August 15, 2015
Greetings once again.
We started talking about the Summer trip in early 2015 before we even finished our planning for our last Spring Break Trip. I wanted to do an expedition style trip instead of just meeting at the local offroad park as we always have. I also wanted to have a family friendly trip where it wasn’t just the guys’ day out so that the wives, kids, and pets could also enjoy a little of what we do.
The plan was to meet up somewhere in North Texas, drive up to Turner Falls, take a lunch at the Fried Pies place near Turner Falls, and then rendezvous with some people in Lexington, OK to explore the river at Sundog Trails in Central OK.
Turner Falls was cancelled a couple of weeks prior to the date because we were informed that there would be thousands of people in line waiting to get in and we would be there for hours. When I scouted the route earlier in the year, there were no people there because it was the off-season. I am glad we took it off our route, it would have been an operational nightmare.
Our meeting point for the morning was at a Shell Station off I35 between Sanger and Gainesville. The original plan was to meet in Sanger but I couldn’t find an open area with access off and on the highway when I scouted the route a couple of times.
Earlier in the morning I had started a Facebook group chat for the convoy so that we could keep everyone together in our group on our way up north.
Our leaders were John and Teresa in their Toyota Tacoma. We stayed on I35 until we hit Marietta, OK and then took Hwy 77 the rest of the way. Being on I35 was hectic because the speed limit is 75mph in TX and 70 in OK. We did a lot of dodging and left-lane hogging to keep up with the leaders.
We had a group of about 13 vehicles in our convoy.
At one point during our trip we ended up on HWY 77S which was a scenic road next to a lake. Never did get to see the lake though.
The road before reaching the Turner Falls area:
The line of cars in the background is the 6 miles of traffic for people waiting to get into Turner Falls, no thank you!
We instead opted to take a break at Arbuckle Mountain Fried Pies and try out their pies.
The meat pies and breakfast pies were made fresh, while the fruit pies were pre-made and sitting on the shelf. My favorite was the pepperoni pizza pie.
We sort of took over their parking lot:
After our little snack stop, we were about an hour and a half away from our next meeting spot.
Some of the Oklahoma and Arkansas guys were already at Sundog Trails in the morning scouting out some routes for us. We had to make a final gas, bathroom, and food stop before going into the park, so we all met at the Wal-Mart parking lot in Purcell, OK.
It was a car show in the back lot, I wish that I had a wider angle shot of everyone:
We arrived at Sundog Trails around 1PM:
We briefly met with Greg, the owner of the park and chatted with him for a little bit. He was a very nice guy and we thanked him for having us at his park.
Josh was our guide in his Subaru Forester XT and he led us to an open area where we could line up and take a group shot.
We went and checked out some of the trails after the group picture. Usually we would break up into smaller groups but only one person knew the trails (Josh) so we followed him around for an hour.
Hacking away at some of the tree roots poking out of the ground:
Since I was lifted, of course I had to go in the deeper mud with all the other trucks:
After our trail ride we headed back to the riverbank to regroup. By this time the wife and kid had woken up. I think we spent at least half an hour just hanging out in this area.
The guys on the bank were discussing where they would be able to drive through in the water:
John and Teresa:
Mike going for it:
Hey, you guys can’t have all the fun:
After hanging out by the river, we split up into smaller groups to go check out some more areas of the park. This is where things got disorganized and we ended up not knowing who to follow. I decided to meet everyone back up at our original resting area knowing that someone we know would pass by.
Ann and Tim finally were able to rendezvous with us later in the afternoon in their Cherokee Trailhawk:
Here are some profile shots for the participants of our meet:
Chris and his Audi Allroad
He got a little stuck later in the day but the result was just being a little dirty
FJ Cruiser from OK
Jeep Wrangler from the Texas Crew
Ron’s XV Crosstrek:
A glimpse of Matthew and his Tacoma that joined us all the way from College Station:
And that was Michael in the background with his lifted Outback Sport:
Gianni with his Forester XT:
Nathaniel joined us from Arkansas in his Forester XT, I think he ended up having the dirtiest ride out there:
Mike’s Dodge Ram:
My former Subaru:
Ron and Kevin parked behind me:
Phiyen parked in front of me in her Forester XT:
He joined our group later in the day:
The cool kids club: Josh, Gianni, Kevin, and Phiyen
Random shots from the day:
Michael and Nathaniel messing around in a wide open area of the park:
With the temperature in the 90’s and the hot sand warming us even more, some of us decided to leave around 5 pm. We formed a small group to regroup back at Wal-Mart while some of the others stayed to play some more.
There were a couple of videos that appeared on my feed from the day:
Sundog Trails is a great introduction to off-road driving with a mix of sand, mud, and water if you’re adventurous. We didn’t have any vehicle failures other than a fan issue that Andrew had back at the Wal-Mart parking lot. This was our first trip labeled as “family friendly” so it was nice to see the wives, kids, and pets along for the trip.
I’d like to thank everyone that joined us on our adventure, it was great meeting all of you. I’d like to thank the guys that contributed photographs to my blog, Steven, Kevin, and Josh. I’d like to thank John and Teresa for being our convoy leaders and taking us on that scenic route that we will have to revisit one day.
Since I’ve changed vehicles, its going to take me a while to get in gear and join in on any future Soft Roaders trips, but 2016 is going to be another great year for our events. Keep an eye out on Facebook, Expedition Portal, and this blog to see what we are planning next. A couple of the guys are headed to Black Bear Pass this weekend in their Cherokee Trailhawks, I am envious!