Monday, September 28, 2015

Last ride of the season?

End of September . . . and temps in the high 80's?  Amazing.  So, why not pencil in one last 4-wheeler ride of the season?  Maybe catch the last of the changing fall colors in the high country.  Leane said, "Yes!!"  She was ready to roll.  And Jane said, "Yes, I've got nothing else planned."  So, we made last-minute plans for Saturday's (yesterday's) road trip, a fairly easy trail.

On a side note, some friends and I had planned this same trip last year for the same weekend, and we got snowed out!  This time, it looked like the weather would hold.

We left my house about 9:00 a.m. with a "fancy coffee" that Jane brought us out from town, so we hit the road with sunshine, blue skies with some clouds (not predicted in the weather report!) and good coffee.  We cruised west to Dubois and then on up to Union Pass Road.  Just past the Line Shack, we unloaded the four-wheelers and were soon ready to roll.  My parting words were, "If you want to stop for a picture or something, just stop.  I'll be watching, and if I don't see you behind me, I'll stop and turn around." 

I hadn't even traveled a mile down the road, and looking back, I see Leane behind me...but not Jane.  Hmmm.  We stopped.  She didn't come.  I turned around and told Leane she could just wait, and I would see what was going on. 

Backtracking, I saw Jane on the side of the road.  She said the temperature light went on, and then the 4-wheeler just stopped running.  Wow.  What in the world? 

We tried to start it; no success.   OK.  How about this overheating issue?  Maybe we should look into that.  Hmmm.  Wonder where the radiator fluid reservoir is located.  I'm NO mechanic. I don't know where everything is located.   But then, I've watched my friends work on their machines or help me fix mine, so I'm not a complete dummy.  Let me unlatch the seat and see if it's under there. 

 Both Jane and I were looking under the seat, and we saw the battery, a little tool kit, but nothing that looked like a place to put in Prestone, or in our case, water.  So, where do you suppose that's located?  We started looking for every available place that would expose what we're looking for.  Finally, we decided these side panels pop right off, so as I'm taking off on my side, Jane asks, "What is this knob for?" Uh-oh... that's to turn the gas on, and I hadn't turned it when I unloaded it; that's why we couldn't start the machine.  I turned it on; that will take care of that!

 Once I got the side panel snapped off, I saw a plastic reservoir, with practically no fluid in it.  " this for the radiator . . . or is this for brake fluid??"  I stuck my finger down the opening to feel some residue of the fluid, smell it, and wondered if I should pour the water in or get another opinion.  Just then  a car is came down the road.  I indicated that I wanted them to stop, and they did.  It was an older couple, and when I asked if they had any knowledge of working on 4-wheelers, the gentleman said, "You're asking the wrong people."  The woman just looked at me like I was a foreigner.  I may have looked back at them with an expression that says, "What are you doing up here in the mountains?"

About this time Leane decided we had been gone too long, so she turned around and joined us.  Jane and I decided to go ahead and put water in what we thought MUST be for the radiator, and when I did, the water turned green; that was a good sign.  I was feeling assured that I did the right thing.  OK, let's see if this 4-wheeler will start and if the engine light goes out.  It did.  I felt confident we fixed the problem, so it was time to get these side panels back on and snap the seat back into place.

As I was snapping the side panel back on, the edge of it must have caught this long tube, which then fell off on to the ground.  Oh great.  I wonder where that was supposed to be attached.  We girls looked at the options, and the solution did not appear obvious.  Just then a young couple with two little kids rode up on a side-by-side ATV, and they stopped.  I told the guy that this hose had fallen off when I was replacing the side panel, and I wondered if he had an idea of where it should be attached.  He kindly took a look and said he thought it was just an overflow tube and that it was not crucial to get it back on.  That idea had actually occurred to me too, so I trusted his judgement.  I just stuffed the tube in a compartment under the seat, and once everything was back together, I started the 4-wheeler, and all looked and sounded good.

NOW, I think we've completed our mechanic-ing for the morning, and we should be ready to roll.

The rest of the trip went splendidly.  We stopped at a campground at the beginning of the Seven Lakes Trail and ate lunch.  The area was sheltered from the wind and offered a great view to the west. 

Next, we went down the road another 9 miles or so, where we turned off to ride east up Pinion Ridge.  This is a regular ATV trail, narrower and rougher.  The gals did great, although their thumbs were getting achy, and they were wondering if we were EVER going to get there.

 It was another 8 miles to get to the end of the ridge, where we climbed up an exposed hill, which offers a great panoramic view.  From here one can see the canyon and Green River Lake to the east, the Pinnacles to the north, the Grand Tetons to the West, and mountain ranges to the south.
Green River Lake

I got out the camera and snapped a few shots...although the wind was making it a bit difficult to hold the camera completely still.  The peaks still had a dusting of new snow (from last week).  The light was bright and overhead, so it really wasn't ideal for photographs.  Oh well. 
Grand Tetons in the distance, just right of center.

Off to the west the Grand Tetons were visible, and it's always a treat to seem them.  This picture doesn't do them justice.  We could see the peaks much more distinctly than what shows up in this photo.

We made it to our destination.  Now it was time to start back - and to ride out a little faster.  At one point I knew I had been going a bit faster and wondered if they were keeping up; I turned to look, and there they were - right on my tail.  Smiles.  A bit farther down the trail, I stopped to check on the gals, and they were feeling much more comfortable with the speed, having already ridden up the trail, now knowing what was ahead. I asked Leane how she was doing, and she said, "Riding 'em like we stole 'em!"  Big chuckle.  Yes, we were!

Once we got back on Union Pass Road, our pace was at a pretty good clip.  I stopped at a spot that had a pretty view, wanting to take one more set of photos.

We were soon back to the vehicle and trailers.  We had completed a 52 mile journey!  Now, that's a pretty full day on a 4-wheeler.  It didn't take long, and we were ready to pull our trailers off the mountain... and add a final touch to the day -- a great dinner at The Cowboy Cafe in Dubois. 

Relax, review the day, laugh, and enjoy a tasty burger!


  1. Whew, glad you got the problem fixed and were able to enjoy the ride.

  2. Girl power! Those last photographs are stunning.