A day in November on Eagleridge !!!

It was far too nice a day to be working. Yesterday, Wes had dropped off his Jeep  at the shop for some exhaust work as the manifold was leaking a bit. It’s a Jeep thing, but an easy fix. Fixed it in a lot quicker time than expected. And just did not feel like working the rest of the day. One can only sit on the beach so much and look at the pretty girls walk by. Hmm… What to do? A nice little run up Eagle Ridge feels about right, but I only have my gas miser car today. Wes’ Jeep is here and he just filled up that safari tank before dropping it off. I could make the trip and the fuel gauge will still be pinned at full.
But the Jeep probably is not set for wheeling. Just for giggles I pop the trunk (yes, this Jeep has a trunk of sorts) and see the OBA lines are in the back. That is all I really needed.
So here I am toodling down the highway. The 6 speed was a bit getting used to after living with 5 speeds for so long. 6th gear and reverse don’t feel natural to a 5 speed guy. Long arm suspension and big floaty radial tires are sure nice. AC clicked on and the cruise control set. The stereo and sub were a nice bonus. Oh, this is too nice, got to get me one of these. Just as soon as the mortgage is paid down and the kids are out.
Airing down was a different experience. 37” tires hold a huge amount of air. Lots of time to disconnect the sway bar and mud flaps. Really makes this Jeep squishy on the couple twisty switchbacks up to the trail head from the air down spot.
This day just kept getting better and better.  Sun was out and no one on the trail. Week day wheeling has its advantages.
To the end of pavement and this is when the big decisions really begin. What gear to choose? Wes’ Jeep has a few gearing options with the 4 speed transfer case. Lets start hi and go lower as needed.
The 2.7 reduction was just like my YJ and was just fine for doodling up and through the first bit. Got to the crack on the right and decided a bit slower was more appealing. Pop the 2.7 out and put in the 3.8. AH! That is nice, creepy crawly up though and over the rocks. So this is what its like to drive a Jeep Rubicon.
I continue to doodle along and over the rocks along the way. This is just way too much fun. Big, soft and squishy and it just goes where ever I point it. I am now starting to see how and why Wes gets into those twisted up nearly rolling over situations. He just starts playing to see what the Jeep can do. I don’t have anyone today to come bail me out, so it is probably best not to play around too much with funky lines.
Continuing on to some more boulders and ledges, the thought of “what if” starting to creep in. I don’t really need to engage both reduction boxes at the same time, do I? What is it really like? A crawl ratio of over 225 to 1 is well not just low, but stupid low. We make fun of Wes when he uses it, maybe it’s time to see what it’s like from the inside.
Up to some rocks, all 3 shifters back, let the clutch out really slow and…. Hmm… damn, that is slow. Eases up and though the rocks with total ease. Even applying a bit of gas, there is no wheel spin. The tires can’t turn fast enough to spin. Really puts a new dimension into technical crawling. No spin, no hop no bounce. Such a feeling of control and stability. It was awesome!  I could not even keep up to a snail at this pace.
But alas, at this pace, it would be dark before I got to the next rock. Shifting back up into a higher reduction, I was off to the lookout. The last few km to the lookout was a fairly easy run, the 2.7 reduction was perfect for that buzzing along.
The lookout provided a fabulous view of the city. I could spend all day up here. Then I spoiled it and looked at the time. Got to go, Wes is coming by this evening to pick up his Jeep.
The long arm, long travel suspension really showed its colours while bounding down the road. Soaking up the small bumps with ease. The big Wilwood brakes in the back did not hurt either. Back into the rocky sections of the trail, I played again with the stupid low crawling. What a different experience, no use of the brakes. Rather I was on the gas accelerating downhill on the rocks. No sliding. Such a weird difference when one has 24 forward gears to choose from in a Jeep!
Returning to the start of the trail, it was time to air back up and head back to. Putting sway bars back on with a squishy Jeep can be interesting. Getting it just right so they slip on can be a challenge. With a second person to help out and rock the Jeep, it goes easy. Fortunately there were some golfer’s playing though and they were kind enough to help me out with a little rock of the Jeep.
An end to a beautiful day of week day wheeling. Now I just have to hurry back and wash the bit of dirt off the Jeep so Wes is none the wiser of just what I was up to when he comes by to pick it up.
Rick "Tag" T