Santiago Canyon 1 day run, Sat Aug 20, 1994

Santiago Canyon 1 day run, Sat Aug 20, 1994

Who was there:
Terry & Mary Allen (New Full size green Chevy truck)
Grumpy (Rory) -Jeep
Some other guy
Bob & Rhonda
Roger & Yvonne (and 2 dogs) Toyota Land Cruiser
Paul (& his dog) (Bronco II)
Fred – Jeep
Ed & Mary Bruckner
Gary, Wayne & another
Footloose Hector & Ginny (but only for breakfast & BBQ, not the 4wd)

We left Winchells at 6:02 am. Craig showed up as we were getting on the 405, but caught up. We picked up Terry & Mary along the way, didn’t see them where they were supposed to be, so Montego was just turning off to go back & look for them when word was radioed from the front that they were spotted & joined the group. Montego made his own onramp, jumped a curb & was back on the fwy. Terry had just put a CB radio in yesterday, & the antenna wasn’t tuned, but it worked OK.

We had breakfast at The Pines, a small place with great food, & too much of it. Evidently graffiti is encouraged in their bathroom. One writer said “The only thing wrong with eating at The Pines is that 2 or 3 days later, you’re hungry again.” Hector & Ginny showed up a little late for breakfast, but said hi before going back home. We met Gary & Wayne, Roger & Yvonne, Paul, Grumpy, Fred there too. We got gas & headed off to the end of the pavement. Bob’s trip brochure has described today’s run as there’s only one good hill at the beginning, but no big deal.

It took 3 hours for all of us to make it up that hill. Bob & Rhonda went first, showing us that the tough part began about halfway up. Bob kindly spared Rhonda the danger of rideing by letting Rhonda walk the rest of the way after she had helped stuff rocks under the tires. Of course, he had to stuff his own rocks after that. Somehow all the people with lockers went first, leaving those without to follow. Roger & Yvonne in their 71 Toyota Landcruiser made it halfway then Roger winched himself the rest of the way up. He only pulled over one tree, actually just tilted it 30 degrees. After he got to the top, he turned around and anchored the Landcruiser behind a boulder to winch up the rest of the group. With help, everybody made it up. Except the guests, Terry & Mary, who opened up the throttle & roared up the half mile hill with out stopping. It sounded like a finely tuned powerboat as it took advantage of the long wheelbase & stomped up the hill. A cheer, a standing jumping ovation came from the crowd.

Montego was the last to go. As we were hooking up the Montero to the winch, a dirt biker pulled to the bottom of the hill. He started up the steep hill, falling over several times on the way up. Even though Montego & others told him at least 3 times to wait, and to not be behind the Montero on the hill, he was an impatient jerk & pulled up alongside then fell over into it, leaving a good-sized dent in the door, and breaking his clutch cable too. After Montego copied his CDL info, the dirt biker went down the hill in defeat and without a clutch. Then the Montero was winched over the dusty spots. Just before the top of the hill, yet another place where everybody kept saying “Stay left, Left! Left! Left!”, Montego broke off his CB antenna on an overhanging tree while staying extremely left. Surprisingly, the antenna still worked, but only for short range. At the top of the hill, there was a “rock garden” that we drove over. Terry was bottoming out the big Chevy on every rock, so he wanted to air up. As it turned out, the front driver’s side suspension was shot. Apparently, when it stepped in a hole at the top of the hill, it hyper-extended the left front driveshaft which popped out. It took some time, but we amputated the axle shaft that had become dislocated at its shoulder, and put the torsion bar more or less back where it belonged. This solved the seized front wheel, but with no suspension on one side, the steering was pretty bad.

Grumpy & Roger (among others) were very helpful in performing this surgery. The Chevy was able to limp along, but I wouldn’t want to be driving in the lane next to it. The (or some) dirt bikers had refused to leave the locked gate open so the injured vehicle could get out of the park, but Gary’s team found that besides being jerks, they didn’t know how to close that kind of gate, so we were able to get out there, instead of attempting to get the Chevy down the Big Hill, the way we came in. As soon as we were outside the gate, Mary parked the Chevy. and we all aired up & unlocked our hubs. We left the Chevy there, and everybody went to Hector & Ginny’s house for a great BBQ with hamburgers and beer. What great hosts!

Later in the evening, the Chevy Dealer’s tow truck came to the door & picked up the keys to the Chevy, & I drove Terry & Mary Allen home. In spite of the badly installed or badly engineered lift kit, everybody had a good time and we made some new friends.


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