Zuks at the EagleWith Drew Huber Photos by Tim Justice, Chris Robbins and Drew Huber
Team Zukis last major ride was in Moab, Utah for the Zukfari 99. With several months passing we went from "Slickrock" to "Slick Rocks" for the first Zuk ride at Monteagle, TN for 1999. Three states were represented at this ride; Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee, with a total of 5 Zuks, 1 Jeep and a highly modified Toyota 4-Runner.
Mike Dugan along with Hal Hall and James Heirs arrived on Thursday night. They did a pre-run on Friday with the hardcore award going to James. It seems the weather took a turn for the worse on Friday with a heavy downpour of rain. It also seems James really likes the outdoors as he has no windshield, doors or any type of top. Armed with a poncho, goggles and the drain plugs pulled, James braved the harsh Monteagle weather. Another major downpour came around 3 A.M. Saturday morning just to make sure we would have a really interesting ride on Saturday.
Chris Robbins and Tim Justice arrived around 8 A.M. ready to do some wheeling. After the rest of us finally got it together, we headed out to the trails. Todays ride was a trip up the Stairstep Trail. Stairstep is a short but extreme trail consisting of a continuous uphill climb with large rocks and ledges to contend with. Add in all the mud from the rains and it is a major trail that requires front and rear lockers and a winch. Everybody did fine until we reached the premier obstacle of the trail, Stairstep. The "Steps" are more like a bunch of sharks teeth waiting to grab hold and bite you. It didnt matter about wheelbase or tire size here as nobody got any further up the trail than anyone else. After we all winched up we headed to then last obstacle, a set of 2 ledges about 2 to 3 feet tall and covered with mud. Here the blue Jeep Wrangler driven by Jason almost did a side roll when he got sideways on the first ledge. Again everybody pulled the string to get up the ledges. By the time we all made the top of Stairstep it was lunchtime.
From the top of this trail we headed over toward the Quarry and several other extreme trails in that area. This trail has several obstacles to overcome that made the ride interesting. Lots of rocks and ledges plus some mud thrown in for good measure makes for nonstop wheeling. One area is an optional rock garden with a rock ledge right at the top. Going down is tricky cause you cant see the drop off but with good spotting, everybody made it through without mishap.
Once we arrived at the quarry, several of our group decided to take a swim and cool off. The rest of us scouted around for rocks to flex our rigs on. Before leaving we gathered for a group Zuk photo and then headed out to another trail I know. We didnt get far into the next trail when we encountered the only breakdown of the day. Tim Justice who had just finished putting his Zuk back together the day before the ride, began to overheat. After Tim made a quick repair to a busted hose we decided to head for the motel and get some dinner.