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Molina Ghost Town Run

Contributed By: Ken Wetherall

<editor's note: I've despaired of correcting most of Ken's "interesting" spellings, words, and capitalization schemes. Here I present it mostly in it's original form. Some of the spellings have been corrected, some have not.>

I had planed to meet Ken Renshaw during my trip down to the event, but Ken was delayed in departing his work place and could not make the meeting place. I neglected to give him proper directions in the event that this might happen.

I arrived after dark and got my registration packet, but was too late for the vehicle inspection, so that would have to wait till the morning. i didn't want to set up the tent, i drove the Super-did not tow it, so i slept in the Super.

This event is near the Clear Creek management area E of King City in the San Benito county of CA. Most of the trails cover the abandon asbestos mines in the area. after getting the Super inspected for the proper off road equipment, i parked it in line like ALL the others and waited for our 0830 appointed start time. the trail advanced smoothly till i got to the first section where the trail hands tell u, that this way is the ez way and that way is recommended for locker vehicles only!! well of corse i took the locker way. BIG mistake!! no sooner than i was on this certain part of the trail that the line of rigs that i was behind came to a halt! the rigs ahead of me were having a ruff time at it and so the line moved only 100 feet every 20min!. this lasted for about 3 hours.

tho the sections that gave the most trouble were formidable, they were no probs for those with experience, LOCKED HUBS, and lockers. as the only Wagoneer on the trail, i favored many a camera session as i ascended these grades with determination. whenever i could, i rendered help to a cj or a wrangler off of a rock. as i was ascending one such climb after assisting the ones b4 for me, the normal purr of the exhaust on the Super, became much louder :( when the line stopped again, it was found that the exhaust pipe had discoed just b4 the muffler. since i was not suffering from the fumes, i delayed a trail fix till i could find a spot to pull off and make necessary repairs.

A so-called 'mud pit' seemed to be the purrfect spot. i let the ex cool for a bit whilst i ate a sandwich. it just seemed that the hyperflexing of the frame worked the slip-in joint apart. i removed the pipe from a hanger, reinserted the pieces together, and re tighten the bolts. it gave no further problems.

Hey Mike B. it seems that that banging sound that we heard from the tc upon compression braking is gone. maybe its because i tightened up all the engine/tranny mounts!!

since this event is also called a 'poker run', at 4 checkpoints, u get a little envelope with a playing card in it. at the end of the trail at the base camp, u collect these and see if u have a winning hand. the cash awards are presented at the raffle that is held on sat night.

aside from the asbestos that is in the soil, many parts of the trail are covered with dense Manzanita bushes. these are notorious for taking the long hard hours y'all put into shining up ur FSJ and throwing em right the window.

the last true obstacle was a 100meter ascent of about 40degrees called, goat hill. some years we go up this and some years we go down it. i have done both. last year we went up it, and i had the misfortune to be using a QJ 4bbl, and was a stalling and a bucking all the way to the top. :( fuel starvation city. this year i was back to the trusty Holley 4bbl, and zooomed right up to the top. this hill has a little tilt to it as the right side is less steep that the left. most took center or the right. i took the extreme left. ;)

the trail ended at the entrance to the Clear Creek management area at which point i aired up my tires to street pressure and drove back to camp. i put up my tent, heated some water, washed my face and hands, changed into some clean duds, and went to dinner. since i had also paid for 36Ken's dinner, i had two meal tickets, so i used them both. dinner was tri tip sandwiches, salad, rolls, and pudding.

after that was the raffle, which had its big as well as little prizes. the big one of course are the BFG tires, AL rims, and the Warn 9k elec winch. i did not have any luck and walked away empty handed.

the sun morning was bright and clear and i took my 2 breakfast tickets and got scrambled eggs, ham, pancakes, syrup, and OJ. the trip was home was long, but since i did it in the day time the trip back to San Jose via SR25 was better to look at. while refueling in Holister, i called up 36Ken, and voice my disappointment that we couldn't link up. I had intended to sell him the 488 rp sets that i had while we were at the event. i got directions from him over the phone, and met him at his house. Nice person that 36Ken is! I spent maybe an hour showing him the Super, and talking shop in general. I said my good bys, and headed back to Concord.

It began to rain somewhere near Dublin, CA. but didn't get heavy enuff to cause any problems. actually, it cleared a lot of the mud from underneath the Super!! i have 5 new silver dollar scratches on the lower front corner of the D door, from one of the the rock climbs.

Ken Wetherall
Mon, 17 Mar 1997

  kenneth e. wetherall               If a Wagoneer can go where a                  CJ can go, then it's a 
                                            Super Wagoneer.
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