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Blue Lakes / Deer Valley FSJ Fest

Contributed By: Bob Maclay

The FSJ trip to the Sierras on the wknd. of October 10-11, '98 was awesome!

We had 5 FSJ's & 1 YJ Wrangler go on the trip. Good Showing!

I had the first meeting place setup @ 6am Sat morning in Suisun City off Hwy 12. Two friends from Travis AFB one with the YJ and WildBill McCune with his '81 Cherokee Chief from my 4x4 Club and myself with my '70 J-3000. Then Adam Fleming from Petuluma, CA showed up his '77 Wagoneer. We left around 0630 and headed East to Lodi at the second meeting place at Hwy 5/ Hwy 12 at the truckstop/ convienience stores at that location.

There we met Dale Webb and his son in his '78 Cherokee Chief and then Ken Wetherall in his '66 Super Wagoneer.

We talked & looked over each other(s) rigs, got gas, and breakfast and waited till about 0900 for any stranglers that might show up.

We then headed East thru Lodi on Hwy 12, then to Hwy 88 to Jackson and stopped in Pine Grove for Gas topoffs before heading on.

We cont'd. on past Kirkwood Ski resort, past Caples Lake up to Carson Pass and down it to the Red Lake turnoff off of 88. Beautiful Scenery.

Finally hitting the dirt road about 1130, we headed south towards the top of the mountain where the Pacific Crest Trail intersects the road.

There we took pictures and air'd down the tires, talked about truck stuff ate some food, and look at the 8,000 ft elevation mountains around us!!

Once again we headed down the mtn. towards the PG&E owned & operated campgrounds at Upper & Lower Blue Lakes. Nice area for motorhomes & trailers. Maybe next year Mike Baxter can meet us there with his popup!

Below the Lower Blue Lakes Dam is the start of the Deer Valley 4WD trail to Hermit Valley @ Hwy. 4. our eventual end the next day.

We headed down the trail all six of us, my J-3000 Gladiator heading the pack going thru rocks, mud holes, thru the trees and ending up at the first creek crossing where we setup for the FSJ photo shoot!!!

All 6 Jeep rigs lined abreast @ the creek, taking pictures, group shots, etc..

I have an awesome shot of Dale's, Sup'rKen & WildBill's FSJ's in a height comparison. Each truck had a body lift!!!!!

Then the water crossing ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~pic's, my took great water crossing shots of all the trucks.

Then we cont'd onward trying to have our brakes working after getting WET! Going thru the trees and rocks, the stock Wrangler kept on hitting his U-bolts of his axles on the granite skid plates to protect them.

We all had prob's with our tires........we air'd down too much........... the tires going woosh when flexing on the rocks...........the Wrangler lost air completely on one tire, so I helped airing him up using my on-board air compressor mod on my truck. Lots of fun!!!!

After the second creek crossing we made camp by the water, put up our tents and had dinner cooking and made a roaring campfire for the cold night air elevation. Overnight the Temp's hovered above the 20's.

Sunday morning, October 11 It was cold.................

I got up around 0630 and hiked up the trail for a looksee and also to get warmed up, check out the trail conditions, etc.........

That morning, Dale's son wasn't up to par, feeling ill so he decided to take off early. Also the friend from Travis AFB in the YJ Wrangler decided to head out with him, but their tent gave them fits on putting in back into the bag for half a hr. They headed back out to the way we came in and we parted company.

Around 1000 we took off going down the trail to Hermit Valley. My J-3000, Adam's Wag., Wild Bill's Chief, & Sup'rKen in his SuperWag trailing the pack. Going up the mountain trail, articulating on rocks, thru towering trees, valley scenery, etc... Stopping at the tough sections, spotting the trail for the trucks, thru rock gardens and mud.

We had lunch around noon on the mountain and relaxed for 45 min. The trail from campsite to Hwy 4 is only 4 miles away but it took our four trucks till 3pm till we got off the trail @ Hermit Valley.

We all had a blast going down the mountain, getting better at checking your line, avoiding the rocks on the diffs and wheeling the trail....

Only real damage, Adam pulled his rear left part of his bumper off a tree stump & WildBill his blind side right rear quarter panel on a rock or tree. I came away undamaged this year along with SuperKen

The end @ Hermit Valley has a huge Granite Slab that is at a left angle going down the trail, that you have to pick a specific line to go down on stacked up rocks otherwise your rockers get hurt.

When we arrived a stock Nissan truck trying to go up, did exactly that and got stuck on his diffs and rockers, by himself.

We helped him out & off the rocks...........

Our turn was uneventful and slowly came down off the slab, standing on our brakes, picking the right line, stacking rocks as needed and went down to the highway.

We air'd up and I had prob's with getting my transfer case to engage in 2WD. Stopped 3 times on the Hwy to fix and finally engaged lever using my crowbar underneath the truck to setup lever properly on Dana 20 T/cs.

All in all, it was a fantastic trip, but next year I'll set it up earlier in the summer.

Thanks for everyone who attended, next year lets have more FSJ's come out!
Later, Mac Suisun City, CA

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