Attica - New Year's Day  - 2003

I had missed 5 wheeling trips due to rain and cold weather since August. I was damned if I was going to miss another one. I purchased a generic Flatfender soft top from Bestop. It was supposed to be a simple, easy fit. But........ , after redesigning the roll cage, beating on, stretching, hammering, cussing and twisting the Willys, it finally fit. That took care of the rain. A Heater Craft heater was installed. A mere 28,000 BTUs to heat the interior of a little Flatfender. No controls to adjust the amount of heat, just a 4 speed fan that fried you, grilled you, broiled you, or roasted you. That took care of the cold.

The Bestop Soft Top when it was still "new"  (Click to enlarge picture)

New Year's Day was half way warm. A sunny 32 degrees, so who needed a roof and heater anyway.  Within hours I tested my nice new shiny Bestop top's strength on three different trees. Guess what won? Yep, the damn trees. So now I have a vent hole six inches long to let some of the heat escape and the rain come in just in case I get tired of being dry.

Steve Runyon, Jeff Dieken, Andy Parker and Frank Smith   (Click to enlarge picture)

We had eleven Jeeps in our group. With Jeff Dieken leading us for most of the day, we wheeled fast and furiously with zero breakage to speak of. We ran the red and orange trails plus the creek both ways just for fun. Tanker killed a perfectly harmless park sign but claimed it jumped out in front of him 3 times. Five minutes later an errant branch knocked off one of his big chrome spotlights.

 Andy Parker testing his TJ's fording capability. ( Click to enlarge picture)

Most of the Jeeps that went through this goo at the base of "Purgatory" went in up to their headlights. No one got stuck but it was close.

Steve Runyon finding out how many Jeepers it takes to save a CJ7's roof   ( Click to enlarge picture)

We did some serious playing in the dunes but nothing beats running the ridge where Jim Catt recently somersaulted and rolled three times. It was an extremely high adrenalin rush and pucker factor for me. Vertical drop offs on either side, extreme off-cambers, blind hill tops and very, very narrow. Steve's CJ7 is on the very last section.

Frank Smith asleep at the wheel   yet still making it to the top of the hill.

Larry Shultz on steroids.
The third rock from the left was responsible for ripping a break line from the front axle of Tank's YJ. Such a convenient place to lose your brakes! This is one of the "play Areas" in the quarry part of the park.

Fourteen of us convoyed home together, we stopped in Ashkum for our traditional Badlands dinner. It was long day considering the two New Year's Eve parties attended the night before. However, it was a great day of wheeling.

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