4X4 Play     October 2002 - Disney, OK

. It was a dark and rainy Saturday morning in Enid, Oklahoma. The fog was thick enough to cut with a knife. I am roused from my peaceful sleep by the sound of that most annoying invention, the alarm clock. Being the night owl that I am, it takes quite an event to cause me to pass up one of my two opportunities to sleep in each week. The Green Country Cruisers fall picnic was just such an event. .
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After a brief stop in Tulsa to meet the rest of the Land Rover folks, a convoy of five Rovers was rolling towards Disney for a day of wheeling. Mark Kiely was in the lead with his Discovery towing the venerable Lightweight. Randy Black was next with his D90 in tow. David Williams followed in Margaritaville, and finally I took up the tail in my Discovery.

Arriving in Disney, we took a moment to meet up with a few of the Land Cruiser people, and then it was off for a quick wheeling trip. As I was unfamiliar with the terrain, I opted to leave my vehicle behind and avail myself of the opportunity to ride in some of the more capable Rovers. We spent some quality time below the dam, and aside from a slightly bent recovery point on Davidís D90, came out damage free. Have I mentioned my amazement at the approach and departure angles on the Defenders? It was absolutely incredible. Iíve been amazed at the angles on my Disco, but the D90ís and the Lightweight put my poor stock Disco to shame.

Next we decided to head out to some muddy terrain as David felt the need to give his Rover a mud bath. I was assured that my Disco running street tires would have no problem in this area so I decided it would be a good time to get it dirty as well. All was going well until we came to a trail intersection with some nice deep ruts. Sure enough I ended up nicely stuck. Up until this point, the weather had been cold with occasional drizzle. Now that I was stuck the clouds decided it would be an opportune time to open up. Nothing is more fun than winching out of the mud in a downpour. It was at this point, and much to my chagrin that I was informed my Disco has no recovery points. Thanks to Randy and his convenient receiver hitch shackle we were able to get me hooked up. Probably about twenty minutes later with not a dry piece of clothing left, I was free from the mud, my Rover that is, certainly not my boots. As it was going on lunchtime, the Discos and the Lightweight turned around and made for base while the Defender boys went out to help another recovery.

With lunch over and the Defenders back at base it was time for the raffles. Although we didnít take the top prize of a Mile Marker 8000# winch, we didnít fair too badly. The OKRovers crew won assorted Toyota apparel, and a snatch block. I was the lucky winner of a $50 gift certificate to Samís Offroad, which will be used to purchase a receiver hitch shackle for the next time I end up mired in mud.

After the raffles it was time for the mass trail ride. With 18 assorted vehicles we set out into the woods again. I again elected to leave the Disco behind at the picnic area and ride along with everyone else. The ride started with some nice easy trail cruising without any major obstacles to overcome. Eventually we came to the first major climb. It was a long, steep, off-camber hill. We figured anyone with lockers would have no problem, but all of our Rovers were open diff vehicles. There was a little trepidation about how we were going to claw our way up this behemoth of a hill. Mark tackled the hill first in the Lightweight. The hill proved to be no challenge to the mighty former British military machine. All fears assuaged by Markís successful climb the Defenders made the climb incident free.

The backside of the hill offered a long steep descending turn with some loose dirt, but no mirrors were lost to the trees lining either side of the trail. The descent took us deep into a narrow trench, where some trees threatened to deprive Davidís D90, the tallest of our group, of its top. After some careful consideration of which line to drive we were back on the trail.

The trail continued in the trench for quite a ways, with the walls gradually giving way to open woods. After cruising a little further we came to an innocuous looking little climb. It was rather steep, but it was all of fifteen to twenty feet tall. Not even remotely challenging. I was riding with David at this point, and we had noticed that the back end of the vehicles preceding us tended to disappear rather quickly. Obviously there was a descent on the other side of the climb, so we were ready, we thought! Breaking over the top the hood dropped down, and down, down still further yet, and just when I figured it must be about to stop, it dropped down a bit further! This was a seriously steep drop. It was probably only thirty feet long, but certainly steep enough to get the adrenaline pumping. The dirt at the top was a bit loose, but thanks to Davidís offroading skills, and the gearing in his Defender, we made a nice controlled descent.

After a bit more scenic cruising, the group split up. Many vehicles opted to loop back through the woods. As it was going on sunset, we decided to go out to the dam to play on the rocks a bit longer before calling it a day. For David Octoberfest was calling. Mark, Randy and I played around with some pretty easy rock cruising for a while before Mark decided to introduce us to the Disney Rock Garden. Getting to the rock garden proved an interesting challenge. We were confronted by about a three-foot vertical. This vertical took some serious consideration to conquer. After an inordinate amount of time had passed, much rock stacking had taken place, Markís front spring and Randyís winch had been nicely scraped, we made it up and over. At this point Randy and I were introduced to the rock garden. It had to be at least thirty feet from the climb we had just spent half an hour getting over. Sure glad we didnít have to walk to it! (Sorry Mark, I couldnít resist)

After a quick return to the picnic area Mark and Randy loaded their Rovers onto the trailers and we all set out for home. The trip, despite the weather, was a great time. I would like to extend a thank you to all the members of the Green Country Cruisers for allowing us Rover folk to tag along. I look forward to more Joint Adventures in the future.

Trail Report - Dana Giles, Enid, OK
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Our Friends from Rover Cannibal (a.k.a. Car Cannibal) also spent the day 'wheelin' in disney.

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