2018 Fall Crawl in Harlan Ky

XJ list returns to Harlan for camping, wheeling and good food.

This year I did not take my Jeep to the Fall Crawl.  In the spring I had an intermittent electrical problem that caused it to lose power. Losing power in the wrong place in Harlan can be dangerous at worst and annoying at best.  Having a ChampCar race the week before, I focused my wrenching time and efforts on the Prosche and not the Jeep.

I made arrangements to ride along with Neal as we always end up navigating together via radio anyway.   Riding along was a new experience for me.

I arrived Friday night after dark and set up my tent by headlight. I learned that there had been some carnage during the day and a few rigs were crippled.

The group was happy I remembered the bring the “spork” to make servicing the camp fire more better.  (for those who don;t know, the sacred Spork is an old shovel with a broken spot that works great for rolling logs in the fire.

There was a cold rain Friday night.  We woke to a soggy muddy campsite with almost more people than seats.  Seems several rigs did not make it this year.

The conditions on the trails and the damage to some of the rigs made just getting up trail 45 to  middle fork a huge challenge.  To make matters worse, there was more traffic on the trial than I have ever seen. We not only had to do some winching but had to work together to get oncoming traffic past us.

After a brief regrouping at Middle Fork, we decided to head onto the overlook for lunch. We sent the less capable rigs along 20 while the rest headed up 15.

Halfway up 15, we heard words that never go together, “Dean” and “Stuck.”  I did not walk back down to see what was really the trouble but I did see cable being pulled.  Coolant was also added.  It took a very long time to get all the rigs to the top.  So long that the others gave up at the planned rendezvous at the shelter and headed on up to the overlook.

We regrouped again at the overlook and had lunch.  I had made manifold burritos on Neal’s engine and we all enjoyed sharing different flavored chips.

While stopped Neal and I investigated a noise that had started on the ride across 15.   I watched as he turned the steering and soon found that the control arm mouth was no longer completely attached to the axle. 

Normally this type of failure would not be an issue as three link suspensions work just fine.  However, his ram assist steering is connected to the control arm mount and if it completely failed the steering would be affected.  He decided to limit the stress on his front axle and take the easy trails the rest of the day.

Eventually we herded the cats back toward the Evarts side of the park.  We met up again at Rail Bed.  There were only a few takers for the trail with turned out to be good as the exit had eroded to the point that is was pretty much impassable.  They decided to turn around and head back out the way they came in.

Adam was having fuel pressure issues so Neal and I went with him to Evarts to try adding more fuel.  More fuel did not really help but he was running well enough to get back to camp.  We all met up again at Lower Rock Garden.

We managed to make it back to camp before dark and began the group cooking effort of Steak and Potato Boats.  The recipe is on my Mom’s Cook Book site: Callawaycookbook.com

With the food prep well in hand, Scott and I decided to collect some fire wood.  There were several downed tres nearby form some clearing done on the race course so we hooked up a strap and bought a couple to camp.  I used Neal’s well-sharpened saw to cut them up into campfire length chunks while our steaks cooked.

As these trips are all different, this one was more a camping trip with some wheeling than a wheeling trip with camping.  But as usual, it was great to hang out and tell stories with a good group of friends that I see only twice a year.