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2010 Spring Mud Fling

Written by  Doug Dobrynski
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IMG_6424New Venue. New Obstacles. New Challenges. No rain?

It was my fourth time out with the Bruisers for their annual Memorial Day weekend Mudfling event. This is their main event of the year, and every previous Mudfling has had its share of rain somewhere during the event.  This year was no exception. We encountered a few showers on the drive out to Gore, VA and the campground on Friday. Once we got to the campsite that afternoon though, the rain had stopped for the weekend.

Upon arriving at the campsite, we  pitched our tent and made our way around the campground to greet everyone. There were a fair amount of FJ Cruisers and some  relatives: FJ40s, FJ60s, FJ80s, 4 Runners, other Toyota family members, custom rock crawlers, Jeeps, and a four-wheel-steer rock crawling Suzuki. People arrived throughout the night from various locations and several hours drive away.


The sun greeted us the next morning with clear skies and we headed over to registration to check in and then down to the staging area to line up for the various trail runs of the day. My son and I ended up in a group led by John Hunt of Big Dogs. We departed and headed for the trail. John was riding shotgun in the lead FJ Cruiser. We encountered our first mini-obstacle right after a mud puddle, and the lead truck just couldn't make it up and through the obstacle. It quickly became apparent that a gremlin was plaguing that FJ Cruiser and it was only operating in two-wheel drive. We accompanied the handicapped rig back to the campsite and the driver joined us in our truck. John relocated to a Jeep in our group. We headed back out on the trails and were soon winding and twisting our way down narrow trails and new trails that had been recently planned for our arrival. The narrow trails through the trees proved to be a difficult test for drivers and their depth perception.  Maneuvering these obstacles took a lot of time and planning on the driver’s part. We snaked our way through the trees and over stumps and came to a steep descent that pegged out the inclinometer in the FJ.

The previous day’s rain provided us with a little mud here and there that made some of the trails a bit more challenging than if they had been dry. At one slight downhill rutted descent, the Jeep that was leading our group could not get out of the ruts to bypass a deep muddy water obstacle. After putting some logs and rocks in the way, he was able to climb out of the rut and take the bypass to avoid the sticky mess. The rest of us knew to stay out of the rut and proceeded down without incident. Later in the morning, we came to a steep, long hill climb. The Jeep that was leading our group proceeded up and then the rest of us tried. We were only able to get about a third of the way up following the Jeep’s line before we lost all traction. We tried and tried but simply couldn’t conquer the obstacle. Finally, an FJ that had all the stability controls deactivated was able to make it up.

That evening back at the campsite, the Bruisers provided everyone with a dinner of hot dogs and burgers and a couple of event attendees provided various desserts. Most of the food was consumed while the Bruisers had their raffle of various gift certificates, FJ accessories, and other interesting items, including the now infamous “Fuzzy Duds.”

Sunday we awoke once again to blue skies and the sun shining. We joined a group that was led by Eugene of Big Dogs and headed out on the trails and also to watch Woody and his Suzuki at one of the various rock crawling locations at Big Dogs. A couple of other trail groups were there as well and we clamored from boulder to boulder as Woody worked the Suzuki up, down, around and in and out of the large rocks. When Woody finished, we gathered our group and proceeded up a trail to an overlook for lunch. The view was spectacular—we could see for miles. After enjoying lunch and the gorgeous view, we proceeded down to enjoy the rest of the day, testing the limits of our vehicles and enjoying a Memorial Day weekend that won’t soon be forgotten.

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