TKO Trip to Tellico
9/14 - 9/16 2001

TKO Trailriders Home Page

The Participants:

Andy BiggsBlack 83 CJ-7
Gary DietrichBlack 83 CJ-7
Jon DinsmoreWhite 90 YJ
Phil KlugWhite 85 CJ-7
Marc ReiterBlue 73 Bronco
Dave StahlBlack 84 Cherokee

The trip down:

I met Phil and Brian at my house Thursday night and we headed out to Tellico around 7:30 pm. On the way Brian got a broken up phone call from Andy and he had mention something about one of the roads in the directions I had made up being a dirt road. We got off the highway in Tennessee and I realized I forgot to bring the directions I had made and I only vaguely remembered the way. Then I remembered I had programmed the route into my GPS and we relied on that to get us there. We went down 68 and my GPS told us a small road was our next turn. It was supposed to be Joe Brown Highway (which is a pretty major road on the other end) but there were no signs for it. A half-mile down the road it turned into gravel and after a while it turned into dirt. I'm glad we got that message from Andy or we might have turned around here. We followed this twisty turny dirt road thru the mountains for about 15 miles before we finally hit pavement. I'm sure Phil loved this towing his Jeep with no trailer brakes. We found the road the campground was on and we proceeded to search for it. I never found the address for the Crawford Campground and never got a hold of them on the phone so I didn't know exactly where it was. We eventually got to an intersection that I recognized as the road going up to the trail. We stopped at the intersection and I noticed a sign saying the camp was 4 miles back the way we came. The camp was well marked going back that way, but I guess they didn't expect anyone coming in from the dirt road side of Joe Brown Highway. We got into camp around 4am and crashed.

The first day:

We headed up the mountain to the trails and stopped at the pay station to pay the trail fee and air down. We headed down trail 1 to the bottom. Trail 1 is a very mild gravel/dirt road just used to access the other trails. We got down to the bottom of trail 5 and went that way. The first obstacle was Rough Crossing. This is a stream crossing, which used to have some large rocks on the bank on the other side, which made it a pretty good challenge. The rocks have been removed in preparation to build a bridge over the stream. They are doing this to keep vehicles from stirring up a lot of sediment. Trail 5 goes up the hill and has some challenging rocks here and there to make it fun. Everyone made it up this section without much trouble.

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At the top of trail 5 we turned right onto trail 4. Trail 4 is another trail used to access the other trails, but it's much tougher than trail 1. There is a bunch of small obstacles to make it fun. We came upon another creek crossing called Fain's Ford. Just after the creek crossing there is an optional 4 ft rock ledge that we all played on. Some came right up and some had to work on it. Dave Stahl knocked his exhaust off from the cat back on his Cherokee coming over the top. He then took it off completely, which made the Cherokee sound pretty good the rest of the day. We stopped here since it was a nice place for lunch.

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After lunch everyone wanted to head up trail 9 to slick rock. I had some reservations about it because I've heard lots of stories about rollovers there, but I had never actually been there to see anyone try it. We headed up trail 9 and got to the base of slick rock. It turned out the approach to slickrock was worse than the obstacle. The approach was a path up a hill covered in large rocks designed to get you high centered. I was in the lead, so I headed up the rocks. I got half way up and decided it wasn't worth it and backed down it. Andy was the only one to try this and he got up it by making about 5 winch pulls past the point where I got stuck. There was an easy path next to the rock where everyone was going, but I think it was a closed path. Slick rock is a huge rock face made of sandy rock that is hard to get traction on. The way people roll over is by getting half way up, spinning their tires and the front end comes around and they go down the hill sideways. The hill was pretty dry this day, which made it pretty easy, and everyone made it up. There was another section of rock just above slickrock that was a little tricky. You had to follow the rock up to the right, and then carefully slide sideways down a bank to the left to get back on the trail. Phil took it up on 2 wheels here and just saved it. From the top of trail 9 we turned left on 8 which took up to trail 4 to trail 1 and out for the day.

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The second day:

Everyone had some sort of small fix to make Friday night or Saturday morning. I replaced a drive shaft u-joint that was making a bad squeaking noise, Dave of the exhaust back on the Cherokee, etc.. We got up to the trial head and everyone was ready to go until I notice the coolant pouring out of my Bronco. I had a bad pump or hose. We left my Bronco at the trailhead and I rode with Phil for the day. We headed up trail 4 and turned on to trail 11 up to Guardrail. Guardrail is named for the piece of guardrail that is bungied to some trees at the bottom to keep you from going over the edge. The guardrail was not even up. It had been knocked off the trees and was laying a few yards down the hill. Just before the base of guardrail there are some big rocks that have to be navigated. Dave broke an axle u-joint on these rocks, so we stopped for a quick fix. Once the u-joint was replaced Dave had no trouble driving right up guardrail. Everyone else made it up without much trouble. Andy got into the bank a little bit and used his winch to straighten himself back up. Gary realized that this wasn't the obstacle to try without lockers, so he turned back. A Toyota pickup joined us here and was having trouble keeping it running at the angle going up Guardrail. He pulled out a can of ether and sprayed it into his snorkel to get it restarted.

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A little further up the trail we arrived at helicopter pad. There is a flat area at the top where I've heard that the military practices landing helicopters. To try helicopter pad you must be willing to accept some fender damage. There is a large rock to your left that you must get into to get the proper line up the 5 foot rock face of the bottom section. Both Dave and Andy made it up without too much difficulty and only scrapped the rock a little bit. The upper section is a 3 foot ledge with a large crevice running thru that you must straddle or keep out of. Dave and Andy chose to stay right of the crevice and came right up. The Toyota tried helicopter pad, but in the lower section he broke a joint in his front axle. Everyone else took the bypass to avoid damage.

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Going down the hill on the back side of trail 11 there is a very tricky rock to get by. The rocks on the right leans you into the large rock on the left and it tries to take out the quarter panel. The CJs and YJ were narrow enough to get thru without too much trouble, but it was tight with the Cherokee. Dave opted to put his right tire way up on a rock to stay right enough to avoid certain damage. The toyota pickup wasn't going to make it thru without damage. He got tight up against the rock and it threatened to cave in his door. To help him out everyone picked up his rear end and slid it over to the right. This helped him get thru with only a couple dents and scrapes. Once past here trail 11 was easy and it led us to trail 3, out to 4 and out on 1.

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The way home:

My Bronco seemed to be holding coolant better so I thought I could make the drive home. 15 miles down the road is started sputtering and finally died. Looked like the leaking coolant was getting in to the ignition and getting it wet. We decided that the best course of action was to tow it home. Andy was kind enough to move his Jeep all the way forward on his trailer and we put the front wheels of the Bronco up on the back of the trailer. We towed it home like it was on a tow dolly. It was a good thing Andy had his brand new Super Duty Powerstroke to make it over the mountains on the way home with that load. We all had to put up with Bronco humping Jeep jokes for the next hour.

The other picture here is a neat bar someone made from a Jeep body.

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Page by Marc Reiter
Last modified 9/25/2001
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