Rockin-in-Ringwood

Rockin-in-Ringwood
Story by Jim Guld Pictures by Jim Guld and Bill McNerney
[Photo Book Page]

Rockin-in-Ringwood





Ahh springtime in the northeast, one day it's 75 and sunny and the next it's 50 and raining... Guess which one we had for our trail ride? That's right Mr.Wizard, the later. We had a fair turnout considering the weather and a last minute change in trail dates, 11 rigs showed up to challenge the 2 major rocky hill climbs that this trail offers. We meet at 9:00am and left for the trail around 9:30 and aired down at the trailhead. This trail is good for both stock and modified rigs since the harder obstacles have go arounds so the people who donít want to attempt the steep long hill decents and climbs and pull off to the side and watch and take pictures.


Rockin-in-Ringwood
Rockin-in-Ringwood
The trail starts out with a series of short hill climbs that everyone made easily. These do allow you to flex your suspension depending on which line you take. As we continued on we came to the optional waterhole for those who like to test out the fording capabilities of their rigs. About 1/2 the group tested the waters and everyone made it through without any major problems. We then continued on up to the first major hill climb which has a nice double slab rock climb at its entrance. We came up to the first hill and we decided to stop and have lunch here and have 1/2 the group do the decent and climb back up and then have the other 1/2 do the same.
Rockin-in-Ringwood

With the light rain of the day the soil was the consistency of wet concrete in spots. This hill has 3 lines down with the far right usually being the easiest. On this day the the far right wasnít too easy since you're trying to creep down in low gear and as you use your brakes, the tires lock up and you tend to just skid down as your loosing and gripping for traction in the loose soil conditions. The other feature of these hills is that the rocks vary greatly in size from small loose rocks to a fair amount of boulders about 2-3í in size.
Rockin-in-Ringwood



After each rig goes up/down the hill the line changes alot due to the rocks shifted around by those who went first. These loose hill climbs challenge even the rigs that are double locked and low geared since you have to keep up your momentum, but not go too fast as to create that bouncing effect up the hill that can quickly put you sideways out of line. I myself thought that the hill climb was the toughest this day of the 3 times that Iíve done this trail. On the way up this hill climb, Evan in the copper CJ-7 with his new longer shackles and SuperSwamper radials made the far right hand side. He is the first person to make this side of the hill that Iíve seen. Several others attempted and we had our first damage of the day: Bill in his YJ with ARBís in both ends and a dana44 rear, couldnít make it up and when backing down got twisted up in the loose rocks and slammed his rear diff cover which wasn't noticed til later when someone noted it while following him. He pulled the cover and we drained the fluid into a spare anti-freeze container that I cut up to make a catch pan, and he hammered the dent out and refilled the diffs. We put the old fluid into some soda bottles with tops along with the bottle that the new fluid came out of. Itís a good idea to keep these old plastic containers in your truck for just such an emergency.
Rockin-in-Ringwood
Rockin-in-Ringwood
After a few hours at the first hill we went onto the last hill climb of the day. Well this hill is also steep and loose just like the first one, but has a step at the top that requires just enough right foot to make it up and over. Evan was the first to make it up followed by Garlan in his newly lifted TJ with 33 Goodyear Mud Terrains and a LockRight in the rear. Garland hasnít had the funds yet to do a gear change so he still has to give it a little extra right foot and today that proved to be fatal. About 3/4 of the way up the climb Evan heard a loud bang and Garlandís forward movement stopped. They inspected the front end and all seemed to be ok, so they tried moving the truck again and noticed that only one rear axle was turning... not a good sign. At first we thought to attach a winch cable and lower him down to a flat spot to find out what had broken, but as we did the rear axle started to wall off. We then proceeded to jack up the truck and push the axle in and decided to pull him forward to the top. From this spot to the road is about a mile or so, so we tried to walk along side of the truck and just keep kicking the wheel back in to make time. With the terrain being so rocky it made for very slow progress. This happened about 3:30-4:00 and we hit pavement around 9:00.
Rockin-in-Ringwood

Things became more complicated when the other axle broke also about 100 yards into moving the TJ. We then tried to make up a skies for under the wheels and to chain them to the underside which worked but the terrain tore up the metal trunk,which we took off of an abandoned car,and the process of getting the TJ off the trail was a slow one. We then got to a more flat area and it seemed to go faster to just let him drive and have 2 people walk along side and kick the wheels back in. It kind of reminded you of some Russian ballet.

We got the TJ to pavement and called in for a flatbed to transport the wounded rig back to NY. We went to a near by truck stop and waited for the flatbed service to come and had a late dinner. Garland is now officially in the lead for this years hard luck award,which I won last year.
Rockin-in-Ringwood

We said our goodbyes and headed off for home, which wasn't the most pleasant ride since it was pouring rain. This is Wilbur saying goodbye for Mr.Ed.

Jim Guld
Metal Ward Ltd.
4x4 Store.Com
NYC
LIOR Inc.
UFWDA
KII Automotive Group Ltd. Copyright 1998
http://www.4x44u.com/