Chinaman Gulch 2009 Trip Report
Chinaman Gulch - April 25, 2009 Leaders: Bob Robson, Bob Ribisi
We met at the Safeway parking lot at 7:00 AM and headed up Highway 24 to Chinaman Gulch with 10 vehicles. Enroute to the trail we had 2 additional vehicles join us, one in Florissant and the other met us at the Gunsmoke Truck Stop. We headed up the trail with 12 vehicles total and there was no traffic on the trail.
We stopped and played on the “Rock Pile” and then had lunch. There were 2 different groups that drove past us while we were eating. While playing on the “Rock Pile” Bob Ribisi broke the front hub on his '79 CJ7, so he had to gimp his rig from there on. We all made it up the “Water Fall” without anymore damage to the vehicles. Some vehicles tried the extreme side on the left of the obstacle, but with little or no success. After trying for a couple minutes each had to give up and go up the center so we would not hold up the group. We need to congratulate Donna Ribisi for driving up the Waterfall - she did a good job, even though she was very nervous and driving a vehicle with a broken hub.
As we were heading up to the “Rock Ledges” (AKA “Achilles Rock” after Pete Johns) we received the information that Bob Ribisi broken an axle in his '79 CJ7. As he, Bob Robson and Doug Hollister inspected the damage and discussed possible options Donna Ribisi called her oldest son, Robbie, in Colorado Springs and asked him to hook up their truck and trailer and head to Buena Vista. Since Bob and Bob were the leaders, Tom Thompson offered to lead the other rig’s down the trail. During the discussion on the CJ7 the other rigs of the group were going over the “Achilles Rock” and unfortunately Kirk Warner's '08 JK hit the tree on the right and broke the rear passenger window. He was able to use “Duct” tape to hold the glass in place for the trip down. As Tom began to lead the group down the trail the Bob’s and Doug thought of a fix but the axle was to bad off and completely broke. Then we were on the phone to Pete Johns asking if he had a rear axle assembly laying around. He was able to gather a 10 bolt rear end, with rims and tires and U bolts. He made sure he had everything that could possibly be needed, and mounted the tires on the rims and put all this in his rig “Bertha”.
While Pete was gathering his items in Bailey, Bob Robson, Bob Ribisi and Doug Hollister began taking the broken axle off Bob’s rig. When that was done all we could do was just wait for the “Rescuer Pete”. Then we all hiked down the trail to meet up with the Ribisi’s sons Robbie and Chad, with their friend Ashley. We went back to the vehicles ate some sandwiches and waited. Pete arrived around 7:00 p.m. …. to back up and give you a time frame - Bob’s axle broke around 2:30 p.m., we were in communication with Pete around 3:00, he was able to leave Bailey around 5:30. Jamie Johns sent Pete with Hot Chocolate that definitely hit the spot, since the sun was going down and it was getting chilly. The '79 CJ7 was back on 4-wheels around 9:00 p.m. Bob Robson hooked a tow rope to his '95 XJ to tow Bob Ribisi down and Pete hooked a rope to the back of the '79 CJ7 to hold it back as it was going down. We made it off the mountain around 12:30 a.m. and got the '79 CJ7 loaded on the trailer. We headed to the Gunsmoke to air up the tires, use the facilities and purchase some HOT coffee for the ride home.
We were very blessed with good weather but we could storms to the west of us but not much developed where we were. It did become windy with some drizzle which developed into snow when we were at the Gunsmoke Truck Stop. We arrived home safely early Sunday morning. Beside the breakage we had a wonderful day, the weather was good, except when the sun went down. We had great fellowship, and were able to visit with some new folks that chose to join us for the day. The group led by Tom made it successfully off the mountain around 4:30 p.m.
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