide “Rooster” (AKA “Chicken” by my daughter Myla) gave the children in the group squirt guns. He filled their guns up with water just so he could be attacked from all sides by the barrage of squirt guns. It was soon apparent, however, that he had come prepared, for he was packin’ the mother of all squirt guns. It shot a stream of water for about 100’! From that moment on, he had made friends and adversaries for the remainder of the trail.

The trail took us through rock bottomed creeks, thick woods, tall hills and even some nice flexy stuff thrown in. In one section, Rooster had me take the lead so that my kids could see some turkeys and deer that were known to gather at a section of the trail. We had a great morning and by noon we were all ready for some grub. We stopped for lunch at the Miller’s weekend homestead. Durrell Miller and his family are the landowners of the Black Oak trail. They were on the trail with us and made us all feel at home on their beautiful place. After everyone finished lunch, we headed back to the trail.

It wasn’t long before we made it to a section of hills where there were a few choices to make. There were a couple easy hills to climb to get to the upper section of trail. There was also “Winch Hill”. Winch Hill was an interesting hill with a steep incline, a couple rock ledges, large and small boulders mixed in with loose rock/dirt….oh…and a small tree right in the way. Rooster decided to climb up Winch Hill, as did my friend Jeff in his CJ5. Most other people went up the easier hill to the left. We decided to try “Winch Hill”. Why not??? It looked like fun!

We tried to crawl up it, but just didn’t have enough clearance. We were going to have to hit it a little harder and bounce over the ledges and the bigger rocks. After our 3rd attempt I informed the rest of our group that the next attempt would be my last try at it. I was totally correct. I hit it pretty hard and about ¾ the way up, as I came down on the second ledge, my Dana 35 rear axle decided that it had had enough…SNAP! We winched the rest of the way up the aptly name hill and then jacked the rig up to shove the axle back in the housing. It only made it another 50’ or so when the wheel was about a foot past the fender flare. The Miller family jumper right in to help, as did everyone else on the trail.

There were plenty of offers from other Jeepers to let us ride with them for the rest of the trail. We decided to try and get the rig back to town instead. The Millers gave us a ride back to town where I picked up the ZJ and the trailer. We got back to the trail and unhooked the trailer from my ZJ and hooked it behind the Miller’s Hummer. The Hummer drug the trailer through the creek bed and up the hill to my TJ. We loaded up the TJ and headed back. I watched with amazement as the Hummer pulled my rig AND the trailer down the hill and through the creek like it wasn’t pulling a thing! We switched the rig over to behind my ZJ and I thanked the Millers for their hospitality and headed back to town. We were done for the weekend, but we decided to stay instead of heading home.

We enjoyed the raffle and supper at the legion and became tourists for the remainder of the weekend. We took the kids to Hannibal where we toured the Mark Twain Cave and took a ride on the Mark twain boat. Even though we broke, we had a great time and look forward to next years run. Our rig will be a little beefier by then and I vow that Winch Hill will be climbed!! Hehe! I just want to thank everyone for a great time: Rooster for being a great trail guide (my kids love him)…and especially the Miller family who went out of their way to make us feel welcome on their awesome trail and made sure that my family and our rig made it back to civilization! Thanks again for a wonderful time.
Created: 10/14/03