JeepGirl Travels

Fall Crawl 2005 Oct 21-23

Badlands, Attica, In

By Mike Strawbridge

The XJ List Jeep Cherokee Off Road trip for 2005 was held at the Badlands Offroad Park in Attica, IN.

On Wednesday, I decided to see how I could fit Scuffy my offroad Cherokee on the trailer with the new wider tires. I really did not want to have to change tires twice in one day on Saturday at the park as the 35x12.5's are heavy.  I figured out that aired down the tires would squeeze through the trailer rails and I could sit them on blocks to keep the rails from rubbing on the 1100 mile road trip. As I jacked up the rear axle, one of the tires rotated slightly. As the rear is welded this should not be possible.  So I quickly dropped the diff cover and found one of the spider gears in multiple pieces in the bottom and one of the axle gears badly worn where the gear had broken under the weld.  I grabbed up a big nut to span the space, backed the trailer to within reach on the MIG and started burning wire.  I welded anything that would stick. Put the cover back on and hoped for the best.

Thursday, Scott and I loaded up the Suburban with camping supplies, tools and spare parts.  Stole the camera mount and fire extinguisher out of the race car and we were ready. Except at the last minute, I remembered I had promised to bring fire wood.  After several attempts to start my chain saw, I called my dad and he told me he had plenty of wood and I could drop off my saw for him to fix while I was gone.

Friday morning, Scott and I headed over to Dad's to pick up the wood and Mom loaded us up with fluffy brownies to share with the group.  Then it was 505 miles to the campsite.  Arriving at the site, we saw a huge carnival of
vendor tents and rv's stretching for what looked like a mile in the pitch blackness that descended two seconds after sundown.  I forget they don't get twilight like we do here in the mountains.   We overshot the camping area and decided to turn around in the huge parking lot across the road. After a day of flea market parking, this field was a mud bog. I hit 4x4 mode in the Suburban and tried to back up but I just went down. Tried to move forward and found that with lots of throttle, I could move very very slowly forward. I told Scott that he was likely going to have to unload the Jeep and pull us out, but the Suburban kept crawling sideways until it finally got some grip and turned us around. After a big tour of the park we finally found the XJ's and a place to camp. Too bad we had loaded the tent, air mattress and such first and we had to dig through everything to get it out. It was great to catch up with everyone that we had not seen in a year and meet some new folks as well.

Saturday, we lined up outside the Badlands Offroad Park gate and waited for the opening rush.  The Badlands staff was very efficient and we (along with about 100 other off roaders) were registered and off the trailer in 14 minutes.

While some of the others made some last minute repairs I took Scuffy to the dunes by the parking lot and played a bit.  Soon we were all on the road to the green trail.  The paved road from the parking lot to the green trail
made me worry a bit about my hasty welding on the rear but it made it to the trail without a big pop. I just made sure I found some gravel or water to make the 90 degree turn on.

The green trail started offroad with some steep climbs and very sharp breakovers that you had to take on faith that there was a trial on the other side as all I could see was sky.  Gave the rock rails a good workout. On some of the longer climbs, my carbed engine would run out a steam just before the crest and I would have to pause and make another go causing some flashy wheel spin that I would have preferred to avoid.  Only once all day did I have to back up and make a second run to get up a hill. But it took Neal two tries at that one as well so I did not feel too bad.

After lunch, we hit the orange trail which was my favorite offroad trail of the day. Not having to worry about scratches on the narrow trail made it way more fun. I was surprised to find my biggest damage of the day was when I tried to push a small limb out of the way with the front fender.  It took out the corner marker instead of moving to the side like a good limb. And the rear diff stayed welded all day as well.

Scott and I were witness to a scary four wheeler accident as a fellow took a huge tumble down a hill toward us. His ATV rolled right over him on the way down.  The ATV landed a few feet from my door but its rider was still way up the hill. We stopped our run to check on him. He defiantly got his bell rung but eventually he was able to get back on his ATV. When I first saw the crash I was thinking we might be using an XJ for an offroad ambulance but happily he was OK. I bet he was sore.

Near the end of the day, while Derek and the other Scott played in the rock gardens, I let my Scott drive Scuffy around in the sand dunes near the parking lot.  He managed not to get stuck like Adam did although we had
several very close calls with Motorbikes.  After one very close miss, we decided to load up and prepare to leave as the security guard had already tapped his wrist at us.  Just outside the gate we found a nice place to watch the show of  Adam's extraction.

Back at camp, The ECO guys fixed the best steak dinner ever and I learned some great South African fire tricks.  We had a long philosophical discussion about the origin of materials for cheap rugs. And great stories lasted well into the night. 

A great time was had by all and as they say in the south, those who were not there really missed an offroad blessing.



Jeeo cherokee picture Jeeo cherokee picture Jeeo cherokee picture Jeeo cherokee offroad picture Jeeo cherokee offroad Jeeo cherokee offroad Jeeo cherokee offroad Jeeo cherokee offroad Lifted Jeep Lifted Jeep Lifted Jeep Jeep Cherokee Off Road Jeep Cherokee Off Road Jeep Cherokee Off Road Jeep Cherokee Off Road Jeep Cherokee Off Road Jeep Cherokee Off Road Jeep Cherokee Off Road Jeep Cherokee Off Road Jeep Cherokee Off Road Jeep Cherokee Off Road Jeep Cherokee Off Road Jeep Cherokee Off Road Jeep Cherokee Off Road Jeep Cherokee Off Road Jeep Cherokee Off Road Jeep Cherokee Off Road Jeep Cherokee Off Road Jeep Cherokee Off Road Jeep Cherokee Off Road Jeep Cherokee Off Road Jeep Cherokee Off Road Jeep Cherokee Off Road Tires Jeep Cherokee Off Road Jeep Cherokee Off Road

Kemp's pictures.

Adam's Pictures

Derek's Pictures

Wayne's Pictures

Norm's Pictures



Hit Counter