Step By Step
Chris Ross brought out his rock buggy to put it through its paces. A broken front driveshaft halted progress early on but after that was fixed, it walked through the trail without any more problems.
Brett Corders Jeep proved to be very capable. Even though he snapped a front axleshaft halfway through the trail, he still continued to have fun and attempt hard lines.
Eddie Matthews was on hand with his tube-frame Willys. At first we thought he might have problems because the trail had lots of giant rocks and Eddie was running the smallest tires of the group. However, the well-working suspension combined with the turbocharged four-cylinder 2.5L Ford engine made his rig plenty capable.
The next breakage victim turned out to be Tim Bolands Bronco. A combination of a Chevy big-block and 38-inch tires with stock running gear showed why Tim is nicknamed Axle. A closeup of the carnage shows a busted axleshaft on the 9-inch. Of course it had to break at the one place where the entire wheel can come off (the flange). Tim told us that we had to say he was trying the more extreme lines (which he was), and since he is bigger than we are, we figured hes always right. If you look closely you can also see the busted rear driveshaft.
Holy tube benders, Batman! Randy Ellis was also spotted putting his colorful tube-framed, Jeep-bodied rig to the test. It featured lots of cool fabrication along with ultra-wide axles that allowed him to take some unique lines.
The first obstacle definitely grabs your attention and is one of the hardest on the trail. It consists of a rocky chute with a bad line to the right, a bad line to left, and another bad line straight up the middle. If you are wide enough (like this Jeep) your best bet is to try the middle.
Another yellow Jeep showed up in the form of Ian Lijebalds lots-of-tube creation. Ian actually designed and built Chris Ross rock buggy with the help of the experience and knowledge he gained building his Jeep. Its small-block Chevy mated to a Turbo 400 and Model 20 provided the motivation for the front Dana 44 and rear Dana 60. Ian almost rolled it off this rock but a last minute hit on the go-pedal saved him and his passengers from going on their side.
One of the more interesting field fixes involved the rescuing of the stranded Bronco. The Bronco was winched onto the front bumper of Boopers CJ-3B to keep the tire-less side of the rear axle off the ground. The two then drove the rest of the trail attached together like Siamese twins.
The trail runs up a wash and there is usually water running down it year-round. Wet sand, water, and steep rocks resulted in little traction and lots of challenges in many spots.
Of course no trail run would be complete without a stop in Creater, which is one of the smallest towns in Arizona. Just a blast down the road from Bumble Bee, Creaters watering hole offers cold beverages that were refreshing after a long day on the trail.
While most people were trying to figure out what kind of dip to serve at their Super Bowl party, we were out wheeling. No, it wasnt an official trail run. No, it wasnt some kind of event. It was just us out wheeling with some of our Arizona cronies for the heck of it. Not too many places offer good four-wheeling in January (think snow). We were eager to take advantage of it, and Arizona offers the chance to get off-road year round. Another plus to this beautiful state is that there are plenty of hard trails within a couple of hours from Phoenix, meaning you can drive out in the morning, run the trail, and be back home in time for dinner with the rugrats. Arizona must also have a plethora of fabricators as over half of the rigs on our for the heck of it run were a jumble of tubes.
We loaded up the trailers and headed out to beautiful downtown Bumble Bee, Arizona, to hit the trail. While just over a mile long, the trail provides plenty of entertainment and induces plenty of carnage. Giant rocks, water, sand, zero traction, and lots of tube-bent Jeeps were the theme of the day. Check out the following photos and try to have some fun.