rare day. I don't know when the last time was where I scheduled the day
off. Perhaps ten+ years ago. With the day scheduled off I met with two
other folks for a Jeep trail ride. The weather for the day was
fantastic! Blue sky, 80F temps, but with a tad bit of gusty
Our plan was to ride up the Lefthand Canyon trail and also ride
one of the other loops it connects with, Castle Gulch. We headed up LHC
with me leading (and missing a turn). Missed turn corrected we headed
up an obstacle, Big Momma Hill. For me, I locked both differentials and
set the hand throttle (no foot bouncing on the gas pedal). That section
of trail had my full attention but I did notice once the level
indicator getting into the 30-40 degree range with the front wheels
working to get over a boulder step. Top of the hill attained (with
ample, flat parking about) I parked and walked back to help spot and
take some photos.
Will was behind me and he and his vehicle
made it up without incident. Alec was third and the last step set of
boulders posted a block. Will and I worked to direct him on a route we
thought would help, but in the end, none were successful. Alec's Jeep
ended up stressing the rear driveshaft's universal joint at the
differential to failure. A sharp "bang" and uphill motion stopped.
Will had a winch that was put to use. It, and additional straps, worked
well but for some reason the winch motor stopped working. It didn't
seem to be overheated (we took a break mid-pull) and it didn't reliably
work the rest of the day.
With Alex pulled up to the open area
at the top of the hill (by driving Will's winch Jeep to pull Alec up) he set about seeing if we could replace the
universal joint (he had a joint but it was an incorrect size). In the
end, removing the rear driveshaft was the answer. Reduced traction, front wheel drive
mode for him for the rest of the day.
We toyed a while
diagnosing Will's winch, but in the end, we came up empty. Ready to
head out (and down) we had but two short spots where further inclines
were too steep for a front wheel drive only Jeep. Will tow strap pulled
Alec over those short and moderate slopes. The route down was
mechanically uneventful and the scenery was enjoyed.
Aside from the mechanical issues, it was an enjoyable day. Good folks, good weather. A nice "day off"!