After the successful CO trip under our belts, it was time to start beating on this thing a bit. So on lucky Friday the 13th, I loaded up solo to meet some friends down at SMORR in Seymour Mo. Burned out of St. Louis on the back roads:
And pulled into SMORR with just enough time to slap the tent up before nightfall:
As daylight broke the next morning, I was amazed to see how full the campground was. There was a customer appreciation day going on with Sam’s Off Road shop out of Tulsa OK and they drew a heck of a crowd:
We loaded up everyone (Including the camp dog) and rolled out for some fun:
Still a lot of green in the trees down there right now:
Just getting our feet wet as we worked our way over to Wagoneer Hill:
I wound up leading the group which meant that I got to work my way to the top of waggoneer hill first. All was going fine until the last ledged which wound up kicking me over into a tree. I managed to save the rear glass, but the drivers side mirror bit the dust. This was a bummer as you really can’t see out of this thing, and now without a mirror that meant even larger blind spots to work with:
Unfortunately, the Bronco lost a center pin in the rear leaf, which caused the rear end to shift enough to cause the rear DS (and yoke) to die. So we snuck him out the rest of the way on Rocky Road as he followed the MJ:
Side note, maiden voyage on the MJ, the thing worked good!
After tying up the rear DS on the bronco:
We wandered our way back to camp for lunch:
After lunch, played around on Flex N stuff as well as V notch:
Working our way to the other side of Rocky Road:
Unfortunately, there is where the MJ had its first little issue:
Thankfully, he had a spare. So while he swapped it out, we ran up and down the trail a few more times for fun
The trail dog is still happy to be along:
After getting him going again and dropping the MJ off, we ran around a few other areas of the park. I managed to bend down my passenger side rocker really good when I caught in in a nook and used the Merc’s weight as a leverage. I did managed to bend it back mostly flat, however, the frame is a bit tweaked on that side now:
Others played around on the entrance to the rattler, but it denied us that day. I spared the Merc the damage as it would have ate the rear doors since it kicks you into the wall as you climb:
Not many pictures after that. We played around on Double Whammy for a bit (we actually all made it up), and Larry’s hill (that’s changed a lot!). While we all made it up the hill, there was a bit of a recovery effort on the old YJ as he first lost a hub, then the rear drive shaft.
Saturday night was full of lies around the campfire and good times! I should have just slept in the Merc though as about 2:30 in the morning, the cold rain came in and proved to me once again that my tent is not weather proof. So after 6 years of use, I didn’t feel bad wadding the thing up and chucking into the dumpster on my way out of the park:
As far as the damage report goes, the Merc needs a mirror, and I need to bend my transmission cross member back down (it frowns now making the T-case hit the body). Otherwise it came out pretty happy. For better or worse, it’s just like wheeling my old Ranger. Which is to say, it’s big, heavy, clumsy, and I can’t see boo out of it!
Link to all the photos I gathered (Click Me!)
I do have some videos from the day, but since we are in the process of selling our house (It’s under contract) and building a new house, I’m not sure how soon I’ll get around to looking at them.