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dzJeepChic

Big Bear Lake Adventure 2016 Picture Thread

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Here's a picture to get this thread started. Please share your pictures from our Big Bear Adventure in this thread.

 

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Thank you everyone who came out to play in the mountains with us! The adventure would not have been as fun without you, and you are why we plan these trips!

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Thursday, July 21

 

We had ten vehicles at the start of the 2016 ORP Big Bear Lake Adventure. We travelled as a group to the Big Bear Discovery Center, aired down at Fawnskin and travelled to the Butler Peak Lookout for a panoramic view of the area.

 

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After a break for lunch along Holcomb Creek, we toured some of the historic sites in the Holcomb Valley. This is the Hangman's Tree:

 

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The ruins of the Doble Mine:

 

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We returned to pavement near Baldwin Lake, aired up and returned to Big Bear.

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Friday, July 22

On Friday, we had thirteen vehicles and we broke into two groups. One group was led by Kristoffer consisting of seven vehicles that explored the scenic Skyline Drive on the south side of Big Bear Lake. I joined the group of six vehicles that ran two difficult trails, Gold Mountain Trail and John Bull Trail on the north side of Big Bear Lake.

 

Gold Mountain Trail:

 

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After finishing Gold Mountain, we continued to the east end of the John Bull Trail. After a lunch break at the East Gatekeeper, we started the trail.

 

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Christian broke a brake line. Apparently this has happened before, and he carries spares:

 

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Meanwhile, George discovered that his rear locker was stuck in the locked position. He thought the problem might be caused by a recent switch in differential fluid. George was able to contact Kristoffer, who had finished his group's run. Kristoffer agreed meet us at the trailhead and bring some diff fluid. George planned to remove the diff cover, release the locked differential and refill the diff. While waiting for the group at the trailhead, Kristoffer searched the web for possible solutions to the problem, and learned that one might be able to free the locker by prying the plates apart through the fill hole, without draining the diff fluid. Upon reaching the trailhead, George first made certain that the malfunction was not due to an electrical problem, then removed the fill plug and successfully pried the plates apart. George plans to disassemble the locker when he returns home.

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Saturday, July 23

 

On Saturday, we travelled as a group to Silverwood Lake, about 40 miles west of Big Bear Lake, where we ran the Pilot Rock Trail which connects Silverwood Lake with Lake Arrowhead. The trip to Silverwood Lake took us on the scenic Rim of the World Highway, which overlooks the Los Angeles Basin. Unfortunately, smoke from the Sand Canyon fire north of Los Angeles hampered the view.

 

The Pilot Rock Trail is an easy trail but has many optional bypasses that are rated "difficult". I had expected that about half of the twelve vehicles would choose the difficult route, so I was surprised when 9 out of the 12 choose the optional route.

 

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Shortly after the start of the trail, Christian heard some abnormal noise from his drivetrain; it appeared to be an internal problem with his transfer case. He decided to turn around and return to Big Bear. He was accompanied by three others.

 

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On Tuesday last week George and I drove to Big Bear Lake by way of Parker, AZ and Yucca Valley, CA on Hwy. 62. From Yucca Valley we drove out to Pioneer Town where we got on FS 2N02 and took it all the way to Baldwin Lake (dry lake) just outside of Big Bear Lake City. Turned out theksmith and his family also took the off-road route and we missed each other by minutes!

 

Ricky Bobby gratuitous 'before' shots

 

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While we were airing down a fire truck came in from the direction we were headed.

 

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The well maintained graded road went through a neighborhood at first, then over the hill into an amazing Joshua Tree forest. Even though we were quite a long way from Joshua Tree National Forest, these trees rivaled any I had ever seen as the largest and most dense population.

 

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Theksmith turned off onto an alternate route at 3N03 while G & I continued on 2N02. Base Camp (gps software) and Google show 2N02 dumping into a neighborhood at Baldwin Lake. But in yet another incident of boots on the ground telling a whole different story, all the trails into Baldwin Lake were blocked off by boulders and were getting overgrown already. So we had to find the long way around to the highway.

 

Big Bear Lake in the distance as we approached Baldwin Lake

 

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Continued...

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On Wednesday G & I went cruising around Big Bear Lake to see what there is to see.

 

First we went to the dam

 

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We walked down to the lake to see about swimming, but the scum floating near the shore and the cold temperature of the water changed that plan quick.

 

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We drove up the back side of the lake and stopped in Fawnskin at the park. There's a 911 Memorial there where a chunk of one of the steel girders from one of the towers is on display. It was given to the town by Rudy Guliani.

 

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There's also a lot of other stuff on display including a taxidermy bear, some fun things for the kids, several exercise stations, and a giant tire.

 

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Then we continued our drive all along the north shore stopping to check out some campgrounds along the way. Then went to a museum out by the airport in Big Bear. They had a lot of very cool displays at the museum, lots of buildings full of cool old stuff plus a number of volunteers dressed in period appropriate clothing demonstrating different things.

 

In the school house

 

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At the livery stable

 

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Blacksmith demonstrations

 

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Native American dwelling (they must have been short). :D

 

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Coming up next pictures from day one on the trails...

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On Thursday we met with the group at Boulder Bay Park close to the dam on Big Bear Lake. It's a nice park where a lot of people launch kayaks or start off for bike riding. There's a dock and restrooms and a large parking lot. Russ Chung who lives in the Los Angeles area was able to meet up with us for this adventure, and he lead the trip for us that day to Butler Peak and on a guided tour across Holcomb Valley. Along for the ride on Thursday were theksmith, maddogjeeper, curbjumper, lofreqjeff, defectivemonk, stockjeep, ChrisD and Riddler, who invited a young guy James from Tucson he met at the gas station who was also with us.

 

Driver's meeting at Boulder Bay Park

 

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From there we caravanned to the Discovery Center on the North Shore road. Sorry I didn't take any pictures, but they had displays about the local wildlife and their habitats. Lots of hands-on activities for kids. Then we continued on the North Shore to Fawnskin where we aired down.

 

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The area behind Fawnskin is a burned out area from a fire years ago (sorry I can't remember name and date of fire).

 

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It's a long climb on an easy trail to reach Butler Peak Lookout.

 

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It's just a short hike from the parking area:

 

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Beautiful views from the tower!

 

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Did anybody else notice the palm trees and pine trees cut out of the railing boards?

 

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Volunteers gave us a tour of the tower and this device called a[n] Osborne Fire Locator.

 

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Hanging out in the parking area after the tower tour:

 

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On the trail again:

 

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Looking for a lunch spot:

 

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After lunch we went to Holcomb Valley where Russ took us on a tour of some old landmarks.

 

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Comfort stop. ;)

 

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Wilber's Grave

 

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Site of the saloon where Wilber most likely got killed we figured:

 

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Hanging Tree:

 

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Group Shot:

 

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A cabin:

 

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The trail ended at some mining ruins close to Baldwin Lake.

 

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Up next, Friday's Adventure!

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Friday morning we met up at Boulder Bay Park again. We held a generalized driver's meeting at the park before we split into 2 groups. theksmith lead a group on easy to moderate trails while Russ Chung lead our smaller group on two hard trails.

 

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With theksmith on Skyline Drive were curbjumper, defectivemonk, Riddler, srmullen2000, smed, Jeep4fun and lofreqjeff. On the difficult trails lead by Russ were G & me, ChrisD, hurricane, maddogjeeper and stockjeep.

 

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We ran Gold Mountain first. It starts out as a steep climb up the mountain with some beautiful scenic views now and then.

 

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First obstacle area was a piece of cake for everyone.

 

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The second obstacle was a little harder, especially for us! Our front locker would not engage, so G had a hard time getting a grip up the right side. He tried the left side but got caught on a rock there and went back to the right side. He was using the Trail Dash to engage the lockers, so now he tried engaging the front using the instrument panel on the dash instead. It worked, and he went right up.

 

2nd obstacle looks like nothing

 

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With no front locker the Jeep doesn't want to climb up the right side

 

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The left side creates a whole other set of problems

 

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Then the front locker worked and the Jeep went right up

 

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Everybody else went up without difficulty

 

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Lots of beautiful views from the trail as we climb higher up the mountain

 

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Next we ran John Bull Trail coming up next...

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We ate lunch next to the gatekeeper at John Bull. There was another group just starting the trail when we got there, but after trying to maneuver through the rock garden for a while, one of their Jeeps was over-heating. After letting the Jeep cool off for a while they decided to pass on the John Bull trail and they left. I took a lot of pictures of the Jeeps in sequence over the rocks. If you'd like to see more of those shots please feel free to check out my whole album: https://picasaweb.google.com/116271806008662880915/6311442841337060513

 

The rock garden at the gate keeper.

 

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Now it was our turn. Wayne went first to show us how it's done.

 

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This was actually the hard spot for everybody, except for stockjeep Wayne. It was a piece of cake for Wayne. :)

 

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Then it was maddogjeeper Dennis' turn.

 

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Slid off the rock!

 

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By going higher on the rock on the passenger side he was able to squeeze through.

 

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Next hurricane Dave went up.

 

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With the same issues at the tight squeeze in the middle.

 

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We had him winch himself to maddogjeeper's rig while driving over/through.

 

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Here comes Russ! He just blasted through without incident!

 

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Now Christian went up.

 

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A slightly larger footprint over the squeeze.

 

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G's turn.

 

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By the time he was high enough on the passenger side rock to squeeze through, our rock-slider step was under the rock on the passenger side. It scraped a bunch of powder-coat off the top of the step. :(

 

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Right after I got back in the Jeep to proceed from the gatekeeper, we heard Gwen over the radio say "Spotter please?", so we stopped again to go help everybody over the next set of obstacles.

 

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And on down the trail we went.

 

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A sweet metal man made of parts!

 

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A precarious drop-off next to a tree

 

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Almost to the end of the trail

 

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At about mid-trail on Gold Mountain we had discovered that our rear locker would not disengage. George was afraid it was because he had used a little thicker diff. fluid plus some additive when he changed the fluid right before we went on this trip. We were attempting all manner of getting it to disengage without luck. G thought we were going to need to pull the diff cover to manually disengage the locker. About mid afternoon I got a text from theksmith saying they were done with their trail and asking if we wanted to grill out, etc. Glad he was already in town I asked him to go to the auto parts store for diff fluid and something to catch the old fluid in. He got the stuff and drove to the end of the trail to meet us. while he was waiting he did some research and found out that we could maybe disengage the locker through the filler hole, and ultimately that's what we did and it worked!

 

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Stay tuned for Day 3 on the trails of Big Bear!

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On Saturday morning we met up again at Boulder Bay Park. Russ Chung lead the group to Pilot Rock trail that runs from Silverwood Lake to Lake Arrowhead. Up for today's adventure were MaddogJeeper, stockjeep, hurricane, lofreqjeff, defectivemonk, ChrisD, Curbjumper, Riddler and snrmullen2000.

 

It was the hottest day in Big Bear yet, so the driver's meeting migrated to the shade!

 

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We went on the highway almost all the way down the hill stopping at an overlook of my hometown, San Bernardino, CA. Smoke from the nearby Sand fire made it difficult to find landmarks.

 

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At Silverwood Lake we aired down. My brother Rick who lives nearby was along for the day. He rode with George and I rode with theksmith.

 

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George didn't want to engage the rear locker, so they lead a small group on the easy trail. Everyone else was taking the gatekeeper to the difficult trails. The two trails meet up again close to Pilot Rock, so the plan was to rendezvous there for lunch.

 

Going over maps and synchronizing watches. :)

 

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The gatekeeper is the hill to the left, the easier trail is to the right.

 

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Jeff going down the other trail.

 

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Top of the first hill.

 

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Going up!

 

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ChrisD came over the radio and said his Jeep was making a bad noise so we all stopped. Christian decided to turn back, and stockjeep, MaddogJeeper and hurricane went with him for support. On further inspection they were able to see that the rear driveshaft was rubbing a skid plate, but it only happens when the Jeep is articulating, so Chris could drive home at least. They all went back to Big Bear.

 

More...

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