NOAS 2008 Fall Run @ Uwharrie National Forrest was a success!

This year’s NOAS run at Uwharrie Nat’l Forest went very well despite some less than ideal conditions. URE can range from a dust bowl to a slippery mess depending on the weather. On Friday, a subtropical cyclone that was “supposed” to move up the coast instead aimed straight at Charlotte, NC dumping several inches of rain. This made the trails challenging, and some impossible, but still fun. Saturday was the main run and was split into separate groups. The following is a compilation of each group. Thanks to Houdini, Offroadx, and Tuff for their write-ups.

The beginning as told by Houdini…

This was a great run! Mr. Plow and I met Thursday at the Eldorado Outpost for a quick lunch. We rushed a little out to camp, checked things out, unpacked, and hung the NOAS banner in 30 mph winds. Once was all said and done, we headed over to Dutch John Trail Head and ran Rocky Mountain Loop and Daniel. It was still dry on the trail and traction was good. No rain yet!!!! We finished up about 6pm and headed back to camp for dinner. About 10pm Brock and Larry rolled in and had some dinner while Plow and I enjoyed an adult beverage or 3. I crashed early, but I understand Brock and Larry were up till 3am greeting those who made the trek in as it began to rain harder.

Woke Friday am to hard rain and very wet conditions. Erica was setting up a canopy over the tables and I headed over to help with Mr. Plow. After a few others showed up and we had lunch we headed out for Wolf’s Den, Fall Dam, and Dickey Bell. It was extremely wet! I had my doubts about everyone even making it up Wolf’s Den to the big mud lake that had formed at the top of Fall’s Dam. Needless to say, everybody did great. Suddsquatch, Mike, and myself took the opportunity to bath the trucks in orange clay and stagnant water!

Falls Dam was just as slick and claimed at least one rocker panel that I know of (My bad….I should have done a better job of spotting!). We proceeded over to Dickey Bell and ran it without issue.

Dinner back at camp followed by a convoy of Nissans! Now it’s on!!!!

The “stock” group as told by Offroadx…

I'm not good on the details, but we ran Falls Dam top to bottom, then came up Dickey Bell. At the top of Dickey Bell, Pinhead and Kelly stopped to help a side-by-side with a blown tire, the rest of us had lunch and such at the parking area. Kelly and Pinhead didn't manage to find us and ended up running over to the Wolf Den parking area in record time, then managed to hail us one the CB and came back to join us, and we went back out via Slab Pile and Wolf Den I believe.

I don't recall where the excitement was (Falls or Dickey) and there were plenty of tricky spots but we had 2 particularly noteworthy times.

One was 50 yard climb that gave everyone fits (well, not Johnathan, or Mike who surprised us by going up the left line) , but we all had a hell of a time tackling it, and everyone got a big sense of accomplishment. No damage other than the white 1st-gen Frontier taking a hit from a root to the bottom of his left tail light with a nice dent under it.

The other was when Fukeninupagain went whole-hog into a 18+ inch-deep puddle and drowned his motor. I waded in, opened up the airbox, and found the air filter had been completely blown out. Got to pulling the plugs and the first one I pulled was #3 which was full of muddy water. Pulled the rest, found one more with a bit of water and another that had signs of being wet. He turned it over and spit all the water out, that stuff comes out HARD, don't wanna be anywhere near it. I put the plugs back in while a couple of other guys washed out the rest of the intake and the MAF. I can't believe how easy the #6 plug came out and went back in for me. Admittedly the R50 bulkhead is just slightly easier to work around than the (W)D22 engine bay, but I think it's just that I've done it enough now that it's almost second nature. After about 30 seconds of intermittent cranking and nervousness, the R50 started up and ran just fine the rest of the day. With a lot of luck, his engine was spared.

Had a great time, probably more fun than when I've driven Uwharrie when it's dry. I don't tend to like running in the wet, but Uwharrie is a blast in the wet!

The “moderate” group as told by Mr. Plow...

With mike as our trail leader we tackled Wolf’s Den and Dutch John. The rain the day before made the trails understandably slick, but Wolf’s Den was finished easily. Dutch John turned out to be much more difficult. Most of the trail was easily dealt with, and there was little to no carnage and only a few hang-ups. Easily the most noteworthy obstacle on Dutch John is the famous hill climb cutout that by now had walls several feet above the driver’s head. With newly rutted out spots and a day’s worth of rain, it was not going to be easy. Mike made the first attempt as his rig w/ a Titan front diff and a rear locker easily had the strongest drive train of the group (although his tires leave much for improvement ? ). After several attempts he could only get about a third of the way up as the ruts, rocks, and mud simply killed all momentum. On one last try the truck jounced hard and bam! the front passenger shock blew up. Luckily from previous experience w/ his coilover setup, Mike had a spare in the truck. While he worked on replacing it, the rest of us stopped for lunch. A couple of ATVs passed by and attempted the hill, but even they were denied. Defeated, we felt best to turn around and try another trail. The trip back down Dutch John was uneventful.

We next tried Falls Dam. Deciding do avoid flooding our trucks we avoided the big mud hole and came to the first obstacle, the downhill rock obstacle. Unfortunately everyone else in the forest at the time decided to run the obstacle at the same time in different directions. There were ATV spectators, Toyotas, Jeeps, and idiots on dirt bikes all crowded up and making things difficult. As the first ones there we slowly made our way past the obstacle, but a Hardbody in the group sprung a leak in his radiator and had to be towed back to camp. So we turned around and came back. All in all not a bad day, w/ minimal serious carnage and everyone had a good time.

The “hardcore” group as told by Tuff…

First obstacle at Daniel, Brian faked carnage to fit in with the group, but turns out he learned an important lesson on proper torque specs for hubs. He then powered up it after a few attempts with more speed and more power.

Steve... man. Someone else can take a shot at this one, I don't know what all he broke. He did kill a power inverter when it flew out of the back, landed on the trail, then proceeded to think someone was just stacking rocks for him. (and you guys say steel whips are dangerous! haha)

Mark struggled with a broken front axle, and no amount of picking lines and trying different angles got him up the hill. I think if he would have drove it like it looks like he routinely drives it, he'da been up it no problem, lol. He was eventually winched up multiple times to the top.

Brock in his stupid truck walked up it like it wasn't even there. No show, no carnage, nothing. I saw him putting superglue on his tires beforehand though.

Kelly successfully completed the obstacle without blinking, something I hear deserves much reward and praise from the previous years of breakage.

Tuff struggled for about 5 minutes running his front bumper and rim into the side/bank multiple times, not understanding the task was to go up the rocks, not straight into them. Once a line was found (and enough balls to keep on the gas pedal) he finally made it up the hill, in his IFS rig (which according to the video, solid axles are for pussies, lol). Carnage included breaking a metal brake line, denting a rim, and clamping off the exhaust.

Matt stepped up and nearly rolled his pathy on the first attempt. In order to save time and get the group to actually make it to the second obstacle, he opted to be winched up after his second attempt.

Hardcore run and conclusion as told by Houdini…

At ~2pm we had 3 vehicles above the first 2 ledges. Houdini, Mark Robinson, and Yota H8R. Brock hung back above ledge one manning the winch. Tuff had just blown a tire on ledge 2 and had lost just about every bit of brake he had. I made the call and we headed back down the hill to extract Tuff. Tuff started the decent with him in reverse and me on the brakes connected by a strap. After a short distance we turned Tuff around, I strapped my truck to his rear bumper and Yota H8R strapped to my truck. We crawled down and out to the parking lot where we made a slow and steady path for camp.

Folks broke for a late lunch and to fix various problems that came up on the trail.

About 6pm Matt wants to know if I want to go for a “quick” trail ride. I say I am not sure, just depends on who and what trail. Long story short….next thing I know I am headed for Rocky Mountain Loop. We start out and get about 2 minutes into the trail when we spot a Yamaha Rhino trying to extract a stock jeep on street tires with a 1" rachet strap from the woods about 20’ off-trail. We pause and I give him a tug back onto the trail. We proceed and see him off at the next exit.

After a few minutes we got to the large ledge (~5’ in areas) right before the hill climb. A few us opted to take the ledge and a few of us took the bypass. It was wet and all stumbled as they tried to pass. Most notable, Mark Robinson left ~10k miles worth of tire at this spot. Matt, in his stockfish pathy, ran through the gauntlet on his 2nd attempt. Soon after we were at the bottom of the rock garden. I ran the center line nearly caving in both driver side doors. Brock also ran the center line and made very good use of his sliders and cage. After giving it a shot on Budweiser rock and popping a valve stem, Yota H8R ran the same center line caving in both doors and a portion of the bedside….but he did it at 5500 RMPS!!!! The rock garden denied the rest. Matt and Chris (CGValant) ran an optional line or two and eventually ate their way up the hill. The rest either chose the bypass or were directed to the bypass by the hill!!!!

It was one of the best days of wheelin I have had!

Later we arrived back to camp with firewood and joined the rest for some good conversation and cold drinks. NOAS had one of the best round table’s I’ve ever been a part of!

Sunday was a nicer day. Sun was out (after a while) and all were packing up and working on getting out of Uwharrie. Mr. Plow, Tom, Robert, Perna, and myself headed over the shooting range and popped holes in a 12 pack of Budweiser (Thanks Tom!)

Special Thanks…

Special thanks go to Brian for reserving the group camping spot, Mike for coordinating the sponsors and doing the footwork with the T-shirts, Jagger for designing the shirts and providing the new banner, to all who brought food for the potluck, and everyone else who helped make this run a success.

The pictures from the run can be viewed in the gallery.