2008 Blast

By Mark and Chris

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Chris and I really enjoyed the 2008 4X4 Blast.  Great weather, good people, fun times on the trails, and good food were again the norm.  As we again assisted Doug and Don Maxheimer trail guiding on New Salem we met a lot of new people and enjoyed both days.  Although not as muddy as during the Safari, there were a couple of spots on New Salem that were still mud holes and we winched and strapped quite a few Jeeps. 

I don’t think that everyone expected to find that much mud on a 2 rated trail.  Not all tow straps and winch controls were hooked up when we aired down and this led to some fun both days, at least for everyone watching.  Being stuck in the mud, having to climb through the driver’s window onto the roof of your Cherokee, opening the tailgate and then dropping your new tow strap into the deepest mud around while laughing through it all made for a good time and a few good photos.  I think that everyone thought this and the extra mud added to the event rather than being some type of problem. 

Chris and I did not finish with everyone on Friday as we lost the front driveshaft from Rubi 2 and headed out at 2:30 looking for parts.  We were unable to make repairs so on Saturday I ran the trails in two wheel drive with Dave Koenig of DK Four Wheel in Moline, Illinois riding with me.  Chris rode with our daughter Adrienne in our 81 CJ7.  I thought that our son in law Shawn was bored with trail riding so I got him a seat in Dan Reineking’s Jeep and he went to Atlas.  I figured that if he was bored there then he needed to find another hobby.  Our friend, the infamous Charlie Ater stayed ahead of me, offering his strap a couple of times when I didn’t make it through the mud. 

It seemed that things went quicker on Saturday, possible because some of the mud had dried for another 24 hours and we didn’t pull as many Jeeps.  We were ahead of schedule on the trail so Doug ran some of it backwards.  This was really fun when we got to the worst mud hole on the trail.  As everyone tried to make it through it got deeper and harder with every attempt, some made it and many didn’t.  Third to the last was Charlie and he made it look easy as he almost idled through it.  I guess that Jeepin for 40 or 50 years gives a guy some experience, rumor has it that he purchased a new Willey’s at one time.  Our daughter made it with ease after having the Jeep stall in the deepest mud on her first attempt.  She loves borrowing our carbureted Jeep, it only stalls when you need it the most.  I was the last to attempt it and I have to say that trying to get through with two wheel drive was interesting.  After filling the interior with mud everyone got to see how slow a hydraulic winch works as I had to winch myself out. 

At the end of the day Doug offered to continue trail riding with those that wanted to stay and I understand that they went right back to the biggest mud hole on the trail where they spent another hour or more winching and strapping Jeeps out of the mud.  Mud is fun, all trails need a good mud hole or two no matter what the rating!

I tried to get photos of everyone that rode with us during the two days so that I could get them on the web site.  It was kind of hard when you are the last Jeep of 13 or 14 so if you don’t see your Jeep in the photos I submitted I apologize.  Also, I’ve turned the date feature of my camera off as I can’t seem to get the right date on my photos.

We’d like to thank everyone that worked so hard to make this event possible, and also the landowners that allow us to have so much fun on their property.

Created: 19 Aug 2008