Trip Report: Hollister Hills
April 13, 2019
Trip report by Robin Down
Trail Master: Jeff Wells
Photos by Lori Price
Members in attendance: Robin Down, Mark and April Richardson, Eli Sanders, Cotton and daughter Clover Tichy,
Mick, Gary Rowe
Our story starts with our trail master Jeff who did not have his Jeep Cherokee ready for the run due to an engine overhaul, so he teamed up with Robin to provide transpo to and from the run which was held on Saturday, April 13th, at Hollister Hills SVRA.
Robin (aka the 'Uber' driver) picked up Jeff and his cooler full of sammiches at this home in Watsonville and headed out to Hollister with a plan to be at the obstacle course by 10:00 am. Well due to some extra traffic Jeff and Robin arrived at the Kiosk at 10:05 am, and made it to the obstacle course at approx 10:35.
Already there were a few people waiting to get going. Mark and April Richardson, their daughter and another friend who's name escapes me. We also had Eli Sanders, Cotton Tichy with his daughter Clover, Mick riding solo and also Gary Rowe. All together that made 6 vehicles and off we went to the races!
Actually we decided to warm up on the old staircase obstacle, with a return of the rock-strewn gully across from it. As we each proceeded through the course, we finished and moved our rigs into position for a group photo. This was - in hindsight - a very good idea since not much later there would not be as many rigs to take pictures of. But I digress...
Soon after said photo was taken, Robin discovered his Jeep had stopped running. Multiple tries to start it proved unsuccessful. Without wanting to delay the group, Robin had to get a tow back to the parking are where his trailer awaited. Once put away Robin jumped in with Eli and Jeff jumped in with Mick and we headed toward the McCray obstacle course via McRay Rd.
Only a few minutes up the road past the entrance to the Jungle trail, Eli's Jeep decided it wanted to quit running. After several attempts to get it started, he also got a tow up to a turnout on the trail by Cotton. It appeared that Eli's engine was overheating and causing vapor lock. We decided to have lunch right there on the side of the road and let it cool down. This would be a recurring theme for the rest of the afternoon (run, overheat, stop, cool, repeat...)
Once back on the trail with less than half a mile from McCray obstacle course, Cotton noticed his steering was not going all the way to the right without severe binding. What's even worse is during turning he was hearing clicking and grinding noises coming from the steering box. With several of us inspecting and trying to diagnose we decided it was likely a bad gear inside the 3-month old remanufactured box, and thought it would be a good time to head back to camp. At this point we had gotten separated on the trail due to numerous other vehicles, and so Eli and Cotton and Robin continued their way to camp via the scenic route over McCray rd and around the quarry, then found the others safely back at camp.
For those keeping score, we went from 6 fine specimens of Jeep quality down to only 3 working vehicles in less than 2 hours. Technically both Eli and Cotton's Jeeps were running, but crawling over trails was out of the question. The rest of the group decided they were also done and we all headed home a little earlier than planned but with smiles on faces and stories to tell their grandchildren.
Lucky 13 run turned out to not be so lucky for some. Better luck next time!!
PS - Robin is still trying to get his Jeep to start...