Deep mud is something that some fear and others love. Usually I tend to avoid deep mud (and water) because so much can get screwed up so fast. A quick example is the plung I took at Elbe Hills when I ground up my radiator. There wasn't much mud to speak of on our Shoestring trip but I did get a chance at some at the annual Evans Creek ORV Poker Run.
This was the site of My Worst Day the previous year where I had 3 flats, a bent axle and melted wiring. But this year I was confident nothing would happen. Dale, Don, Scott, Ron and I all went and a couple of Ron's friends rode along.
There was really nothing to the trails this year. There were a few cools spots but nothing spectacular and we drove through without any problems. It was on the way back to the check-in area that we decided to take a side trail instead of the logging road. A few other people were taking this route which hopefully would add some more fun to the day.
Just a little way into the trail we got our fun. Vehicles were stacked up a bit waiting to go through some mud. There were two ways through, one to the left which was not very deep and one to the right which looked pretty deep. A lifted Toyota pickup with big tires on it was driving around in the deeper hole and I could tell that it was not something to be taken lightly. A jeep in front of me was trying to decide which way to go and with a little pressure he went for the deep hole.
The beginning of the hole was not very deep it was more toward the end where it really started to drop off. This guy had a CJ-5 with I think 31" tires (I don't remember if they were mud tires or not). Anyway, when he got to the deep part he sort of bogged down and then ground to a halt. His engine was bubbling along but he wasn't going anywhere, mud was up to the top of his tires. Eventually his engine died and they had to pull him out.
Now it was my turn. I was thinking about just taking the easy way out but I decided to go for the deep part. I had put a lot of work into the jeep and it was about time to put it to the test and stop whimping out because I thought something would break. I had fixed the fan so there shouldn't be any problems chewing up my radiator any more.
So off I went, into the shallow part, making sure to keep up my momentum. Then we plunged into the deep end. Mud and water came spurting up all the holes in my floor and up over my fenders briefly but I kept going and before I knew it I had popped out the other side. Wooohooo! The inside of the jeep was covered in mud but everything was running so I continued up the hill and parked so I could watch others go through.
Don, Dale, Scott and Ron all took the easy way through and nobody else ventured into the hole so we continued on. Thats when it started happening. My temperature started climbing and didn't go down when I went faster. We pulled over at a viewpoint overlooking Mt. Rainier to check things out. After looking over the jeep a bit it dawned on me that the mud I went through had plugged up my radiator. So much for not chewing up the radiator.
I dropped my tow bar and Ron pulled me back to the check-in area where I splashed water on my radiator to try and clean it out. That worked enough to get me back to Enumclaw where I visited a car wash to spray out more mud to get me home.
So as of today, I still am on the side of caution when it comes to deep mud and usually opt to go around.
Next: Rear End