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Memorial Day Weekend
Bad Luck on Day 2
By Bill E. Branscum   ©2004
(Click the pics to Enlarge)

Sunday wasn't the best day I ever saw on the Prairie. By the time Church was over, it was clear that bad weather was on our horizon - not that we cared too much about that.
When we stopped for drinks at the trail head, things looked as if they might be going to change for the better. I was thinking that it was wonderfully handy to have young boys able to scramble up to that cooler - as I was taking the photo I noticed the rainbow.
Wet weather draws people who love to play in the mud. As much as some folks seem driven to vilify the "red necks" who enjoy this sport, I never see those people on the prairie. It's just as well, my Megs makes a mean mud ball and I'd hate to see her get arrested.
These two could make a Crest commercial; or how about, "Got Milk?"
Just looking at the entrance to Bad Luck Prairie, we could see that things were going to be wetter than they had been in recent weeks. Carl and Colleen Vick like to keep their blue TJ Clean -- it's just as well to get them off to a good start.
First one little mud puddle, then a little mud hole, then . . . I'll save that 'til then but stay with us, not just everybody gets to see Carl taking a bath!
One of the most interesting aspects of the Prairie is the varieties of mud - and you best have an understanding of the way this works if you are ever going to venture out on the Prairie alone, which is never a good idea in my opinion unless it cannot be avoided.
Roger Green, and his silver YJ are no stranger to the Prairie and its mud. We have hundreds of pictures of them in slogging thru mud and swimming thru water deeper than his hood. In this picture, he stopped in the rain to chat with Carl.
For those who have seen the sort of thing he routinely puts that YJ through, it's hard to imagine him stopping on level ground and getting stuck in a puddle of rain, but that is exactly what he did. Sitting on the right kind of dirt, it's easy to do.
Rich wasn't able to push him out either. Although it looks like the slightest push would ease him out of the little rut he created (and it would) Rich couldn't get enough traction on that stuff to move him at all. In a matter of seconds both were spinning their wheels.

Roger was not a happy camper. If you look close, you'll note that he doesn't have a winch and if you could tell in this mud, you'd see that those tires are about worn out. The next time we saw Roger, he spent a few bucks and changed things with his YJ rather dramatically.

At first glance, I thought Roger was a bit more annoyed with me taking pictures of his misfortune than he actually was.

I zoomed in an realized that Roger, finally willing to concede that Mother Nature's mud had snagged him, was merely motioning for us to come get him. The kids just love that!
The Jeep Rubicon comes from the factory outfitted with air lockers front and rear. With the dealer installed lift and 35" tall Goodyear MTR's, it gives us a tremendous advantage over other vehicles with open differentials.
We weren't the only ones out there with a "go anywhere" Jeep. I don't know who they were, but the people in the white Jeep were out on the Prairie by themselves.
By the looks of things, they could handle it - I found myself thinking what a welcome sight they would be for anyone sitting stuck out in the middle of nowhere. I'd like to have that guy's cell number myself.
I kept thinking that the rain would go away, and I suppose it was thinking that we'd finally get discouraged and go home. It didn't and we didn't.
Rich followed us in his Chevy truck through one sloppy mess after another. He doesn't have a Jeep but he's the one who always has spare parts. Just the day before, while we fed coons, Roger blew a radiator hose. Rich rummaged around in his truck until he found one.


Rich's truck managed to deal with the mud and the water pretty well but he ultimately found the mud hole he couldn't get thru.

One thing about it - when that big heavy truck get's stuck, it can be a real job to winch it out.

The guys first tried to pull Rich out backwards. They were having trouble so Jeremy drove back thru the mud hole to see if he could be any help. He had brought along some friends from Church; it looked like they might get stuck but he made it.
Once he got thru and they managed to pull Rich's truck back onto dry land, Jeremy decided to attempt the trip back thru the spot where Rich was stuck, no doubt encouraged onward by his carload of people who had never done this.
While we waited for Rich to get his truck running, Jeremy and his friends played in the mud. Considering that his Jeep is a stock Wrangler Sport without posi-traction, it amazes me how well it does.
One of our favorite things to do is to introduce people who have never actually driven a Jeep to what they can do. When Becky, one of the young ladies of our Church, asked if she could come along, she had no idea that she'd be driving the Jeep herself.
We continued through the Prairie following Roger's lead as the rain began to subside a little, and it was clear that Carl and Colleen had completely abandoned any hope they might have had to keep from getting their blue TJ dirty.

We finally caught Roger stalled by a water crossing with his hood up. It was a peculiar thing - his Jeep started instantly and purred but the gas pedal would not work and any effort to manually work the linkage met with significant resistance and stalled the Jeep.

We ultimately figured it out -- the sock Roger was using as a make-shift air cleaner had been sucked down into the throttle body. This was the silver TJ's last day for that sort of thing too.

Once we got him up and running, Carl took time out for . . . something.

I'm not sure what he was doing, but I think he was washing his sandals off. Whatever it was, Carl seemed comical to the rest of us. "That's enough leg there Carl, my web site's rated G you know."
Roger took off ahead of us, but we caught up to him, sitting in a muddy ditch spinning his wheels. You'll notice that Carl and Colleen managed to get past him without getting dirty. Colleen used a strap to pull him out while we watched.
Once we got back to the sign, an expression that most of us use to refer to the pond at US Highway 41, Roger and his sister Jennifer set sail for a little sunset cruise. My kids just love this guy.
When the intrepid TJ nose-dived, we were all acutely aware that Roger had no snorkel, but he plowed on thru without getting water in his air box. It looked like he was actually going to make it.
Somehow, I think the people ar Car Fax would like to have this picture.

To be honest (just so someone doesn't actually attempt that) the tug-o-war photo was for fun. We couldn't have moved that Jeep with a hundred guys pulling on that rope. What but a Jeep can be used like a submarine one minute and driving down the boulevard the next?

Although we remained on Bad Luck Prairie thru the wee hours of the morning, it soon became too dark and too wet to take pictures. The mosquitoes, the heat, the endless parade of crazy people stuck in mud holes they had no business in . . . I really wish I could share it with you; if you haven't had enough of sharing Bad Luck Prairie with us, I guess you'll just have to join us on Day 3. .
For now, we'll leave it to Richard's lovely sister Jennifer to say, "Ciao."



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