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JeepinInIN.com Campout in HNF

May 14, 2004 - On a rainy Friday afternoon Alpine (Tom, black '94 YJ, passenger Paul), Jeeper4Life (Chris, white '00 TJ), watchamakalit (Dave, blue '85 CJ-7), and SCedGSR (Nick silver '04 TJ Rubicon) met up with LukeJeep (Luke, Green '97 TJ) & ImperialFleet (me-Aaron Silver '01 TJ) at the Pilot truck stop off of the I-65 Whiteland exit (Exit #95) at 5:45pm. It was a cool evening, pouring down rain but we were all pumped for some camping and Jeeping.

Upon meeting up at Pilot, we make a list of needed items for the impending cookout and went to the Franklin Wal-Mart. We parked in the back of the lot and a few of us hung out by the Jeeps to watch for thieves while the others shopped. Around 6:45pm we hit the road and made our way to SR 135 to get to the trailhead. About 8pm I noticed that we were about 12mi past our turn...too much chatting on the CB in the rainy dark night; not too smart. So after the turn-around and 25mi drive out of the way we were back on track and stopped for $2.09/gal gas in Nashville, IN. We hit Story, IN around 8:30pm and disconnected the swaybars (for those of us who even HAD swaybars), aired down the tires, and got going back down the road.

Upon getting to camp at around 9pm and immediately we all started setting up our tarp city and preparing a campfire to cook on. While working on the fire, I noticed Alpine's rear left tire leaking air rapidly. We stopped everything to work on patching the tire (always bring a $10 tire patch kit on the trail) and after the second attempt we were successful, thanks to Paul's extra effort. We quickly went through 3lbs of hamburger meat, a dozen hot dogs and Italian sausages, 2 bags of Doritos/chips. Then it was time for a toast with the Arcadia Whitton Pale Ale I brought.

The Toast

Seen in photos #5 & 6 is the toast. The reason? Well, as I stated on the HNF main page a friend from college showed me all about Combs Road and wheelin' in HNF. It just so happens that this very friend (Jon) was in Iraq serving in the USMC Infantry at the time of this trip and couldn't be there camping with us, so I thought it would be appropriate to raise a glass for Jon in thanks for serving and for showing me this cool trail system in HNF. THANKS JON :) We also smoked some fine Cuban cigars after the toast that one of the guys picked up during a recent trip out of the U.S.

Monsoon

We stayed up until about 3am with our bull session, and had no intent of heading to bed until the floods of heaven opened up and the occasional sprinkle of rain turned into a constant deluge that would turn out to delay our plans for the day.

At 11am on Saturday the 15th the rain let up a little bit, so we excitedly hit the trail. This was the first time to this trail for most of the guys and they were chomping at the bit.

Since the weather turned out quite sour for mid-May, we put up with the low 60's temps and constant rain all day and had a great time. As a side effect we didn't get to take as many pictures as we would have liked due to the rain. When we reached Browning Hill, jeepville (Josh, red Rubicon) and his brother-in-law Chad met up with us. It was about this time that Jeeper4Life and I decided to turn around. Both of us had near rollover experiences on the previous trip to Badlands, and this trip to HNF was a way to build our confidence back up again. The cause for us to turn around wasn't much to look at, but we had the 2 tallest Jeeps there. In the offer camber (sideways tipping) approach to the top the wet, slick clay leans dramatically to the right. If you slide more than 12" on this mini slope you will rollover onto your roof into a 3' deep, 10' wide washout on the right. If I had my AiRock suspension, it would have been a cinch to complete, but I wasn't risking anything on this trip so we split and turned around. I knew the back roads to get to the other end of the trail, and Alpine knew how to get the others to a good meeting spot.

Around 1:30pm Jeeper4Life and I met the rest of the crew at the other end. We decided to got and do the trail backwards, and hit the mud pits on the south face of Browning Hill. Essentially Jeeper4Life and I did the entire trail minus about 500 feet of Browning Hill. We played for an hour or two and met several local people that were running the trail in their rusty homemade FS Broncos and FS trucks on 38" tires.

After the mud and many attempts to break Dave's CJ, Alpine's YJ and SCedGSR's Rubicon, we headed back to the creek area to air up tires and reconnect the swaybars. It was at this point we noticed that Alpine's tire plug held, but his front two tires were leaking air rapidly due to mud in the bead of the tire. So, we removed the front left and dismounted the tire from the wheel right there on the trail by running it over with Jeeper4Life's TJ (photo), cleaned out the mud and remounted it via the pressure from watchamakalit's OnBoardAir (OBA) in his CJ. Dave's tail lights may be crooked as a dog's hind legs but man that York OBA has some pressure. What a lifesaver! Alpine used his spare for the other leaky tire. We found out the next day that Alpine's rear right tire had a leaky bead, making 4 out of 4 problematic tires (2 trail repaired) for Alpine...that's gotta be worthy of some sort of title or award :)

The trip home was pretty smooth, unless you were with Alpine. His tailpipe repair from our Haspin trip finally gave up and for the latter half of the day at HNF his 2.5L YJ sounded like the Cessna from hell (or a tractor?). After we split up in Whiteland where we initially met up the rest of the northern crew stopped in Castleton for the Quadratec BB Hooter's Meet & Greet for some free wings and showing up muddy, but that's a different story altogether now....

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Page created on 5/17/2004
Last updated on 5/20/2004