My head is still spinning from this last trip. So much happened that I'm not sure where to begin. I suppose I should start from the beginning...
Most of our group met up in South Lake Tahoe around 6pm. The plan was to grab some dinner at the new Hard Rock Hotel and then head over to Carson City where we'd meet up with John and Dan. Unfortunately for them, they couldn't get off work early enough to join us.
The patio at the Hard Rock is pretty sweet. You can sit back around a fire pit in a comfy chair while enjoying a cocktail or in my case a Dogfish 90 minute IPA.
Eventually sat down for some grub. I hadn't anticipated us having such a large group so we couldn't sit at one big table but it worked out pretty well as they sat us in 3 close tables out on the patio.
After scarffing down our food and another beer or two we headed for the parking lot. I checked with Dan and John and they were on schedule to be in Carson around 10pm. It was only 8pm so we had some time to kill. Gordon decided he'd head over to the trail head in Carson early since he needed to aim his lights. The rest of us hung out for another 15-20 minutes and then headed over to the gas station we'd meet up with Dan & John.
Once we reached the gas station we all filled our tanks and aired down. Eventually Dan & John showed up and we headed for the trail head around 10:15. We were all excited for a little night running. We had 130 miles on tap for the night. As if our blood wasn't rushing enough, we got a call from Gordon over the radio when we pulled up to the trail head for us all to come up to his truck quickly. He sounded pretty worked up so I knew something was wrong.
By the time I got up there Gordon and Scott (Gordon's codriver) out of the truck and having a heated "discussion" with a guy in a mid 90's Suburban. The guy was obviously drunk and was trying to be a Billy Bad Ass. Apparently the guy didn't like all the attention Gordon's truck was getting (this area of the trial head is local hang out spot during the weekends) and decided to challenge him to a race lol. Gordon graciously declined as the guy was drunk and the Suburban was no match haha. Here's a pic of Gordon's truck for reference:
After Gordon declined the guy did a burnout right in front of Gordon's truck and took off down the trail. He kicked a bunch of rocks up nearly hitting Gordon's truck and almost nerfed the front end of his truck on a steep drop off.
The argument continued with a few empty threats from the guy and he eventually took off. We decided to get moving as the guy had claimed he had a gun on him. Just crazy how some people can be. Anyhow, we began booking it down the trail. I pulled over so Darren (my codriver) and I could get some footage of a couple different trucks passing by. After we got Gordon's truck we saw some dim headlights coming. Of course, it was the drunk a**hole again. I guess he decided he wanted to run with us.
We quickly jumped back no the truck and began moving. We caught back up to the guy and he was really pushing his truck. It was bouncing all over the place, sliding around turns etc. I didn't want to try and pass because I didn't trust him and I also didn't want him to push it any harder trying to out run me. I thought for sure he would fly off the trail at some point. Surprisingly he didn't. After 15 minutes or so he decided to finally give up and pulled over. He eventually let the rest of the group by and we were finally moving worry free.
We began making our was at a solid pace. I got a call from Gordon that he was going to need a little help. He'd come over a hill a little to hot and there was a turn in the road so he'd slid off and high sentered the truck a bit. I caught up and began digging through my gear to pull out my snatch strap. Well, as soon as I got it out Gordon realized his 4wd still worked lol. He was able to self recover after that.
From there we got moving again. We were making good time and were roughly an hour out of Fallon. Unfortunately, Manny shreaded a tire but he was able to quickly change it and we didn't loose but a few minutes of time.
The rest of the evening was relatively uneventfull as we made our way to Fallon NV. Blake did end up shearing off the mounting bolts to one of his sidesteps on some massive whoops. He also discovered he had air in his brake lines. Always scary when your foot goes to the floor haha. Luckily it didn't pop up just until we hit pavement. They were still working for the most part so we decided we'd tackle it in the morning as it was 2:15am.
We booked it to Motel 6. I'm not sure about the others, but I think I fell asleep as my head hit the pillow. Not surprising as it had been a long day.
A couple of us, including myself, got up around 6:30am. Not sure why as our meet time was 9am but my internal clock just won't let me sleep in anymore. Manny and I grabbed some breakfast at Jack in the Box. We headed back and met up with the rest of the gang. First thing was first, we had to secure Blake's sidestep since the rear mount was toasted on the passenger side. We also had to bleed his brake lines. Sidestep was secured with a rachet strap and Gordon donated brake fluid to the cause. And pretty much did all the work!
Looks like Blake's truck is eating Gordon haha
After a quick gas up, we headed for the trial head. Today, we had roughly 300 miles on tap. A lot of miles but we'd done more in the past. The trail started of a bit sandy and rough which was fun. It quickly opened up to a well graded powerline road where you could push the limits of your rev limiter should you want to.
We eventually reached a small dry lake bed which made for some cool video shots as the group blasted across.
We continued on and began heading up into the mountains. The trail opened up into some sweet sweeping turns which was made for some fun power sliding.
The trail eventually turned into rolling hills which were a blast. Kind of felt like you were on a roller coaster as the truck would crest and quickly descend. We eventually reached a turn off from the trail and we weren't sure if it was the best way to go as it looked like a goat trail. We all stopped to figure out if we should go down it.
It turned out to be a blessing. I caught the tail end of a conversation between Blake and Dan. They'd been talking about some noise coming from the front suspension. They'd chalked it up to the new bushing in the lower control arms. I decided to take a quick look over the compenents to make sure it anything wasn't loose. Well something was certainly loose haha!
The drivers side rear lower control arm nut had came loose and was gone. The bolt was holding on by just a couple threads. Apparently, the alignment shop had not torqued them down to the specified 450lbs. This would have been all bad had it came out. Now we were lucky to catch this but now we had another problem, the nut was gone and it could have been anywhere. Fortunately, Gordon happened to have a spare one in his tool box.
While we worked on Blake's truck, Gordon headed down the goat trial to see if it was passable. After 10 minutes or so he called back to say it was. Unfortunately, we wouldn't be able to join him for another 50 minutes. After we wrapped up the drivers side and torqued everything down we decided we should double check the passenger side. Good think we did as the rear bolt was barely tighter than hand tight.
We began moving again and the trail opened up to some beautiful views.
This section trail offered everything from highspeed straitaways to winding, rutted out sections which was awesome!
Eventually, the Black Rock Playa came into sight.
It looked like we'd be there in no time at all. However, it took another hour or so. The grade is so gradual and the lake bed so massive that it gives you an impression that you're closer than you really are.
Once we reached the lake bed we all booked it for "Black Rock City" which is where burning man is hosted. I'd marked it on the GPS. Once we got there, we lined the trucks up for some photos. The lake bed is truly impressive. Just just seems to go on forever.
Unfortunatley, we ran into another mechanical problem on the lake bed. Gordon was doing some donuts and his power steering just couldn't handle the load and blew a line. Gordon's always prepared and had a belt which would bypass the pulley for the pump. Only problem is the truck is almost impossible to drive offroad without power steering.
After 40 minutes or so, we were on the move again. We blasted across the lake bed towards the tiny town of Gerlach. It was pretty neat seeing all the dust clouds of all the trucks as we made our way across the lake bed. All of a sudded I felt like the truck was bogging a bit. Immediatly I jumped on the radio and told the guys to head right towards the edge of the dry lake bed as it was beginning to get softer. Apperently the lake bed must drain to the south. We saw a minivan stuck off in the distance about a mile or so to the right of us. If felt wrong, but we couldn't help. We were still 2 miles or so from the edge and if we were to get stuck trying to recover the van, we'd be effed.
We made our way cautiously to the edge and all was going ok until we reached the last 100 yards. It quickly became sloppy. We all punched it. Some of us made it to the road and about half of us didn't.
We gathered up recovery straps and one by one we got the trucks out. This killed about another 45 minutes. We headed into town to fuel up. After much discussion, we decided to forgo the remaining 130ish miles. The 2 mechanical issues had set us back nearly 2 hours and the last "stuck" incident another 45. Needless to say we were exhausted so we headed for Reno where we were staying at Boomtown.
We reached Boomtown around 7pm where we grabbed dinner and hung out late into the night. All in all it was an amazing trip. Thank you to everyone who came and made it so memorable.