It was on a Father’s Day Rubicon Trail 2020 trip and from the start wasn’t going as planned. I was still doing that dad thing and making it fun for my boys (5&7) and myself. We started out with 5 rigs and it was slow going. We had a few underprepared rigs in the group, non-the-less it was fun being out wheeling with my boys. By day 2 of the trip we made it to a Buck Island Lake, this is when things got interesting.
One of the rigs destroyed a rear drive-line and we didn’t have any way of to fix it. The plan was for him to camp with his rig while the rest of us continued on to Tahoma then Reno. Where would have new drive-line made and a group would return to help him recover his vehicle.
However, things weren’t going to go as planned (do they ever?). The remaining rigs headed out, but things were going slow. @ of the vehicles were not as well equipped for pressing the trail with speed. So, we decided it was best to send one of the more capable vehicles ahead to get drive-line fixed and make phone calls. Before setting off we had lunch nearly finishing the food we had left as were heading out. The most capable vehicle heads out as we need to get things moving on the drive-line.
The three remaining vehicles press on behind. I’m leading the way and just shy from the top of Big Sluice my front body mount holding the driver side lower control arm and the upper control in my 3 link broke. Not having many resources I used a ratchet strap and got it together the best I could. I let the other 2 vehicles go on ahead. We trailed over Big Sluice and near the bottom the strap let go and now I’m down again. My only option is using a welder and repairing my rig on the trail.
What started out being a fun fathers day weekend on the Con has turned into a nightmare. The sun had set and tempers were high and I wasn’t going to leave my Jeep on the trail. The remaining 2 vehicles set out to finish the trail. While I remained behind with camping with my rig and 2 boys.
The next morning I woke up, the rest of the group was gone, and it’s just me and my boys. This turns into 3 days of camping, hiking, waiting, hoping and searching for someone with gear who could me out. Many folks stopped by and shared some supplies with us, none equipped with a welder. I hiked the trails back and forth from my Jeep to the springs and finally got a break, someone with satellite phone allowed me to send a text out to a buddy who would later trailer me home. Shortly thereafter I located a rig with a welder who got me put back together and back on the trail.
I later found out the vehicle with the busted drive-line was recovered with help from within the original group. None of whom came further into the trail and helped me. My first issue with needing and not having a welder of my own and then the lack of support from my group I was wheeling with. Helped me decide I needed a trail welder.
Once I was home I started looking into purchasing a welder of my own. The welders I found were all quite pricey. I’m a single father and didn’t have extra money for any of the welders I found. I then decided I would build my own. I gutted an AC welder I had and figured out how to run it off of DC and it worked great. As others saw what I had done they told me I should start building and selling them. So, that’s what I did.
My primary goal was keeping it compact, using a standard feed gun and making the price as affordable as I could. I have now built and sold over 100 of these units with zero complaints and numerous recoveries.
Be Ready for Anything