PostedAug-19-2006 11:51 PM
Altitude775 ft.
HeadlineCamp Lance
Entry August 20, 2006

We awoke to woohoo's!! as locals visting a firing range located farther back off the road passed by the truck. We weren't even sure if the area we'd chosen was a legit camping spot but it worked out fine. It would have almost been more entertaining to ensue a confrontation with a ranger as the rooftop tent seems to blur the issue of sleeping in your car vs. unsolicited camping.

Still getting the knack of the GPS and tweaking settings we ran into a bridge being worked on while slowing down for some cyclists who provokingly looked back to wave us on to follow. Never to shy from a challenge we wheeled around the baracades navigating between construction equipment before realizing the cyclists had walked over single planks of wood to cross the bridge so we turned back.

We again had a similar issue trying to get back to the highway moments later when a road that seemed to blend with highway 40/61 dead ended next to it with a 25 ft. steep embankment between us and the gold. The grins simultaniously emerged as my natural non-wheeling experience forced me to question if the drop was possible. Hanley assures me I have no idea of the Cruiser's capability and that this is child's play. With the front to wheels beginning to edge down, speeding traffic only a few precious yards away I yelled to stop! Not in fear of the drop but the outline of a police car coming down towards the dead end a quarter mile back. Cooly mimicking the liberal turnaround we passed by the cop going opposite directions with no illusion about each other's near missed intentions. We spent the next hour laughing about his inability to have followed us anyway. Then again we might have had a hard time hiding.

Low on sleep, we drove on - passing through Kansas City and into St. Joseph - towards "Camp Lance" where you can see the colors of the west starting to emerge. The red and browns showing through with the horizons beginning to open up.

After passing Lance's driveway three times we wound our way up the remote drive and through a large stone gate. Not knowing completely what to expect we were greeted by Lance (full out in a Camp Lance embroidered polo), a charismatic super great guy who made us feel right at home. With a living room lined with almost every exotic wild game, giant leather furniture, and an amped drum set, the place reeks of man. To top all this off is a enormous towering and once record holding stuffed polar bear right as you walk in. This place is awesome.

Unloading our gear and relaxing with a beer we gave Lance a tour of the rig and met his dog Shadow (deemed Shadow because he's always following you and this goes for wheeling as well). More Beer. You can't stress enough the all in hospitality at Camp Lance. Camp David doesn't hold a candle to this. The place is overkill and it's great.

Holding true, Lance dropped the news that we were in the works for a Camp Lance style dinner before he pulled out rib eye steaks that barely fit on the plate with steamed asparagus, potatos, and a Merlot. Life is good. You couldn't have picked a more perfect hideaway to spend the night at the foot of the West.

Later that night we stepped out onto the driveway to center the Light Force lights when we were suddenly hit with the urge for some wheeling. Why not? With roughly 55 arces Lance aimed us into what looked like an ATV trail and the ride was on.

Now as Lance explains the composition of mud found around St. Joe is what the locals like to refer to as "Missouri gumbo", and thats exactly what it is. Learning first hand what that means. Within a few minutes we were at a 30 degree tilt just over a 10ft. drop into a creek revine. There is something humorous about pulling out the winchline before we've ever made it to Montana.

We pulled ourselves out with the assurance that we weren't going to slide off and pushed through 2 more problems as our tires slowly caked more and more with mud. By the time we had made it to the last obstacle we'd lost most all of our traction with the back end slipping off the side of the trail and pivoting on adjacent trees. Now winched taut with the back end off the trial we decided to call it a night and attack the issue first thing in the morning.

August 21, 2006

Leaving Camp Lance and on to Omaha

After realizing we both experienced the same nightmare from the previous night it was time to retrive the rig. It's early and we're pissed. How we managed to use the winch 3 times and get the truck stuck before we've even made it to the South Dakota border is beyond us. What does this mean? A sign to accept our flatlanding nature and turn back? Grabbing a chain saw and a hatchet we tromped down into the thick with a soul purpose.

Unfortunately we hadn't realized how extensive the trails were the night before and after a half hour or so of meandering we came upon the rig. We hacked down two small trees in the way, aired down with the Staun Tire Deflators and reanchored the winch pulling the nose a little tighter onto the trail. Once there we re-winched to the previous anchor point with the snatch block and attached the end of the winch to the nearside rear d-ring and inch by inch brought the tail end back onto the trail.

From there is was smooth sailing until joined by Shadow, a master of reverse psychology. If you call the dog to you it remains, chase it and it runs, get ahold of its collar and he goes limp. Master.

Lance who had taken off early was returning home as we pulled back onto the drive and was happy to see we'd made it out. Odd how when you're down digging out the truck you don't seem to be amused by the whole process whatsoever but once she's out we seemed to have had a great time. With Lance's driveway and tools we decided here was as good a place as any to finish up some last minute wrenching on the truck.

With the seats not folding all the way back Hanley figured out that we could relocate the sub box and move one of the larger Storm Cases to the roof of the truck. Additionally we moved back the inverter so the other back seat could fold up completely as well, added a quart and a half of oil, vaccumed, and gave her a quick wash. Lance treated us to some giant burgers off the grill in an effort to throw one last solid meal in us before sending us off into the West.

The lack of music was finally beginning to take its toll and it was direly needed. The terrain was changing shape and color as we arrived in Omaha stopping by Stereo West to see about installing the tweeters and mid-range MB-Quart's. Both these installs were tricky though. The mid-range speakers were deep, the door panel's shallow and from viewing a post on IH8Mud there was no room for error. These fit perfectly or not at all. For the others, Han wanted the tweaters mounted on the upper A-pillar but with nothing but cloth and steel, fiber glass was the asthetically pleasing answer.

But we didn't have time for asthetically pleasing, we needing tunes and to hit the road. Not having a spot open until the following day at 3 PM we had heard about the Nebraska Furniture Mart. When someone said they sold car audio we looked at them as if they were high. But low and behold the Nebraska Furniture Mart is a mammoth of a store and by mammoth I mean the store isn't broken into a complex but what they deem a "campus". You pull in with endless warehouses and showrooms.

They seemed to think they may be able to get the install in the following morning. With our bases covered we grabbed dinner at Moe's Southwest Grill meeting a super cool manager absolutely willing to help us in any way he could and checking out other installation options. He liked Monster, so we gave him a case. He was happy.

Where do you camp out in a city? A city park? We pulled in with no luck as it closed in an hour but as the local hangout for the alternative highschool crowd we got a few thumbs up, so we doubled back and tossed them some monster and asked their advice. Giving us a couple of dark corners in nice neighborhoods we were exhausting all the options we could think of. When at a loss go to what you know. :)

About a half hour later we'd found the fraternity row for Crateon College and driving a bright yellow expedition vehicle the wrong way on a one way got us some attention. Some frat guys flagged us down. With a quick synopsis of what we were about and seeing that they were throwing a party (after all its the first week of school!), we were greeted with the greek salutation "so you guys wanna get f*cked up or what?". 5 minutes from then we're hanging in Collin's room throwing back beers. It was with that we learned Nebraska, like Indy, was considered the midwest and we could tell from the people. We unfold the tent on the side of the street and pass out.