Another quick summer has gone by. As he days get shorter, the mountain Aspens change to their Fall colors, and we scramble to get the high mountain trails in before the snow flies. This year's drought may put a damper on the Aspen's colors, but there are still many great fall drives this month to do. The HoboJeepers had a fun summer. The time is now---"Jeep,Jeep"!!
All-4-Fun,spelled backwards is Fun-4-All!!
That's what the week is all about, fun for the whole family, and fun for jeepers of all skill and rig levels. For 2003, the site was 18 miles south of Leadville, Colorado near Twin Lakes. What a week!!! From high altitude (9,600') sun to afternoon showers some days and cool nights, the cool weather was a nice break from the redundant heat of Denver!!
This year, the 37th Annual MHJC All-4-Fun Leadville played host to almost 400 registered wheelers from Sat. August 2nd to Sat. Aug 9th. Along with some 85-100 MHJC members, there were registered participants from all over the country. Well over 1000 people attended the weeklong event. Thank you for coming from afar, we hope you enjoyed the best family jeepin' event in the country. Each All-4-Fun every year (held in a different CO city) would not be as successful as the last, without the long hours of support and help of each committee member doing their part.
Thanks to all who helped, and especially Co-Chairs Jeff Fish & Melody Mesmer, who can now sit back and accept this congratulations. It takes a lot of people to put an event like this together and make it work. Thanks to everyone for making this a fun and successful week. Including Gary Moul and his team for keeping things running and organized.
Everyone was so upbeat and in a great mood all week. After a long day on the trail, it was great to hang and swap trail stories in camp and under the big top. There was NOT a ban on fires this year, so the campfire stories and bad jokes were flying off the trail.
Rob of 4x4 Used Parts Inc. was on hand once again (every year since 1989!!) to help out anyone in need of repairs. Discount Tire, Warn and Clemson 4Wheel Center, provided adult refreshments, and Saturday's Gas provided sodas. Thanks also to Dirk and Sue Ballinger (the Trail Bosses) for organizing trips everyday, and making the Trail Leader's job easier. They even made up tickets for each trip (thanks to Doug H.)! It takes a lot to please over 400 Jeepers with fun trails for all skills and wants-great job!
Every night under the big top was one event after the other. So popular, you need to set up your chair "before" you go out that day on a trail (or risk sitting outside the tent). Jeepers from all over the country come to enjoy a week of jeepin' (5 days), and the social functions held every night under the big top year after year. This year in Leadville was no exception, Sat. night: Orientation Night, Sun. night: Leadville Appreciation Night, Tue. night: Bestop Ice Cream Social & entertainment (live music), Wed. night: MHJC's BBQ/Show-N-Shine/Kids Games/Awards, Thur. night: MHJC's DOOR PRIZE NIGHT, and finally, Fri. night: Warn Night/BBQ/Live Band.
Trips in the area varied for different skills and adventures, like easy and scenic Lost Canyon...to moderate/difficult trails like Iron Mike (and Wheeler Lake/Holy Cross). So, as every night was planned, all you had to do was figure out from the 15 or so trips run each day (except Wed.), (which included: Chinaman, Holy Cross, Wheeler Lake, Mt. Antero, Lost Canyon, Iron Mike, Iron Chest, S. Fork Clear Creek, McCallister, Mosquito Pass, Mt. Bross, Grizzly Lake, Hagerman Pass, Hancock/Alpine Tunnel, & Ghost/Gold Mine Tour) what trail you wanted to do! Sign-up sheets were posted at 6pm the day before the run, and tickets were handed out to remind you the time and place to stage. Trips met up at staging areas outside of camp, and left on ½ hour intervals from 8-10am.
I was a trip leader all week, and lead 4 trips to some great trails covering the whole area around Leadville/Buena Vista (See the HoboJeepers website for detail daily trip reports of Sunday: Mt. Antero Trail, Monday: Iron Mike Mine Trail, Thursday: Lost Canyon Trail, and Friday: Mosquito Pass/Mt. Bross Trails).
ALL-4-FUN 2003 Leadville
During the week, Molly (my jeepin-sidekick) and I walked around and saw most all the camps (Patrol's 3, 5-full bar!, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, & 14) represented from MHJC patrols. We were especially fond of Patrol 14's 'bonfire' and fireside chat on most nights. It's fun to meet and get to know other MHJC members, along with wheelers from across the country in such an informal setting. Jokes and laughter make for a real 9,600' 'Rocky Mountain High'.
On Saturday, the city of Leadville put on it's Annual Boom Days Celebration for the weekend. Since the All-4-Fun event started the same weekend, those in camp and in MHJC had a chance on Saturday to check it out, and also be in their parade. 7 MHJC members organized on the street about 10am for the parade. Like the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Denver, it was a hurry up and waiting game. Finally, we edged closer to main street. There was a good crowd on hand for the parade, lots of friendly people. The parade went really SLOW. It was a pretty informal parade. Along with the burro races on Sunday, there were events for miner's to compete in. A nice day in Leadville, Colorado!
Trips ran Sun-Tues and Thur-Fri, while Wednesday was set aside as a 'relax' day off from jeepin'. One could enjoy some fishing nearby, a mine tour, check out historic Leadville, go rafting on the Arkansas River, or stay in camp for a full day of activities. Anyone who wanted to have his or her rig in the Show-N-Shine set up from 9:30am-11:00am. This year's Show-N-Shine had all kinds of rigs, and a new twist on categories.
The manufacture's set up under and around the 'big top' early for the day on Wednesday's Vendor Day. By 10:30am, most were set up and chatting with participants already. It was a 'shopping mall' of who's who in the 4x4 aftermarket industry. Owners and reps from many big names were on hand to answer questions and give special show discounts. Numerous vendors were around from 10am to 4pm. Thanks to Melody Mesmer in Promotions for organizing the day. Vendors for the day included: Bestop, Avenger Superchargers, Off-Again, Discount Tire, Warn, M.O.R.E., Clemson 4Wheel Center, Pull-Pal, Tellico 4x4, Bits of Silver, Tomken Machine, Truck Parts Specialists, Tuffy Security Products, Superwinch, Swagman Publishing, High Country 4x4, Rockhard 4x4, Crane High Clearance, Stage West, 4Wheel Parts, Napier, and Western Adventures.
Hot dogs were served from 11:00am-2:00pm thanks to Tellico 4x4. Free beer (from Clemson 4Wheel Center) was close at hand most of the day, along with free soda. The Kid's Games Committee entertained the kids from 10am to 3pm. All the kid's got to participate in many skill games, and it looked like they had a blast. At 5pm, the MHJC BBQ Committee served up another great meal of BBQ Chicken and beef!! The rains came and went, just enough to keep the dust down, but they were also a welcome sight. Then around 7pm under the 'big top', all of the Kid's Games, and show and shine awards were handed out. Mel P. from Arvada, CO won 'Best of Show' with a 1970 Jeepster. From the Show-N-Shine, Kid's Games, Manufacture's under the big top, food and refreshments for lunch and dinner, and the awards ceremony at night, Wednesday was a great day!
On Thursday night--at 7pm sharp, the popular Door Prize night was run by Troy & Melody Mesmer's committee (great job!). Discount Tire provided 'adult' refreshments. Everyone was ready to receive over 400 door prizes to registered jeepers who were present (some even took home 2!). How long does that take you ask? Well, (at 11:30pmish?) we had the raffle (after the last prize was given away). I got my $20 worth of Children's Hospital raffle tickets, and not a one even came close. Who cares, it's all for the kids. A big 'Thanks' to Fred Perry of Clemson 4Wheel Center, and Harold Ogden of Warn, who bid the highest ($800!--matching bids!) for the "JEEP"-Toughest 4 letters plaque for 2003, with all the money going to Children's Hospital. Jeff Fish proclaimed that this year's participants raised $10,000 (to go to the Burn Camp for Children's Hospital)!!. Another fun night under the All-4-Fun big top!
The week of FUN finished up on Friday night with the WARN NIGHT BBQ, free beer/soda, and the band (which has played in previous years) started up at 6pm as part of Warn Night, sponsored by Warn Industries. During intermission, Harold Ogden of Warn handed out some Warn products. A big THANKS to WARN for their great support of All-4-Fun! The band (which played in Silverton -02', Salida-01', Central City-00', & Fairplay in 99') played on til 11:30pm Friday night!
Everyday of the week, either on the trail or in camp, was a blast! This was yet another great All-4-fun! A toast to the hosts and the guests (for coming!!), for another successful All-4-Fun this year in LEADVILLE/TWIN LAKES! By early Sat. morning August 9th, the camping sites were almost empty, as happy and content jeepers would make their own personal treks back home out of the Arkansas River valley, til they would return for their annual migration back to Colorado in a year...See ya in All-4-Fun 04! More info on All-4-Fun 2004 in Georgetown, Colorado at www.mhjc.org/all4fun
When one thinks of Fall and the changing of seasons, one thinks of "Aspencades". At All-4-Fun this year, Frank E. mentioned we should have an Aspencades again. Thanks to Frank (& Patrol 14), for keeping this MHJC tradition alive this year. It's a lot of work, so some don't take it on, but they stepped up. If you didn't make it up,,,,,, you should of, because you missed a fun time, either on the trail Saturday or in camp with the 'Pig Roast' and cozy campfire. It's also the only MHJC sponsored event other then All-4-Fun & the Hobo Run to attend as a club. There should be more Patrol inter-action.
On Friday September 27th, myself (with my sidekick Molly), headed up past the gambling town of Blackhawk to Pickle Gulch Campground. We had the whole campground basically to ourselves. There was plenty of room to RV or tent camp. The winds were silent, but the chill in the air was real. Though we had no rain, the chilly temps (~26-32) were enough to keep cozy. I went down to Blackhawk and I had a great steak (tasty and juicy!) at the Canyon Grill (inside Canyon Casino). I couldn't resist adding a little tax to the bill by stuffing the slots with and extra $28!
On the 'cold' crisp morning of Saturday September 27th, everyone was up about 9am to get ready for a 10am departure to hit the trails. As part of MHJC's Aspencades 2003, 3 trips were led out of camp on Saturday. Paul Taft (Patrol 14), was leading a trip to Coney Flats, Bryan Hamilton (P14) was leading Jenny Creek, while I would lead a trip up Pickle Gulch & Miner's Gulch Trails. The camp was alive with hissing sounds and chatter, as everyone disconnected for Pickle Gulch (the trailhead was nearby), or readied themselves to leave for their trip. At 9:30am, Frank E. organized a 'driver meeting' at the amphitheater so we were all on the same page (& back by 5pm for some pig!).
Pickle/Miner's Gulch Trails
At 10am, I along with (my jeepin'-sidekick Molly strapped in) headed out of the campground with a fun group of Jeepers that included (17 total): Pete 'Jeepdog' & Julie Ramirez (Hobo-Patrol 1, TJ), Tom A. & passenger Dawn (P12, Toy), Tom Z. (YJ), Robert & Jill S. (P12, YJ), Jeff & Laura M., (03' Rubby), Mark & Sherry, Todd F. (P11, CJ8), Dennis & Marci E. (P11, Toy), Bryon & Kristin M. (P14), Jerry Z. (P11), George H. (P3), Kirk Z. & Garth (P3), Richard & Sherry (P2), Travis C. & Don (P14), Henry P. (XJ), and Heather B. (P8, CJ7) as Tailgunner.
The trail head for the Pickle Gulch Trail was just a hundred yards from camp so the wheelin' started right away. It's a fairly easy trail, but tight enough to warrant your attention. The willows and trees reach out for your vehicle, as they let you pass with a light rub. Wider vehicles got the full rub. Up a few hundred yards is the one obstacle Pick Gulch has. It's a granite rock with 2 small ledges to climb up and over. There is an easier line to the left and a harder one to the right. We all took turns going up and over it, and gave an applause for each.
Climbing up Pickle Gulch, we passed many beautiful groves of aspens that were just at their peak! We hit this trail at the right time this year!
Many times the aspen are gone by the end of September. We reached the ridgeline, and back into the evergreens. Staying left (other rights take you down to the Tolland road), we circled to the south end of Oregon Hill. Just past the saddle the Front Range opened up and we headed down to Apex. Once in Apex, the county road becomes quite rough and wide for a county road as we wide on up to Elk Park. For a second there I thought I was in Arkansas, as a couple of 'yahoos' were doing long range 'shooting' practice with what sounded like ozzzies right near the road. We stopped to regroup and have lunch (since the winds were friendly) at the intersection of the Tolland road.
With our tummies full, and visions a of fun steep rocky tight jeep trail, we headed down (FR505) towards the Miner's Gulch trailhead (FR709.1). Miner's Gulch is a trail I stumbled on at All-4-Fun in Central City, and ended up leading 3 trips up and down it. I named it Miner's Gulch, for the gulch has the same name on a topo map. Please, if you do this trail---PLEASE TAKE CARE OF IT. As always in the past as Trip Leader up Miner's, I guaranteed a 'fun ride' up the gulch, by refunding your gas thru it if you were not satisfied. I don't remember anyone asking for one, just smiling when we finished...
Ok kiddeeees---------Get in, strap down the cooler, kids and dogs, and have them get ready for some real fun! Miner's is a short section that takes you all the way up to the ridgeline road (FR175.3) that then goes on to Yankee Hill to the west or Central City to the east. It's steep, tight, and not maintained. Good-sized rocks and boulders along with water and logs tickle your jeeping senses all they way up.
Everyone who was locked and open had fun climbing up the 1st section, and everyone made it thru the main rocky section (similar to Spring Creek's 'rock garden') higher up. Except these rocks don't eat your undercarriage up if you take a wrong line. Correct tire placement and a smile, will get you thru just okee dokey. Some stock vehicles made it up ok, as driver skill and placement got them thru. Those with lockers and lift were able to 'play' a little more.
Halfway thru, the area opens up to afford a break if you need one. Mush! The trail still dishes out some decent rocky sections as you keep climbing up out of the gulch. After winding around trees, we finally reached to ridgeline (& FR175.3). As it was only 3pm ish, we headed down east on FR 175.3. Soon, we were enveloped by many beautiful aspen groves shimmering with shades of yellow, gold and red as we descended the trail.
Finally, we reached the cemeteries above Central City. Some chose to head to camp, while some stayed to air up. It was nice to see (thanks guys) those who had air (York's), share it with others who didn't. Soon, it was a little after 4pm, and the scent of pig drew us back to camp down thru Central City. Great trails with good friends awesome aspens in full colors is what Aspencades is all about!!
Did someone say 'Here Piggy, Piggy!'
After a fun day on the trail, Frank (who stayed behind) was watching our catered pig get roasted, and was soon ready to consume at 5pm!! The line formed and we all partook in bbq'ed pork, beans, potato salad, fruit salad, and refreshments (with or without alcohol) at the amphitheater. Some enjoyed the trails, or just came up for the aspens and pig roast on Saturday. Over 40 vehicles, and around 100 people made this a fun event! After a great meal around 5:30pm, Frank thanked everyone for coming and supporting an 'inter patrol' MHJC event like Aspencades. It was one of the highest attended ever!
I also thanked everyone, and especially Patrol 14 for putting Aspencades 2003 on. I read off the names of those who has RSVP'd to come up and received a magnetic dash plaque (donated by a good friend of mine--John Hart of AAA TRANSMISSION WAREHOUSE), and a door prize ticket. AAA Transmission Warehouse at 1950 W. Union in Englewood since 1995 has provided honest quality transmission work. John knows 4x4's and tranny conversions as well.
Those in attendance for the 'Pig Roast' were (Abbreviated name, followed by Patrol #-some missing): Bill & Molly H. (1), Ken & Nancy K. (1), Scott & Janet & Pete M. (1), Pete & Julie R. (1), Paul & Brett W. (1), (Mike & Pam B. (2), Kiby J. (2), Dirk & Sue B. (2), Chevette L. & kids (2), George H. (3), Kirk Z. (3), Ken M. (7), Wayne & Linda H. (7), Barry S. (7), Gene K. (7), Heather B. (8), Richard & Sherry D. (10), Todd F. (11), Dennis & Marci E. (11), Norris M. (12), Paul P. (12), Don M. (12), Tom A. (12), Robert & Jill S. (12), Dale & Zane Z.(14), Neil & Jill M. (14), Frank & Debbie E. (14), Eric L. (14), Bryan H. (14), Don C. (14), Paul T. (14), Greg M. (14), Bryon M. (14), Tom H. (14), Max B. (14), Henry P., & Jeff & Laura M.
Instead of buggin' the local 4x4 shops again for some door prizes, MHJC member Richard D. donated $250 of his trip planner budget for some. I went to Walmart and purchased about 26 different items I wouldn't mind winning. Small stuff, one could always use. As the sun was setting, Frank drew tickets, and the winners accepted their prizes (some even bartered--which was allowed). At 6pm after the door prizes and as the chill in the air became apparent, warmth by fire was a popular choice (unless you were the Ervin's, at a toasty 68 degrees in their RV). The Hobos went down to Central City for some ice cream, as others tried to stay warm around the fire.
Seems we started so early (like 5pm), most everyone ran dry in the 'refreshment' department. Though last year's, the kegs went dry, this year was just the opposite. Maybe the average age was a bit higher? There was plenty of spirits to go around though, including the pony kegs. When it seemed like 11pm it was only 8. As most seemed tired, fire entertainment was the highlight, as we discovered aluminum does not burn too well in a campfire. As temps hovered around 35 degrees at 10pm, the few diehards of Patrol 14 tended the fire. Even munchies called, and Frank E. brought some pig and corn to feast on (goes good with beer). Soon though, around 11pm the fire got cold, and the camp was soon quiet after that.
No snow this year! Nice 'cold' weather and good friends.......... A very chilly Sunday morning (like 26!--ok, we didn't have fancy furnaces in our tent trailer!) came as everyone seemed to 'sleep in' past 9am. For those who were up early (I was frozen!), Krispy Kreme donuts and coffee were served. Thanks again! We all took our time packing up and we (Mardi & I) went to Idaho Springs. I parked my Jeep and took Mardi's Civic up Chicago Creek to Echo Lake to look at the beautiful aspens in full color. Then we headed down Hwy 6, and home by 4pm. Just in time to unpack, shower,& sit back and watch the Broncos squeak by the lowly Lions 20 to 16.
Thanks again to Frank E. and Max B. (and the rest of Patrol 14) for a fun Aspencades 2003! As we bid farewell to the golden aspens, and welcome in the winter snows!!!
On a bright sunny morning the day (ended up being record 84
degrees) on October 18th, the HoboJeepers met for our 3rd cleanup of our adopted highway 391 section. An unusually warm October has brought warmth instead of snow and cold. We all met at the Jeffco Stadium parking lot about 7:30am. Some had plans to attend the State Meeting, while others were headed off to Spring Creek Trail after the cleanup We set out with handmade pick-up sticks and bags in hand. Seven Hobos were in attendance (Thanks Guys!) and included: myself Bill 'Hobo Willy' Hallinan, Ken 'Toolman' Kordes, Mark 'Fife' Fisher & daughter
Katlyn, Paul 'WeiszGuy' and son Brett 'WeiszDude' Weisz, Scott 'Mad Max' Maxwell, & Jed 'Clampett' McClelland.
The section was quite clean again for such a busy highway. We picked up the usual visual trash. Everyone was in tune with everything picked up except the small cigarette butts. Paul had the 'best find' this time, as he found a $5 dollar bill. Ken found 4 $1 dollar bills, and the rest of us found just 'trash'.
Highway Cleanup October 18th
We were finished in about 1.5 hours, with trash bags piled up along Kipling for CDOT to pick up. After a job well done, most of us headed our separate ways. We encourage other 4x4 groups/patrols to adopt a CDOT highway somewhere. It's a great way to contribute to the community as 4Wheelers, while showing the general public we don't just go up in the mountains and tear them up. Our next cleanup is planned for a Saturday in January 2004.
See Ya on the trails..."Jeep,Jeep"
Bill Hallinan HoboJeepers