Trailridge Runners 4WD Club
25th Anniversary Event

September 17-19, 2010

By Princess Kathy Howell
Photos collected by Gordon Howe

The Trailridge Runners celebrated its 25th anniversary September 17 - 19, 2010, in Buena Vista, CO. The temperature was in the low 70's, the sun was shining, the sky was blue, and the aspen leaves were golden. What a perfect weekend it was!
Arrivals began early in the week with just a few members. By Saturday the whole gang was there! 26 families with a total of 52 people. The majority of folks stayed at the KOA Campground in their motor homes, campers, tents, and cabins. Others found refuge in the town's motels and cabins. The KOA Campground was our home base with gatherings at the KOA Cookshack for breakfast, Turner's motor home to watch videos on the outdoor TV or pick up a registration packet, or line up for a trail run along the campground entrance road. We announced our gathering to the rest of the campground with our antenna flags and club t-shirts, both proudly proclaiming our 25th anniversary event.
A few of us went to Buena Vista early in the week to check out the trails, make sure the catered events were in place, and make a few extra stops at K's for ice cream. The only glitch was that Greg Beery didn't have a room when he arrived! even though he had called earlier in the week to confirm it. We had a quiet afternoon watching rock crawling DVDs on Darrel Turner's outdoor TV and that evening we dined in a new restaurant, Eddyline. We were surprised to find our meat-eater, Darrel, dining on peach, prosciutto, and blue cheese pizza.

Our first day on the trail found us exploring Lost Canyon. We were hoping to find ourselves in tunnels of golden aspen and we did as we made our way to the top of the mountain with spectacular views of the peaks across the valley and Clear Creek Reservoir below. We found a tattered flag flying briskly on a make shift pole crafted from a tree branch and Karla Harmon jumped out of her Jeep to take a picture. She ran across the hill, snapped the picture, and ran back to the Jeep. Somewhere on the hillside, she lost the battery to her camera. We all searched the hillside, but no battery. Back in town, she checked all the stores, but no luck. She called the Lamprecht's and Karen volunteered to stop by Mike's Camera in Boulder the next day and pick up the battery that they were holding for Karla. That evening we dined at Quincy's where the only choice on the menu is which size steak you want.

The next day we headed up Chalk Creek Canyon for Boulder Mountain. Although we had passed it many times on the Mt. Antero trail, none of us had ever done the trail. It was relatively short, with lots of narrow sections, and the top above the tree line looking down into the canyon at the golden aspen covered mountainsides. Coming down the trail, we sidetracked to see the repair work on Hancock Pass Road which had been closed earlier in the summer, walked the boulder section of Iron Chest, and stopped in St. Elmo to feed the chipmunks and discuss road closures with the local shop owner.

By evening, many of the attendees had arrived and we all dined at the Coyote Cantina, thanks to Darrel. He had spent his day scouting out restaurants that could seat 30 or more people! and there aren't many of them in Buena Vista.

On Friday, the majority of the group did the Iron Mike trail (which has become a club favorite) while a smaller group did Tincup, Cumberland, and Hancock Passes. The large Iron Mike group was divided into two smaller groups. One group, led by Greg, first explored Clear Creek Canyon and the ghost towns of Vicksburg and Winfield. The second group, led by Gordon Howe, drove directly to the Iron Mike trail. The idea was to separate the groups by enough time that they didn't have to pass on the narrow trail. That plan didn't work and the groups did meet each other on the Iron Mike trail but managed to make their way around each other with no problem. Again, the groups had wonderful golden aspen vistas and some wildlife.

On the way out from the Iron Mike 4WD road there was a slight delay to transfer some fuel from Adam's jeep to Patrick's jeep so it would start on the down hill incline just before the obstacle.

By Friday evening, most everyone had arrived and they were on their own for dinner at the various restaurants in town as no one restaurant could hold the entire group.

Saturday morning found the group chowing down bacon and eggs at the KOA Cookshack compliments of the club. This was our big "club trip" to the Bonanza area. We had seen an article about this area in one of the magazines earlier in the year, and thought it would be a fun trip since no one had ever done that trail. To scout it out, Adam Mehlberg had run the trail earlier in the summer and took charge as we headed out. We did break into three smaller groups since there were some areas that would be difficult to pass oncoming vehicles with such a large group.

Again, we had spectacular golden aspen panoramas and a new trail for most of us.

Rich Loeffler discovered that a tree branch had punctured his tire and that required a tire change.

After lunch we explored the Cocomongo Mill, one of the larger remaining structures scattered among the hills and gulches around Bonanza, and the Rawley Mine, located higher on the mountain. Since we were quite a few miles south of Buena Vista, there was pressure (from me) to keep moving as our catered dinner was scheduled for 6:30 PM in Buena Vista at the Community Center.

The group split allowing some to explore a dare devil route to the top of Round Mountain and the rest of us to make our way to the main highway by running Alder Gulch.

A few people came early to the Community Center and helped set up tables and chairs for our catered dinner and evening program. The dinner was a yummy all-you-could-eat feast of brisket, oven fried chicken, scalloped potatoes, coleslaw, spicy beans, baked beans, fresh corn on the cob, brownies, key lime bars and drinks.

Following dinner, we retired from the dining room to the meeting room in the Community Center where Adam Mehlberg reminisced about our 25 year history with a slide show. Since he has been club secretary for 22 of the 25 years, he was well qualified to provide a detailed discourse on our club history. For those who listened closely, he provided the answers to some of the questions on the club quiz (more about that later). Then we had the raffle drawing for a quilt hand made by Cindy Mehlberg from club t-shirts. The lucky winner was Karla Harmon. Cindy presented a second prize which was a surprise to all of us. The second prize was a gift certificate for a quilt to be custom made from the winner's personal collection of t-shirts.

The winner was Matt Schwall. But, I think I heard Carol Ann say that Matt doesn't have enough t-shirts for a quilt, but I'm sure they'll find some. A wonderful surprise of the evening was the presentation of a diamond studded tiara to me from Judy Turner as a thank you for chairing the event.
Sunday morning we again dined on pancakes and sausage at the KOA Cookshack compliments of the club.

We then gathered together to find out who had won the club quiz. The quiz had been handed out when the participants arrived. There wasn't much time to research answers, but many people found answers by browsing the club web site or talking to their friends. But, the most industrious quiz participant was Samantha Davis. She carried her quiz with her wherever she went and using her beautiful eyes and cute, smiling face, she was able to get nearly every question answered by just asking the right person. In fact, she came in second, one point behind Christy Howe, and received a monetary award for her efforts.

Christy, the club quiz winner, received a unique hand crafted trophy that anyone would be proud to display in their trophy case. The base of the trophy was a ring gear from Mike Rubio's 3.07 Commando. On top of that was welded a timing chain from a Ford Bronco and a transfer case shifter from a Jeepster Commando. And the shifter even shifted. It was a very cool trophy that was designed and welded by Greg Beery. The theme of the trophy was "25 years in low range".

Next, we gathered all the vehicles together and took a group picture from the hilltop. Some folks then packed up and headed home while others did one last trail, Aspen Ridge.
All in all, it was a very successful 25th. The friendship and camaraderie made for a very pleasant weekend. The trails were new and therefore, very interesting. And, the weather was perfect. My thanks to all who attended and made the weekend memorable and a special thanks to all who helped. We couldn't have done it without you.

25th Anniversary Event Committee
Registration - Adam Mehlberg and Kathy Howell
Event Check-in - Judy Turner and Kathy Howell
KOA Club Headquarters - Darrel and Judy Turner
Trail Bosses - Greg Beery and Gordon Howe
Bonanza Trail Leader - Adam Mehlberg
Trail Map - Adam Mehlberg
Event Logo - Cindy and Jenny Mehlberg
Event T-shirts - Cindy Mehlberg
Quilt Raffle - Cindy Mehlberg
Event Flags - Wanda Comeau
Club Quiz - Adam Mehlberg and Kathy Howell
Club Quiz Trophy - Greg Beery
Club History - Adam Mehlberg
CD Production - Adam Mehlberg and Don Lamprecht
Event Finances - John Howell
Projection Equipment - Don Lamprecht
Copy Services - Rick Kilton
Overall Chairman - Kathy Howell

P.S. At the next club meeting, Gordon Howe presented the club quiz trophy to Adam Mehlberg with the following words of thanks: "This year was my first All-4-Fun experience. During the prize award ceremonies I witnessed a spirit of generosity that took me by surprise. This inspired me during the drive home from our 25th anniversary outing to decide that I want to re-define this trophy. Throughout the past 25 years, one member has consistently and tirelessly worked for the benefit of our club. The tasks he performs are time consuming, yet they are performed out of a passion to make this club unique from others. I could ramble on ad infinitum describing all the functions he has graciously performed to enable us to have a club of which we all can be proud. But, I'll restrain myself. For these reasons, and many more, I want to present this award to Adam Mehlberg for his 25 years of dedication (not always in low range) to the Trailridge Runners. Thank you Adam! "

P.S.S. It's only five years until the 30th anniversary. Start planning now!