Monday, November 14, 2011

The Teal Terror hits the trails in Tillamook State Forest

Suzuki Sidekick off road - Subcompact Culture
Mercedes and I finally got a chance to go "wheeling" in Tillamook State Forest in Oregon. I'd been wanting to make it here for a few months in the Teal Terror, and was finally able to. It was a ton of fun.

As you may know, project Teal Terror isn't heavily modified, but it's got just enough done to it to make it a bit more capable off road. This includes a 2" lift kit from BDS Suspension, 235/75/15 BF Goodrich All-Terrain tires, and the 15x7 wheels. My Shrockworks bumper and WARN winch will be installed within the month, too. Regardless of modifications, it's amazing how capable a true 4x4 can be. The combination of a low-range transfer case, a bit of forward momentum, and choosing the right line certainly amazed me the first time I ever when four wheeling.

My Suzuki Sidekick being pulled up a hill - Subcompact CultureIn our time in TFS, we ran a few trails including Archers Firebreak, Hogs Back (which was amazingly tight and narrow), and 7-UP, which had some good elevation change. We encountered mud, water (probably about 2.5' deep at max), and rocks. The trails are rated using the same ratings that ski areas use. Green circles are easiest, blue squares are intermediate, and black diamonds are the most difficult. We did mostly intermediate trails, although we did one black-diamond rated trail. There were a few times where things got a bit interesting, but it's always good to have a challenge.

The good news is that I only got hung up on one section of trail where I just didn't have the ground clearance of the other rigs. Luckily, Steve, who has a very outfitted Land Rover Defender 90, hooked up a recovery strap and gave me a pull over the hill's apex.

The Sidekick was a great vehicle in this terrain, which can be very narrow. But, I think my next tires will likely be a mud-terrains. It's so wet and sloppy here in Oregon most of the year, I think they'll be a bit better off road than my all-terrains.

One of my favorite things about off roading is the ability to see places very few other people will see. There's just something about getting out, hitting the trails, and experiencing something few people will ever get to see. I can't wait until we can hit the trails again.

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