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Latest Report

Barrett Lake
Sept 11-15

Trip Reports: Barney Riley

June 18th – 20th

Trip report by Eli Casey

See the pictures of the Barney Riley Trip
See Eli's Pics of the trip

The day started off with me leaving Boulder Creek by myself at 7:00 am. I traveled to the Waterloo exit off Hwy 99 where I met Chris (and Tyler) and Terry in Chris’s XJ at 9:00 am. We grabbed a quick bite to eat, topped off the tanks and headed up Hwy 88. We stopped again at about 12:30 pm just outside Markleeville to top off our tanks and eat some lunch. We got to the trail head at about 2:00 pm, where we aired down and disconnected our sway bars. The trip in was un-eventful. I did get to see a large brown bear and her cub that crossed the trail about 70 yards in front of my Jeep. We also passed one group of 4 Jeeps that were on there way out. They advised us that the fishing was good and that there was only one other rig on its way in and no one at the campground. We continued on down the trail arriving at the river / campground around 3:45 or so.

Warren, Jeff’s friend and former club member from Colorado was there, along with his friend Jim. They were the one rig in front of us that the other group had mentioned. At this point we all looked around, picked out our camp spots and started setting up camp while enjoying our favorite cold beverages as it was pretty hot out. I would say around 90 – 95 degrees. Once Chris and Terry had finished setting up their tent, I suggested we go exploring. We started off by trying to navigate the end loop of the trail. However when we got to the river crossing, we decided it was too deep to try and cross, as when I nosed in, it swallowed my 35’s and the rear tires were still on the bank. So we turned around and went back to the first river crossing. Once on the other side we started travel up the side of the river for a while. It was a lot of fun but eventually we had to turn around as the water became deep again.

At this point we decided to travel back the way we came in and check the other side of the second river crossing. While evaluating weather or not there was a safe place to cross, Terry noticed that I only had one rear tire spinning when I was trying to get up the river bank. Once back on flat ground (thanks for the tug Chris) I started pulling the right rear hub apart to check it out. Nothing looked wrong so I put it back together. However when I went to go lock it back up I could not turn the hub, so being slightly buzzed I tried harder and forced it to turn, still no power to the rear wheel. It was now starting to get dark so we decided to head back to camp and cook up some dinner. After dinner we sat around the fire and wondered where the rest of the group could be. Eventually we went to bed, hoping that the other group was OK. At about 1:30 AM Chris heard the sound of motors and got up to check it out. Robin, Johnny and Brian had arrived. Apparently they didn’t leave as early as they had hoped for and left Scotts Valley around 3:00 pm getting to the trail head at 9:00 pm. Then they couldn’t see the trail signs and drove around until they ended up at the correct location. They quickly setup their tents and hit the sack as they had a super long day.

Everyone got up fairly early as by 7:30 it was already starting to get hot. We all hung around cooking breakfast and talking about the adventure the second group had coming in. After breakfast Brian and I started digging into my right rear hub, hoping to be able to get it fixed. We did find some damage to the hub that I caused when I forced it to turn. Never force things Eli! We fixed the damage I had caused and put it back together and still no power to the right rear wheel. We did some more testing and determined that it must be the internal part of the hub, which we could not get the clip out to check, a axle shaft or??? I decided at this point that I would not wheel it anymore over the weekend as I still had to drive it home. (I would like to thank Brain for all his help and efforts to get me back up and running again. Thank you Brain.)

By this time it was 11:30 or so and everyone else was trying to beat the heat in the shade with a cold one or two and in some cases more. We decided it was time for lunch so everyone started making up something to eat. After lunch Brian and Robin did a hill climb by the camp and checked out the view. Upon returning we decided to go exploring. However when Robin went to start his Bronco, it was dead. Everyone started taking a look and making suggestions or what it could be. Brian once again stepped up and was offering a lead helping hand (thank you Brain). However the Bronco would not come back to life on its own. At about 3:45 or so Robin advised that he would just bump start his rig and that we should go exploring, so off we went.

We went back up the trail we came in and then turned onto a different road that headed north up the ridge. The trail got pretty narrow in some spots and racing stripes were given to all. We turn around at an over look that was spectacular. We then headed back to camp getting there around 7:00 pm or so. Everyone washed up and started thinking about dinner. I talked with Warren and he advised he and Jim would be headed out around 7:00 am the next morning and that I should not be surprised if we found him along the trail awaiting a helping hand. As Warren advised that the trail was way more difficult then the last time he ran it and was unsure if his Toyota Tacoma was up to the task in stock form. I thought about this and then advised Warren at a minimum I would join him on the way out, just to be safe. I then went on and made a fire for everyone to enjoy. Now it was time to start cooking dinner. At this point I went around and talked with everyone to see if anyone else would want to leave early and escort Warren out. Brain advised that he would also be up to leaving early, to ensure we both got out OK and to try and get back for part Fathers day. Everyone was really burnt out that night and was in bed by 9:30 pm or so.

I got up at 5:30 am, made some coffee and started getting packed up. I was going to awake Brian around 6:00 or so but he was already up and getting ready to go. While we were getting packed up and ready to head out the rest of the group awoke. At about 7:30 Brain, Warren and I headed out of camp for the 10.4 mile drive back to the paved road and from there it was about a 6 hour drive back to Santa Cruz. On the way out it was quickly discovered that with my rig being broken that I was going to need some help getting up some of the hill climbs to get out. This being because every time my tires would spin (the dirt was real loose) my front end would come around and put me sideways on the hill. Needless to say my heart was pumping.

The very first hill climb, I got turned around in the hardest part. We hooked up a strap to the tree in front of me and I started winching to it. Well once I got to where I thought I could drive out, we disconnected the winch cable and spooled it in. However I could not drive out. Strange I thought. So out came the winch cable again. While winching it seemed liked my Warn 9000 was working real hard. All of the sudden Warren said your right rear tire is not turning. I though great, what ever broke has seized up. Brian suggested we unlock the hub. So I pulled out my little allen wrench and handed it to Brian to unlock the hub, it was then that I realized I still had my e-brake on. Yeah, apparently I had a blonde moment as Jeff put it. Anyway, everyone who was there found it really funny and what can I say, it was.

So we continued working our way out. Of the 4 serious hill climbs I used the winch on 3 of them. Warren also had to be pulled up one of the hills as it was steep, loose and had a rock shelf in the middle of it. One of the times my front end came around and almost put me on my side, but luckily there was a rock ledge that stopped me. We got back to pavement at around 12:00 pm. Warren and Jim said good bye and thanked us for the escort. Warren had a 1000 mile drive back to Colorado, while Jim was headed back to Felton.

I started to air up and re-hook my sway bar up. There was a family parked in the pull out with 4 motorcycles. Apparently one of them would not start. I asked if it had spark or if it was flooded and was advised they did not know. I continued on getting ready for the drive home, and then was asked for if I had any tools they could use by Brian. I pulled out the tools needed to pull the spark plug and clean it. Brian also had some starting fluid which we sprayed on the cleaned spark plug. The guy put it all back together and it now started right up. They said thank you several times and then took off to enjoy a nice father’s day ride in the great outdoors. Brain and I then headed into Markleeville, gassed up and checked the fluids. We then started back towards home, stopping in Lodi for lunch. At 237 we split up as Brian was headed over hwy 17 and I was headed up hwy 9. I ended up getting home at 6:00 pm. What a long day and I still had to unpack the Jeep. Over all it was a good trip. It was hotter then I expected and more challenging then I had heard. I was bummed out to break, but stuff happens. I would like to thank everyone who was able to make it. It was a good time for sure.

The second group that left on Sunday included Chris and Terry in the Cherokee, Johnny B in his Rubicon and Robin in the Bronco. About 30 or 40 mins after leaving, Robin noticed a strange grinding noise coming from the transfer case. He stopped and looked underneath and found that the transfer case mounts had come loose. In fact the nuts and washers holding the t-case to the crossmember were gone - so the t-case was shifting sideways while the driveshafts scraped against the crossmember. Terry came up with the idea of strapping the T-case to the frame and so with some strap and a short piece of chain they were able to get it somewhat fixed. It lasted for the rest of the journey out to the trailhead, and for the complete trip home. Chris and Terry left for Truckee at the trailhead, and Johnny and Robin headed for Santa Cruz. They stopped at a little roadside cafe along Hwy 88 for lunch, and then had to pull-start the Bronco again to get it going. From that point on, Robin left the Bronco running at each gas stop until he reached home, which was at about 7pm. All in all it was a really great trip and provided more adventure than was expected.

See the pictures of the Barney Riley Trip


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