2.27.2005

Windrock


Crystal and I went to Windrock Mountain Saturday. Windrock is an area near Oliver Springs Tennessee designated for off road driving. The land is owned (and used) by Coal Creek mining Company, but they have a deal with the Windrock ATV club to allow offroaders to ride there. It costs $15 per person (i.e. 2 people n a Jeep is $30) to get a daily permit, but with over 150 miles of trails, you can imagine that it's quite popular. We ran into a group of ATVs that were in need of jumper cables and while they were borrowing mine one man said he had driven 5 hours to get there and was planning on coming back after dark to ride in the moonlight. Now that's love!

There are many trails that are only available for ATVs or motorcycles, there are a handful that stock vehicles and even cars can drive on and the rest are pretty much for four wheel drive trucks and Jeeps. However, there is one gravel road that goes to the TVAs Buffalo Mountain Wind Power Plant. This is a good gravel road that can be driven by any vehicle. The Wind Park is home to a number of massive windmills which were only installed last summer.

You can barely see these windmills on the top of Buffalo Mountain from the highway going towards Oliver Springs. See those little white specks?
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Once you get close to them you may be able to catch a glimpse of the massive rotors turning through the trees.

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Then, before you know it, you're there!
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Did I mention how massive these things are? That's a rather large dump truck sitting behind the base of that windmill
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Here are a few photos of my Jeep near some of the windmills to give you a sense of their size. Note how clean my Jeep is at this point...
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We counted about 25 windmills but as you keep driving they just keep appearing. We're not sure if we counted some twice or not. The roads just keep going on and on, you can drive by all of them.

But if you get bored you can always go off-roading!

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This is the first trail we took. It was marked Trail 7 and rated moderate but, oddly, it didn't appear on the official Windrock map. It turned out to be a piece of cake. It looks even easier in this photo because you can't really see the killer rocks in the trail that were looking to mate with my gas tank, oil pan, and everything else that is still unprotected on the belly of my Jeep. It was still easy though, just a bumpy trail.

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After driving a few other trails, and a few huge mudpuddles, my Jeep was looking a little muddy. This is what I looked like after emerging from a huge mudhole that I wish I hadn't entered. I drove into it thinking it looked rather shallow but it nearly swallowed my Jeep up so I put the pedal to the metal to get out of there. Unfortunately I didn't realize there was a huge bump in the middle of the hole. I can't say for certain because I had my hands full at the time, but I'm pretty sure if there were any observers nearby they would have told me I had gotten airborne coming out of the hole. It sure felt like it anyway. Well, at least I didn't get stuck.

But later I did get to flex my suspension a bit and show off my factory articulation. Woo-hoo baby! For the record, this is a stock TJ suspension and I wasn't disco'd. In the next month or so I'm getting a 2" RE BB, a 1" Bl and 32 BFG MTs (it's a Jeep thing, you wouldn't understand).

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There are some pretty nice views from the Windrock area. You can see for miles and miles in vitrually any direction. Unfortunately I only took a couple (poor) photos of the view.
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But I got plenty of my muddy Jeep!
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