A Jeep overlooking the "Mud Pits"I should preface this story by saying I am a little sad that my crawler "Tinkerbell" was unable to make this trip (due to her tranny woes), because this was going to be the last Zombiefest held at this particular location. That being said, I had recently purchased an '03 Jeep Wrangler, which has yet to be named, so we took her out instead to have a little fun. My little Jeep is a stocker, no suspension lift, no big tires, no nothing...an everyday, just drove off the dealership, Jeep. Tel and I loaded her up on Saturday morning with our camping gear, food & drink and our dog Allie-Bird and headed for the south side of Denver to the compound of the Rock Zombie Outlaws.
By the time we arrived around 11:30 the place was already a sea of activity. Hundreds of people were moving about setting up camp, unloading rigs, heading out to run trails and obstacles...it was busy. I knew right then it was going to be a good time, yet I was missing "Tinkerbell" even more now. We stopped at the welcome tent to get our map of the area and say hi and thanks to the Zombie volunteers working there. We then proceeded to the camping area to set up camp and unload the Jeep.
Day One's Highlights...
We headed out from our campsite to explore the area and become more familiar with where things are located. We traversed the creek several times and had to make a couple sketchy hill climbs, one of which we needed to take a second try at with much more wheel speed (would have been easy in "Tink", yup still missin her). We made our way over to "Todd's Logs" and watched a few rigs take on that obstacle. A little carnage took place while we were there when a Chevy Blazer lost the front driveshaft. He got yanked off the logs by his buddy and headed back to their camp for repairs. We then headed for the most popular area called "The Graveyard". This area is where the rockcrawling takes place and thus has more oppurtunity for carnage and flops. We saw some close calls but no real destruction took place. A lot of people got stuck and needed help getting out, we saw a lot of winches and tow straps being used. Saw a couple winch lines snap, fortunately they were the nylon ones and not the steel cable ones. We witnessed a little three wheel action and some killer articulation with serious tire stuffing. The action was pretty intense and entertaining all day long. We saw a lot of really impressive rigs and some real beaters too. I didn't attempt any of these lines/obstacles in the little TJ. *sigh* I saw a guy I have wheeled with before in "Tink" he had his rock racing buggy out there and put on quite a show going full throttle up the rocks. It was sweet! The crowd loved the display of agggression and the use of the skinny pedal as the Hazardous Concepts buggy screamed up the rock obstacle.
We headed from the "Graveyard" over to the mud pits to see some down and dirty action. Saw a lot of rigs get stuck including a Ford f-250 powerstroke diesel that took quite a while to extract. It took so long that Tel and I didn't stick around long enough to see it get yanked out. We did see some other guys get pulled from the mud, however. The mud is not something I like to take "Tink" through so i wasn't missing her too much here. It is still a ton of fun to watch the rigs dive into the mud with reckless abandon...good times!
Later in the day while Tel and I were driving around the trails we decided to try a creek crossing called "License Plate Alley". It is a sandy creek crossing with a double hill climb on the other side. It looked easy enough, I had decent speed through the water but when I reached the first sandy hill climb all momentum came to an abrupt stop and I was stuck. I had completely buried the front axle and essentially became a "sand plow". Reverse was a no go either, so I was done for...time to call the Jeep extraction team. A lifted '70's style Blazer stumbled across my predicament and was willing to try and pull me out but couldn't do it solo. When a v8 powered Toyota happened along and hooked up to the Blazer we finally found success in pulling my sorry ass out. It took two v8 powered, built rigs to pull me out...I guess I was stuck pretty good. I am pretty sure the guys who pulled me out thought I was some rookie wheeler without a clue which really made me miss my "Tinkerbell" all the more. Tel got pics of my stuck/extraction.
The day came to a close with a massive bonfire in the rain. The fire wasn't easy to get started with several failed, yet hilarious, attempts with a flare gun to ignite the gasoline soaked burning man. The man finally started up with a team of zombies throwing 12oz cups of fuel on the wood to keep it going...quite a sight! Man the rain was coming down!
We headed for the somewhat moisture free comfort of our tent (it had a small leak) to settle down for the night in hopes of catching a few z's. However, due to the campers next to us with a seemingly endless supply of Keystone Light and a jukebox on wheels with the world longest lasting battery, sleep didn't come easy if at all for that matter.
Day Two's Highlights...
Day two started out with a very peaceful, calm, crisp morning. Tel and I took a walk and decided to get our marshmallows and head for the burning embers of the bonfire to roast them. We roasted some of the most beautiful golden brown mallows ever. They were delish! We heard other campers rustling about and a few snoring from the back of their trucks still slleping off the beer from the night before.
We grabbed our folding chairs and headed for the "Graveyard" to watch the first brave souls tackle the rocks. Allie-Bird had a good time scanning the area and watching a couple of dogs play in the creek. Allie is a great camping/off-roading dog. She loves it.
We hung around the "Graveyard" most the day just watching and taking pictures. We had a great time and are a little sad that this was the last time this event would be held here. The Zombies are looking for other places to do this type of thing but I feel they will be hard pressed to find one as good as this. They estimated that over 1100 people showed up for the two day event, that is quite a turn out! Thanks to the Zombies for all there hard work they definitely deserve props for a great time!
Jay, Tel and Allie-Bird