4-16-11 Alanzona

As with any good sequel, you need to have a nod to the original, so I will begin with 7 MORE things I learned this past Saturday:
1. Pride is a cruel mistress.
2. Geoff is an incredible seamstress.
3. “Looney Tune” solutions sometimes work.
4. The FatBob “Black TJ Curse” has been BROKEN!
5. Geoff could and should be a hand model.
6. I was wrong before… show tunes DO make any situation an “instant party".
7. Mike and Geoff are geniuses; I’m evidently just the pretty face.

Showboat, Skatchkins, and I started the day out before the crack of dawn by meeting at the QT at 5 AM. Geoff and I had been talking during the week but instead of running something light as a shake down, Pride had gotten the better of us and we decided that it was a shame we didn’t actually get to the good stuff on Die Hard the first time around. Geoff was a trooper and followed me out on the last trip, so I figured the best thing I could do as a friend was to support him. As referenced in point #1 above, Pride is a cruel mistress and I couldn’t stand the fact that I was owned the first time around. So, with confidence and excitement, we set out for Table Mesa.

We aired down and were ready to go by 6 AM. The sun was coming up and Table Mesa is a great place to be at daybreak. At the beginning of the trailhead, we made sure to drive around the rock that took out my hydro-assist the first time around, so we already felt better about the trip.
The first obstacle is a notch that we bypassed the first time, but wanted to take a crack at it this time. It’s pretty wicked with the driver rear tire always being in the notch and never really grabbing. Geoff went first and drove it like a pro… well, up until the part where he slipped into the crack and got stuck.

We spent the better part of 30 minutes working him deeper and deeper into the notch in efforts to free him. Winches, tow straps, rocks, and The Force were all used. The final solution was a winch from the side to lift him up and allow him to get traction. No major breakage other than some body modification and a couple scratches.


After recovering the rig and making sure everything was good, we headed on to the next mini-obstacle: the waterfall that broke my junk last time. I will confess, if nothing else, I was bound and determined to get past this point as this was as far as we got last time. Geoff crawled it like a pro with his long wheel base and killer driving skillz.

Now… it was my turn.  There were no "pops" or booms" this time, but instead, a hideous hissing sound from the driver rear tire. Sure as the world, a rock had sliced it- Big ol’ slit right up the side wall. All I could think was Thwarted on the same waterfall! We decided we weren’t having any of that, so I went on up the fall to the flat ground above and we took a look at the damage and worked out a game plan.

Now, we had plenty of plugs and plug kits (but no 40 x 13.5 x 20 spare tires lying around…), but based upon previous experience plugs alone wouldn’t hold it tight. So, Geoff the Seamstress struck upon a great idea: sew it together with bailing wire to keep it together, then plug it. So, that’s exactly what we did.

The first challenge was getting Geoff’s hatch open to get to the tools after his “body work” in the notch. We actually had to use my winch to assist in prying it open.

Geoff drilled NEW holes into the sidewall for threads and after we popped the beadlock ring off, he proceeded to stitch up the tire with wire like a pro. Then, we played a great game of “Can you hear the hissing?” in which Geoff and Mike took turns listening for air leaks. Once it was all good to go we were on our way again with the sexiest sidewall on the trail. Great job, guys!

Past the waterfall is when the trail got really, really good. It is safe to say that Die Hard is my new favorite trail. There are three big sections of canyon that have a huge (think small cabin sized) boulders in the middle of the canyon and you have to work you way to either side while going up a waterfall. Man this stuff is fun. Technical and challenging at the same time. What was really great was that none of us had ever run this trail this far before so we had to walk each fall and pick out our own lines. Just a great time and it added to the adventure of the day.

On the first boulder area, I finally got to try out my cutting breaks for pivoting on a rock while climbing. Yeah!!! (This is also where Geoff coined the phrase “Creepy Style” and it was a good thing! Here’s how it’s used in a conversation: Come on, come on… keep coming, “creepy style”, man, “creepy style”).

After the three boulder areas, the trail turned up and out of the wash. We thought we were home free at this point. WRONG. Die Hard had one last hurray for us: a strange wonky waterfall into a huge uphill boulder garden that was one of the more technical parts of any trail I’ve ever run. Geoff owned it (at the expense of his rear hatch glass!), then he spotted me up it.

On the LAST BOULDER coming out of the garden at the top of the hill, I hear the dreaded hissing sound from the rear tire again. This time, my whole sidewall is GONE. Completely blown out. We were at the end of the trail, so I drove it out to flat ground to formulate a plan.

That plan may or may not have resulted in driving home on three tires...




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