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About urbex

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  • Rig
    1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee
  • Location
    Glendale, AZ, USA

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  1. LOL! I was thinking the same thing, and was half tempted to take my hitch off just to score a free hitch...but I doubt they'll just hand a hitch over to me to install...they'd most likely undo any custom work back there to return to stock configuration.
  2. I'll raise my hand as someone who had done that before, though with reason. On our family's land in Michigan, we used to have BIG problems with people on bikes and quads using our land as their personal race tracks. I don't mean they're running the two tracks at a brisk pace, but rather going wide open down the tracks, creating berms on curves just from the speed, etc. It tore up sections so bad we had difficulty getting the tractor down some of the roads. There were also a few close calls with people flying down the road so fast we nearly got clipped by them. It wasn't that we were trying to keep people off the land period, in fact it was well known in the area that we welcomed people to use our land as a go between between the state land we were flanked by, we just didn't want the two tracks torn all up, as we used the tracks to get our tractors to the back of our land to collect firewood. We tried gating the access points, with signage saying people are welcome, but please keep the speed in check. People went around the gates, and based on the tracks they left, they didn't even appear to slow down. We fenced around the gates...people cut the fences down. Funny part was that the gates were NEVER locked, just latched. It took more effort to cut the fences down than it would have to open the gate. We finally got fed up enough that we started roping the trails. We used large rope that contrasted with the surrounding land, and would be very easy to spot if you were travelling at a sane speed. Fly down the road at 50mph though, and yes...you're likely in it before you could react to it. They were low enough that they weren't going to decapitate, and set up with enough flex that we could roll up to, grab and lift over head and keep going, but run high speed directly into it, and it would catch you like a wire on an air craft carrier, and likely toss you over the bars. That's what finally got the problem under control.
  3. I really gotta remember to log on to sites from home where all my pictures are, lol. That said, it was just your run of the mill stock Scout in bad need of a paint job, nothing special, lol. Anyways - getting home...my buddy and I went back out there in his Scout 80 on 37s the next day, and in the daylight my predicament wasn't nearly as bad as it seemed the night before. I think it was just the combination of it being an incredibly long day (started at Lake Pleasant around 6am, finally waved the white flag around midnight), it getting cold, my not being properly prepared for an overnighter in those temps, getting hungry, low blood sugar from not eating much most of the day, etc etc etc. We started from the Table Mesa side, as he was pretty sure he knew a way to get to where I was at from the south side, rather than going in from the north out of Rock Springs like I did. Turned out he was wrong, but we did end up basically stumbling on to a path via an ATV route that his rig just BARELY fit on, and the only reason we were able to pull that off was by having both of us spotting tires on either side of the rig at the same time. We yanked it back from where I got hung up, got turned around, and started making our way out. On the way out of this this trail, he gets hung up, winches through, and shreds a tire. Takes us several hours to get back off that trail, and we stop to have lunch, where we find another tire is leaking as well. Surprisingly, my truck takes minimal damage, mainly to a bit of sheetmetal that had gotten crunched on the way in, lol. We decide to go back out via the north way, the way I came in, as the sun is going down pretty quick by this point in the game (we didn't actually arrive to TM until 1 or 2 in the afternoon, as he was running late in the morning, and was certain that I was just exxagerating how bad of a trail I was on, thus it should be a quick yank and we'll be back home in no time! He was wrong ), I wasn't at all enthused about trying to squeeze my full bodied Scout II down the ATV trail that his crawler Scout 80 just barely fit down in the dark, plus he was driving on a flat tire by now. By the time we get back out to Rock Springs, it's about 8pm, and he calls another buddy in to pick up his truck/trailer at TM, drive it up, gets me back down to TM to pick up my truck/trailer, and back to Rock Springs to get my junk loaded up and home. Even with all the years of experience I've got doing this, I still learned things - mainly don't just blindly trust the nav system. I have satellite imagery covering the entire area, zoom level down to being able to see invididual cars on the maps, but learned that it's near impossible to judge elevation by the map - in the sense of that it may look like a smooth road or wash, and may look to be plenty wide enough to get a vehicle down, but you really really walk the trail to make sure before you run it. I also learned that in these situations of being solo, I really should have walked the trail before I even dropped in to it, or at least long enough to make sure I had several turn around/exit points in case I judged wrong on the walk. I walked it to the first turn around point, and figured I'd be OK. Well, except that the line I ended up on made it impossible to turn around or even back up at that point, so I was pretty well committed. I learned that I need to come up with some better ground anchors for these solo runs. I frequently had to pull to the last wrap of my cable to get to a suitable anchor, and even then had to add an extension or two. That gets incredibly tiring pulling 3/8" cable for hours on end like that, and I was severly limited in the angles that I could pull. There were a few times I had to essentially drag myself in deeper before I could drag myself out just because I couldn't pull at an optimum angle. A lot of this is that I'm still learning the desert wheeling, as opposed to the forest wheeling I grew up on out east. Regardless of how bad things got, there were always dozens of trees to use as ground anchors, and even if you didn't have blocks or straps, you could always get creative in the way you wrapped cable around trees. It was also no big deal to only keep 50 feet or so of cable on the drum, as it was a rare situation you had to go far to find a suitable tree, lol. The ground was soft enough that it wasn't a suicide mission to do things like bury a spare tire to use as an anchor. Yes, I know the simple answer to a lot of this is - "Well..duh! Just don't go out alone! Cardinal Rule #1 of wheeling - never go alone!", but that's not going to happen. Not to be arrogant about it, but I just really enjoy going out there by myself, and getting away from everyone and everything occasionally. I'm aware of the risks, and I accept that there's a chance that I may not make it back home every time I go out. It's a risk I'm willing to take to enjoy the solitude from time to time.
  4. Sure, I'll bite As said earlier, there's a difference between stranded and delayed...I'd say I've yet to be stranded anywhere, but I've been seriously delayed several times, lol. Years ago, in a well abused '80-something Cherokee XJ, I was bombing down an easement for power lines near the house, and found the 5 foot tall weeds hid the muddy ground VERY well. I also found that despite maintaining high speeds, 215 street tires don't have much pull in the muck. Furthermore, I also learned that under the right circumstances a mechanical radiator fan becomes a very effective propeller, and will tear apart a radiator very nicely Ended up having to leave the Jeep behind, make an approx 12 mile long walk home in the middle of a muggy Michigan summer, and met a cool Jeeper from a email forum that drove 50 in an equally abused 80-something XJ with a well worn 2.8 just to see what the dumb kid did to his Jeep, lol. Somewhere around here I'm pretty sure I still have pictures of that day. More recently, Dec 30 of last year. A group of us from the VJC decided to make a run up to Crown King via the typical backway. I'm in a stock '77 IH Scout II on 235 Goodyear A/Ts...by the time we get up into the pines, the trail is slick ice, to the point I had concerns about sliding off the trail on the way up, but luckily no one did. I had trailered the Scout in to Lake Pleasant, as I didn't have it registered for street use at the time, and planned on coming back down the trail solo as I often did. Yeah....I sure as heck wasn't about to attempt that with the ice on the hills! No big deal I think...I'll take Crown King road out of town, and catch Maggie Mine road through Black Canyon City, and then bounce back into Table Mesa via the trails just south of Rock Springs Cafe, cut across lake Pleasant and back to the trailer. Except that I forgot that in the years since I had last done that, a bunch of private property was fenced off, and "you can't there from here!" Again...."no big deal!" I think..."I've got sat maps of the entire area...I'll be able to find a way around it all!" I end up following a trail that roughly paralled the Agua Fria, that looked like a minor dirt road/wash on the sat imagery...but was anything but in person (my buddy who came to rescue the Scout the next day in his Scout on 37s said "WTF were you thinking? _I_ wouldn't even have driven down that trail! ). Ended up spending the next 4 hours basically winching myself down the trail, as in pull 100 feet of cable, drag over the rocks, drive 10 feet, and pull another 100 feet of cable, when I came upon a notch too small to fit a quad through, much less a '77 Scout, lol. I started to panic, gave up, and hike out far enough to get a cell single to call in my buddy to pick my sorry butt up,lol.
  5. You mean we're not supposed to just find the nearest deep water crossing, drive the Jeep in the water up to the hood, and let it soak for a few hours?
  6. Looks like a halfway decent Photoshop job to me, although the Liberty pickup idea actually already has been done - http://jalopnik.com/5150379/libertypage-a-chinese+built-jeep-liberty-pickup-is-un+surprisingly-quite-ugly
  7. It wasn't so much about not remembering to pack the right equipment, or having it at home, but rather poor choices made on the trail itself. The last time I was running solo down trails I wasn't familiar with, relying on the nav system to get me where I needed to be. Ended up on a trail that my rig just wasn't built for, and after many hours of winching, I finally gave up and had to call in a buddy to pick me up. We left the truck behind and came back for it the next day. It was late in December, was getting pretty cold, and a bit of panic set in about being out in the desert overnight not prepared for the conditions. In the daylight, I realized I wasn't nearly in as bad of a pickle as I thought, and we got it out pretty quickly with a fresh mind. In retrospect, I'm thinking that I would have been just fine myself had I been able to get a decent night of sleep out there and started digging out again in the morning daylight. This last time, I was following another guy, NOT paying attention to the maps, and ended up on a mud flat that sucked in two of the Jeeps. We were out there for hours in the middle of the night digging them out, and it got a bit chilly again. The girls went to sleep in the Jeeps, and I considered taking a bit of a nap as well, but knew that it wasn't going to be very effective trying to sleep in a packed Jeep myself, lol. That's what got me to thinking about packing in something for these types of situations. The second situation involving the mud flats is what got me thinking about alternatives to a tent. I'd prefer to stay close to the Jeep in these situations, and ground solid enough for a tent was farther away than my comfort zone. Actually, I was already thinking about something like this, although in reverse. My thinking was to attach to the front rails of the roof rack (currently a stock rack, but I'm working on building out a safari style rack for it), and then build out a support off the front bumper. I was planning on adding a stinger bar to the bumper, and adding something like a receiver hitch to the top of bend in the stinger, pointing up, to attach the support bar for the other end of the hammock.
  8. Twice now in the past six months I pulled the ol' "stupid newbie mistakes", which resulted in nearly having an uplanned over nighter in the trail rig. This last time was in the middle of a large expanse of mud...not exactly prime sleeping conditions, lol. While I drive a Grand Cherokee for these runs, I have the inside modified enough that I wouldn't be able to sleep anywhere but in one of the front seats, also far from prime sleeping conditions. What I'd like to do is set up something that would provide for somewhat comfortable sleeping, preferably some protection from critters, bugs, wind, etc, but not necessarily going into a full tent (especially as the majority of my travels involve rocky desert terrain, sleeping on the ground isn't a thought I relish, lol). I'm thinking of picking up something like a jungle hammock (or perhaps a Hennessy), and make some sort of ground anchor perhaps even using the Jeep as one end of the anchor. I'm curious what other people have done for these situations as well. I've been searching the net for a while, and seem to be finding two extremes - people who carry a nearly full camping load with them at all times, just in case they feel like stopping for a night, and the ultra minimalists who carry an emergency heat blanket that fits into their small bug out bag, and not much more, lol...finding people in the middle that have room for more gear, and just want to ensure a night or two of comfortable sleeping "just in case" seem to be the exception.
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