You can always find something new and exciting in each edition of AZIMUTH. Please feel free to read some of the brief articles that were in our latest edition.
Discovering MOAB 2008
The Missouri Boys Do Colorado "Again"
(The Far Side of the Doghouse)
By Eric Roy
What word do we use too much these days? Epic. That’s the word we use too much. It makes no difference what level of awe we have towards something these days, it’s all “Epic”. Usually followed by “dude”, or maybe that’s just me showing my age.
Let’s get back to “Epic” later, for now a short bit about myself. I’m an engineer by trade, a photographer by passion and a lucky SOB by fate. The reason I’m lucky is that I know Hollywood and have for 8 years. He’s got a Hummer. Not an H1 since the 2000 wagon had no younger siblings at the time. That’s important to some people… Anyway Hummer trips are always an interesting event, no matter if your trip is going to the corner store for milk. Old people point, mothers yank their children closer, jeep owners cry (well maybe not that last one). Any drive has always been met with a flurry of photographs, people pointing. Longer trips are even more so. I live in Calgary, Alberta, Canada which is fairly prosperous so a Hummer is still rare but not crazily so. There are more Ferraris than H1s by quite a factor in our city. Travelling more than a 1000 miles to Durango usually leaves a string of memories along our path. Add an extra 2 or 3 trucks in a convoy and the expectation is that the Canadian military is attacking.
Having done a few trips with the Hummer in the past, I know what to expect. Have a plan in place, make some changes along the way to make the trip better and drive forever. Just beware steep slopes, highway speeds and trying to pass the odd bicycle on the road. The Hummer has strengths and quite a few of them. Loping across continents is not one of them. The hardest part of the trip is really getting away from family and work for 2 weeks. The Hummer Club puts on a great event every year on their Moab trip. So meet up in Durango, CO for the pre-run, visit Enchanting New Mexico, transfer to Moab and do the main event. Finally drive home at the end of it all.
How do you explain off-roading in a Hummer? Hmm, as a passenger, you usually hold on for dear life and continually look to the driver to make sure he hasn’t gone insane. When your driver is driving along a shelf at a 30 degree tilt and 40 degree inclination it would definitely have you questioning the laws of physics and their sanity for expecting the truck to not do barrel rolls. It is exhilarating and terrifying all at the same time. And that’s as a passenger. Get behind the wheel and you reset again. Driving someone else’s Hummer usually means one of 2 things, they trust you or they have incredibly bad judgement. I’m assuming in my case it’s a little from column A and a little from column B.
The Moab trip is an adventure, an experience and a journey into yourself. The trip itself opens avenues to going places that you don’t go, experiencing life a little differently. It’s not an epiphany or anything but seeing the raw beauty of Utah, Colorado and New Mexico is incredibly uplifting. Not to say other vehicles can’t take you those same places but not many make it feel like an expedition. Driving up Imogene Pass alone makes you feel like you’re alone in the world, self-sufficient and pushing boundaries. And then of course you realize that stage coaches did the same thing more than a hundred years before you without any of the aids that we have today.
The trip is more than just driving to beautiful locations, seeing incredible sights and pushing trucks to their limits and beyond. It’s about the people. The friends you make and the friendships you renew are always special. No matter what the problem, everyone is always willing to help, bust a knuckle or two or burn themselves on hot brake rotors. That’s just Hummer people.
Drummond Island 2011
By: Greg Athey
Since joining the club in February of 2011, I’ve heard many good things about Drummond Island. Since neither my brother-in-law (Dale) nor I have ever been to the Island, we were both excited about the trip. Dale and I set off from Akron, OH early in the morning as we estimated about a nine hour drive to get to the island. Nine hours that is, without factoring in a stop at the large Cabela’s store on route 23 in Michigan! If you ever have to travel that route, I highly recommend stopping in. We arrived at the Ferry to take us to the island around 5pm and wouldn’t you know that we missed the ferry by 10 minutes. No matter though, since we made it without incident and were excited to be there.
The next day we met up with all of the other Hummer owners at The Bear Track Inn to eat breakfast and get our driving assignments. This was the first time I met Scott Pouls, who would be our trail leader for the two days. After breakfast we set off on the trail with seven H1’s and one H3. The first day was challenging yet scenic including an open meadow that Scott stopped at for photos. The water level at Conner’s hole wasn’t nearly as high as I heard it had been in the previous years, but still fun to drive through. Just before moving onto Marble Head we stopped off along the shore side to have lunch and take in the scenery. When we arrived at Marble Head, we met up with Bob’s group of H2’s and H3’s by a chance meeting. After descending the steps, members told me that there was a great overlook 100 yards away. Unfortunately, the park restricted vehicle access to this area. Otherwise, it would have been a great photo opportunity with my H1 in the foreground and Lake Huron in the background. After ascending the steps of Marble Head our group headed off to shale beach where we stopped for pictures and again take in the scenery. The story about this day wouldn’t be complete without mentioning dipstick hole. We came up on dipstick hole at which point our trail leader Scott casually veered left to avoid the seemingly inconspicuous hole. I decided to follow Scott rather than “go for it” because that never really served me very well in my younger days. The driver of the H1 behind me was also visiting for the first time at Drummond Island and was completely unaware of the hidden issues that dipstick hole presents. Well, needless to say he went for it and sunk it right into 37” of muddy water (see picture). After assessing the situation, and of course, taking as many pictures possible, we hooked up a strap and pull him out. Congratulations to him for achieving the “dipstick” award!
The next morning we woke up early and excited to get back on the trail. This time our group of H1’s headed out for Turtle Ridge which was significantly more challenging, including the citadel which was very slippery and nearly impossible to climb due to the rain we had the previous night. I tried to climb one of the steeper ascents but managed to slip off a rock and landed on my bumper. At that point there was only one thing that could be done and that was to winch me up to the top. Overall, I think Turtle Ridge was my favorite because it offered more challenges and more obstacles to overcome.
After returning to the lodge on Saturday night, we got cleaned up and headed over to the banquet. As always, the food and company were great as well as the awards. Scott Pouls managed to bring quite a few Hummer trinkets including note pads, folders, books and much more. A big thank you goes out to the trail leaders and members for a wonderful event.
I still remember the first two people I encountered while wearing a Red Cross vest. They were a wonderful older couple in their early 80’s whose mobile home had just burned down to its iron frame. They escaped the flames with their lives but lost everything they owned, except for the clothes on their backs. The shock of what they just went through was just beginning to show on their faces when I met them. I really didn’t know what was expected of me, other than I was there to help. When the woman saw us and the Red Cross logo, a brief expression of relief crossed her face. She didn’t know what to expect from us either, only that we were people that cared. At that moment, I learned what the mission of the Red Cross truly is - to care. The woman reached out with her hand still shaking, touched my forearm and tried to make light of the whole affair.
“I guess we’ll be getting new furniture now,” she said. I laughed with her for a minute, then held onto her hand as her eyes started to tear, “I lost all my pictures, a whole lifetime of them,” she cried. The woman’s husband was a great old guy, wearing a Navy World War II veteran hat embroidered with the name of the destroyer he served on. My father is a veteran of the war as well and I used that link to bond with him and get him talking about something other than the fire. It wasn’t long before he was sharing his old war stories with me. His wife informed me to pay him no mind, as he was in the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s disease. I didn’t mind listening to him. For that short time he wasn’t an old man, he was a teenage sailor again living a great adventure. In those brief moments, he wasn’t thinking of the fire that claimed his life’s collections. We helped the couple the way the Red Cross knows how, finding them clean clothing to change into, money to help them through the next couple of days and a comfortable motel room until their family arrived. I still feel the greatest good we did for them was simply to show that we cared. I have been an active volunteer with the Red Cross ever since that experience.
In March 2007, I retired after 33 years of public service. The Federal Government provided me a comfortable pension and at the age of 52, I entered a world that didn’t have Monday mornings and irritating coworkers. And maybe more importantly, no bosses. I was ready for retirement, but not prepared to quit just yet. The Red Cross proved to be an outstanding outlet for me. The old adage is definitely true – you get back more than you give. Now, I serve on a Disaster Action Team (DAT), a small group of volunteers that respond to local disasters, usually singlefamily house fires. In addition to taking care of the victims or “clients” as we prefer to call them, the Red Cross also takes care of the firefighters. I work out of the Imperial Valley Service Center in El Centro, California, part of the San Diego/ Imperial Counties Chapter of the Red Cross. Simply put, Imperial Valley is hot. From July to August, we call 110-degree temperatures a cool day. Imagine fighting a fire with temperatures like that – it’s a battle. We provide canteen service to the firefighters, keeping them hydrated. I still find it a bit surreal when a firefighter, coated with sweat and grime, takes an ice-cold bottle of Gatorade from me and calls me a lifesaver.
Small disasters are the bulk of what the Red Cross responds to. We also tackle larger scale emergencies, like the 2007 southern California wildfires. I have never worked so hard in my life as I did during that catastrophe. The only pay I received was free food and bad coffee. I must admit, however, I have never felt more appreciated.
The Red Cross is also big on preparedness. Different parts of the country have their own backyard disasters. The plains states have tornado and flood season. The Atlantic and Gulf Coasts see June as not only the beginning of summer, but also the start of another long hurricane season. Here in California, we live in fear of the “big one”, a magnitude earthquake that could hit at anytime. I’ve found a niche working with all the Red Cross partners, helping to plan and prepare for our response to that earthquake. Among the many pieces of equipment and assets we have at our disposal, if and when that quake hits, is my H3 Hummer.
This past January I finally did it - I betrayed my Jeep family and traded in my ragtop Wrangler for a 2006 H3 in extremely good condition. The H3 wasn’t the behemoth H1 I’ve lusted after for the past 15 years, but it is a Hummer and I am very impressed with its off-road capabilities. One of the first things I did was google Hummer clubs and I was taken to The Hummer Club’s website. A few keystrokes later and I was a member (#49986). After signing up, I started browsing the site and saw the Red Cross symbol in the corner. I had been a volunteer with the Red Cross for nearly a year at the time and had not heard of the HOPE Program. I knew that Hummer had donated several vehicles to the Red Cross. Our chapter, in fact, has an H3 assigned to it and we had used it frequently in responses. Last Labor Day weekend, lightning had struck a large stack of alfalfa hay at a hay broker’s lot just west of us near Seeley, California. For three days, we battled the threealarm blaze. Firefighters from as far away as Riverside, California and Yuma, Arizona were on scene to fight the fire in 100-degree heat. The Red Cross set up a canteen to take care of fire personnel. I had no idea, however, that the Red Cross and The Hummer Club had forged a partnership. I simply clicked on the HOPE logo on the Hummer Club website and sent my application in the mail. On a regular basis now, I use my H3 as a DAT vehicle. I have a large box in the back stocked with Red Cross response supplies, allowing me to respond from my home to disaster sights more quickly. Being a HOPE member, I’m able to arrive on scene immediately, start serving our clients, appraise the situation and correspond with other volunteers.
My H3 is also part of our response plan in preparing for future events. I’ve added a roof rack and ladder so I’m able to shuttle more supplies than I could by simply lowering the rear seats. I’ll be working on a ham radio license soon and once it is obtained, I’ll be adding a mobile radio to the H3, turning it into an emergency communications platform. If the big one strikes California, it isn’t going to be very friendly to the highways around us. The first few days, we may be cutoff from the rest of the world. If that day does come sooner than later, the first relief supplies people will see, may be strapped to the roof of a Hummer. Our Red Cross chapter is actively recruiting other Hummer owners in the Imperial Valley to join us. If you’re driving a Hummer, give us a call or better yet, stop by and we’ll show you the opportunities that we have here for you.
The HOPE program and Red Cross is not all serious business. We have fun here as well, and should we get enough owners to join us, I envision many fun events for volunteers and their families. Our town boasts several highlights, including carrot festival parades and rib cook-offs. The Red Cross is always active in the parades and I’ve been honored to drive down the street in my H3, waving to the crowds. Naval Air Facility El Centro is the winter home of the Blue Angels and every March they kickoff their season with their first air show here in town. This past March, The Red Cross put on a display for the public to see and hear what it is we do. Shortly after setting up the display, we were pleased to discover that not only was the public coming by to look, but sailors, soldiers and Marines working the event were stopping by; not to look, but to take a break. When they saw the Red Cross, they saw home. My time in uniform was spent in the U.S. Coast Guard and I believe that no finer group of people exists. Seeing my fellow Armed Forces did this old ex-Coastie’s heart a lot of good, giving those men and women a place to hang their hat for a while.
The moral of this story is this - not only have I found a place in retirement where I can still feel useful, I’ve found a place where my H3 is more than just a toy. If you have the heart of a volunteer, click on the HOPE icon down at the bottom of The Hummer Club website. It really is true - for every little bit that you give, you get a whole lot back.
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Discovering MOAB 2008 - Midwest Hummer Club
Artwork provided by Midwest Hummer Club Member Nicole Brenner
Article and Photography by Lisa Van Stratten
What will we see in Moab?
That was the question that plagued my children as we got ready for our next large event with the Midwest Hummer Club. Our trip was set for the last week of May 2008.
If you received Azimuth over the last few years, you will notice how much the skill level of the MHC members have developed, along with their hunger for more advanced trails. From the sand hills of the Nebraska National Forest, to the rock creek beds of the Black Hills in South Dakota, then the shelf roads of Ouray, Colorado, we were now ready for Moab, Utah!
A few members showed up early on Sunday to run the Klondike Bluffs and Tower Arch trails. We started out with this trail because they were easy for a Hummer and have some great sights that are only accessible by offroad vehicles, bicycles, and hikers. There is a section of slick rock on the Klondike Bluffs trail where dinosaur tracks are clearly visible. Watching for circles of rocks easily identifies them. You can’t help but step in the tracks of a giant prehistoric beast!
Toward the end of the Klondike Bluffs trail, there is plenty of space to park near the old copper mine. We hiked the short trail into Arches National Park. The view is magnificent and there are lots of opportunities for the kids to rock climb. Just watch out for the ledges.
Next, the trail dropped us down into Arches National Park where we picked up the Tower Arch trail. Again, there was plenty of parking when we reached Tower Arch. We made the short hike to reach the Arch and it is very impressive. The kids climbed all over this spot for quite a while.
We were then able to proceed into the park to enjoy some of the many arches and landscape.
Monday was the official start of the event. Hummer of Sioux Falls once again provided a technician for mechanical support and Dave Breggin of Blue Hummer Outfitters guided us throughout the week.
We jumped right in with the Flat Iron Mesa Trail. Tilt-a-Whirl gave us all quite a ride. We looked at the Easter Egg Hill obstacle, but there were no takers. The first large boulder at the top had been moved and we were not sure we could get over it without damage.
Tuesday we headed to Hell’s Revenge, a staple of all Moab off road trips. The common thought here from the group was “off roading will never be the same again”. The club now understands why Moab is the Mecca of off roading. Again, the kids got out and climbed around when we stopped to try obstacles. They had a blast watching most of the group complete The Gates of Hell obstacle.
There was even the opportunity for a little recovery practice on one of the most difficult obstacles, Escalator.
Wednesday’s trail was Steel Bender. By now we are in the groove and very little spotting is necessary. Everyone in the club is becoming more comfortable with their Hummer and perfecting their driving techniques
By Thursday we were ready for some new challenges and opted for Seven Mile Rim. This is where we got an awesome view of the entire valley. The kids had lots of opportunities to climb around at Uranium Arch as well as other spots along the trail.
When we got to the very large rock formations that resemble the Merrimac and Monitor, it was one of the kids, Dallas Van Stratten, who knew what they were named after. The kids watched intensively as we negotiated “The Toaster”.You must watch your spotter here.
Next obstacle was Wipe Out Hill. The kids and Hummers played here for a long time.
We were all very sad to see Friday arrive. We chose Fins and Things, which is a more relaxing trail for our last day. The best part of this trail is the dinosaur carved by Mother Nature in the slick rock.
For the end of May, we had a little rain during the first few days’ then beautiful weather for the rest of the trip. The colorful flowers were in full bloom, which made the landscape even more scenic. There are still plenty of difficult trails left that will entice us into coming back again next year.
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The Missouri Boys Do Colorado "Again"
By Bob Davis, Tail Gunner
It was August, time for the Missouri Boys to head to a more scenic, cooler climate. Two years ago, they tackled trails in the central part of Colorado. In 2007, it was the north central part of the state…and this year, the focus was on the south central section . Our kick-off point was Castle Rock, Colorado, about 30 miles south of Denver. Come along and join the fun!
The original “Missouri Boys” included: Mark Sanders, Silver ‘02 H1 Wagon; Keith Farrand, Black ‘06 H1 Alpha Slantback; Mike Boswell, Pewter ’02 H1 Wagon; and Bob Davis, Black ’01 H1 Hardtop. This year, against our better judgment, we included a “Nebraska Boy”….Dave Polito, Black ’02 H1 Wagon.
Over the years, we’ve had the pleasure of meeting most of the Hummer Club members at the national events. We like to think we are fairly typical of most of the H1 owners in the club...maybe not, read on. Regardless, we are proud to be part of that great organization.
Joining in the fun were two of Keith’s children, Fred, age 8, and Maggie, age 12. Also, Bob’s brother, Dick, from Kansas City. Mark always brings Naya…a well trained search and rescue K-9, known as his “brown eyed German girl”.
No one was allowed to be in a hurry that week. Dick, a developer / homebuilder, took a much needed break…and the kids were on summer vacation. Our mantra was to be “more flexible” than we have been in the past. We prepared NO motel arrangements, NO set departure home day, NO set order to run the trails. At the end of each day, we were prepared to camp out, but we also had a phone list of motels in nearby cities. Mark carries a satellite phone…so we were never out of touch. After all, in August, is there a better place to be than Colorado?
Of course we had a plan. Our planner, Bob, set up seventeen (17) trails in order as our base route…but also provided a description of another twenty (20) optional trails that were available for us. Using TOPO USA, he outlined the full GPS route on each of these trails…and e-mailed the files to everyone. (Note that GPS coordinates for trail heads and waypoints are available on trails. com. It also includes maps, landmarks, and just enough information to guesstimate the trail route on the TOPO layout. It uses trail guide information from Charles Wells’ book “Guide to Colorado Backroads & 4-Wheel Drive Trails”…and it is updated regularly to let you know if trails are open or closed…. trails.com is a great resource!!)
Join today to read more!
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