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November 16, 2002

Northern Wisconsin - The Pipeline

I left Oshkosh at 7:30 AM. I meet Gary Reed in Green Bay at 8:30. We stopped for food at Woodman's and were on our way.

We began heading up HWY 32 to Mountain, WI. We took a trail, to avoid further highway driving, that I had known which is a back way into HWY W. On the first real off-road obstacle I found out that my switch to disable 4WD was wired incorrectly. This way found due to the smoke coming from my center console. I guess they weren't kidding when they suggested using 16-gauge wire. My bad!

Finally over the rock, Gary made fun of me for needing 4LO, but that was because I didn't realize that I was trying to make it up a huge incline. I "thought" I had done it before.

On down the trail.

We then got to HWY W and took some trails to lead towards the pipeline. Gary lead and we went miles on trail which was kind of boring. The ice was also scaring me since the last time I had been here I broke my front clip. Finally got to a section with some decent puddles and yup, I got stuck. . The water was to high to open my door so I had to climb out the window to the top of my truck and down the back. Hooked up the tow strap and Gary was able to pull me out with minimal effort. The next, supposedly deeper puddle wasn't a big deal; I think it just had a harder bottom.

On to the pipeline.

On our way there we found a big hole that Gary had made it through in the past with no help. He inched forward and got stuck almost immediately. We decided not to try it any more and just continued on our way.

We started out and found that the puddles were larger and more ice covered than we had expected. We made it to the rock garden and Gary went through with no problems. Must be nice to have a locker! I started out next. To afraid to try it my first time out I was amazed how easily it went. Got on to of a large rock and decided to stop for lunch.


Our lunch consisted of Woodman's extremely cheap bargains; pizza burgers with pizza sauce and chips. With a case of soda the total was under $13. Plenty of food. Temperature was about 41 so it was pretty nice.

On our way again. Somehow we got kind of lost and took the scenic tour back around to where we started. On our way to another section of the pipeline; a place I had been to before and decided to go around. Gary tested the waters by going into the hole at an angle. Just before he got out his back end dropped in and he had to use 4WD to get out. Thinking that this wasn't anything too bad I stuck it in 4 and blasted in. My truck dropped out from under me and I was dead stuck. I tried everything and couldn't even budge. Once again I find myself in the middle of a puddle. This time I left the strap connected and was able to crawl through the inside and throw the strap to Gary. He hook up and started pulling. He was pulling so hard that in his jeep it felt like hitting a brick wall. It would just stop, dead in his tracks. I guess when you put a 6000+ pound stuck truck against a 3000-pound jeep the truck is the boss. We then decided to try and use his Hi-Lift jack as a come-a-long. This moved my truck about two inches sideways. Still nothing. Moved the anchor point to the other side and still nothing. Wondering what to try next, and hoping for a big truck to come along, we began to investigate the situation a little more. It appeared that the hole started with a small slant and then just the tire ruts dropped down. I was able to walk out to the back or front of my truck and about 10-12 inches to each side. So basically my truck was sitting on the frame dangling it's wheels. We were thinking that our next and only option was going to be to try and pull from the front. Boy I wish I had put the tow hook in. As we were contemplating this, two trucks drove up and asked if we needed help. Our saviors, maybe.

They had a bigger strap so we thought that if Gary tried again further away he'd have better traction. True, but not enough to even make a difference. Then we tried to hook up another truck to the front of Gary's jeep, still nothing. It looks like I wasn't getting out the way I came in.

So we hooked up to the front. Sounds easy but without tow hooks I had to try to find a way to hookup to the frame so that it wouldn't slip or damage my front bumper. I already put a decent bend in my rear bumper. Finally got it hooked up and the other guy that came (Yellow 4 runner that was recently dropped in a lake began to tug. It took a couple tugs and I finally budged. Then one more and I came flying out of the hole! As we cleaned up and were about to leave the 4-runner stalled and wouldn't start. I guess a helping hand doesn't always get good luck. Seemed like he just still had water in his fuel tank and it had gotten into his engine. After a bit of towing and high rev he made it to the gas station and put some heat in his tank. They departed and we decided to cut our losses and call it a day.

Other things from the trip

Gary almost hit a pheasant
We saw a bunch of (50+) Land Rovers from Illinois that will keep the nickname FIB or FISH alive.
The rear half of a car being towed
Me getting dirtier than possibly imaginable. Stupid me leaving my sunroof open

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