The first annual South Central Rover Rally (SCARR) sponsored by Texas Rovers was held April 30 through May 2, 2004 at Barnwell Mountain Texas. This property is operated by TMTC, and includes 1,800 Acres of off road play ground, mostly wooded, geography includes red clay, sand and plenty of rock, featuring trails rated in difficulty from 1 Diamond, a nice leisure drive, to 5 Diamond, extreme difficulty. The majority of the trails are 2, 3 and 4 Diamond rated. Camping space is plentiful,
Land Rovers begin invading Barnwell Mountain around 3:30pm on Friday. By Saturday morning there were over 50 vehicles ready to take on the rain and terrain. Just as the group got settled in Friday night, Tents up, ate dinner. The National weather Band was predicting flash flooding, winds gusting to 70mph, and three inches of rain over night. Some of the Trail leaders made a quick scouting trip of some trails. The weather started getting nasty. The cooking area cover was taken down and folks abandoned the campfire for dryer places. As tired campers retired for the evening the sky lit up brighter than day with a spectacular light show, and accompanying thunder. All this was soon followed by monsoon rains.
Seventy-six participants had signed up on the Texas Rovers web site, including Land Rovers from the Houston Land Rover Club, Texas Rovers (both Dallas & San Antonio) OK Rovers from the Tulsa area, Katy Land Rovers and Land Rover Shreveport in Louisiana. Along with some individual Land Rover owners from around the area, and it was great to
see how many die-hards actually showed up considering the weather.
Saturday morning we awoke to drizzly rain, and a warm breakfast by our camp cook Renee Herbert. After Breakfast and a quick check of our gear we headed for the pavilion. Ross Maybe president of the Texas Rovers made a short welcome speech to the group and divided participants by capabilities. The different groups headed out on to the trails. Some un-lucky individuals headed to town with their sleeping bags and clothing in search of a laundry mat with clothes dryers. Some headed to the locale shops looking for more rain gear.
Those new to Land Rovers and using them off road ,or those folks just wanting to refresh their skills were given a treat, Lee McGee and Don Floyd, both Camel Trophy veterans, from Land Rover North America were on hand to provide training. After two hours of classroom training including proper use and respect for winches, Don and Lee chimed in saying what better weather could we have to test our Land Rovers in! The group moved to an area across from the pavilion with ditches, hills and plenty of mud. Each driver was given individual pointers from the team as each obstacle was negotiated. The group then headed out on an easy run around the parameter of the cleared area, ending the training around 3:30pm. Every one thanked Don and Lee for the excellent training.
After Don and Lee left, the group was so hyped up they were ready to take on the jungles of the Amazon. Jim Edson (95 Disco) and Andy Viloria were ready to lead an easy run. Jim headed out with 12 Rovers including a Freelander, a 96 Disco with open differentials, and a 2002 Range Rover following. Andy brought up the rear. Starting out on Omega, then turning onto Desiâ€™ Way to Linda Gail. The trails were muddy but not beyond any of the stock Land Rovers capabilities. Several obstacles had to be attempted more than once and with careful spotting and group support were driven through on under their own power. Finished the run just in time for the evening meal.
The folks with experience broke off into groups according to their skills and capabilities of their vehicle. The trail ratings had all changed due to the rain, some participants elected to move down to a lower rated trail group, While others Looked for the trails with the most mud.
One group had formed to tackle Solihull Trail. After all the rain there was a lot of mud
slinging, everyone was doing fine on this two diamond trail until Scott Roberts (driver) with FiancÃ© Kelli Finley (navigator) tried to ascend a steep climb out of a ravine only to find his 1996 Discovery’s diff. lock would not engage. After some effort of shifting gears in
and out the tree behind getting closer and closer, Ross Maybe came to the rescue with his winch armed 2000 Discovery. An elaborate snatch block system was set up to allow winching from a 90 degree angle. Once up the hill the center locking differential engaged and no more
trouble was had out of Scott
Solihull trail, ( normally a nice winding ,scenic two diamond) after Friday nights monsoon, and Saturdays rain going down to the flat open tank area was nothing more than an out of control (let the ruts take you) slide. Basically we all just used engine braking and let it go,
keeping a watchful eye on the fast decreasing 80 ft shear drop-off to the left, we had no choice! Once down Roger Mueller in his modified 97 Discovery decided to take it another
notch and go back up the other way . All was looking good till the trail sign leapt out and snatched his right hand mirror off. The group then headed back to camp where a non-schedules in-the-field Discovery repair seminar was well underway. Bill McGhee’s 97 Disco managed to pop a rear coil spring from the bottom retainer, so the object of the exercise was to jack the vehicle up to the hilt to get the coil spring back in. With lots of chefs on the broth all went well and the Rover was at least fit to get the dear chap back home. All in all no major damage was reported and all Land Rovers could be driven off the trail.
While that was going on Rene (Cookie) had managed to get the camp back together and continue on with our supper. We had a Mexican relish dish of sorts with corn
breads or various natures along side fresh salad followed by lashings of Fig Newtons for our puddinng. The nearest thing we had to a tea urn of Earl Gray was a whacking-great keg of Killian’s Red on ice (North Texas Rovers) where upon we proceeded to allow the red’ish libation to have it’s way with us â€¦ all this a front a humongous roaring fireThe sun went down; at least I think it did as we had not seen it all day, but it indeed went dark all of a sudden. The wind kicked up and someone hollered “circle the wagons boy , so before long Rovers were lined around us to break the worst effects of the cutting wind. Round about 10:00 PM folks started to fade and drift off towards there respective sleeping quarters. Remembering the night they had had before this early-bird-party-pooper type behavior was not overly criticized, if at all A few of us die-hards managed to keep the fire roaring and the laughter likewise. John Monaghan begin the entertainment telling true stories about Tucson, AZ Rednecks and the nightclub pool cue that set about “wayhailing” at my head. It was then that grown men began to cry with laughter Sean Sweeney nearly fell in the fire as he
belly rolled from him camp seat… and he’d heard it before! You had to be there! There was some story about a tattoo of a cherry that also split our seams. Classics Stuff!
The sun went down; at least I think it did as we had not seen it all day, but it indeed went dark all of a sudden. The wind kicked up and someone
hollered “circle the wagons boys, so before long Rovers were lined around us to break the worst effects of the cutting wind. Round about 10:00 PM folks started to fade and drift off towards there respective sleeping quarters. Remembering the night they had had
before this early-bird-party-pooper type behavior was not overly criticized, if at all. A few of us die-hards managed to keep the fire roaring and the laughter likewise. John Monaghan begin the entertainment telling true stories about Tucson, AZ Rednecks and the nightclub pool cue that set about way hailing at my head. It was then that grown men began to cry with laughter Sean Sweeney nearly fell in the fire as he
belly rolled from him camp seat… and he’d heard it before You had to be there There was some story about a tattoo of a cherry that also split our seams. Classics stuff<
Sunday morning we woke up to a beautiful sunrise and clear skies.
A little earlier for some. Dana Johnson feeling a bit chilly started his 2001 Discovery for a spot of heat. Bless his little cotton socks! Rene was hard at it in the Kitchen getting Coffee, Pancakes, etc., for the group. The camp
fire was stoked and a few gents were huddled plotting the day ahead If there had been a beauty contest this morning we would have all lost, as bed head syndrome and slit eyes were most prevalent This was Poker run day, and the weather was great, the sun came up over camp and put a fresh warm start on the day. Everyone was very excited and ready by 9:00 AM. at the pavilion. The poker run was to follow pre-designated GPS coordinates to find the card dealers scattered about Barnwell Mountain trails..
Ross got the Poker Dealers: Mike McGowan, Kelly Fristoe, Jim Drennan, Sarod Dhuru and Ian Pocock to their points. 14 participants signed up and drew their first card from Jim Edson and headed out. Bryan Herrin and Jon Button in 99 Discoveries worked together on the Poker run Bryan had a GPS and Jon knew some of the available trails. After picking up 2 cards out behind the pavilion and another on Solihull they stopped at the campsite to grab a snack. While idling for a moment Bryan’s truck overheated unexpectedly. There were several people standing around to give suggestions. After several discussions on how this could happen the theory ended up being that the overflow tank’s cap was loose and slowly leaking for a while. Since Disco wasn’t moving it didn’t have enough coolant and eventually overheated. Some bottled water was used to top off the system and they proceed to the front
in search of another card.
This one was tricky as they were going back and forth trying to locate a trail that would take them in the right direction. They passed ‘Spider’s ravine, normally a nice thee diamond ravine crawl with some off camber places and decided to give it a go. Jon was the lead vehicle and knew on a good day that the line you take makes a big difference. With the rain from the previous day he was unable to hold the line he wanted and got stopped by some deep ruts twice. He decided to back down, this is where gravity took over and the truck slid towards a tree. Eventually the Disco was tight against the tree right next to the passenger side rear door. An attempt to use a tow strap to pull away from the tree while descending failed. Luckily a gentleman with a Jeep was following and offered go around and come back in from the top and extend his winch. The Disco was winched away from the tree.
Jon eventually backed all the way down. Following this excitement they were back on the trail that eventually led them to the next way point. Jon said of the event was a lot of fun sort of like a mission and we had our obstacles but systematically proceeded to the finish. Can’t wait for next year.
morning went on, One group following Sean Sweeney in his modified 93 classic
and Kevin Didion in another modified 93 classic were right on the ball and found dealers with ease until Bill McGhee’s Disco threw a coil spring again, the same one as Friday.â€¦ So our
in-the-field mechanics seminar started up again: How to get a Disco coil spring back in the second time with far less tools. This secured the end of our Poker run so an hour or two later by CB we were instructed to collect the rest of our cards at the pavilion and play our hand.
Those not participating in the Poker Run broke into groups and ran trails or spent the morning breaking down their camp. At noon the winners of the Poker Run were announced and a drawing was held to give away prizes donated to the event.
All ended well with XXXXX being the fist one back and Scott
Roberts winning the cash prize. He turned $25 back in for dues and
became a Texas Rover’s Member.