Tellico in November 2001

Friday

 I guess ill wrote a little about the trip from my angle. It started off friday afternoon i guess about 2pm. At that point i decided I was gonna actually go. I called pine creek to let Sietz and family id be showing up late. I left work about 3:30 to head home and load up. I left home at exactly 5:15 and made my way. I made good time out except for trafic slow downs in Durham and again in Greenboro. Made a few pitstops and a fuel stop just after turing off I40. Arived about 12:30am and unloaded ready to go... trip was basically uneventful, truck towed great and pulled Black Mountain at 55mph at ~2400rpm in  3rd (auto)

Saturday

Headed to trail head, forgot i handn't air up or even unlocked the hubs fromt he last trip...opps. I guess I'm all ready to go!! Group decided to hit slick rock, after I whined louder than everyone about wanting to hit that trail :-D   This was my first trip to Tellico with Yazuki2 and I needed to compair the performance of the zuke to my TJ. We headed in 4 due to a work detail having mechanical problems on the 2.5ton (6x6) in the road. The trails are lookin good all the work they are doing is defintly making them safer and better able to handle the water and traffic on them. Zuke did fine. no complaints. Just before the Fains Ford crossing i let Rob Sietz's daughter carry drive the zuke for a while. She did better than I thought and didn't have too much trouble with the manual steering (and front locker) I asked if she could climb the 2 ft ledge after the creek crossing and she wasnt sure, so i said give it a go...  She climbed up it great.

After that we made our way to slick rock. John Barcly headed up first and did great only winching twords the end and on the rock. I was very surprised at the lower section its getting tore up bad which makes it very fun. I worked the zuke up all the way to the base with out winching. I did well, and i know my new driving style was scearing some on lookers. The peddle down, and bounce concept works well for the super light weight zuke. Plus the 4:1 gears makes it sound like your about to launch even at a snails crawl. My arms were tiring, from working around the rocks. The last ledge was a killer for me, i had not realized i was hitting the front end of my zuke, i was thinking i was hitting only the springs/shackles and a little bit harder hit would bounce the front up. I was worng and i twisted my front cross member by hititng the reciever tube i had welded on to it. Opps, I tired every ince of the ledge and was unable to get over it. I took the cable up the ledge and then eventually up the rock itself. By that time i was defeted and tires !!!

The rest of the gang made their way up and all did well, the obsticale is a living changing beast and has been different each time ive hit the trail. After everyone made thier way up and past the last little off cabler spot, Kimball made his way, he had poped the hydralic actuator on his rear locker, and it was now open, this made the pinz much harder to maneuver and the angle on the crevas, was just about perfectly bad. He had a strap hooked to steve's jeep to help him maintian forward motion across this area, there was some minor confusions while this was happening and a VERY off camber moment when I was able to push the pinz back up. When this started to happen a 2nd time i was outta there, at that moment Sietz was in my way and i promplty ran into him as i dove for a tree. As luck would have it Steve punched it and yanked Kimball finnaly off the crevas. That was a sceary moment !!! I can only imagin how it felt from inside the pinz as he was at least 40degrees to the side, wiht the front end nosed down a bit....

The rest of the day went fairly well and no major events stick out. I was beat and hungry. We all ate a good dinner and headed back for some rest. I loaded up saturday night and was ready to head out in the AM.

Sunday:

Me, Kimball, and Steve had decided to head out at 7am to get home early in the day. We made our way and had a good trip. By keeping my speeds down to 65ish, i was able to get 16mpg towing YA!!!... Steve was having some tire trouble and after several conversations decided not to hold me and kimbal back. He felt safe and had a cell phone to call for help if anything should arise. Thanks Steve. All was good. Zuke is still sitting on the trailer.. with a new list of things to finish and fix...

-mike yager