Various folks departed for the Dunes at various times and all eventually arrived safely. The only one leaving the normal departure point at the normal time were Boot & Terry. This gave the journey a certain sense of apprehension in that there was no one to follow and the road maps were left at home. But, with an unnerving sense of direction and some brief directions from Pappy (like, look for the pie plate about 40 miles north of Baker), I knew the challenge could be met. It's worth noting that a send-off committee of 10-Ball and Thumper were present. 10-Ball's gas money went to a set of new tires. Other excuses: either "there is a block party and we should meet the neighbors" or "new plumbing is being installed" or "dunes are boring", or "Texas is too far a drive.
Convoy of one jeep arrived at Dumont in about 4 hours (12 AM) and was greeted by a few Roughwheelers (RW) who were still up and guarding the fire. Base camp now consisted of: Pappy, Cupcake, Knuckle Head, Oreo, BoBo & family, Santa Fe, Chris, John. Iceman with wife/kids arrived a bit later. Thumper and wife/kids joined us Sat morning.
Chris and John were anxious to go out that Friday night, so they took Knuckle Head with them as navigator, yup, that's right, our top navigator. No need to go into a lot of details cause you already figured out that they were gonna get lost. That's what they did, got lost. Luckily, someone had a GPS on the jeep and was able to communicate with the base camp via CB. Coordinates from the GPS were given and a direction home was finally computed. Nothing like a little help from the all these modern gadgets.
The base camp was in a great location near a stream, (yes, water was flowing) and behind a huge cliff ( or in front of the huge cliff, depends how one looked at it). The weather that night and for the rest of weekend was peeeerfect, not nearly peeeerfect, but peeeerfect.
The drivers meeting next morning was conducted by Iceman who did an outstanding job of preaching safety. It was another Gettysburg address. It was beautiful. Good stuff, like be careful, keep your eyes open, etc. As you probably heard, Oreo had a little mishap last year and Iceman was determined not to have anything bad happen (wrong) So off we went to the Dunes, all of us busting with thinking safety. But lo & behold, the Dune gods struck no more than an half hour later.
Papa had done a few laps around the side of the dune and was really getting into it. He stopped at the foot of a dune and his face had that Clint Eastwood look. You all know that look, the scowl, the narrowing of the eyes, the twitch. Cup Cake decided it was a good time to get out of the jeep as Papa kept eyeing that sand dune. Papa made his move and put the hammer down. Unfortunately, Cup Cake was only halfway out of the jeep and her foot got caught under the tire. Fellow RWs quickly came to help and after a lot of fondling of the foot, Cup Cake was deemed fit for duty.
Everyone was doing their thing again and getting comfortable with the sand when the Dune gods struck again. This time it was a roll over by Knuckle Head with passenger Shawn. It was like watching it in slow motion, one complete roll clockwise (looking from the back) or counterclockwise (looking from the front). Rumor has it that he had aired down to 5 lbs which probably caused the tires to just rolled off the rims. Not sure where he got that advise to air down that low, maybe in his navigator training class.
We all quickly converged to lend assistance. The cooler had dumped its contents out and the first priority was to get the beer & ice back in, also the food. All body parts were deemed intact. By now, Iceman is shaking his head about this safety thing. Iceman backed the 30 million dollar jeep down to level ground with several RWs hanging on to maintain ballast. Tires were aired up and back to the Dunes the RWs rode.
The activities around the evening campfire started at sundown. Several Xmas trees were available to light up the night, even one green one. You don't suppose someone just took it down, nah. About 5 jeeps did a night run to conquer the dunes. Them piles of sand certainly look differently at night, bigger, taller, steeper. It was fun to be in one bowl and watch the headlights of a jeep in another bowl try to drive up and over the ridge. You would see headlights pointing in the air one moment an then nothing. This would be repeated for however many times it took to get over to the next dune. We all made it back to camp in one piece.
It was great to sleep that night with no wind. Knuckle Head spent some time next morning duct taping his windshield frame and we all offered lots of excuses that he could use when he got home. Boot departed early and the rest followed at about 10am. A few hardy souls stayed to play a little longer.
All in all, a fun time . . . . Final score (Oreo, Cup Cake, Knuckle Head)
Dunes 3, Roughwheelers 0