What? You were fortunate as a kid, if you had the chance to play with one of these labyrinth marble mazes. Hey, we did not have video games growing up and it’s better than cans on a string. The concept was simple, move the knobs on the side to roll the marble through the maze without falling into a hole. Sounds simple, but the challenge was real. Everything had to be done with thought and finesse. Crazy moves often ended with a pitfall. This is what Jeep life can be like. Getting crazy often ends with someone in a mud hole or stuck on an obstacle.
Saturday’s ride was like that, we rolled around in the Citrus WMA following a maze of roads filled with holes and obstacles that could get you stuck. The ride was made to teach you how to respond in different problems that you might encounter on any given trail ride. Here are a few questions and results on this day’s trail experience.
What do you do if someone breaks a leg or suffers a deep cut? First Aid.
How can a spotter help you? Trust.
How well do you work as a team? Two heads are better than one.
What’s articulation? Jeeps are capable vehicles.
How do you change a tire? Beware the high-lift.
How do you plug a tire? Carry a repair kit.
When and how do you winch someone? Safety first.
What is a tow strap and how do you tow someone? Don’t just launch it.
How can stepping back and thinking outside the box help? Sometimes the solution is too easy to see.
What is tread lightly? Preserve the environment for future generations.
How much trash is out there? Take out more then you take in.
So what was it like? We started off pretty early. 7:30 am check in at the Holder Mine campground. Some camped the night before and others drove up that morning. 5AM … Wakey, Wakey… Here we go. Teams were pre assigned and numbers given, each group had three Jeeps. Sealed envelopes were passed out with maps and way points. The concept was simple, go to each point and follow the instructions. Then take a photo of you completing the challenge. The way points were shuffled so that each team would be scattered about the forest. Follow maps, follow instructions, work as a team, and solve problems. Lunch was on a lower part of the forest and we had some instruction on plugging a tire with a live demo. So how many plugs does it take to plug a tire slice to get you off the trail? 27? That’s more than an average kit contains, so get some extras. (Emergency repairs are for getting you back to civilization, when in town you should always do a proper fix.) While driving about we all took the time to pick up any trash we saw. By the end of the day a trailer was filled with everything from a Bumper to a baby crib. We gathered for a time of sharing what was learned and prizes were given out. Need that Buba Rope… That was followed with a BBQ dinner with all the fixins.
There was a good amount of things to be learned from this type of an event, and you can take that knowledge and apply it next time you get into a situation. So if you ever get the opportunity to attend this type of event make sure you go. Overall we had a fun day with opportunities to stretch your Jeep skills and learn new stuff. The event was part of a monthly ride by the Orlando Jeep Club a local club that puts on events and trail rides multiple times each month. Find out more about them at Http://www.orlandojeepclub.com See you on the next trail.
SO you went out and bought a Baofeng radio, but what do you do now? Why get one? They function much like a CB, less expensive, and easy to use. It probably won’t replace the CB any time soon, but is a great alternative. One of the key benefits is that a spotter can communicate with the driver directly.
Our Model: BF-F8HP there are cheep ones but like anything in life you get what you paid for.
Remove radio from package and put antenna on. A better antenna will give you slightly better range.
Charge the radio.
Make sure you know the exact model number.
Down load Chirp.
Connect radio to PC or lap top with a proper USB connection.
Download channels from your Club page.
Open file with CHIRP
Under Radio File select Upload to radio.
Under settings you can change the name of channels, set a welcome message, and change radio name.
If you are having issues with uploading make sure name is right. If not known keep selecting names till it works.
Got Questions? Comment below.
THE TWO JEEPS HEAD DOWN TO BARTOW.
It’s 6:30am and we are ready to head out the door. Another day of Jeeping is just what you need to unwind after a week of work. Randy will be in the 2007 JK and I will take the 1995 YJ. We gassed up and got geared to go; today we will meet up with my Son and his Wife and all 4 grandkids. They took the van to keep all the kid related items and food and water and I made the slow haul down the road. 60mph is about the top speed in the 2.5L YJ with 33s and stock gears. She does fine in low range and off road, so I have just lived with it. That by the way is 60 when going downhill with a tail wind. Uphill and we are down to 4th or 3rd and 45mph. We made it in about an hour and a half.
The Clear Springs Ranch is home to the Jeepin with Judd event each year. This is a yearly fund raiser that benefits the Polk County sheriffs’ charities. It is held on private property but the club had permission to be there for the day. The Orlando Jeep Club leads the trails each year. They travel around exploring good routs though the 19,000 acres finding the track that provides a good amount of Jeeping fun.
Today we had the chance to see what it looks like in late summer. It was hot but a beautiful day to ride around in the tall lush green grass. In some places the grass was so high that it was hard to see where Randy was standing. The drivers meeting was a 9AM with the waivers signed and inspections done, we headed out to see Pine Run. So just what are we doing out here today? First off, it’s the club’s August trail ride. One of the things that drew us to the Orlando Jeep Club was that they were about trail rides. No supper shinny glitz, just Jeeps ready to explore the Orlando area in a family friendly group. This day when they asked who would lead I raised my hand to lead a somewhat stock friendly ride. No crazy stuff, just some small hills, shallow water, and a tad bit of mud.
Pine run was overrun with tall weeds and fallen trees. I opted to take the ride backwards and not use the GPS. We had 2 new Gladiators for the ride and took that opportunity to test the departure angles. A few recoveries on hill tops and mud holes, but they did well. Street tires with no lift and a 30day tag. We had some fun and before we knew it we were out of the run and heading to Gator Run. No gators insight but the lakes was up pretty high so some of the trail was bypassed. We made a turn to a new area that ran down the edge of the river till we found Abigail’s tree. (See story on Ghost Hill from last February.) After a quick recap of the story we drove right under the ghost tree and headed down to the side of one of the many small ponds. The ruts were deep and the mud was soft. “Stay to the top or you will get stuck.” Some tried to make it through and had to be pulled out. My son got to do a recovery and pulled one up and out. This is another good reason to ride with a club. Getting stuck way out in the sticks with no help can be a bummer. Time to head back to camp for lunch so we took a quick ride down though a creek that caused a issue with one of the Jeeps. His battery died right after the crossing and would not jump start. We ended up towing him back to camp and Clay took him to a local auto parts place. The battery was completely dead. End of life for that, but an easy fix. The new battery was installed and lunch was finished so off we went.
The afternoon ride took us down to the south part where we could make a cool water crossing with a hard gravel base about 18 or so inched under. A favorite spot to take some great shots of the caravan traveling across the edge an old wash out. Not today, gate after gate hampered our path. The last gate was roped, chained, Bail wired, and bob wired shut. You shall not pass… We then headed around to the Mud fish run to cross the creek and climb the ditch bank. No mud fish today but some flying tires. The place had been washed out causing some steep banks. Just the kind of fun Jeeps are looking for. From there we headed to the sand pit for some runs around the bowl, no recoveries needed. By now it was 3:30 so we headed back and prepped for the ride home. When we arrived I did find that at some point the rear drivers tire had gotten a good size groove carved through the lugs. We will have to change that out with the spare for now. With two muddy Jeeps in the driveway it was time for dinner. Over all it was a good day and we all had fun. Anyone see the Giraffe? What is next? … Richloam in September and them something we don’t know up in Citrus.
For more info on the Jeep Club feel free to visit. http://www.orlandojeepclub.com
The sun was on the rise and began to peak out from behind the trees. It’s an early August morning in Florida, we are driving up the turnpike heading to Altoona.
This August morning was to be a wet ride in the Ocala National Forest. The Jeep Club had gathered and was ready to ride the trails. The Wednesday Wheelers meet on the first Wednesday of each month to different areas in the central Florida area. The day started like any other jeep ride day, get up before the sun, pack the jeep and head down the highway. The forecast was in the low 90s and it was going to rain sometime around 1 PM, so we thought...
Ocala National Forest is the world’s largest contiguous pine scrub Forest. The views are beautiful. When we Jeep, we often take the side and back windows off. This will help keep them from getting scratched up and opens us to the environment. The downside to this is that spiders and ticks have free access to the inside. I picked a tick off my belly the next night... YUCK! Always carry bug spray.
There are near endless trails winding through the forest providing a variety of Jeep opportunities. From sandy to muddy, tree scratching tight to wide open. Beware some puddles are deep enough to hydro lock the careless Jeeper. We were warned to stay out of any clay pits even if they are open or you might get a ticket for venturing in. There are a few springs in the forest that offer swimming and kayaking. Alexander Springs and Juniper springs provide a relaxing place to visit after a day on the trails.
After a stop at the Ranger station, we headed to a gas station in Altoona for a drivers meeting. We had a total of 14 Jeeps to start, a few more then we thought would show. This would be our first time leading a Jeep Club trail. We planned routes and planned alternate routes. The morning run was 16.71 miles. The National forest service has an online interactive map that will show you what roads are for highway registered vehicles and what roads are not. I use the term “roads” loosely. “Stay on names and numbered roads” were the instructions given by the Ranger at the station. The first alternative trail we turned down was so tight that we had to back out after 50 yards. Clearly a goat track. I was not willing to sacrifice the paint jobs of other Jeeps so we picked a little more clear trail... so we thought. We headed north towards the east side of the bombing range. We encountered a few fallen trees and took some time to clear the way. I drove over the tree and then hooked up the tow strap and pulled it out of the way. Thank you, Clay, for always getting out and helping. By late morning we had arrived at the bombing range and took a group shot at the sign. A quick stop at the bathrooms to the East and we headed south to Blue sink our lunch spot. Trail 14 has plenty of big puddles that don’t go too deep, most of the time. One puddle put the 33” tires almost under and the opposite side had a steep walk that stopped most in their tracks. Sean made it through pretty easy with his lockers and 35s.
We made it to Blue sink a little after 12. A brief walk down to the pond to have a nice setting for lunch. Some fished, some swam, and we all ate. I attempted to get the drone in the air but was restricted by the nearby bombing range. Most of the drone screen was blocked by a warning screen that would not let me hit the accept button to fly at my own risk.
After lunch, we headed south to get around the now-closed portion of road just north of the sink. As we pulled up to the power line road David’s Jeep made a wretched sound in the front drive train. Not wanting to take the chance Sean and David headed out to avoid a trail mishap. We headed back up the goat trail.. more trees blacked the path. Most were fairly easy to move. The last tree was pretty large and I was able to slide under it by less than an inch. We hooked up the tow strap and pulled... nope. This tree was green and must have fallen recently. We took out a hatchet and Jim had a cordless saw. After some work, we were able to take a chunk out and then pull it out of the way and down the trail to a side path.
Now the sound of thunder is approaching. The rain was on the way. We put our side windows back on and headed west towards 14 again. The rain came down and made the washout roads into creek beds. It was a cool sight to see small waves of a mini flash flood coming down the road you are driving on. The puddles were getting deeper, the lightning more frequent, and the ride more funner. It was a blast. We finished out the day with getting all tools and radios back in the right Jeeps. The rain continued all the way home. Unfortunately, the ride took over 2 1/2 hours to get home. The turnpike was gridlocked, 441 a mess, and power failure in north Kissimmee made for a long drive home. Would we do it all again? You bet!
We found Jeep Cave! Yes you heard right there is a cave in Citrus called Jeep cave. Citrus Wildlife Management Area is a large track of land that can be found just south of Inverness Florida. Take Interstate 77 to hwy 44 and head west. There are several campgrounds in the forest that are a good place to base your adventure. Most of the trail travel North and South or East and West forming what they call a grid. There different classes of trail from foot hiking trails, horse trails, and off road vehicles. Like Jeeps and trucks, no side by side, or dirt bikes. This is a favorite for Jeep clubs because of the miles of trails that provide multiple situations and challenges. The trails are peppered with water holes to challenge your skills. Some holes are deeper than you might think so travel with another Jeep. Stay on named and numbered trails and DON’T go off the path to play in a sand pit or you might face a ticket. This applies even if you see areas that have plenty of tire prints. If we respect the area we will continue to be able to use it. If we trash it then Citrus will become like most other WMAs that don’t allow vehicles. NO TRASH! Keep it clean.
After a 3 hour tour of the south side we had lunch at "Ants on Candy" a fun area on the West side of trail 14. This area has some pretty deep wash out but that’s about all that’s left of the area. If you need to go around you can, but if you want to do a proper Jeep wave then drive slow and stretch your springs. If it has just rained then the area will provide a very different challenge. You will find sand, water, mud, and caves.
Jeep cave has a clam shell entrance and a small hole that leads you to a crevice that looks like Godzilla's eye looking down at you. It’s a short hike down into an area that look like a Jurassic Park movie set. The cave will be off to the right after a small hill area and it stands out pretty good. In the area there are some other small holes that don’t appear to go anywhere. Be sure to point you camera up to take a photo of Godzilla’s eye. There are also caves to be found in the south area too. Park you Jeep, grab a bottle of water and take a hike. Be prepared to get a bit dirty on some of the spots that you can crawl through and a flashlight is helpful. The caves are all small and most have holes that let light in. Some are a tight squeeze and might be too claustrophobic for you.
TIME TO TAKE YOUR JEEP OUT!
A beginner’s trail ride.
You’re driving down the trail following your drone, and then it happens…
You start to talk to the camera about what you see and realize the GoPro is not there. Stop, land the drone, go back. Randy I left the GoPro back there on a pole to record the clouds. So we head back knowing no one has passed us on the trail and find the thing sitting just where I left it. Ok, we are good, now let’s get on with the ride.
A few Questions:
Did you just buy your jeep?
Are you visiting the Central Florida area in a Jeep?
Could you be a Jeep owner who has never been off road?
Are you looking for a Jeep ride that won’t leave you stranded?
Then check out Tosohatchee WMA. This Wildlife Management Area (WMA) has an abundance of birds, gators, flowers, trails, creeks, fishing holes, and panoramic views. Bring your camera, because you are going to be treated to repeated opportunities to capture real Florida in its natural setting. A day pass is less than 10 bucks and you can easily spend a half day here just riding around. This is an easy ride, so if you are looking for a trip with more opportunities to challenge your skills try Citrus. At Tosohatchee you will be able to navigate the roads in two wheel drive. Getting stuck would take some work, unless you drive off the road, or where you are not supposed to. Stay on the roads while visiting because it is a sensitive environment. WMAs do have fees and you can check the link below to find out how to get an annual day use pass.
During hunting season you need to be aware the hunters may have been sitting in an area for some time. Don’t go wandering off trail on foot too far you could get turned around. Always clean up after yourself and stay on the roads. Remember this is a maintained area with gravel a roadway that can be traversed by most vehicles. Always avoid puddles when you can so you don’t displace the dirt. If you can stop in the Ranger station, they will help you out and you can and ask some questions. There are also some Geocaching spots to provide a cool treasure hunt aspect to your adventure. Pack a lunch and enjoy natural Florida. Till the next ride, get out and enjoy your Jeep, you will be glad you did.
Jeep upgrades and equipment:
We broke it, again...
That is about how it goes for Jeepers. We love trails, nature, and challenge. Getting out and seeing this is best done in a Jeep. Some trails don’t provide much of a challenge, others are just about seeing what you can go through. I will often go around a mud hole if I can, but sometimes there is no bypass. When you push your Jeep outside of normal conditions, that’s when the opportunity top break stuff come your way. Take it easy and don’t hammer things.
Let’s start with the 95 YJ. We pulled the exhaust off and the intake. Put in new 4 hole injectors, a header, new muffler, and tail pipes. We installed a brand new 4.0 throttle body. And installed 4 hole injectors, then took them out and put the originals back in. That was a costly mistake. The injectors were putting too much fuel when you past 2500 rpms. This was causing it to sputter like it was going to stall. We will try to put them back in later. With all that the YJ is out and about but the thrush muffler is pretty noisy. We also have a leak that damaged the CB so that was replaced as well. What’s next for the YJ? Perhaps a new frameless top. We also have some side steps, a windshield seal, and need to fix the seat bolt that has broken off.
The 07 JK... it had been popping out of first gear for some time now. The throw out bearing was making noise. The clutch felt weak. We took the Jeep to Best Transmission on Michigan Av right by our house. The diagnosis was grim, the model transmission has known issues. The guy was great, he replaced 1st, 2nd, and reverse gears. Installed a new clutch, throw out bearing, seals, and checked the transfer case. We just completed 500 miles of soft driving. Father’s Day we took the Jeep out to Three lakes for some easy trail rides and had no issues. Other than the top is leaking in the front right. Things on the ToDo list: Install the fuse box, lockers, fender cutting, lock box, 35s … you get the picture.
We went out on Saturday to Suburban Estates. We had a blast with the Orlando Jeep Club. Shot plenty of footage, drove in the canal, got a little muddy, and did not find any snakes. But nothing broke.
Till next time, see you on the trail.
We just finished up Jeepin with Judd and there are a few things I would like to share. First off there were tons of Jeeps this year and I mean 1000s The Judd website was pretty clear as to what was needed to go on the trails and yet somehow people still missed it. This is not a complete list of things needed but it is a good starting point and I would recommend them before trail riding.
What is NOT a tow point: Bumpers, leaf springs, axles, and most importantly, tow ball hitches.
What is a tow point: Bolted D-Ring mounts, not welded, we all know weld break. Most off road bumpers come with D-Ring mounts and a soft shackle will hook into a D-Ring with ease. You should have a minimum of 2 tow points, one in front, and one in the back. If needed there are D-Ring Reese hitch mounts that just slide into the hitch and they work well. See link below.
RECOVERY STRAPS WITH LOOPED ENDS:
No chains or hooks, why? Because they can kill you when they break and fly into the back of your head or strike an onlooker in the face. The old days of yankin someone out with a chain are done. Tow straps are Cheep and they work to pull someone out of the mud or tow someone back to camp, just NEVER try to snatch with one. The best method to recover is a KINETIC RECOVERY ROPE. Not cheap but they work wonders on pulling people out of a hole. They stretch and then transfer that energy to give you extra power and not stress you hook ups.
Too many people showed up with no CB this week. There are instructions given and useful information when it comes to what side of a hill is a better ride, or a better challenge. It also lets you know where the lead is and when the tail gets past a certain point. If you get hung up you can let others know. If you have to take a break you can ask. When you are clear of a hill you can inform the person behind you it’s safe. There are plenty of options when it comes to CB’s from cheap handhelds to dash mounted less than $50 models. A full setup with everything needed from radio, antenna, mount and antenna wires is less the $100 and money well spent. It’s a Jeep and it gets wet so putting an expensive radio might just be asking for someone to break in. Keep it simple. Learn a bit of radio etiquette before ratchet jawing yourself on the radio. It’s always good to respond when you are given instructions; I can’t tell you how many times I would ask for something and not know if the tail could even hear me. Short waves are the next thing and need some tuning to get the right channels in.
Pretty simple, have one and learn how to use it. Make it mounted in the right space so in a jam you can get it in a hurry. Second count and a fire will get out of hand very fast. It is not just your jeep, but the environment that can suffer. Make sure it’s the right kind, and service it so it will work when you need it. See the link below for a good guide or what kind to buy.
BASIC SET OF TOOLS:
Something is better than nothing but a cheap set from walmart is just that, cheap. A good set of select tools will be your best friend when you have to drop a drive shaft off to get home. Vice grips, hammer, screw drivers, wrenches, zip ties, duct tape, electric tape, a breaker bar and anything else yo might need. I had to change the front drive shaft and it took forever to get the 12 small 8mm bolts that would only turn 1 click at a time. I sure wish I had a nut driver that day. It took awhile to find a shallow wall 1 ¼ socket to put the new yoke on too.
Seat belts will save your life. ALWAYS have it on when in a moving vehicle. If you fall out, you can get run over. If you roll you can get crushed. If you hit a tree you can smash your face on the windshield. And no a tow strap does not count and you can’t share a seat belt.
Sometimes you might need more than a light pull, a tug or a push. This is when a winch comes into play. They are not cheap, but the day you need one and don’t have one you will wish you had put one on. This applies triple if you are on a trail alone. See the blog below about that. It is always better to have a wheeling friend along for the ride. You can get a winch with a steal cable or a synthetic rope. The rope cost more but weighs less. If a cable breaks it becomes a deadly whip, if a rope snaps it tends to just fall. Not always so have something draped over the mid section.
Full Tank of Gas
Health Information Sheet
First Aid Kit
This is by no means a complete list but it is a good start to get you out on the trails.
TWO MINUTE TUESDAY: FIRST OFF... If you have never taken your doors off there is a nut holding the hinge pin on. Remove that before you spend 30 minutes pulling up on the door. It's a JEEP! Take your doors off. It's hot, it's dusty, it will get muddy.... I have had multiple Jeeps and let me tell you, it a great feeling when you are out there wheeling and the top is down and the doors are off. You are right there in the elements. Try it you will love it. It's better then cutting your Jeep in half.... for a girl. 1- Unfasten door wire under the dash. There is a small clip that has to slide out first. 2- Roll down the window and push your mirror in. 3- Wiggle and pull up on door. Wiggle the door.... 4- Once remove store in a safe place. 5- Put side mirrors on or use a round mirror disk on the AC vent. In Florida you are required to have side mirrors when on the road. I like the side mirrors and used them at Judd this year. They do good.
See amazon Link below:
Florida Jeep rides not responsible for mud, sticks or gators getting in doorless Jeeps.
Back at the turn of the last century February 23rd there abouts 1919, when the army core of engineers had discovered one of the worlds’s richest deposits of phosphate an unfortunate event took place just South East of town. On a stormy February night Abigail Whitburg was traveling to meet her fiancé through the Peace River watershed. Her horse had thrown a shoe and she decided that best thing to do would be to take a short cut across the river bridge and through the grass lands toward the south part of town. It was going well until a lightning strike spooked the horse and caused it to go off the trail. The buggy was caught on the old rail road track that used to run in from the east into Bartow. She tried in vain to get the buggy free but did not have the strength to push the buggy off the tracks. In exhaustion she climbed into the buggy for shelter from the storm and fell asleep.
The tracks were not used often, but on this night Number 2, a wood burning locomotive was on approach from Traverses. The engineer did not see the buggy until it was too late; he struck the buggy at full speed. Abigail was thrown clear of the tacks and managed to craw her way some 3500 feet to a tree for shelter. In the confusion she had gone south away from the tracks. her body was never found, the buggy was thought to be empty. Some time’s they say, that you can still see her under that tree. She is still waiting, wearing that old tattered dress. If you’re unlucky enough to spot her, beware, she is looking for a ride…
Every buggy has a story, even if it’s just a campfire story. – Matt Law
A few details in researching a background story... #2 is still in use today and has been featured in films like “O brother where art thou.” The distance from where that tracks used to run is around 3500 feet. The event took place on February 23 1919 .... insert spooky music here.
Matt N Randy
Jeep Enthusiast, Pastor, Photographer, Artist, A husband and wife team that loves going out and seeing God's Creations.