Past Trail Rides of 2-Big Broncos 4x4 Club

"Winter snow run" in Wisconsin
February 24, 2001

Great Lakes Chapter


Winter snow run at the Pipeline

Map of the area - Lakewood, WI
Topo map of area - Topo Map Size of 162K

Directions

McCaslin Campground -
(6 miles East of Lakewood Wisconsin on Hwy F) Camping available at McCaslin Campground phone #: (715) 757-3734

Participants

  1. Dustin Siebert, "Yellow" Bronco
  2. Brett Yerks, F-250
  3. Jim Hunter, 1989 bronco
  4. Mike Masse, 1978 Bronco
  5. Norm Tischer, 1992 Bronco

I was sitting at my computer desk 1am Sat morning waiting, Mike Masse had called about 11pm saying his 78 Bronco was finally trail ready.  The agreed plan was for him to arrive at my house with his friend Craig and spend the night here, allowing a much earlier start on our journey to the 2 bigbroncos winter trail ride.  At 1am I posted a note on the door regarding the couches and to not worry, the dogs were kenneled and I went to bed.  Upon awakening Sat morning at 4am I was happy to see Mike and Craig in my living room sleeping soundly.  Normally I would not have worried, but Mike had just finished swapping a 460 into his Bronco and as of the 11pm phone call it had not been driven out of the garage yet.

The weather forecast was not great for our 4 hour drive, freezing rain, and snow North, with the Langlade county area (where the Pipeline is located ) expecting 4-8 inches of fresh snow, turning to freezing rain latter in the day.  Good news being an average temp of 32Degrees would make pleasant winter play weather.

Arriving in Mountain Wis. At 8:30 am after driving the entire distance in snow, I was delighted to see Jim Hunters rig, as well as Brett Yerks F-350 lined up ready to go at the local gas station where we had planned to meet.  We were soon informed that Dustin was off tending to breakfast and other plush niceties, and we would leave on his arrival. Min latter he arrived, and after some handshakes and pats on the back we were off on our adventure.

Leaving N.E. on County Hyw West we drove along admiring the Northern Wisconsin beauty this time of year, and after about 7.8 Miles we locked the hubs, and surveyed the snow.  Looked to be about 24 inches of base, but plenty of crust and powder, with a layer of ice underneath as well, seemed to be the conditions we faced.  It seemed prudent to send one of the "big boys" in first, I came upon this plan having the smallest rubber of the group with 35in Goodyears and thought it was quite smart of me.  Mike Masse seemed to be the "Test Mule" and he attacked the snow with 460 buzzing and snow flying, after seeing he was still moving in 2x4 we all followed him onto the trail.  After realizing he was in 2x4 yet Mike shifted to the 4x4 mode and ceased showing off and we headed down the trail.

Mike leading the way
Mike on the trail leading the way.
Brett & Dustin on the trail
Brett and Dustin on the trail, notice how the trail is far from flat, and adds great challenge when covered with snow.
Dustin motoring along
Dustin motoring along with ease on old snowmobile tracks; scenery was so beautiful with the heavy snow falling it was almost difficult to concentrate on trail riding.

The going was not to bad on the flats but we had the advantage of a old set of snowmobile tracks which was giving us a solid foundation to drive in without having to buck the total snow depth.

Arriving on our first obstacle that is located off to the side of the main trail, we played around some attempting to scale a ice and snow covered climb that is a interesting climb, even without the snow as added amusement.

Mike's 1st attempt on the hill
Mike making the first attempt on the hill, as you can see 38's a 460, lockers was not even enough, but was not for lack of trying
Brett attempts the hill
Brett making an attempt at the hill, he gets "honors" for the most distance up and if he wouldn't have been suffering fuel pressure problems he may have conquered that icy hill.
Norm attempts the hill
Norm and "Dafilly" made 3 attempts, after almost rolling onto the side he gave up with regret.

Moving on, after a small stuck when Dustin discovered how deep and soft the snow could become when off the snowmobile tracks, we tackled the hills and obstacles with little trouble.

Norm taking on the hill climb.
Norm taking on the hill climb.
Dustin Stuck
Dustin stuck and Mike
lending a strap and some
"Horse power" to the situation.

All the attendees on this trail ride are Pipeline veterans, and were keenly aware of the ditches and large rocks we were able to drive over with ease.  We crossed mud holes that are impassable, sum of which trucks with 44 rubber and the best of everything spend hours attacking in the summer months, and all were aware if the ice broke, we would be facing a serious stuck.

Luck held, and after a hour or so, we had reached the farthest point of travel North via the pipeline we could access from this direction.  The infamous "Rock Hill" lay in our path, and at the bottom of that a state snowmobile trail which we were not going to disturb.

So taking advantage of one of the many side trails that lead off the Pipeline, we decided to try our luck in the trees at full snow depth.  Mike Masse entered first, with Jim, Brett, Dustin and myself last.  The trail quickly headed down hill and became quite steep, shortly Mike found himself in a deep ravine with no where to go except attempt to back out onto the trail again.  What followed was an impressive display of a 460 and lockers working those 38in swampers back up the trail!  With about a truck length to go, the driver side front inner axle shaft let go with a crack and we had a small predicament.

Mike flexing that new 460's muscle
Mike flexing that new 460's muscle, and grinning like a damn fool.
Repairing the broken front axle.
Mike replacing the front inner axleshaft.
Oh Oh! u-joint broke
"Just one more time!" Mike says, the results of U-joint failure on his front Dana44.

After some discussion, and a walk down the trail, it was deemed they could reach a forest service road if Mike was winched backwards up the hill, and they then would attempt to bypass the ravine.  Meanwhile myself and Brett tried backing our rigs up the hill.  After a few tries it was found that beneath the snow was a solid layer of ice, and traction to back up a rather fair incline was proving impossible.  My wife's 91 Bronco even with lockers and 35's was going nowhere fast, and it seemed rather hopeless.  Brett was fairing no better with his boggers below me, so with a last ditch effort I used the old motto "When in doubt floor it" 15 min. latter of spurts of 6000Rpm my family and I found ourselves at the top of the hill.

So deciding to meet the rest of the group at the bottom on the fire road we backtracked the entire way back the way we had traveled in alone, the whole time wondering if we were going to make it out to the road.  Arriving at the GPS location they should have been at on the fire road, we found a snowmobile trail, guessing they would not cross that, we looked at a few other exits to other fire trails before heading back to the pipeline entrance and waiting.

I was ready after a hour wait to go back in to find them, when suddenly I could here Brett's un-muffled "Wake the dead" exhaust in the distance, min latter they arrived smiling, having changed Mike's axle shaft on the trail.

A sight for sore eyes
A sight for sore eyes, Jim
powering his way up one of the
many hills after they repaired Mike's axle.

Jim was very pleased with his 38 swamps, air locker/Detroit combo, and was one of three trucks carrying GPS equipment, Dustin and him both have on board laptops for navigation.

The rest of what was left of the day we spent playing on assorted unbroken trails and just goofing off seeing what our trucks were capable of in the snow.  Mike using that big 460 any chance he could in this "virgin" snow.  Snow is always a challenge to play in, and Mikes locked and ready 78 was romping in it all day with ease!

Mike's smiling big
Mike smiling "Big" with his 460 motor running great.
Mike waiting for his turn
Mike thinks just a tad more momentum and I would have been home free.
Jim stuck
Jim, decided at the end of the day that the momentum thing is "tricky".
Norm tried to get stuck
Norm and "Dafilly" showing that little 35in tires work ok.
Group shot
A group shot at the end of a great day spent in the Wisconsin woods.
Another Group shot
Another group shot.

All day while we played, the snow continued to fall, trannys getting hot, gas tanks moving closer to the danger zone, we headed back out of the woods to gas up at mountain and run 40 miles south to Schanno for a much needed Supper.  The roads proved interesting and at one stretch we encountered ice that was so glare you could see the trucks reflection on the highway.  After supper the freezing rain and fog continued, and while Brett and Dustin stayed in Schanno for the night. Jim, Mike, and myself headed home thinking maybe the further South we got, the better the roads would become.  5 hours latter, through the worse ice I think I have ever had the pleasure of driving on, and with the added attraction of fog so thick you couldn't see the hood of your truck, we arrived home safe and sound.

The 2001 2bigbroncos winter trail ride was a success I believe for all that attended, a few minor stucks, a broken axle shaft, and a destroyed pass seat were the only casulties of the day.  And Mike Masse spent the entire day grinning from ear to ear at how that 460 had transformed his Bronco into a solid trail rig like he had hopped.  Dustin was talking a front locker after seeing how much a open front diff hinders snow performance, Jim was overjoyed at the performance of his new 38in swamp radials, and myself I learned that my wife's 91 Bronco is not a bad trail rig if properly pampered.  And that my wife was impressed with just how capable her Bronco was in comparison to the much larger tire trucks attending. After all, the only two rigs that didn't get stuck all day were Brett's mighty F-350 monster, and our little old 35 inch tire equipped street Bronco.

Great company, well-equipped trucks, and competent driving, made for a great Sat spent enjoying the woods and the snow.  I am already eager to attend the next Great Lakes chapter trail ride, and once again spend a day with good people testing our rigs, and driving abilities, against what ever trail we may tackle.

If you are interested in participating with the Great Lakes Chapter of 2-Big Broncos feel free to contact us here: GreatLakes@2BigBroncos.org

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