One of the nice things about having a national forest for my back yard is that, while everyone else is agonizing over modifications to their trucks or slinging verbal abuses at one another, I can do what we presumably own these trucks for......... Go for a spin!!!
Those of you who participated in RMM '98 this past June will recognize the areas described below. Anyone else can travel along vicariously by checking out the RMM pictures on Ron DePugh's page of the:
We've had several days of rain and fog here in southeastern Wyoming, and yesterday afternoon was about as foggy as I've seen it in a long time. Visibility was less than 100', so it seemed like a good time for a ride through the forest. It wasn't cold enough to snow yet, but there was plenty of moisture in the fog, so the windshield wipers were on much of the time. While many of you are complaining about all the extra heat in your cabs because of the heater, and the expansion tank on the dash, I was grateful for both. The inside of the cab was warm (relatively) and the windshield and door windows were frost free the whole time.
I decided, at a suggestion from Ron Miller, Sr., to run the RMM Saturday trip in reverse, slightly modified from another little road which led from the highway into the main part of the tour. By the way, for those of you who have been following my titling and insurance stories, I still don't have title or plates yet. What the heck, it was foggy. Who's going to see me? So, off westbound on Happy Jack Road I went. The trip up to the forest was uneventful, until I got to within a mile of where I was going to turn off onto the forest road, when out of the fog loomed a Wyoming Highway Patrolman sitting on the eastbound side of the highway. Needless to say, my heart rate and pucker factor went up simultaneously. It looked like he was just waiting for an opportunity to turn around. To my dismay, that's exactly what he was doing and as I continued on into the fog, I saw his headlights pulling out on the highway. My turnoff to the forest road couldn't come soon enough. Unfortunately, it came very suddenly, so I hit my turn signal and swung a quick left at the same moment. The patrolman was almost right behind me so I figured he was going to be curious about my sudden turn, but he must have had some other mission, because he kept going. Whew! I opened the gate and headed down away from the highway and safety in the fog.
This short stretch of road follows a drainage due west toward the base of Pole Mountain. Nothing difficult, but kind of eerie in the fog. As I got closer to Pole Mountain and gained a little elevation, the ground was more covered with snow. None of the roads had any snow on them, except for an occasional patch, but they were muddy and slick from all the recent moisture, so there were several places where I needed 4WD to keep my rear tires from slipping.
RMM'ers will be pleased to know the water hazard was full (where Klaus gave us the spectacular show with the 416), as were all low spots on the road. I experienced a new sound in my truck when I was in the really deep water. It sounded like the fan was hitting something, but upon reflection I suspect it was just water being splashed up into the fan by the front axle as I pushed through the deep holes. I'm afraid I'm being spoiled by the Unimog. There's no way in the world I'd ever try to take any other 4WD vehicle I've owned through those spots.
The rock hop (1st photo op of the RMM) was my last obstacle. I could see where several vehicles had tried to approach it (tracks in the muddy road), but it was obvious they had looked at the 2' high rocks and chickened out. Because it was muddy, I locked the differentials and climbed right over the rocks with no hesitation. I don't even think I spun a wheel at all.
I didn't see another vehicle the whole time I was in the forest. Just me, my truck, and the fog. I came out of the forest where the RMM trip started and had an uneventful short ride back to the house. Three hours of fun. It's snowing quite nicely this morning, so I'm looking forward to my next new experience - seeing how the mog handles in snow.
I love my truck!
Footnote: Kent's mog was finally titled, licensed, and insured and is now operating legally.