Worst Adventure

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One of my worst and most expensive camping trips was to Los Coyotes Indian Reservation. It's an off-road park near Warner Springs, California. It was a spur of the moment "let's go" over Thanksgiving Weekend. Saturday morning we packed up our full sized Dodge and headed out for a quick overnight trip. 


We arrived at the park as the sun went down. We quickly set up camp and began to feel the cold. While the family was in the tent shivering, I got a fire going. I literally had to carry them out one by one and sit them by the fire. The next morning woke up to snow and ice on the ground. Packed it up and did some off roading. We started following trails on the map. We ended up on a Jeep Trail and turned down into a canyon with a river at the bottom. It had two sharp hair pin turns (a quick right and a quick left) but due to the "room" size boulder and the trees, we couldn't get out-once we were in.  After some maneuvering and spotting, and a close encounter with a massive boulder that caved in the passenger side door, I was able to get us out.

This was now the afternoon and the transmission started overheating and would not drive. We couldn't go any further so we decided to have lunch and let it cool down.  At this point we were stuck on a sloped hill. Several hours later we managed to get the truck to drive and proceeded to leave the park. As the sun was setting we were climbing up a hill and the transmission once again started slipping. I started to smell something burning. I jumped out of the truck and to my disbelief there was fire pouring out of the transmission. I yelled at my family to get out, and I grabbed a bottle of water (no fire extinguisher) and threw it on the flames.  Bad idea - now I had an even bigger, flaring fire. I grabbed hand fulls of dirt and began throwing them at the flames. Eventually I got the fire out.  After the fire, we let the truck cool down and managed to get a bit further.

We reached a massive hill, got half way up and couldn't go any further. By this time it was about 9 pm.  We slept in the truck that night with boulders underneath the wheels. It felt as though we were on a launch pad at Cape Canaveral, starring strait at the stars. The next morning I found a quart of 10/30 motor oil in my tool bag and poured it into the transmission. This managed to get the truck moving again and get us out onto the highway. By this time huge plumes of white smoke were pouring out of the back of the truck.

Next thing you know we were pulled over by the local police on a lonely highway. Once we stopped the vehicle it would not move again. It was done. We walked about 5 miles to the nearest convenience store where we called for help. Luckily I met a fellow off-roader in a Jeep CJ5 who offered to tow the truck to the store where we spent several hours before a family member came to pick us up. Next day my brother-in-law helped me trailer the truck home. Total cost about $2500.00 for a quick overnight-er. 


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