iZook – Suzuki 4×4 Tech Information, Accessories, Travel & Adventure

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Ok Ok Ok! Ray is being very tight lipped about this for some strange reason.  First thing first! Ray you are fired as my official photographer on our  runs. There where more pics of the Scorpion and those Hybrid Jeeps than of  me and my Zook! I knew you disappeared for awhile but I had no idea you where  snapping pics of those critters! Oh and a future tip of advice.....the  closer you are the better the pic. But you can still be my official trail  drinking, trail spotting, 2nd shift driving, get drunk the night before  leaving, jeep loving passenger! DEAL? GOOD! Now on to the good stuff. I will do a report then when I do a better one  with pics on my web page I will pass it along to you guys. Our Friday  morning started out a bit slow as we had projected to be up and out by  6:00am Friday morning but since we didn't get home until almost 4:00am we  where not in the right mood. We did get up and slowly crawling around and  out the door by 7:00 and a quick stop by my office we where off to tackle  this 10 hour trip. It was a long trip but when you have two people that love  the same things such as Ray and myself it seems the time passes by pretty  good. Ray got him a nap and came back to later in the trip. The tough thing  for my little 3.0 V6 Mazda wasn't really the weight of the Zook but the  constant 15-20 mph North head wind that blew the entire way. I think I got  about 9-10 mpg the way up there. We arrived in Langley/Disney around 4:00pm  and it was a bit chilly and windy. We poked around town and looked at where  the trails where and then headed to Jay, Ok. for some more ummm umm WATER!  yeah liquids! heheheheh! Oh and some thermals for my buddy Ray. The next morning we both awoke and Ray jumped straight out of bed as he got  PLENTY of sleep the night before and we where both ready to see just what  all the talk was with this place called DISNEY. So after an awesome  breakfast at the place we where staying ($2.35) we where off to find the  rest of the Zukers. We showed up around 8:20am or so at the local camping  park across from the trial head. To my surprise there where already close to  35 Zuks there waiting and chomping at the bit to get after it. It was around  25 degrees but with the excitement in the air not many people knew it was  that cold. While everyone was preparing for the run guess who just happened  to show up? Keith Biggs and 'The Scorpion' and two HIGHLY modified Hybrid  competition Jeeps. It's amazing how these guys always show up when they get  wind of a magazine in the area. We finally got off to the trail around 9:15  and there where two groups. A stock group and a modified group. But they  where more like a modified group that didn't want body damage and then those  of us who really didn't care about body damage! You know which group I was  in! There where about 9 or 10 of us in the 'Modified' group. We started in a  part of the bottom that was kind of like a boulder field. Everyone just  picked a line and went playing. The camera came out and so did the videos.  Some choose rocks some choose boulders. Me I personally prefer the boulders  for breakfast. "Sprout" made the walk through the boulders look like a piece  of cake. And then off to the next area. We ran up the river towards the dam  and through ice frozen water and came across these obstacles know as "Stair  Steps" and then its goes into "Little Blue" the first real obstacles of the  day. We lined up and got out to take a look. The Stair steps had ice all  over them with water running down. It was a series of about 5 or 6 1-3'  steps all about the perfect distance apart to be pretty difficult then it is  flat for about 25' then the real deal Little Blue. This is a real narrow  passage washed out over the years by the water. Tight enough to where even a  ZUK cant fit in there. You have to put one tire on the wall walk in get both  tires on each side then into the water a hard right in to a 4-5' waterfall  that you have to climb out of to a very hard left crawl. YESSS! By the right  and then the hard left I knew that this was a real quarter panel eating area  and seeing that my rig was the most prone to body damage I figured I  would hit it first so I volunteered to go first. I go up the stair steps  with a little bit of acceleration to overcome the ice and then into the  Little Blue. As I was approaching little blue Dave ( a spotter and Jeeper)  informed me that no Samurai has ever been through this obstacle. Oh yeah!,  even more the reason to try this. There was a lot of people asking if they  thought we could make it though and a lot of other people standing around  that where not sure if there rig was capable. As I walked through this  obstacle and out the waterfall with ease and simplicity there where a lot of  other people who gained a lot of confidence at that moment. I made it look  so easy that all the other Zooks but one attempted and made it through this obstacle. I had several of the other drivers that said if they hadn't seen me do it first and make it look so easy there would have been no way they  would have tried it. We did have a few quarter panels crunching and a bumper or two rearranged but all was well and from this point of the day on both  the guy from 4 Wheeler Mag and Eric Altom of Off Road Exposure where believers! After a small incident of a couple of Zukers finding this real deep hole and seeing what there Zooks looked like on their side we headed up to the dam for a group picture. This proved to be bit of a challenge of itself as the dam had ice all over it so getting the vehicles lined up for a pics was kind of comical. After all the pics....Kodak would have been proud.....we where off to see this trail known as "Nosedive" Hmmmmmm sounds like fun to me! We arrive at what was to be the top of Nosedive and after a few minutes proceeded down to the main event. As we went down this granite rock steps of several hundred yards of small steps and curves I was thinking now this would be fun to come back up. As we reached the bottom everyone was standing in one place waiting for us to get to the bottom. At the bottom of this trial is a 4' straight drop off and there is only one way off....down! Ok so here is the interesting part. I see this trial leader start puling out straps and hooking up to his bumper and headed toward my front bumper. They inform me that no Samurai and very few Jeeps have ever went off this edge with out a strap to keep them from rolling end over. So I pacify this leader and ease him down the edge until he is safe and sound on the bottom and everyone congratulates him on his little journey! Yeah right! So the guy behind me pulls his strap and comes towards my bumper....Can you see the writing on the wall here? .....The guys have never wheeled with me and I can guarantee never wheeled in Texas! I inform him that I don't need this stinking strap and I am going to once again have a first here in Disney. After a long discussion with the trail leader on how I know I can handle this obstacle and how this wasn't my first rodeo (he was just being cautious and has never had someone like me in his group) and a discussion with Dave about where I want my tires, I was ready. But wait the guy from 4 Wheeler said "DJ hang on one minute I want a new roll of file...I cant miss this" hahahahah! I was rolling. A few minutes later we are ready and off I go. A little bounce and the rear wheels off the ground about 8" but I was fine and I drove right off and made it look like I had done it a million times! But to my surprise none after me would do it without a strap. The where about 8 more Zuks after me and each one of them had a strap to go down. Oh well maybe I missed the be careful class of four wheeling. But from this point of the day I had gained a new name as the crazy guy from Texas in the red Zook.  No not me? Well after this we where off to an obstacle called "Waterfall". When we arrived there was a Jeep there and he tried and tried but to no avail. This is a very hairy obstacle and the one that will take good driving skills, good torque and lots of suspension and tire grip. It had running water running though it, ice in the side and nasty rock ledges holding you back from a almost straight up climb. After the Jeep backed down it was almost instant that every one looked at me and said." WELL?" So I had to give it a shot. At the bottom there are two or three 2' ledge that are perfect apart to keep the short wheel base vehicles from hitting it head on so you have to go from the right side and then back to the left one on the rocks. I tried and tried and actually got up once but the little 1300cc and a stock clutch just didn't have it in itself to get up. So I backed down. Well kind of......I rolled back then turned into the left about that time My left front dropped off a ledge and I almost went over and it was about 6 foot to the base. It wouldn't have been pretty! Pucker factor of about 8.5 We had another Zook attempt this obstacle. He has 35" Boggers, a Buick V6, and an automatic tranny. He tried and tried but he to could get up and made a valid attempt. This is one of those rock crawling obstacles that if you do make it up you defiantly have some bragging rights. Maybe next time with a GRSII and  a VW engine I can try again. From here we took a lunch and took the time to gas up before we headed over the rock garden. One of the things I really like about Disney is  everything is right there. Leaving the waterfall and heading over to the Rock garden you get to go through town so we grabbed a bite to eat and everyone else gassed up and we meet them at the "Rock Garden". As I was worried about putting my trail rig on the street everyone pretty much agreed that the law is very lenient and as long as you are within a group and going from point A to point B you will USUALLY not be messed with. I had no  problems but not to say someone will not have any problems in the future. As we arrived at the Rock Garden there where many Zukers standing around and its kind of is a hang out spot for everyone. This place is right below the main damn and is a collection of huge boulders and large rocks that you get to make your way through. There is a bypass and ways around it if you do not want to attempt this. Of course I jumped right in and had a field day with them. I had many people following behind me walking and watching. It was a fun place to play. After I went through this I continued to play around this area and show off some my ZOOKS capability and love of rock crawling. I was making trails in the rocks and making new ways up and out of the 'bowl'. Not to may other people wanted to try the Rock garden, as it was a sure clutch eater and a birfield breaker for those less equipped in this area. So from there we moved on to do some trail running. After seeing me devour the rocks it seemed we picked up many from the stock group and they followed us on the trails. As we where coming down the trail we came across this  very high very steep trail that went straight up the side of this hill. About half way up it had some slick rock in it and some roots at the top. Of course I was asked first if I wanted to try it....Hell YEAH I wanted to try it! I didn't drive 10 hours to say no that looks to tough for me. So the filming crew set up and off I went. After a few tries and picking the right  line I did mange to crawl and scratch my way to the top. Its one of those hills that with the dirt and mud its almost just to steep to get up with little traction. But I did make it to the top and back down again. We had one more Zook do it and it was the little black one with paddle tires and a rotary engine. It belongs to Ross and he was a local there in Disney. The 35" Boggered Zook tried but he didn't make it up. We where the only three out of about 25 to even try. This absolutely amazed me. After I got back down Ray informed me that one of my front wheels wasn't pulling and someone else said they heard a pop. I decided to continue on and we found some little hills on the side of the water and we played there for a bit and then the stared drag racing on the shell rocks on the side of the riverbank. Although kind of boring for me it did prove to provide entertainment for a lot of the others that where there. I guess some people definition of excitement is different that others. After about 6 or 7 rounds of drag racing and some water splashing for the video crew we decided to runs some of the trails. After getting down into the trails and finding the first mud hole I noticed that indeed my drivers' side front wheel was not pulling. I knew in my gut that I had broken an axle. So we opted to go back and see if we could find an axle. It was about 4:30pm on Saturday afternoon. We got back and asked everyone we could find but to no avail we came up empty handed. So we loaded up the Zook on the trailer and decided if we can't wheel we will drink. After a few hours of cold brews and chasing down every Zook I seen we still had no axle. So the day and previous nights activities had caught up with me. I decided to head back to the room and get a little  rest. About 10:30 pm Tim Justice and Dave from Tennessee came to our room to take us with this to some local watering hole. I was beat so I declined and off Ray, Tim, and Dave go. Just a few short minutes later Ray comes back in the room and informs me that had found and axle. Seems that Rob from Misfits 4 Wheel Drive Club who was staying right below us had a spare. So I jump up and throw on my clothes and out the door I come. To make this part of the story short as possible we found both front hubs where broke and the long side of the front axle was broke right at the carrier, just before the  splines. With the heaters going and the cold tools in hand, with the help of Tim, Ray, Dave, and Rob, we got the thing fixed and ready for the trail and finished up about 3:00AM! Man was I tired! The next day we where up and at 'em again about 9:00am and off to meet with the rest of the crew. This day we would run a trail called "Ho Chi Men". I  really did enjoy this trail. This trail was very interesting. It was windy climbs up and down the sides of some very long steep hills. Without at least one locker this trail was virtually impossible. It was amazing how the short wheel based Zooks where just walking up this hill and with a locker and some gearing made it look almost easy. One Zook had to be winched up one hill due to being open on both ends. The hills where also slick due to the recent ice and the dirt was soon turned to slick mud. With 5.13 gears and locked at  both ends my Zook had no problem but it sure was fun climbing them. About noon we took a break and was playing around in the bottom of one of the hills when I noticed a Bronco on 35" tires playing on a downed tree. I just had to go put my nose where it didn't belong. I got up against the tree and put too much of a bind on the axle and "pop" yep broke the axle again. Those axles can take a lot but when you put them in a major bind and have the wheel turned all the way in on direction something is going to give. This one was sure stupidity on my part and on the way home I was regretting it. I really wanted to finish the day and head home Monday. So with a broke axle Ray and I decide to head back to camp and load up. After we got back we decided to go ahead and head back towards Houston that afternoon. We left around 2:00pm and finally arrived back in Houston around Midnight. Disney is a wonderful place with loads of potential to being and awesome  place to wheel. I do believe it was worth the trip and I am sure I will make the trip again. It has rocks, boulders, climbs, slick rock, and even some mud and water to play in. And does it ever have some absolutely beautiful scenery. The Grand Lake is right there so there would be no reason why it couldn't be a family ordeal. I look forward to going back and plan to do so in the springtime.

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