It's been a busy week at Lake Woebegone, er, Lake Owen. Ahh, Lake Owen, the site of RMM '01 last weekend. If you missed it because something
came up, we are sorry for you. You missed a good one.
The weather turned real cold in the middle of last week, but the weatherman promised it would improve. The RMM weekend was supposed to
begin Friday afternoon, but some folks just couldn't stand the excitement. Bill and Cindy Collister arrived at Lake Owen Wednesday for a little
early fishing and R&R, and Robert and Charlie Christensen were over there Thursday afternoon to set up the "Christensen Castle" (a huge
outfitter's tent heated with a wood stove, and with an adjoining kitchen area).
I have to admit I was anxious to get over to the Snowys, so I took off Friday from work and spent the morning doing mog maintenance and getting
loaded up for the weekend. I was third to arrive on Friday afternoon, and shortly after that other mogs started drifting in: Bob and Kitty Ragain, Ron
Miller, Duane Russell, Kristopher and Ruslana Dichtl, Bob and Sandy Newsom (and Wiley Coyote :-), and John Light and his son in their
Pinzgauer. Finally, the unexpected sound of air brakes and large diesel out in the deep woods drew us out of Robert and Charlie's tent to see the
arrival of Rob Pickering and Kelly Brooke in Rob's Volvo RV/Mog Hauler.
I think half the camp site turned out to watch the unloading of Rob's yellow rock crawler. The rest of the campers thought we were all a little
strange and just stayed close to their campfires nursing their coffee cups, looking sideways at us and hoping we'd go away soon.
Finally, Dana Stickley arrived on his dirt bike (he only lives a few miles from Lake Owen) to see how we were doing and coordinate the trail ride for
Saturday. The rest of the evening was just a time of relaxing and telling war stories until everyone drifted off to their respective tents/radio boxes
for a good rest in the cool mountain air.
I had told everyone we'd hit the trial by 9:00 on Saturday, but didn't plan to leave until 10:00 in order to give stragglers a chance to join us. Kay
and Dana Stickley arrived about 9:00. Darrin and Andie Fink arrived about 8:30, without a mog, but they didn't want to miss out on the event so
had gotten up at 5:00 a.m. just to participate. Some of the people who said they'd be there Saturday morning didn't show, but as we were
heading out shortly after 10:00, Ron LeBeaumont and his young son arrived in their Swissy, so we were a caravan of 10 mogs and one pinzi. Ron
Miller elected to spend the day doing some local exploration on foot, so his mog was idle. The weatherman was good to his prediction and the
weather was beautiful.
With Dana leading the way, we wound our way through the back woods for over nine hours, including rest stops and lunch stop, and eventually
ended up in the town of Centennial (Pop. 100). Only Ron LeBeaumont's Swissy had some fuel problems after a long hot climb, but Bob Ragain
solved that with a length of plastic hose hooked to the gas tank vent, through which Ron could blow in some positive pressure. Kay Stickley had
fixed up an incredible amount of food, including homemade bread, so we broke for lunch and enjoyed the warm sunshine. No mosquitos this year
which made the lunch break much more enjoyable. The highlight of the day was a rest stop at the base of a boulder field where Rob Pickering
gave us a demonstration of the rock crawler's abilities. Most impressive. By the time we returned to camp, Jon Essley and Kate Barnham had
arrived in their Belgian 404.
Dana and I talked about a short run on Sunday, so folks could get in a little more mogging and then be on their way home in a timely manner.
The Newsomes passed, as they had been away from home for two weeks already and had a long drive ahead of them. Robert and Charlie
Christensen figured they'd need the morning to break down the "castle" so they abstained. The rest of us headed out shortly after 9:00 for a short
local loop. Dana led us through the woods on a fairly steep descent to the Fox River Valley below the camp site, and then down to another trail
which lead back toward camp. This final trail is without a doubt the best of the whole weekend. Darn near straight up, requiring 1st gear with diffs
locked in some places, and with ridge top views of the surrounding mountains which are spectacular. We were back in camp in two hours which
allowed people time for a leisurely lunch and time to pack up and head for home. Goodbyes were said and there was general agreement that this
is a very peaceful place for the annual RMM, so it looks like it may draw us back again in the future.
I was last to leave under my own power, while Rob and Kelly were loading up the "Rock Crawler Hauler". I had to stop at a friend's ranch about a
mile below Dana's house and pick up a load of field fence, at which point my wonderful weekend off-roading coach was turned back into a full
time ranch pumpkin/work truck, but the memories will endure. To those of you who had cameras (I forgot mine), we're all looking forward to having
you post your pictures of the weekend.
1963 404 hardcab