Oregon’s Coast Range in January is Beautiful
Editor: E. Bewley Story/Photo: Greg Fuller
ALSEA, OR – The Mid-Valley Crawlers held another great trip as usual. We met up at Safeway then headed to the Corvallis DMV to unload the several trailers. After doing a few pavement miles and cruising through the bird sanctuary, please let the Geese do the honking, we started hitting the logging roads in search of trails. With this many rigs (12) it takes a little longer to do the exploration thing, but Eric pulled it off with relative ease. We found a few mild trails here and there but nothing worth writing home about. The scenery was beautiful as is always the case in the coast range.
After a few hours of rallying the gravel we headed up to a cell tower to break for lunch. The view was incredible! We could even see the mighty Pacific.
As soon as everyone had eaten and took there pictures we took off for what would prove to be the carnage area for the trip, the rock pit. Ken in the Scout was running his rig on Propane for the first time and hadn’t realized how quickly it would run out. So the two XJ’s volunteered to lead him back down the mountain. On to the pit. Just a unassuming small rock quarry filled with large loose rock. Eric led us around the perimeter then turned us loose. First to go was a front axle U-joint cup off of Dave’s Bronco. No biggie there. Then Hoff was climbing some loose stuff and sliced his nice new Goodyear’s sidewall pretty deep. Nothing a couple plug’s wouldn’t fix. Joe had somehow managed to smash his rear driveline on a rock and put a good bend in it. Then Ken’s steering shaft separated by the box. Again nothing major, but now we had at least three rigs handicapped.
Onward we ventured. Coming back down even a bent driveline couldn’t stop Joe from hanging it out on every corner. I was taunting him a bit in the Sammy. More exploring dead end’s, more gravel, and great views.
We came out to the pavement eventually. Eric had one more place he wanted to look before we left. This would turn out to be the best trail of the trip.
Coming up the steep gravel road we found a nice red clay muddy, off camber, rutted trail. Looking around almost everyone was ginning with excitement. Eric headed up followed by the rest of the group. The white hard top Samurai found out just how fun V-rut trails can be. As he was skyin’ out the front end crossing the rut his Sammy decided to just lay down for a bit. Again, no big deal just a nice easy flop. Not even a single dent for his trouble.
Everyone else had little trouble until, Clink, Ken’s rear axle flange bolts decided to depart themselves from there mounting points. He winched up to the top, pulled the offending axle, and taped up the hole. The next part of the trail was pretty steep with a nice four foot vertical wall at the top. Eric made a few valiant attempts but was denied victory. Next came Fred in his X-90. Flying up the hill he came to the wall. Without hesitation, he wheelies up the wall. Only to not quite crest it. After backing down a bit he absolutely sky’s the front end. Still no luck. A few more tries with the same result had him backing down to join the ranks.
Here comes “famous” Dave Cappel. Even with a handicapped rig he makes it to the wall. Several full throttle attempts later we hear the distinctive snap of his injured front axle finally letting go. The failing axle also blew his hub in half. Sadly backing down, Dave makes room for Joe in his Toyota with a bent rear driveline. Joe walks up the hill to the wall. After one or two practice attempts he just sails over the obstacle. Wheelbase would be king of this hill.
The group made there way back down the hill without incident to the pavement. It was getting dark by now and we decided to call it a day. About two miles later we hear a faint voice over the CB saying something is wrong. Houston, we have a problem. Ken’s Cruiser wont come out of four low. So with around 35 miles to the trailers he had to creep along at 25 M.P.H. That wont do, so Dave towed him to the main highway where it was a short jaunt to get the trailers and bring them back to the injured rigs.
Most of us split up there to head home. A few of us hit a local Chinese food joint for a warm dinner before making our way to the comfort of home. All in all it was another great trip put on by Eric and enjoyed by all.