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Ol' White Forgets Parts

Contributed By: Eddie Pedersen

Warning **
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....

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 still 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 first ditch, 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 FSJ msgs.

- 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]

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