Memorial Weekend, 2000

If you read about the 2000 upgrades, then you know about the motor & TH400 that made their debut this year.  (if not - click here to check them out)  As things were, we had been rushing for about four months trying to put together the new motor & tranny, as well as all of the associated projects that come along.  One of the largest milestones was to break in the new motor & tranny before the first event of the season... Memorial Weekend.  We had everything planned out, brought the truck up to Chisago for the break-in, and Jason had taken off the day before we had to bring it up to the event.  All was going well until...  To make a long story short, we seized a pinion bearing in the front axle.  To make matters worse, it had chosen the middle of the road to seize up on.  After Jason spent a couple of hours digging, blocking, and jacking, he finally was able to get enough tension out of the front axleshafts to take the pucks out of the hubs, and get the front tires rolling again.  The rest of the afternoon and night was spent tracking down a bearing set and a new gearset to replace the one that now had the inner race of the old bearing now welded to the pinion shaft.  Fortunately for us, we did get enough running time to get the motor as broken in as we needed it to be, but we really would have liked to run the truck more just in case.

It's difficult to see, but this shot shows the melted & crunched bearing.  It took over two hours of grinding with the Dremel to free the locked in roller elements & remove the pinion from the case.

Despite the trouble with the front axle, we made it up to the event on Friday morning.  It used to be that we were always the first ones to arrive, but as the popularity of the Memorial Weekend run has climbed, we found ourselves about fourth on the list, though the groups that beat us had just dropped off trucks or equipment, and hadn't arrived for good yet.

When Saturday finally arrived, we made our first run.  Once we had gotten our confidence up about the new motor, tranny, and other improvements, we of course had to get stuck!

Fortunately for our trucks (but unfortunately for us), Saturday was an ugly day!  Temps stayed in what seemed like the 40's, and there was a consistent drizzle that really made us think that we had inadvertently wound up in Seattle.  At first the weather wasn't bothering us (though it did keep the video camera indoors for the day), but we got to spend a lot of good quality time with the drizzle after Nick decided to shoot straight out into the swamp, and we buried ourselves as well when we went for the recovery mission. 
We had kind of gotten ourselves into the sticks, and Nick was a good 100ft. further in.  We had to wait a good long time before someone finally came over to give us a pull.  By that time about half of us were soaked by the rain and had just about had it for the day.
The shot below gives a good feel for how far Nick made it.  As you can see, we had to hook up three trucks before we finally pulled him out.
Surgeon Generals Warning:
  Getting stuck for a couple hours & needing three trucks to pull you out may make you and your friends giddy!

(and thirsty...  Where's my beer!)

On Sunday we had a bit more fun...  And Nick decided to shoot the swamp again.
This time, though we tried alone, we were just in too deep where we were pulling, we only needed two trucks to free him.
And who says mud can't be romantic...  She even said yes!
A few more sights...

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