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Backcountry Boulder Bustin'

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Goober, Dec 19, 2002.

  1. Goober

    Goober 1/2 ton status

    Apr 26, 2002
    Likes Received:
    Mayberry (Auburn, WA)
    Backcountry Boulder Bustin\'

    The sun was hot as I pointed my rig away from the pavement and headed for adventure. Through pasture and field I drove, feeling my shoulders get a little farther away from my ears as I passed each familiar landmark. I left it idling in granny low and walked ahead to open the first gate. Through it drove, and I jumped back behind the wheel and zipped on to the next gate. The ground was wet that morning, and the hill steep, but I had big chunky chevron-tread meats on the rig, so I scaled the slippery slope without slippage. After the next gate I was in Gods Country, with only the spindly efforts of last season's tree planters as proof of past human presence.
    The lake sparkled under the fierce sun as I cursed my forgetfulness for neglecting to bring my Eddie Bauer hat. The melanin in my bald pate was in for a workout this day.
    I rattled down to the edge of the lake to take a look around, as 'the beast' idled behind me. The spring had seen flooding, and the stands of dwarf willow and red-osier dogwood had been under water for some months. Seeing the sun, the plants were in an orgy of growth. Nature moves on, and so do I.
    Getting back up the gravelly slope is not so easy as getting down. I shift into second gear and make a smooth ascent. The ground disappeared and left nothing but sky in its wake as I climbed the hill, and I marvelled at the wispy mare's tails in the sky above. Upon cresting the hill I was reaquainted with the ground, and I pointed the beast at the narrow track to 'the rockpile'.
    Pocket gophers whistled in outrage as I rattled through the dry grass. I had a hankering to test my new meats on the rockpile, and see if they work on the rocks as well as they look in the showroom. Stopping for a leisurely snack of home-smoked raccoon jerky and highbush cranberries I breathed the clean air and contemplated my route.
    You have two primary routes to take on the rockpile; either you take the PileDriver (so called because it's as bumpy as all hell) or you can take a more sedate route, which is guarded by the Dolly Parton Memorial, which is a pair of boulders of prodigious size, and a bitch to get caught between.
    In the end, I chose the PileDriver, and shifted to granny low. I had to watch the throttle carefully, because this route is also called the Rollercoaster, and with good reason, and it's easy to pick up too much speed and slam yourself into something unpleasant. Once I crested the rockpile my troubles began. Selecting a path for downclimbing is highly dependant on the precise size of your tires, as the rockpile was quite literally a hodgepodge of sizes and shapes, and with rocks twice the size of your tires it pays to consider carefully the potential danger of dropping a tire in a crevise. I wasn't familiar enough with these new meats to really know which line to take, but I pressed on, and watched carefully.
    I felt the beast start to get hung up on a rock, and I slammed the brakes on and contemplated my next move. Wrenching the wheel to the left I managed to juice out of the channel I was stuck in, and made it to the bottom relatively unscathed.
    After surveying the new scrapes on the beast, and proclaiming her still 'good fer it', and the tires startlingly unblemished, I continued on towards the welcome cool of the woods.
    Right where I remembered it was the old creekbed full of gnarly old boulders and slimy mud. The ultimate test of a tire.
    I paused to contemplate my options as the beast muttered in the background. My best bet, I figured, was to ride the left front tire over the extra-slimy front rock, and try to save the dryish ones for the rear wheels. The beast groaned and complained over the torque required to begin this climb, with an approach angle close to 80 degrees and a rise right up to the headlights. I called on granny again and together we willed the beast over the hump. Now came the gnarly bits. I would be leaving the only traction for some 20 feet. If you get stuck, you get stuck *hard*. I juiced her and the beast climbed mightily onto the boulders for a rest as I restudied my line. It was going to be ugly, as there is a gastank-seeking rock horn on the last boulder that I have met before under unpleasant circumstances. Once you start this run, you can't stop until you're done, otherwise you're *really* done.
    I mapped the line, aimed my wheels, and woke up granny with a slap. The engine howled as the beast clawed its way over the slimy rocks towards the dubious safety of the mudbank beyond. I felt a wheel start to slip and I jogged the wheel to put more pressure on that side. It's dangerous to do that, but I had no choice.
    The wheel hooked up again and I continued careening forwards over the bumpy rocks as the world started to blur at the edges.
    With a squelch the beast landed on the mudbank and growled accusingly. I pulled to the top of the mudbank (thankfully firm) and let the beast idle for a while to mellow out as I picked some early wild strawberries and tried again to develop a taste for rock tripe.
    The sun was near setting as the beast loped across the fields once more towards civilization and a well-deserved nap. I put it in the shed and closed the door quietly, and with reverence.

    That's the best damn lawn tractor I've ever owned.

    From: "Mike Graham"
    Date sent: Wed, 14 Aug 1996 23:33:22 +0000
    Subject: Backcountry Boulder Bustin'

    Found this on the 'net /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

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