with Larry Harris, Jody Ellsworth & Jeff Pollock Photos by Tim Porter, Terrina Harris and Lisa Wixson
The Badlands in April are cold and wet. Days before our arrival to the Superlift 4 x 4 adventure located at Attica, Indiana I was watching the weather channel with a great deal of interest. The night before we leave I am encouraged, it is going to warm up. They must have meant warming up from below freezing to just cold at night. The barley pop didn't even help ward off the chill. We froze our butts off at night. I told the better half, "Honey we will be warm camping out" Won't ever hear the end of that.
One of the benefits of an organized event like this is they feed you. The Badlands and Superlift had three meals catered in. Burgers Friday, a full breakfast Saturday morning and all the pig you could hold Saturday evening while hanging out talking zook and listing to the live music that could be heard throughout the city.
Our trail Saturday was lead by Chris Nelson also from Wabash Valley Trailblazers, the host club. Our group started to gather early for the 09:30 departure. Again I am hoping for a slow day with a few obstacles so I can get pictures for this article. The trail boss heads out, seems we have a little more time today to prepare. Right turn of the main road, we are in it now. The first hurdle is a steep wet hill, tight off camber tree infested turn down hill. Can't see over the hood, what's down there, oops got the tree with the right front thronbird, it kicks the front end around and it works... we are heading to the next section. Short up hill run, over the rail road tracks, takes some speed to get over the tracks, again point straight up to the sky, make the peak and we are heading down. Ok we can breath now. No time for pictures, this is just to much fun!
Long run through the woods, very tight trail with lots of deep mud. The trees are so close it is hard to make the turns, may have to take the top down for more clearance. Dropping off into what is normally a very small creek which is now flooding it banks due the recent rains, we cover a large distance over seriously big rocks and downed trees. These are all under water so it is quite challenging to keep your truck where you want it. Coming out of the creek we have just enough room to start our accent up the largest mud hill in sight.
The trail boss tells us, "get to the top and STOP!", "there is a very long and steep drop off at the top", "we lost a Jeep there last week". Boy is this is encouraging? At the top coming off the enormous hill you have to make a very sharp off camber turn with absolutely no land in sight, it is all sky. You must place your trust in the trail boss and listen to every order. "Come ahead, turn the wheel sharp left then right, little gas", two wheels are off the ground one front one rear, you can feel the truck rocking to the left this is the same side as the bottomless gorge , just as seat vacuum is at maximum the front wheel touches. Is it over? No, you still have to travel down the narrow crest of the mountain making a very sharp two point turn down the sand covered mud hill. You made it, release seat vacuum, smile and at the top of your lungs yell DAMN this is fun!
We finished this trail late afternoon just in time to participate in the planned events. Jeff's was one of two vehicles to make it through the rock garden. It was being piloted by Tim Porter. We all had the chance to play at the ramp, thought Jeff was going to drive off the end at 48 inches. Back to the campsite for cold weather and barley pop and the biggest fire we could muster.
Zooks are everywhere! Finally got to meet up with all the zook owners we had been seeing throughout the park. We had the good fortune to briefly trail with a few, tell tall tails with a few, and talk to as many as we could meet in a day. Many of the names listed you can find making post on the Suzuki mailing list. I really enjoyed meeting people I have been chatting with on the web. There were Zooks from mild to wild, TD (Troy) Graham had the "Mazuki" out on her inaugural run. From the campfire stories his group ended up on some of the toughest trails in the park. We even had the opportunity to find out how "Air Zuki" Bill Maulding got his name. You will never believe his trip in the large sand bowl. Sorry to say the biggest air was to far away for pictures, but I can tell you I could see from one side of his truck to the other... underneath! The perfect ending to a great day.
Air Zuki beats the dunes
Samurai to the rescue
Samurai Attendees Owner Truck Copilot AKA Matt Evans 87Samurai Ben Klaves Bean Larry Harris 87 Samurai Terrina Harris Grouche (Poser) Jody Ellsworth 86 Samurai Lisa Wixson Happy Jack Jeff Pollock 87 Samurai Tim Porter Snap Dragon & Fixer Troy Graham Samurai (TD) Micah Wills 87 Samurai Hard Luck Bill Maulding 88 Samurai Eric Beherrs Air Zuki & Tattoo Shaun Taylor 90 Samurai Todd Boner