with Ted HolmanVintage Suzuki
NW Suzuki PowerFest II 01/29/99
So what is one to do in the middle of winter when Eric Bewley summons you to"sunny " Portland for a gathering? You let Rick Hawkins book you into Motel 6 (the shortest damn bed I have ever sleep in), eat too much the night before and turn up in a snow covered parking lot in the Tillamook Recreation Area with fourteen other Samurais from Oregon and Washington.
Our five "brave" rigs from Southern Oregon were in for a treat. In the first fifty feet of trail, Sam exploded his brand new Tracker front pumpkin with the sound of a shotgun. Seems that a small piece of previous "Rubicon Broken Axle" was still floating around in the axle tube. Whoops!
Next to go bang was yours truly. NEVER-NEVER, backup while winching anything!! The front right Birefield Joint went snap. At least I could continue on. The power line road we were following was beautiful. Once Rick Rogers figured out that locking both hubs would end his extreme pulling to the right, things starting going smoothly. That is until "the ROCK" required passing.
It was not that big a rock, just one that was placed poorly by nature (or Wayne). First to get tagged was Rick Rogers. His outside hub flange bolts sheared as he started over it. Generous Mr. Hawkins offered to winch Mr. Rogers over the offending boulder and then proceeded himself. A little too much engine braking and the next thing you know it was down the hill, tires up, tires down, tires up. Two complete rolls emptied the "Pre-Wreaked" Suzuki of all loose property including all the body glass. Poor Rick was unharmed except for having his ice chest emptied down his shirt although a large boulder had attempted entry through the driver's door.
The totally sick part of this was that all this was going on one hundred yards from where we had lunch. You guessed it, Eric and beans again. That boy loves to suffer. Sitting around in the snow, eating beans, watching Rick Rogers fix his hub assembly, Hawkins come-along his windshield frame, two doors, and roll bar support straight made me aware of how lucky we are. Here we were out where we wanted to be, breaking stuff that was repairable, meeting people with all sorts of opinions that were being bandied about freely. It is great to live in this country, in this time and to have the opportunity to enjoy it. We can make the most of what is offered or do nothing. What a great choice. I thank my Lucky Stars every time I remember. I hope someone else realizes how very lucky we are and does the same.
Enough of that. We finally headed back to the parking area we had started off at. About half mile out, we spied a tiny bear cub crossing the road ahead of us. I pulled over to watch as my co-pilot jumped out to get a better look. From about twenty feet behind me I hear Rick Hawkins, tapped up windshield, broken doors, torn roof yelling that if there is a mother bear around, he is done for.