I've been involved in cleanups since the early 90's, when I also
founded the New England 4 Wheelers, Inc. I hate to see trash and junk
cars in the woods, that really sets me off! People think they can
just dump their trash anywhere. We have the equipment such as
winches, hi-lift jacks, on-board air, chains, tow straps, Jeep
trailers and anything else we might need to clean
up these areas. It's not about money, we don't get paid, we do this
as part of local community service. We also like to drive our Jeeps
on these abandoned roads that we clean up. We pull, drag, and do
whatever it takes to place these abandoned, rusted vehicles in their
new home - the local junkyard.
We worked with the local selectmen, who in turn have the police look
up VIN numbers to see if they have been reported stolen. We drive
these old Jeep roads to see the beauty of nature, not to see old
cars. We seek the waterfalls, mountain top views, old foundations,
and stone walls that mark these roads and have for many generations.
We recently had a member offer to let us use a Jeep trailer for the
club to help us in our efforts. This ex-army Jeep trailer has a
pintle style hitch. It swivels side to side and lets us take it over
rough terrain, but it was not ready for this cleanup. Instead I used
my wannabe Jeep trailer (no pintle, just a 2" ball), but it does
have high ground clearance, a Jeep tailgate, and Jeep wheels. We
don't get a lot of people to help, but I feel we need to do this. And
why? Because we can!
Part 1, Nov. 17th:
We had 7 Jeeps in our crew. We headed up Juju Mt. to our first junk
vehicle, a burned out Jeep Cherokee rolled over on it's roof. We
opted to winch it back over, jack the Jeep up, and put our spare
tires on it, as this would be better then dragging it. The steering
wheel was gone and Paul Dockery suggested I use my tire T wrench to
keep the wheels straight. I climbed in, and Paul got in his Jeep
Cherokee. It was only fitting that he dragged it out. We spun it
around and headed down to the dirt road to drop it off.
Now it was on to the next abandoned car, a Buick Riviera. Joe
Ostrenga had been up there a couple weeks before with a few Jeeps and
found the car. We were in luck! This car was still intact, including
the tires. Joe and Russ Durning hooked the tow strap up and Chris
Schuch backed up to the car and hooked his Jeep to it. After a couple
of hard pulls, it was free. Paul aired up a tire and I got in behind
the wheel. Mike Moody suggested that I put some sunglasses on and
gloves because of the broken glass. I put on the car's seatbelt and
said "Buckle up for safety!". Chris started to pull the
Buick off the power line trail with me steering the car and headed
out to the main dirt road.
By now it was lunch time. We decided to drop off the car and eat our
lunch on top of a lookout spot just around the bend. What a view of
the town below! After lunch we headed back to grab the Buick. Ray
Joyce hooked up to it this time. Again, I got behind the wheel of the
car to steer. We pulled the car through a deep puddle on the main
dirt road, then started heading downhill. It was then that I asked
Ray to unhook the car. It had brakes and it was easier to just let me
drive it down to the tar road, where the junkyard would pick it up.
As I started down on my own, something made me look to my left. I saw
a little field mouse up on the door panel, looking at me as if to say
"Where are you taking my house?!". Chris Schuch had said
earlier that he saw a mouse in the car. I guess my response would
have been: "This car belongs in the junkyard, sorry!".
While I was driving the car, Russ and the others were hooking up to a
2WD Ford pickup frame. No tires, just rims. Russ pulled the Ford
frame down next to the Jeep. We would have to be back on Nov. 23 to
finish the job, or so we hoped. But we did get the Buick to the
junkyard before sun down.
Part 2, Nov. 23rd:
On the 23rd our group met again, this time there were five of us. Jim
Higgins and I headed up the gravel road towards the three wrecks that
we left on the main dirt road last week. Jim pulled out his hi-lift
jack and we proceeded to put my spare tire on one side of the front
end of the Jeep. We put the rest of the tires on the Jeep and Jim
spun it around, facing down hill. I put a tow strap on the back and
Jim pulled from the front down the gravel road towards the tar road.
It was then that we heard Chris on the CB radio. He told us Lou
Kiklis of Elias 4WD Center was backing his truck and car trailer up
the hill. Lou winched the Jeep on the trailer and we went down to
unload it at the junkyard.
A short time later, we were back on the hill. Russ Durning and Chris
Schuch pulled down what was left of the 2WD Ford pickup. Again Lou
winched the wreck onto his trailer and off to the junkyard. We
unloaded the Ford and came back up the road . Russ and Chris located
some white metal goods, I hooked up my Jeep trailer and we started
loading it up. Russ took a car hood, put two dryers on it, and we
strapped them together. We turned around and headed back to Lou and
Jim. Lou had tried to turn his Dodge truck and trailer around and got
it high centered. Jim tugged Lou back and we were able to turn him
around. We loaded up as much as we could onto Lou's trailer and then
filled mine. There are still two cars and more trash up there, but it
will have to wait until late spring, 2002.
Total cleanup effort: 1 Jeep Cherokee, 1 Buick Riviera, 1 Ford
Pickup, 1 snowmobile, and 15 or so assorted white metal goods.
Thanks to all those who helped out:Written by Rich Banfield
Paul Dockrey, Chris Schuch, Ray Joyce, Andy Rullie, Russ Durning,
Mike Moody, Joe Ostrenga, Jim Higgins, Jonathan Messier, and Lou Kiklis.
New England 4 wheelers 1988-98
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