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Uphill Ice And Snow Wheeling

Posted in Events on April 1, 2011
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Let us set the scene for you: We were sitting on the side of a road in rural Massachusetts at 6 a.m. It was a narrow road barely wide enough for two Jeeps to pass. Not that there were two Jeeps-there was just the one we were in. The temperature outside was a balmy 10 degrees, it was still dark, and the crew we were to meet was nowhere to be found. We were wishing there were fewer regulations about travelling with firearms.

Tom Thomson was our guinea pig for much of the run. With 37x13.50R17 Goodyear MT/Rs, 4.10 gears, a heavy foot, and a willingness to point his Jeep just about anywhere. He often attacked the next section before we snatched or winched everyone through the section we were currently fighting.

You might be wondering at this point why in the world we were in such a predicament. Well, we'll tell you; we were hoping to meet Rock Krawler Suspension and some of the company's customers to run one of the most famous trails in the northeast.

Unfortunately the trail is under constant threat of closure, so we aren't going to mention the name of it here in an effort to help keep it open. The trail derives its name because it follows a route that phone lines followed sometime early last century. All the lines and poles are gone, and all that was left when we got there was a slick, slippery uphill battle.

Normally the trail is difficult, but there are bypasses for the harder obstacles. On the day we were there, we met sub-freezing temperatures and a trail that was covered by a two-layer ice-and-snow combo. The ice varied from 1/4-inch to several inches thick and was covered by one to three inches of snow. We were only able to make it about 1/4-mile up the trail before running out of daylight and turning back.

Kenneth McCrosson and his skinny pedal are good friends. He figures the six-cylinder isn't going to do much damage to the high-pinion Dana 44 front or the Ford 9-inch in the rear. Both axles have Detroit Lockers and 4.88 gears to help turn the 36-inch Super Swamper Iroks. The front owner-built three-link worked great all day. Kenneth runs a Sanden-based on-board air with a 5-gallon tank in the cargo area.

To say it was brutal would be an understatement. If you aren't in the proper boots, ice just sucks the heat out of you, and that 21-degree high with a 10-mile-per-hour sustained wind didn't help either. So take some comfort that you are reading about this eel-snot-slick uphill battle from the comfort of your chair.

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