Monday was the first trail day and the last day that all three of us intrepid adventurers would be on the same trail. Steve B had plans that would take him out of the area. Travis and I would share only one other trail ride before our respective itineraries would diverge as well.
Now we often say that a photo fails to do some obstacle justice, but this really is the case here. It looks super easy from this vantage point. But from behind the wheel, all you have available to gauge whether you're on the right track or about to end up flat on your back is whether or not your rig is generally within the rubberized portion of the trail. And this is a bit of a steeper grade than the camera is letting on.
First minor calamity. And if you follow this blog, you know I usually have at least one. In the course of chasing my electrical gremlins, I ended up buying all new components for my dual battery setup. As I swapped new parts in for old trying to isolate the fault that was causing my charging system to only intermittently charge the batteries, I revised how a few of the fuses were mounted in the engine bay. Previously, I had modified the housing of the automatic charge relay to allow the fuse holders to be located at that point in the system. I never liked the hack job look of it thought. I thought I had arrived at a better arrangement of attaching the fuse holders to the battery terminal posts instead. They were positioned relatively higher and closer to the hood, but I thought I was good by having insulated rubber terminal caps above the posts. At one point, I noticed that my radio and all other circuits fed from the auxiliary battery were no longer getting power. The radio dropping out gave me my first sign. This also meant that I no longer had power to the compressor for my lockers. I was a bit unnerved by this. When someone needed to stop to get spotted over an obstacle, I jumped out of the truck and tried to see if I had come down hard on the power feed that runs beneath the truck in conduit. It was unlikely but possible.
That wasn't the case. Then I tried to see if the cab had maybe flexed a bit and crimped it somewhere along the feed to the bed. No fault there either. The convoy once again got moving and I had to abandon the search to keep forward progress. And I proceeded for maybe another 10 minutes until I got to this point and Veronica went to sleep. No power whatsoever.
I've done a bit of foreshadowing; so, now it was obvious what was happening. The tie down system was still allowing the batteries to shift just enough that they could make contact with the hood. The insulated boots either wore through or the current was great enough to arc through and burned out both fuses. So the fuses did their job. Great. But I didn't have any more as they were kind of an expensive specialty item. Not so great.
We ended up removing them entirely, rewrapping the posts with electrical tape and continuing on. With the fuse holders removed from the configuration, I reclaimed nearly 1.5" of clearance which was sufficient to avoid any future contact or shorting out.
All of that is to say, that I happened to miss the moment where this particular Yota got a little tired and decided to take a nap (twice) in the gate. So the group ended up setting up winch lines to guide the truck up. The minor mishap occurred because the driver attempted to negotiate the chasm unspotted unbeknownst to the trail leader and organizers. No one was injured besides a little paint marring and bruised ego.
It was a good day on the trails and definitely a confidence boost. Veronica had made it all the way out there towing a trailer and climbing through mountain passes without so much as even a slight uptick on the temperature gauge. The temperatures had been more temperate though and we were only in 2WD. I was glad to see that even in the higher desert temps, running 4-Lo, everything seemed to be working well. I was feeling a lot better heading into the rest of the week that we were likely to have some strong mechanical performances out of the truck.