Ol' White Forgets Parts
Contributed By: Eddie Pedersen
Long post follows, may be boring to some, others
will be thrilled. Consult your local doctor before viewing....
Got to escape for another day to the Great Outdoors
on Sunday, and man-o-man, was it hot>>>>>>>
95 F in the mountains and no shade....
CAST OF PLAYERS
Myself ( Eddie) and my 13 yr old Amanda &
a buddy of mine named Rob Clayton& his 8 yr old, Stephen.
And of course, Ol' White, '79 Cherokee Wide Track
My brother Wayne is his 81 SJ410 Zuk, with it's
new clutch, timing chain, water pump & Front axle oil seal,
and his dog Kemo.
60 miles east of Vancouver Canada.
This was a reverse route of one of my other trail reports;
Dewdney Valley to Chehalis Lake to Harrison Lake.
We started off cruising up Dewdney mainline road getting
aclimatized to the combination of 95F heat and dusty road.
We stopped at various vantage points for Rob's benefit for
picture taking and local folklore opportunities.
We crossed over the divide to the next mountain pass and
headed down Margarets Creek road to access our main
objective for the day. We found the turn off for the Statlu area
and wheeled our rigs around the corner and began our ascent.
The Statlu region consists of two main valleys; South Statlu, &
the North Statlu. What we originally wanted to explore was a
disused road that went to the north part of Dickson Lake,
a popular camping area. This road originally allowed you
to make a circle route back past the lake to Hwy # 7, which
would in itself be a nice Sunday drive on main forest roads.
However, there was a rock slide about ten years ago,
and the road is now blocked just at the north part of the lake.
I had been part way down this road about 4 years ago, and now
seemed like the time to give it another chance.
We shifted to low gears and climbed quickly to the top end of the
South Statlu valley. Not being here for a few years, I past the
branch road we needed take to Dickson Lake and we wound
up at the upper reaches of the valley, in the middle of an active
logging area. We chose a branch road that was de-commisioned
and started traversing cross-ditches on the road. While the
ditches were not a problem, one particulary deep ditch did cause
Ol' White to drag his rear end as he climed out of the hole.
I suddenly heard a dragging noise from the back, and figured
I had just ripped off the rear bumper. I didn't want to stop
on the steep hill, so I proceeded forward for 50 yards to a level
section to check out the damage. As I looked in my rear view
mirror to see if I left anything on the road, I could see my
spare tire lying at the top of the ditch. Just as in time for Wayne
to climb out of the ditch, and with his hood pointing at the sky,
and his view obscured, he ran right over it. The little Zuk
hit the 31 x 10.50 tire and promptly popped a wheely on one side.
According to Wayne, he thought that the ditch was deceptively
deep and that he was at too steep an angle to climb out,
as he momentarily lost forward motion. According to Amanda,
the Zuk suddenly launched vertically and she was afraid
of rolling over backwards. A valid impression, as the truck was
already at a 45 degree angle, before the F.R. wheel jumped
over a foot in the air. We rolled the big tire, ( with new tread
marks on it [g]) back up the hill and attempted to re-mount it
under the truck. It became apparent that the mounting stud
and plastic lock nut were stripped, and , as the back was
full of coolers and tool kits, etc., we threw it up on the roof.
We poked around the valley for a little bit more, and made
a change to our agenda. We decided to forego our attempt
at Dickson Lake, in exchange for hunting for fossils in
Mystery Valley. We proceeded at a leisurely pace to Chehalis
Lake, and stopped for lunch at the Forestry campsite at the end
of the lake. Tummies fed and thirsts slaked, when headed for
Mystery Valley road. Right away we saw a sign stating that the
road was washed out at 2.4 kil. but we decided to try it any ways.
We crossed a few minor washouts, waiting for the " big one",
but it never came. It looked like it had been fillled in with
a few loads of gravel and sand. We found the side road that
climbed to a peak where we had found the fossils. Right away
this trail was overgrown, and I lead the way, pushing back
saplings and other tree branches that were reaching onto
the trail. Lots of bush rash and snapping of wood as I cruised
along. It was evident that a Cat had been through here recently,
and the cross ditches on this road had been filled in, much
to our appreciation. On the last 1/4 mile was an eroded hill-
side section that was in rough shape. It consisted of two
enlarged cross ditches, (twice the size of the one that had
bitten Ol' White's underside), back to back, followed by a creek
washout, with a 10 foot entrance, and a 40 foot exit on loose
gravel roadbed, which raised this 35-40 degree uphill to about
a 45-50 degree angle. After surveying the site and looking at
the 80-100 foot drop off on the side, ( barely enough wheel
space for the FSJ ), I thought to myself, " Ol' White would
have a heck of a time crawling out of this hole, maybe we'll
just walk the rest of the way." At that moment Wayne said,
" well, are you going to try it or not !" The gauntlet had been
thrown down..... I climbed back into the truck and nosed
Ol' White into the first ditch. I crawled into the hole and was
just starting to climb out when I broke the crest of the second
ditch. With Ol' White dragging his rear through both ditches,
I made it through and lined up for the washout. I asked Rob
to help guide me through, but being he was already making
a mess in his shorts, ( and he was walking :) ) He was not
much help to me. I picked my line from memory and again
nosed Ol' White into the hole. Right away I started coming
out of the washout, even before the back end had finished
entering the hole. I started plowing upwards with the bush
bar and front shackles, while the back end was now
suspended in the air by the trailer hitch and bumper which was
on its way _into_ the washout.. At this point I was almost
at a stand still, at the bottom of a 40 foot steep climb out
of this predicament.
" No guts, no glory " !!
I gave Ol' White some gas and let him drag the rest himself
into the hole, and then launched him up the hill with some
more pressure on the go-go pedal. With all four tires screaming
and clawing for traction, he bit and fought his way out of the
washout on his way to the next hurdle. 20 feet up the road bank
turned to packed sand, with the edge crumbling away.
With Rob once again scrambling to not get run over, I picked my
own way around this problem. I hugged the hillside, brushing
up against a boulder or two to use as a seeing eye guide for that
side of the truck. Right away again into one last ditch at a bad
angle, again get a rash on the rear bumper, and climb out .
WHEW !! Way to go Ol' White !!!!!
Of course, Wayne had an easier go of it with
the smaller wheel base of the Zuk. He didn't have to worry
about undercarriage damage as he went through the
washout, so he was able to keep the revs up and his
forward momentum going to make it a cleaner ride of it.
Points in favour of small wheel base 4X4's.
Climbed the rest of the hill and continued on to the site.
We found a few fossils of small clam like sea creatures, as
well as what look like 1-2 inch tubeworms. It boggles the
mind that at 3000 feet on the side of a mountain, in the middle
of a forest you can find sea fossils............
Oh yeah, stopped right beside a major bear scat, that even
made Kemo look small ( remember Kemo? Part wolf and
part husky, and bloody huge !! Almost six feet standing on
his back legs). While we had our dinner, I was thinking how
I was going to get back through this washout going down.
If I started plowing into the bank on my way out, I probably
would not be able to back up out of the washout. What will
I do then? It's pretty hard to push a FSJ on level ground, let
alone uphill backwards. Well, back down we go, through the
past the eroded edge of the road, scrape a few boulders with
the tires, and into the Big One. Well, I must have picked a
pretty good line, cause Ol' White didn't even kiss the bank
with his front end, just dragged his bum down into the hole,
climbed the 10 foot section out of the washout, over
the double cross ditches and down the hill with out
as much as a spin of the tires. [G]
After that, we made a blitz for the West Harrison Lake road,
and got caught up in a parade of shopping carts leaving the easily
accessed forestry camp sites along the lake. We stopped for a
breather, and it was then that I noticed that my CB antennae
was missing ! Oh well, I'm not going back for it, that's for sure.
Got back home after 9.00 pm, which meant we had been on the
road for over 13 hours, mostly spent in the bush, with about 80 miles
of the 200 miles done on mild to moderate forest roads.
Monday night I finished cleansing the interior of the Jeep
of what seemed like an inch of grey dust, vaccumed it out,
washed it down, patted him a big " thank you" for getting back
home again, and went in to finish reading my stack of 300
- one spare tire bolt and nut
(Ol' White looked like a mean machine with the big tire up on the roof)
- one CB antennae
( which was semi-broken anyways)
- major new bush rash
- new holes punched through weak spots around the
fender flares ( had to pull a small branch out of one hole)
Another Sunday afternoon well spent, in my honest opinion !!!!
And bloody fun it was too !!Eddie in Vancouver
( whose family has given up on me and gone to bed)
Ol' White is a much appreciated '79 Cherokee
Wide Track QT w/low range AT I6 170,700 miles
Dana 44's 3.54 gears
31 x 10.50 Sport Kings A/T M+S
Factory bush bar, for plowing furlows in cross ditches [G]