After we got Rick off the mountain, the cooks led by Butch Baker headed back to camp to fire up dinner, while a large group of mild to wild Cruisers took off for another trail. This time I jumped in behind Edwin Kincaid in his 42" Super Swamper clad FJ-40'ish rig called the Grasshopper. The trail started off fairly easy until we rounded the last corner and began the slow climb out of the basin. In front of us was one very nasty, wet ledge. Edwin was the first one in line. This ledge was pretty nasty looking before the rain, but after nearly 2 days of constant rain and the new moisture that was beginning to fall, it was downright nasty! Edwin made numerous attempts at the right-hand line before he let loose with a might bit too much skinny pedal and he toasted his front output shaft on his transfer case. Mark one for the bad guys!
Since I was able to study the ledge a little while Edwin flopped around on it, I decided the only way I was going to make it up was to get my front tires over and bump it over with a few ponies from my trusty LT-1. The tactic worked and I was up and over. I hurried down to spot Kristy Barlow up the ledge. Kristy literally gave Lil Red hell on her 5 attempts to make it up the ledge, but her 36" tires could not gain enough purchase to get her over the rock. Kristy and the next 3 vehicles took the bypass to the left and exited to the top of the trail.
As I sat there with my camera, I was simply amazed at what stock Cruisers are capable of. In our group were 4 stock cruisers. I say stock, sure they had aftermarket tires on them, but they still ran stock drivetrains, no lockers and little or no lift. These rigs were amazing! I loved watching them shake, bounce and rattle to the top of the hill in the rain. The last rig to make it up the ledge was Jason Keene in his V8J-40. His 38" tires were large enough to carry him over the ledge and up to the top. Jason's wheeling ability with his automatic tranny really is a thing to see. He really works the transmission to his advantage. I am a babe-in-the-woods learning how to wheel with an automatic tranny now and Jason is a great teacher. Where I opted for the easy up/bump it up approach, Jason used finesse and his torque converter to ease up without using too much throttle. It was really cool to watch.