John Bull Trail August 19, 2017
By Tim Thomas
On a fabulous Saturday morning at the Big Bear Discover Center, I was greeted first by Ray Moore and his daughter Nancy, Paul Coursey, and Jay Jimenez and his girlfriend Linda. Due to the recent accident Jay and his girlfriend were involved in, they decided just to send us happily off to the John Bull trail and enjoy their weekend in Big Bear as they had already booked a weekend in the mountains. At about 9:30, we headed to the trail.
As we approached the dirt trail of 3N16, we aired down just behind the dump. What a lovely smell of fresh air!!!! As we proceeded, we carried on with fresh air and were stuck slightly behind a group of jeeps and some dirt bikers passed us. We were fortunate as we got to the John Bull Trail and at Little John Bull to pass a group associated with SCOR. Paul commented on the radio that the terrain leading to the gatekeeper has definitely gotten rougher. Still going at a fair pace, we met our match once again at the condition of the Gate Keeper. Paul spotted me through by tossing some rocks in some spots and guiding me through corrections I needed to make. A few glitches and rock hopping finally led me through and up to a good stopping point to help assist Ray who was next. We found that Ray has a nice set of slick street tires which made this somewhat of a daunting task. Ray’s jeep was continuously spinning out due to his tires having difficulty getting traction. Although not the best sight, he was successful and no winch was necessary! Like myself, a few differential challenging moments with some boulders but an excellent moment of action as Ray got through. Last and most heroic, Paul. Paul figured out his way through the 2 of us and needed a few corrections on some tire placement and location of some rocks and boulders under his jeep. We took a moment to place some rocks for Paul and at the end, he managed to pinpoint the major boulders and squeeze through the final stages of the gate-keeper.
We made REALLY good time through the rest of trail. I got held up in a few spots. Ray gave me some correction for my rear differential as I needed some time to find the correct placement. The famous spot of Bob Matula and his miracle tire rod repair was not quite as challenging…that is as long as you take the easier way and not the obstacle course on the left. There was a little person built out of an oil pan, a differential cover, and a few other items off of some vehicles. Paul was entertained and took a picture. He liked it because the little tin man had the same name as his grandson. The last obstacle I was able to come in contact with was passing the big pine tree in the middle of the trail. I guess I became too much of a tree hugger as I planned this to be a good line. I was wrong but was graciously saved by my roll cage. I might also just want to say that I want to get my money’s worth on those pieces of steel.
We made it to the end sometime around lunch and had lunch in a nice shady place just off the trail. We saw just one other group as we ate our lunch. To our surprise, no one else on the trail that we ran into in front of us. We got out to the Holcomb Creek side of Big Bear by the Fire Station and found a place away from the parking of the chili cook off to air up. We said our goodbyes and headed home. A good day on the trail, great weather, good friends and company.