Rausch Creek Offroad Park
with the Maryland Jeep Club
March 18, 2006
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I had been wanting to go out with the Maryland Jeep Club for a while now. I had been on their board for
a little while and met a few of them on a trip to Rausch Creek in November, but had never been on an event
that was totally theirs.
I signed up for a trip to Paragon, but somehow that got cancelled because this run at Rausch was taking
over. While I did want to give Paragon another try, I love Rausch and never have a problem with going there.
Somehow I ended up being elected to lead the group. This made me a little nervous as the only time I have
ever led a group here had me leaving with a ton of broken parts on my Jeep and an interior full of mud.
To add to that, we also had Poopy in a bone stock YJ on 30 inch street tires in our group which I was convinced
was going to be a major hassle.
Keeping the YJ in mind, I decided that we should start off on the blue section of trail 1. I wanted to run
something that was hard enough for me to have fun with, yet would still allow Poopy to keep up. I had
also had some fear of this trail because of a nightmare I had about rolling the Jeep on the off camber part
the night before I came here in November and I needed to run it to get over that. This trail
seemed to be a perfect comprimise as it is rated blue because of the off camber part and not because of
anything big that we had to climb over.
The limitations of the YJ emerged as soon as we hit the trail head. This thing had no traction and, with no
droop at all, it would easily pick up a tire. I really don't think he enjoyed the first climb because of
how hard it was to get his Jeep through, but that quickly changed. He made the next climb after several
tries and it was becoming obvious as to what he was willing to put the Jeep through. As soon as he hit the
off camber stuff, he started smiling and kept that smile the whole day.
We moved onto trail 4 because I wanted to run Yellow Jacket Ridge. I missed the trail markers on one section
of the trail and bounced the bumper off a tree several times, breaking my KC light cover, to get pointed in the right
direction. We ran the bowls while Poopy caught up and started getting the feel for his Jeep. We had a few easy
stucks here and there and, with the help of bypasses and quickly growing skill, Poopy kept up.
Several of us ran Yellow Jacket Ridge while the others watched. There were a couple little stucks here and there,
but nothing major. The only big issue was J.T. leaking several fluids for no obvious reason.
We met up with a few others at lunch time back at the camp site. They stuck with us for the rest of the day.
We went and ran lower 3. While I was trying to go slow to allow Poopy to keep up, it was really unnecessary
as he had no problem. He was really getting the feel for that Jeep now and it was impressing us all that he
kept up with us on trails that his Jeep had no business being on.
A few of us ran the Drain Plug with the water level being the lowest I have ever seen.
Trail 2 came next. This was a perfect trail for the group as it has a ton of bypasses which allowed our different
levels of Jeeps to all get what they needed. Everyone made the hill climb and, no matter how much I egged them
on, nobody had the balls (or lack of common sense?) to run the Frog Hole. The trail came off without issue
and we seperated a little bit at the end so that some of us could run Crawler Ridge. Hell, by this point we
were even forgetting that Poopy was with us because he was keeping up so well that his little stocker wasn't standing
out at all.
I impressed myself with being able to run the hard line for the hill climb leading up to Crawler Ridge. Although I
did destroy yet another valve stem, I did make it. In fact, everyone that tried it ran the hard line and everyone made it. I think
the shining star here was Cowboy who made it in a bone stock Rubicon with his swaybars connected.
I had ran Crawler Ridge before, but I impressed myself because I was able to make it this time without getting hung
up on anything. Cowboy, however, got hung up in an identical way to how I always do. There were a few little
scrapes from people here and there, but everyone who tried made it down.
One of the CJ's busted his clutch linkage and headed out with a few other members of the group in tow.
Poopy was one of the ones leaving with him and I couldn't help noticing as I followed his YJ that it suffered no
damage other than a little pinch on the tail pipe. Now, I would expect him to find other damage once he gets
it home, but it was amazing as to how well he did driving that thing. So, I owe a big thumbs up to him and I'll
hang my head in shame for thinking that it would be a problem when we showed up that morning.
With our group being much, much smaller now we decided to hit a couple trails really quick on the way out. I
always like to hit at least one of the hill climbs on the Pole Line not only because they are fun, but also because
no one else seems to do it.
We ran upper 3 and followed it to lower 3. Then we hit the Drain Plug in the opposite direction. I expected to
have a little trouble making the climb coming out, but my Swampers hooked up just like I wanted them to.
While most everyone headed down to go camp, there was no way I was going to stay outdoors on a night where I hear
it got down to about 10 degrees. Instead, I headed home to my warm bed.
It was a great day and it was great meeting everyone.
I really learned what a good driver in an underbuilt Jeep can do with the right motivation. I used to hate
the way people would tell me my Jeep couldn't do something when it was smaller, and now I realize that I
have started to do the same thing. The lesson here is that what a Jeep can do is much more in the driver than
in whatever bullshit you have bolted to it.
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