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Bam! Alabama

Posted in Events on November 1, 2012
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The temptation to reference a certain Lynyrd Skynyrd song with a fairly obvious tie- in to this article is difficult to resist. But hey, some of us here at Jp have been told that we are a “Simple Man” with simple interests…interests in Jeeps and off-roading (and apparently Southern rock). Sometimes people ask us: “What’s your name?” or “What’s that smell?” This happens more frequently when we are on trips such as the recent one we took to Alabama for the Spring Fling at Gray Rock ORV Park in Gardendale, Alabama. We packed our bags, camera, Lynyrd Skynyrd tapes, stashed the “Saturday Night Special” (cause we know the TSA would not like it in our carry-on), and boarded a plane like those lucky fellas who are “Working For MCA.” Now it’s probably time to fly back on topic like a “Free Bird.” Please “Gimme Three Steps” to get back on track. Oops! Sorry about that, but hey, we somehow avoided using “Sweet Home Alabama” as our story title. Check out the action in Gray Rock ORV Park (, where big tires, slick rocks, strong axles and high horsepower meet for some real down home fun! Special thanks goes out to Keith Bailey of the Off Road Connection, Tony and Myra Cousins, Sam Gillis, and everyone else we met for their help and their Southern hospitality…oh yeah, and for picking us up from the airport, too.

Southern Wheelin’ Translator
Feature Editor Simons was raised-up in the South—which is to say that he grew up there. Sometimes when he talks on a phone with friends from home the drawl comes out. Here is a brief translator to prepare you for wheeling in the South.
Giv’m hell: Try really hard to get farther up the trail
Tar: Tire
Stretchin’ rods: Revving the engine
Gitting a bite: Getting traction
Holler: Valley
Skint: Rock rash/tree rash on your Jeep or a tree
Pullin’ cable: Using the winch
Crick: A small river or ditch
Turnt over: Rolled over
Chunk or hogs-head: Differential
Mash it: Floor it
Bump it: Roll your tires into the rock and then mash it

Smoke ’em if you’ve got em! Did we mention high horsepower, big tires, and beefy axles are the norm here? There was a theme in what worked at Gray Rock. Chad Coulombe is shown here “stretchin’ the rods” on the healthy Vortec 350 with a Kenne Bell Supercharger in this TJ buggy. Chad’s rig gets power to the “tons” with help of a TH350 and an Atlas II.

Common Phrases
“He’s just out there wipin’ the new off it.”: He’s scratching his new Jeep.
My Jeep’s sittin’ on tons.”: My Jeep has one-ton axles.
“Ya on ya chunk.”: Hey guy/gal, you are hung up on your differential.
“Now roll back and bump it a little.”: You are not hitting it hard enough. Move back and hit it with more throttle.
“Gitcha some Second!”: You are not hitting it hard enough. Move back and hit it with more throttle in Second gear low range.
“Pour on the the coal!”: You are not hitting it hard enough. Move way back and hit it with a lot more throttle in Third gear low range.
“Ya’lmost had it that time.”: Try again.
“Sumpm’s broke!”: Something is broken.
“Dang, he nearly turned over.”: Gosh, that guy nearly rolled his Jeep over.
“Wahoo!, yehaww!, hell yeah!”: Whatever you are doing, you are doing it correctly. Keep it up.
“Woah!”: You are broke or about to turn over…er, I mean, roll.

The trail known as Cable Hill is intimidating. There is a high price for failure if you tip or roll. It’s a looong way down. Several people had attempted to climb the trail while we were there, but no one had made it when Sam Gillis, with Keith Bailey riding shotgun, showed us how it’s done. His Liberty makes plenty of power and is well bolted together with a 5.7L LS1 GM V-8, TH350, an Atlas II, 35-spline Dana 60 front, and a shaved 14-bolt rear. The trick seems to be to use the tires and power to dry off the rocks, roll back and hop up a ledge then repeat until you are at the top. Oh and you have to have a lack of fear for your life cause it’s steep and a looong way down.
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