Jim Sprick Park Clean up

As we do every year, the Wandering Willys joined the rest of the Pacific Northwest Four Wheel Drive Association (PNW4WDA) to get the Jim Sprick Community Park ready for the season. Leafs were raked, trails were run and lesson were learned ... but not before two generous helpings of ridiculously yummy Hobo Stew. Diets are, naturally, suspended for this event.

Lesson #1: bring better tools for the clean up and get there earlier. The former is easily taken care of with the help of a list. Mine includes several in the form of power tools. The later requires a better economy. Oh well.

We ended Saturday with a run into the hills. Not difficult, but loads of fun (as Harry Potter would say). Water running beneath slush and snow. The Jeeps would break through the snow, pushing water and slush ahead and around. The slush would form mini-dams (damn it) the next Jeep would break, causing a rush of water. Pretty soon it felt like driving down a creek. Spring in the Cascades. It’s home and something to love! Dinner was hot dogs and beans. I slept alone and hence had no complaints. The next day started with a bit of generator noise to power the Espresso machine, the subsequent Carmel Macchiato and two fried, not microwaved, Egg & Bacon sandwiches. That’s roughing it!! Side note: Put your orders in now! We’ll proudly serve Wandering Coffee to give you the Willys. Sunday we stuck close to camp, heading over to Clover Springs for trail sixty-nine six. Erica would later tell us that it was six, ninety-six. I dare not to argue, alas ... We ran this trail last June and it was quite different. Last year, we were surprised, but not defeated. This April we still had virgin snow above 4,000 and most of our time was spent around 4,500’.

Lesson #2: Five Jeeps went on this run and about two-thirds into the day half had chains on their wheels, that’s right, 10 of the 20 wheels. I will continue to carry chains for those icy pinball chutes we encountered during the Fish & Chips run, but when trying to float on top of the snow, it is best to not dig in [two lessons for one :-)

Lesson #3: This I learned before really putting the chains to use. Rubber tires may rubber-duck-duck against brake lines; snow chains will rip them apart. After a proper field repair, which taught me a number of things, we moved on until we were eventually turned around by ... better judgment.

Lesson #4: Never go alone. It’s good to have friends with you who know what they are doing and have tools, spare parts and fluids.

Lesson #5: Keep Jeeping so you can pay it forward. I now can fix your brake line thingy. I really can. Making our way back to base camp, thoughts of the next day crept in. The long drive home. A little thing called employment and wanting to get paid ... family and pets waiting. So we pretty much drove (me without touching my brakes much) straight onto the trailers. Strapped the steeds down, had a funny thing happen when dumping, dealt with bad striping of I-90 west of Snoqualmie Pass and dropped into bed with a smile on our dirty faces. Good times.