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We drove a bit further down Lower Raw Deal and I found a boulder
off to the side of the wash that would afford me another chance to flex, this
time a bit more than the last (I was hoping anyway). It went well this
time too. The front brake line (passenger side) is about maxed out, but I
think I was in control arm bind at that point too. It was not
tight like a banjo string, but I would not want it to get any more tension on
it. I will either lower the frame mounted bracket another inch or slip in
a longer set of stock YJ lines. The spring could be wiggled by hand on the
pedestal, although it was not flopping around.
By this time, Blatant was looking for more and more challenging obstacles. We came around a bend in the wash and he remembered this pair of boulders up ahead that he had wanted to tackle for a long time. Well, to make a long story short, you can see that he found this to be just a bit more than he could handle today. The driver's side frame rail got hung up on a rock and the driver's side rear tire just couldn't get any traction to climb up and over. After rocking the YJ a bit and finding that did not help, I got the strap out from behind the seat and Lady hooked up to the YJ. Bill got us positioned (in the photo above) and then moved out of harms way while I dug a couple of holes in the wash and pulled the YJ off the rocks. Oh well....just another page in the life of a TJ owner! (I hope Blatant gets around to reading this page!)
We finished up Lower Raw Deal and broke for lunch. I
quickly inhaled the lunch that Donna had made for me, and swapped a few build up
stories and talked Jeep for a while. It was a little bit after noon and we
decided to do Upper Raw Deal since we had the time and neither Blatant nor I had
ran it before.
Goodyear MT/R comments:
I guess this is a pretty good place to comment about the Goodyear MT/R 35" tires I've now put a couple of trail hours on. I was totally impressed with them. Sure, they slipped in a couple of places, but then again we were running a wet trail. Everything was either wet or mud or more wet....take your pick.
I aired the tires down to 10.5 lbs of pressure, per my 15 psi gauge, at the start of the trail. DesertJeeper and I had been keeping an eye on the tires. We were both amazed at how well the tires wrapped around the rocks and ledges I let Lady crawl over. Even Blatant (who had been running 33" MT/Rs on his YJ before the SOA) comment that they seem to have a tremendous amount of flex in the side wall area. You could see the sidewalls actually wrinkle while engulfing a rock. I realize that having a tire that stands 3" taller than my previous tires certainly helps, but I watched those tires climb up and over rocks and ledges I would not have though possible....at least not while everything was soaking wet. At one point, on the last obstacle of Upper Raw Deal, we temporarily lost a bead on the right rear tire. DesertJeeper and I both distinctly heard the air escaping on no less than two occasions. We thought we had initially lost a valve stem, but on closer inspection, the stem was in perfect condition. It looked like we had gotten the rim into the rock, but I think the big old bulge helped me keep my rim in OK shape.
All I can say is that I really like the tires so far. If today's performance is an indicator of what is to come, I am going to be very happy with the results. I look forward to seeing their performance at Moab in a month. I am hoping they hook up on the slick rock as well as they did on the composite rock that is so common on Raw Deal.
OK...back to the rest of the trail run....what were we
doing....Oh yeah, checking out the flex and seeing just how well it was working
(it was easy to forget we were on a fact finding mission rather than just a
Sunday romp down a fun wash). Upper Raw Deal is pretty short, but has a couple of interesting
obstacles in it. I did the first and last ones just fine, but got out sync
on the middle one (that was the one I lost the bead on for a short bit).
A little more flexing was done coming out of this obstacles on the upper trail. You can see that the tires are just plain wet. This is almost solid bed rock in his part of the trail and the water pools up, sometimes reaching 3' in spots. Dropping into one of those keeps you on your toes, not too mention that it is cold!. Again, the Tera 4:1 let me crawl through these spots with little problem.
I am almost through the last obstacle on upper at this point. Although the camera is too close to see why, DesertJeeper caught me taking the correct line for this obstacle. The side lugs on the front MT/R are used to climb up the rock in order to clear the boulders sitting just ahead of the Jeep (and not in view of the camera). It took me a couple of times to get lined up on this one correctly. Just the tiniest bit of momentum and the right approach angle is needed to get the left side to track up on the rock.
We headed back to the main gravel road and stopped for a bit. I let Blatant talk me into running the first couple of obstacles on the Terminator trail. He wanted to get back into a bit and then walk a spur trail that cuts off of it, called Anaconda (nasty, nasty trail). You won't see Lady on that one for a long time. To much body damage on that one, assuming you get through. You should have seen the paint chips on the ground and scraped into the rocks. OUCH!