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Thread: Pandemonium in the Panamints........

  1. #1
    Dude! Check out that View Scenic WonderRunner's Avatar
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    Default Pandemonium in the Panamints........

    Pandemonium in the Panamints...............

    After joining MojaveDave for his annual event at Red Rock...........

    I woke up Sunday morning and just was not done exploring like the others. They were all getting ready to head for home while I was planning my next adventure for the day!

    I had always wanted to see the Panamint Mtn./Valley area..........so off I went about 11am after hanging around to help the world famous "Cooksterdog" pack up his tent trailer since he so graciously gave me a wonderful place to sleep! I got into Ridgecrest pretty quick and stopped to splash water on my face.......and get a hot fudge sunday to gather my thoughts. It was....after all......Sunday!

    I headed out along the lonely highway past Trona......peeeeeU! I crested the bluff north of Trona and was greeted by the most outstanding view of the Panamint Valley and Mtns. with Telescope Peak standing proud and guarding it all! I had to stop and take it all in. The wind was howling as a storm was approaching! Wow!......do I dare make the trek up those mountains? Go for it...."SWR"! You can do it!.....I hear in my head.

    After a stop at the Ballarat Museum I head out east up toward the mountain with only the memory of trails I had seen on the net just days before. After about 10 min. on the trail I come across an old Bronco coming down. I asked questions and learned about the area some. Now I had a destination and a place to camp thanks to a kind 4x4 exploring dude! YES!



    Little did I know.......that when I took this pic......it would include the very canyon trail that would cause me so much pain!



    The trail started to get interesting right away.........




    I head up the trail for what must have been 5-6 miles. Past Clair Camp.





    That's when I happened upon my dream cabin escape at about 3:30pm. There was a group of Jeepers there so I was able to get more info and learned that this cabin would be my best spot for the night. It was early......but this was too good to just leave. So I unloaded and made myself at home thankyouverymuch!




    Now the wind was howling even worse as the storm quickly approached! Shaking the cabin at times. The wind coming up the canyon had to be nearing 70mph at times! Yikes! Would I still have a roof over my head! The place was so clean you could just live there. I lit the normal incense that folks seem to leave in cabins. Though there was a wonderful huge fire breathing heater, I had no wood because this was still desert scrub even though it was in the mtns. When I woke up in the morning, it was 37* degrees in the cabin! Hurry up! Get that Coffee a goin'.........!



    I set up my kitchen and put on a nice pot of Cambells Chunky Chicken Chowder whatever as I waited for the rain/snow to hit. It was fun just hanging out and reading the cabin log book.



    Watching the sunset out the cabin window was just awesome!




    I picked my bunk and set up my bed.




    The rain finally started about 2am. and boy it was fierce! I really didn't get much sleep until the sun started coming up and the winds died down while it turned to snow. The snow was sticking about 300 feet above the cabin but not sticking at the cabin. The snow had me a bit worried about my adventure of the day further up the mountain.




    I had a fine breakfast. Loaded up the SWR...........and started the truck about 11am.



    Less than 10 min. later I hear a very strange noise under the hood coming from my brand new (only 3,000 mile) engine! A noise....and shudder......and poof.....nothin'...........! Like the quiet after the snow! Thinking a fuel line may have just frozen I started it and it ran rough at first but then smoothed out. A couple mins. later........same thing! That's it! I'm turning around and starting down the mtn. I was even going to just coast down and only start the truck when I had to go uphill for a bit. I got to my first wash in the center of the valley and went to start the truck to get up the other side and NUFFIN'!!!!!!!!!!! I get out to check my engine............OIL ON THE GROUND!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The strange thing is that all of this time my gages said everything was fine including that I had oil pressure!

    This pic shows the exact spot I was stranded.



    By now it's about 1pm. OH WHAT TO DO! They say always stay with your vehicle. The cabin was just 500 yards back down the trail. I had two weeks worth of food and supplies. I even wrote a note to leave on my dash in case I headed for the cabin or way down the trail to Ballarat. I began calling out on my good 'ole trusty RF Johnson CB Radio for help on both channel 4 and 19. MAY DAY MAY DAY! .....After yelling out for two hours I had my speech down pretty good! Finally by 1:30pm I hear voices of what sounded like a 4x4 group. I heard them ask each other "did you hear that, what was that, did he say May Day". OH BOY!.......Now I'm a Prayin' hard! Then no contact for about 5 min. but I'm still shoutin'. Then all of a sudden I make contact. The first guy to talk with me was JOE! God Bless you JOE!

    Joe actually guided his group while following my CB signal and backed their trucks up facing the mtns. where I was to be able to communicate! I gave Joe my location and since he had been here before he knew Exactly where I was! But the luckiest thing of all is that just four weeks earlier, Joe drove all the way up to the Mt. Shasta area to have his CB Radio professionally tuned! You see.....God was preparing Joe for this fine day!

    Joe said they would go to their camp and pick up oil and extra tow straps just in case it won't start with more oil. We continued our radio contact. They came flying up that canyon like the Calvary! Three Jeeps.....5 people. They got up to me before 3pm! Amazing!



    We did our greeting and then Lyle had to crawl under his truck and do an engine overhaul before they could get me down the mountain. Just kidding!......Lyle had a loose motor mount that Joe caught along the way up so Lyle got it fixed right on the spot! Did I say how handy these guys are?!!

    OK......pour 2 quarts of oil in the SWR........NUFFIN'..........!

    So strappin' time it is. Lyle got in back.........while Joe was in front....and Alicia went on ahead to call out obstacles and low gullys along the almost 6 mile journey down the mountain! I had no engine. No power steering or power brakes the whole way down. It is mostly all down hill except for a few spots where Joe had to strap me up. Along the way down....Alicia and Joe got the idea to also coast down ahead of me to be able to warn me by CB about speeding up to make any uphill climbs. Perfect!



    Check out Joe's very Kewl 3rd brake light! I added this pic just for you Joe!




    About half way down I smelled my brakes as I came around a turn. I stopped and got out to discuss with Lyle because he had no transmit on his CB Radio..........dangit!

    Lyle suggested strapping me down the rest of the way. We hooked up his extra long strap (was that 40 feet?). I took my foot off the brake.........and now Lyle is in control. I finally figured out that Lyle could not see just ahead of me so I started calling out obstructions and asking to slow down when needed. Then I came up with the idea of .....hey Lyle flash your lights once for yes and twice for no.

    Good 'ole Lyle....that Strappin' 4x4 Dude!



    Once I felt the brakes were cool enough, I had that Strapping Dude Lyle unhook and I floated the rest of the way right next to the Ballarat Museum where I left my poor little "SWR" for the night. This is where the SWR coasted to a stop! PERFECT! I parked the SWR facing out so I could back a trailer right up to it in the morning.....SWEET!




    The Rescue Crew.....right in front of where I landed! The DEEP Canyon is right between Joe and Randy in this pic.

    L to R ...... Lyle Isabelle Randy Joe Alicia




    Joe's group said they are heading home through Ridgecrest and offered me a ride. OK!...........to the Motel 6 please! I rode with Alicia who is the self proclaimed mother hen of the group (her words not mine!) We had a nice chat. I offered to fill up her gas tank in Trona......she would have none of that! Alicia delivered me to the front door of the Motel 6 about 7:30pm. Who would have believed this if I had not taken pictures to prove it! I told Alicia to tell the others thanks and that I don't want to hold them up anymore. I went inside and started getting a room. I asked them about their $32.99 price on a billboard I saw in J~Burg. He said....oh, that's an old price. Hum..........ok...... could you please give me your internet rate. Nope, sorry sir. I began to tell the clerk my story and that's when the Calvary walked into the lobby to make sure I was OK and got a room for the night. This chat confirmed my story with the clerk and when I went to sign the slip he had given me the discount rate and had not even told me. Another nice guy! This desert is GREAT!

    We all exchanged email address's and Joe and crew went on their way. They refused to allow me to give them any money for helping me. So here was my idea. I promised Joe that I will meet up with them on one of their trips and I will feed the entire crew to a wonderful London Broil Steak Dinner......baked potato's.....corn on the cob....etc. It was a deal!

    First thing in the morning I was up and making phone calls for a rental truck with trailer. Budget wouldn't have one for a week!.....YIKES! I don't like Uhaul but I called them anyway. They had a truck but the trailer was in Lake Isabella and I would have to rent a truck to go get it and then rent a truck to go home. Oh Brother! That's when I called Penske. I got the nationwide number. Told her what I needed. She had a 16 foot truck with car trailer right down the street......YES! How much? as I close my eyes! $269 for the truck and only $80 for the trailer. I'm thinkin'.....you must be kidding me right?! (The local manager asked me how I got that rate because that trip would normally be between $700 to $800 bucks!) Then, without even asking she was trying to give me a discount! She gave me a 10% discount without even asking. Grand total $351 including tax etc. and plus gas of course. $80 bucks worth of gas to get to San Diego at 10.6mpg. I got the local Penske number from her and called to ask if they could come pick me up........no problem sir just tell us when! How about 11:30am ......I need to rest a while. I was driving off their lot by 12:15. Had lunch. Picked up a tow strap to tow the SWR onto the trailer and I was off to Ballarat. I was in my house by 11:30PM Tuesday night.

    OH!..............and then there was good 'ole George from the Museum. He got so interested in what I was doing that he came right over and started a pitchin' in like I was his long lost brother! I was going to tow the SWR onto the trailer with the rental truck. Thats when George thought quick and offered to tow it up with his Ford Pick up! Now My Toyota has been saved by Jeeps AND Fords!

    I wanted to give George $10 bucks for helping me out but I was fresh outta $10's......but I did have a $5 and four $1's.......I handed George $9 and apologized because I wanted to give him $10! ...........Thank You George!




    This great kid on a bike stopped by to chat and see what was going on while George and I were loading. He was camping with his family nearby. He got off his bike and started to pitch in. He helped make sure the SWR was secure. Then he offered to follow me out the long bumpy dirt road to the highway to see how it takes the bumps and report to me! I didn't get his name. It all happened so fast. It was like poetry in motion! So after all I had been through......now I have a "wingman" on the way out! Can you say..........ANGELS?!!!!




    And then there was my other good little helper! I'm thinking I was smiling about as much as he was!





    I thank my lucky stars that the Gettinoff4x4 Crew has the same sense of off road honor as the other 4x4 websites I visit. GOD BLESS YOU!

    I'm no one to preach after going through this nightmare! But I will proclaim..........Stop complaining about your CB Radio's........and Set your SWR Perfect..........it could save your life, or at least a lot of time! My good old RF Johnson CB Radio with Wilson 1000 antenna puts out 60+ miles line of sight. Joe said I was even punching through his squelch and he was amazed. And Keep your wits about you!

    .....and just remember!

    Treat others on the trail.....like you would want to be treated! ............


    Thank You!!!!!!!!!!! .......Joe......Alicia......Randy.....Isabelle.... ..Lyle....

    and all the others back at your camp who had to just wait around while I was being rescued.


    And a HUGE Thank You to...........





    .
    Last edited by Scenic WonderRunner; 08-09-2007 at 07:49PM.
    1988 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4x4 V6 Auto
    4 wheels are taking me farther than 18 ever could!

    .......still Praying for Toyota diesel!

    Treat others on the trail.....like you would want to be treated!..........

    "Hey, life aint always beautiful, but its a beautiful ride."

    "Here's to wonder and runnin'....in the San Juan Mtns. of Colorado!" ~"SWR"

  2. #2
    Should've bought a Toyota
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    Wow, great story. Glad everything worked out and you made it back ok.

    Good luck getting the truck sorted out.
    Carl
    07 Tacoma TRD - New DD and adventure truck
    98 Jeep TJ - Gone but not forgotten

  3. #3
    Starting Member ghostwn's Avatar
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    SWR

    Good to hear you and your truck made it out safely from Panamint Valley.

    Ghostwn

  4. #4
    Starting Member Boston Mangler's Avatar
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    Glad to hear you are safe Mark and my SWR meter helped you out!

    NOW PLEASE FINALLY FILE A LAWSUIT AGAINST THE SOB THAT HAS PUT YOU THROUGH ALL OF THIS CRAZYNESS WITH HIS SHADY ENGINE REPAIR!!!!!

    THINGS COULD HAVE ENDED A LOT WORSE!!!!!
    Boston Mangler
    1993 FZJ80 Landcruiser:
    With Some Stuff Added To Make It Comfy: http://www.yankeetoys.org/mangler/

  5. #5
    Trans-Continental Cruiser cruiser guy's Avatar
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    Mark, you've got all the luck!!

    Any idea what happened?

    Have you spoken to the California BAR yet? This is after all a new problem! Maybe you can get Mr. Sucky to give you another engine yet. Not likely I guess!

    I agree with "Boston Mangler", you need to get Mr. Sucky to step up to the plate, just don't have him do the work.
    '82 BJ60 with 3B AXT turbo, PTO winch etc. etc. Makes the trip to Canada and back to Guatemala every year!! 600,000kM on the clock and counting!

  6. #6
    Starting Member Boston Mangler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cruiser guy View Post
    I agree with "Boston Mangler", you need to get Mr. Sucky to step up to the plate, just don't have him do the work.
    Thank you, i have been prodding Mark to do this for a long time!

    Anyway, there is almost ZERO chance that the problems you describe are a headgasket.

    I am guessing thrown rod, freeze plug fell out, OR the moron didnt tighten down one of the ends of the connecting rod and it came loose!

    It is SUPER RARE for a head gasket to blow and piss oil everywhere!

    Also, Awesome pics :)
    Last edited by Boston Mangler; 02-22-2007 at 10:26PM.
    Boston Mangler
    1993 FZJ80 Landcruiser:
    With Some Stuff Added To Make It Comfy: http://www.yankeetoys.org/mangler/

  7. #7
    Trans-Continental Cruiser cruiser guy's Avatar
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    I agree, this doesn't sound like a head gasket. Did you have any symptoms prior to the failure, like clouds of steam? If not I'd bet that "Boston Mangler" isn't too far off on his guess and that doesn't bode well for a low cost repair.
    I'd bet that since it appears that you had coolant leakage issues earlier making you diagnose a head gasket. That could also be a lack of proper torquing of the bolts when assembling the engine. If the head isn't torqued right it'll leak and if the rods, crank or other parts aren't torqued....
    A gasket leaking oil would not make the engine un-runable. It would puke oil and show low oil pressure. This is much more severe. Either the engine is hydrolocked or you have really serious engine issues.
    Last edited by cruiser guy; 02-22-2007 at 09:11PM.
    '82 BJ60 with 3B AXT turbo, PTO winch etc. etc. Makes the trip to Canada and back to Guatemala every year!! 600,000kM on the clock and counting!

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    What a good bunch. It's stories like this one which restore my faith in our fellow man (and woman).

    2002 Jeep Liberty 4x4 stock/Bridgestone REVO AT's


    Calamaridog

  9. #9
    Dude! Check out that View Scenic WonderRunner's Avatar
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    Oil Spewed down from the drivers side of the engine from around the oil filter area. Oil even Spewed all over the Skid plate to the front! Like it was under pressure and not just a leak.


    Last edited by Scenic WonderRunner; 03-03-2007 at 03:45PM.
    1988 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4x4 V6 Auto
    4 wheels are taking me farther than 18 ever could!

    .......still Praying for Toyota diesel!

    Treat others on the trail.....like you would want to be treated!..........

    "Hey, life aint always beautiful, but its a beautiful ride."

    "Here's to wonder and runnin'....in the San Juan Mtns. of Colorado!" ~"SWR"

  10. #10
    Answer: 42 WhiteThaiGer's Avatar
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    Glad you met all those good people in that bad situation! Hope the fix will go better this time.
    At WhiteThaiger.net: Trip Galleries **** OziExplorer related **** Srisuda's Food




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