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Clear Creek 8 May 2004

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Not technically a Yotatech trip, but the guys that went wheeling with me got hold of me through Yotatech.

I needed to test out my Daystar lift and new Bridgestone Duelers A/T Revos that I just recently put on my 4Runner. After first looking at Hollister Hills, and with some convincing we decided to go to Clear Creek south of Hollister. I met up with some Jeep guys in Morgan Hill and we caravanned down to Clear Creek. Clear Creak is a BLM area which allows some controlled wheeling, and it is little over 2 hours south from Morgan Hill and San Jose. You can either use the 25 (little slower but more scenic) or the 101. Here are some links http://www.4crawler.com/4x4/ClearCreek/index.shtml and http://www.wt4wheeling.com/locations.htm#clearcreek .

The one Jeep was a stock Wrangler and the other a lifted Liberty with bigger wheels and a LSD (limited slip diff) in the back. Pity nobody from Yotatech could join. Once we got to Clear Creekís entrance we aired down a little to soften the ride.

We drove down Clear Creek Rd and decided to go down to the mining ghost town of Idria. It took somewhat longer than expected. Some very interesting scenery as some hills are covered with trees and some are completely bare. It was pretty dusty and with the asbestos in the ground it was probably a good idea to shut the windows and recirculate the air. Donít think the wimpy Toyota cabin filter will help much here.

Idria was a bit of a disappointment, as it was not too interesting, but it was good to stop by at least once. Bliksem had to get out to get some water, and as always mark the place. He also got to mingle with the local dog population a bit. Most buildings are marked as private property and you canít enter it. Some buildings even threaten to have electronic surveillance, which is hard to believe. Some of the old mining activity can still be clearly seen on the way there. We took some pictures and had some beverages before deciding to go back and explore some trails.

On our way back we decided to take a slightly different route up some hills. There was pretty steep climb on loose ground and an easier route, but with the steep climb you couldnít see the other side. I decided to walk up and see what it looked liked on the other side. While I was walking the Wrangler tried the steep climb, but there was a little ridge on the back side of the climb. It didnít quite make it and slid back on the hill, it went sideways but fortunately it was at the bottom. The Wrangler then slid with its bumper into a big rock which stopped it. Fortunately no real damage, but shows you to always be careful on loose climbs and check what is on the other side if it look suspicious. We then took the easy route. There was a second climb on loose ground and uneven surface to get back to Clear Creek road. I went up first and the Wrangler followed. I shot some video of the Liberty coming up the climb Video link and kicking up some dust.

We then got off Clear Creek and proceeded east across San Carlos Creek and passed by the Molina and San Carlos Mines. This trail was more interesting and had some slightly difficult sections. There was no mud to test the mud traction of the Revos, but on loose ground they definitely had more traction than the Dunlops. I suppose the difference a good A/T tire makes. We got to one section where I took a more difficult line to lift the front wheel a bit, to the amusement of the other guys. Video clip.

The scenery was definitely better on this trail. We then got to a ditch in the road, which lifted a front and a rear wheel at the same time. We took some pics of the Liberty flexing. Unfortunately with only a LSD in the back, it had to take a different line to get across Video link. The wrangler which was stock decided to take an easier line Video link. I wanted to test out the traction control so I took the same line as the Liberty, and found than on a slight incline you can have a front and a rear wheel in the air and still go forward Video link.

We then had lunch close to San Carlos Peak with a great view over Cantua Creek. Some sandwiches and drinks later we were ready to go, but only after taking some more pics. Bliksem preferred to just seek out the best shade spots close to a food supply.

We then proceeded to try and find a B52 wreck. Unfortunately we couldnít find a trail leading there. Maybe next time. We did get a little bit of mud, but very little, so still no mud test for the Revos. We got as far as Sawmill Creek and the San Benito river before we decided to turn back. It was starting to get late and a long drive back. We worked our way back to Clear Creek Road. We all tried to make big splashes in the small stream crossings. I mistimed the Liberty with the digital cam or it would have been a great picture. He did get a good one of me at a different stream though.

We went up to Serpentine hill from Clear Creek road, which is a very bumpy climb. The view however is great from the top, especially looking at the contrast in hills around it.

We then headed back to King City. We only aired down to 25psi to improve the ride, so the trip to King City was fine. We aired up and the Jeeps also filled up for the drive back. We then took the 101 back, which is faster than the 25 although it is quite a few miles extra.

At the end of the day the 4Runner had lots of dust and a little bit of mud on it. I hosed it down to take to the car wash the next week.


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