2008 CNC Callalantee Ride
January 26, 2008
Mountain City, TN
By Craig S.
The caravan went by my exit at 6:30am Saturday consisting of Scott R, Ken C, and John H all trailering their rigs with Steve F riding shotgun with John. I caught them at about the I-40 & I-85 merge and then Dave Andersen also trailering his Bronco joined the caravan a little after we turned onto 421 heading towards Wilkesboro. We arrived at the Callalante campground at 10 where we meet up with Carl B who had spent the night after driving up Friday night along with 5 guys from NCTTORA including Shawn, Kyle, Max, Robert, and a friends of Robert's that I forgot his name.
We unloaded, aired down, paid the campground and headed towards Welder Trail but we didn't barely make it out of the campground when Dave had an issue with his battery, he and Ken turned around and swapped out a spare while most of the group headed towards the waterfall on Welder. Shawn was leading the 1st group and attempted the waterfall but it was covered in about 6 inches of ice so that wasn't going to happen. With Dave's swapped in battery we caught the group just past the waterfall obstacle and continued as a full group up Welder. Now the trail was slick and in most spots it was hard packed snow/ice and there were a few occasions when if you didn't carry enough momentum up a slight hill you found your wheels spinning forward while your vehicle was sliding backwards. At one point if Carl hadn't quickly grabbed "R" as fast as he did the back end of my Jeep would have had meet the cow pusher on the front of his Bronco....good times!! There's a new little rock garden half way up Welder called "Easy Out" that most of us took and it had a nice little 3 ft ledge at the end that required a "good" bump to get over. Shawn was still leading and sliced a sidewall in his bogger getting to the ledge but once he had the spare on we are made the climb out on our own, one of the posts over on NCTTORA has videos of most of us making the ledge.
Later up the trail there was a glazed over hill that you wouldn't even think about in normal conditions but with it covered in ice it proved to be a bit tricky. This was a case of just carrying enough speed and most did not on their first or sixth try :-) and once your forward momentum stopped it was a backwards slide back down to the bottom. This turned out to be the end of the CJ that Roberts friend was driving, he broke something in the front end, might have been a ring and pinion but not sure. After John made the climb on his 18th try he found that he had blown a radiator hose and Max jumped in to get it fixed for him. The rest of Welder was uneventful aside from Carl getting crossed up on a log laying across the trail and in these icy conditions believe it or not this was the only time a winch was used the whole day to straighten the Bronco out.
We then headed to Armorall where again most of the group attempted the trail with no issues until the exit point which has always been tough and then add in some snow & ice and it provided the most excitement of the day. The desired line had everybody positioning their rigs back about 6-8ft from the ledge and then throttle down which created some entertainment. Shawn just about rolled his Toy, then Kyle, John, and Dave all used quite a bit of skinny pedal. At one point in spotting Dave his Bronco bounced off the line but he stayed in the throttle, the tires grabbed and you never saw a 6'6" guy move so fast to keep from being roadkill :-) Ken's XJ just seems to climb well and he made it look pretty easy while Scott and I opted for the easier of the two exits. We then headed up Little Tellico with no real excitement at which point it was getting late so we headed towards the campground. On the way back there was a downhill section that was sheer ice for about 200ft, Shawn inched over the edge and then goodbye he went sliding down, bounced off the wall on the left which throw his rig into a complete 180 and ended up nose down off the right side of the trail. Kyle and John were next and although they both slid relatively straight it looked much to out of control for me so luckily the bypass going up Armorall was right there and a few of us took the safe route down. Dave opted for the slide and about halfway down his driver front tire caught and caused his back end to come around and stop with his rig completely sideways. At that point he throttled forward to point back up the hill and slid the rest of the way down backwards. Ken also opted for the slide and came flying down the hill but kept it in a straight line. The last little bit of fun was a wide spot in the trail back that was covered in ice and everybody got their shot at throwing some doughnuts, at one point John slid into the side hill and looked like he was on the edge of flopping (I think Carl said he got in on video). And the Gold for the Synchronized Pairs goes to.............Shawn and Kyle
That ended the day and since it was early (5:30) we canceled our hotel rooms and headed for home stopping in Wilkesboro for some dinner. It was a long day but it was a blast as you don't get many opportunities to wheel in the snow and ice around here.
Good Times Good Times