|Samurai at trail turn off.|
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(August 5, 2014, Montclair, CA)
Oil Twin, Andy Jones, along with lifetime friend Howard Folmer reunite at Coyote Lake Trail for a memorable off-road trip twenty years after their first time on the trail. Lots has changed but some things remain the same. On the first trip, Howard had the Samurai and Rottweiler. They must have left an impression because twenty years later it was Andy who owned a Samurai and Rottweiler. Though the rig and dog weren't the same, the friendship was.
|Howard (Left) & Andy (Right)|
The trail into Red Lake and Coyote Lake were exponentially more difficult after years of use and natural erosion from rain and snow runoff. Driving a vehicle and towing a support trailer would be a challenge in itself, doing it without another rig to help upped the ante. The two were determined to make the trek for some solitude and downtime.
|Sample of trail conditions|
Day 1 (Friday, Aug 1)
Left Montclair, CA at 5:30 am. First stop was Gorman for a quick trip through the drive-thru and a pit stop for both man and animal. Midway up the 99 a quick stop allowed the two to switch positions putting Howard in the driver seat. As they left the 99, they were flagged down by a gentleman. He was pretty excited to see the Samurai because he had one too. Andy was floored when the guy said, “I have your truck on my cell phone”. Sure enough, he pulled it out and showed it to him. It was taken at Perris Auto Speedway when it was on display. Ends up his buddy took a snap shot of it and texted it to him.
The next stop was Super Walmart in Fresno for last minute supplies, some fuel and then it happened....... Sonic Burger for Slushies! Completely refueled, the trip to the trail was an hour and a half away. The load on the Samurai was noticeable on the seven thousand foot climb. After a small detour through a ski resort, they hit the turnoff for the trail at 1:30pm.
After a couple of last minute adjustments to the t-case mounts and driveline, they were on dirt. Part way in on the graded road they came across a disabled Jeep. Andy was able to assist and a clogged fuel filter was the issue. After it was cleared, the Jeep fired up and the adventure continued. At 3:45pm they hit the trail marker for 26E212, Red Lake Trail at the staging area for the Red Mountain OHV Trail System.The trail to Red Lake would be the maiden voyage for the support trailer, fabricated from half a samurai frame and tub. Though it was tossed about, it remained upright the entire time and proved to be a valued resource.
At 4:45pm they arrived at Red Lake, took a stretch and committed to making it to Coyote Lake by dark. They felt a sense of relief when two other Jeeps followed them to the trail head. They soon found out they were there to just watch the Samurai attempt the "Gate Keeper". This would be the deciding point. Could the Samurai could make it to Coyote Lake? The pressure was on while Andy calmly positioned the Samurai to take the line to the right of the tree. With both lockers on, he slipped out the clutch, gave it slight throttle and the Samurai crawled up and over with trailer in tow. The spectators were shocked and became instant Suzuki believers! Ends up one of the spectators is Andy's Amsoil customer.
The trail had much more to offer, but without the spectators. Andy piloted the Samurai slowly and methodically through the trail taking care to avoid a break down or getting stranded. At 6:00pm they arrived at Coyote Lake. They had the lake to themselves. No cell or other form of communication. They set up camp, made a quick meal and enjoyed catching up on old times before going to bed.
|Andy with his AMSOIL Customer on the trail.|
Red Lake Video
DAY 2 (Saturday, Aug 2)
The sun came up early. Eager to get trout on a line, fishing was the priority. Fishing from shore wasn't paying off so it was time to fill the boat with air and get mobile on the lake. They trolled the sandy area across the lake and tried to bait fish, no joy. Howard got the idea to try a lure and it was game on! Andy provided the propulsion, rowing, while Howard was bringing them in. They returned with four keepers. Groups started arriving and the place became more alive.The next outing Andy got a chance for fish with a lure for the first time. He was hooked once he got one hooked. Two more of the finest fish of the day we added to the stringer. Before they had dinner, Andy suggested they take a walk and socialize with their new neighbors. They ran across another Samurai. It was in a You Tube video they has seen. The guy is Mike and a local from Fresno.
Dinner was, you guessed it: Native, free range, organic, trout. Yum! Both were in bed by 6:30pm.
|Harvest from second outing. All caught on lures.|
|Best meal of the trip.|
Day 3 (Sunday, Aug 3)
Sunday was a bit of a slower start there was a light rain. Most of the day was spent relaxing. Breakfast was made and the normal chores. Andy read his Bible and enjoyed God's creation. Everyone was leaving and they had the lake once more to themselves. The day was spent shore fishing and three more trout were kept after multiple releases. There were periods of light rain throughout the day. The S&W 357 magnum and Desert Eagle 44 magnum were brought out for some target practice. Both Andy and Howard hit a green apple on a stump on the first shot with the 44 mag. They had apple sauce. Evening came and dinner was basic, sirloin patties with cheese. Bed time wasn't too far away.
Day 4 (Monday, Aug 4)
Breakfast was started at 7:30am. It was decided on the previous night to break camp and move to Red Lake to get a head start on leaving and getting the Coyote Trail out of the way. A storm was heading in and the sky was darkening. Because the amount of effort it took to load up, home was the next resting place. They hit the Coyote Trail at 11:30am. It was as difficult as the way in. The Red Lake Trail was about the same too. At 1:30pm they found pavement and sent off text messages. The ride home was uneventful and Sonic Burger was another highlight. They arrived in Montclair just before 9pm.
Video of Coyote Trail on the way out.
|Parting shot before leaving camp.|
|Stop at Sonic Burger|
Special thanks to Howard Folmer for making the trip easy.
"When I did the trail in my Samurai almost 20 years ago, I barely made it past what is now known as The Gatekeeper part of the trail. After that the trail was much easier back then. Being honest, when I heard we were going to be towing a trailer, I had nothing but doubts. There was no way in my mind that we would make it. The entire trail today is MUCH HARDER than it was 20 years ago, and this little OILTWINS.COM Samurai made it look easy. I spent much of the trail walking just to video the amazing 4 X 4 action, and I can tell you that this little machine was never stressed (but I was), and although I thought more than once that the trailer was going to roll, it never did. After being a part of this, I am a Samurai fan again, and am even wishfully thinking about building another one. When we arrived at Coyote lake and found we had the entire lake to ourselves, I was overjoyed. Where else in California can you go camping at a lake over a weekend and NOT find a bunch of people? Thank you Andy for rekindling my love of the Samurai, and more importantly, for including me on this incredible trip down memory lane." - Howard Folmer
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