SCARR 2015 – The Trails

Panoramic of the East Texas hills.

With all the rain we had at SCARR 2015 the trails were muddy. But unlike Oklahoma’s red clay this soil took the water very well and drained away. That didn’t mean it came off any easier than Oklahoma red mud, but it was not as nasty when you were driving through it. We had quite a few creek crossings to add to the mud.

Arto and his well equipped Discovery 2.

We started the first day with a lecture from Arto Pullinen. Some of us (read that as NOT Mr. Fisher) learned some new hand signals that trail guides would be using.

After that we started with the “bunny trails” first. These are 2 diamond trails. Denoted two diamond on the trail head signs. With all the water we were told this would add one to the rating. So 2’s are 3’s, etc… It was good to see the trails with so much water on them. I was trying to remember about last year’s runs and couldn’t imagine some of those trails super muddy.

Jason takes a turn and down into a technical section of the trail.

The good news is the beginner trails are still fun. If you have never done this, you should come. The beginner trails are truly easy. We followed Jason Fatheree in his late 2000s Range Rover. It is a very nice truck. He did all the trails we did. So I’m sure you’ll be fine if you have doubts.

A little bit of everything Land Rover.

We had a good mixture of vehicles in our team. Perhaps, too many on the first run. 7 trucks is about the right number, we had twice that at least. As you can see there were all kinds of vehicles. This year unlike years in the past there were a large number of Range Rover Classics.

Mud. I don’t think we took any pictures of the mud packed in to the crevices of the under carriage.

Ruts. No challenge for Jacob’s Disco 2.

One of many creek crossings.

We stopped on the way out of Gilmer at the car wash and spent the equivalent of the gross national product of Chad to clean off the Big White Bus. We drove home dirty last year. By the time I got around to hosing her off it was a huge chore. I figured bubba in his mud-boggin’ Jeep can drive home muddy, I’m not. It’s a Range Rover for the love of all things holy. Gentlemen don’t motor about with soil on their bonnets.

Expedition Ready.

A little articulation at the Rock Garden.

So many trail ready vehicles in one place.

Variety is the spice of life. I just want the Defender in the center.

There was everything from expedition ready Discovery 2’s, to Series II’s and III’s, Range Rover Classics, model 2’s, model 3’s, even an Evoque (sorry no pic, it looks like a Honda CR-V to me).

Don Floyd and your’s truly

On the second day we got some driving instruction from Don Floyd from Land Rover North America. He was a Camel Trophy participant and picked the American teams. “Trust your truck. It’s smarter than you.”

Mr. Fisher at the wheel.

We managed to run a CV joint dry last year so Mr. Fisher missed out on a turn behind the wheel. Turned out that Mr. Fisher would take the Big White Bus on her first 4 diamond trail. Sunday Cruise. Now mind you we had to add a diamond due to the rain. So this was in part a 5 diamond trail.

Four diamond (+1 for rain) Sunday Cruise.

Arto assured us this was a tough in and a tough out but basically a 2 diamond trail in between. So we followed them in. The entrance was a deep dive with a moderate pucker factor. Trust your transfer case, trust your gearing, tap the brake lightly and you are down. We trailed on to the other end where we came up to this moderately difficult rock shelf. As Mr. Fisher came to the obstacle Arto gave his hand signal meaning we were about to go up on the obstacle. Mr. Fisher took this to mean “punch it”. And he did. We made it up. 40% of the items on the dash were dislocated as we crested the rock with the rear half of the BWB. Fun, and better yet, we didn’t break anything, even though it felt like we might have left the rear axle back there. I will let Mr. Fisher refute the facts in the comments if he is game.

Bone rattling ledge. A six foot rise in six foot of trail.

Climbed it like a billy goat.

Rock garden.

On the last night we were asked to take all our trucks over to the “rock garden” and pose for some pictures. Yes you can park your stock Range Rover Classic on a desk-sized rock. No worries.

Semper Fi.

During the Saturday night meal I did manage to run into one other Marine while I was there. As they say, Women Marines are fewer, and prouder. Indeed this was the case. Semper Fi Leona.

Link to SCARR 2015 – The Weather.

Thanks for reading, plan to go with us next year, and Happy Rovering.

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