YO Ranch Wheelin'
Mountain Home, Texas - July 6-7, 2007
in Mountain Home, Texas just outside Kerrville, YO Ranch
offers 40,000 Acres of wheelin' fun. They have an
awesome Swimming Pool and Hot Tub that overlooks
gorgeous scenery below. The lodge, pavilion and
Chuckwagon are as eccentric and antique as the ranch
itself. Besides Wheelin' they also offer City Slicker
Cattle drives, Cowboy camps, and of course hunting for
exotics and native animals.
The YO Ranch is an amazing place.
Dating back to 1880's, it's not a very hospitable place.
It is dry, rocky and very hot, at least during the
summer. It's hard to imagine the first settlers dealing
with the hardships that come along with the area or the
large amount of history that took place here.
At $200 dollars a vehicle and driver, $75 a passenger
and $30 dollars to camp this wasn't the least expensive
run that I've been on but it was well worth it.
We had four Jeeps and seven people from
Unfortunately I wasn't able to bring my Jeep. I had just
finished repairing a damaged locker the week before and
I was still having some issues with my brakes. Chuck
(Silver TJ) was kind enough to offer me a seat as his
co-pilot and I offered up my tow rig to get us there. It
was a win win situation. It also allowed me to get about
an hour and a half of video during the trip that
wouldn't have been possible if I was a pilot.
We packed up Thursday night and headed
out at 6:30am Friday morning from Love's Truck stop on
290 and 2920 with Mike (Red TJ with Tube fenders). We
had a little trailer trouble which added a little time
but still arrived at the ranch a little after 2pm. BT
and Debbie (Gray CJ7), whom had arrived earlier, were
waiting for us to show us where to go. We set up camp
and when Rob and Tammy arrived (Red TJ) and we got them
unloaded and we were set.
We headed to the pavilion for dinner
and to sign up for the trail that we wanted. It was
decided that we would run on the orange team which was a
medium difficulty group so we could encompass all of our
Turns out the Red team (Hard Team) didn't have enough
participants and ended up being spread throughout the
other groups. I believe we all ran the same trails
anyway. It was just that the more extreme vehicles got
to try harder challenges along the way while the more
stock vehicles could bypass them.
Friday night's dinner was steaks
cooked over a giant pit right in front of us. Of course
they had potato's, salad and homemade peach cobbler to
go along with it. This was one of the best meals I've
had outside of an expensive steak restaurant.
After dinner we drove around on the
ranch roads just scoping out the place. To give you an
idea of scale, once you enter the gate it's about ten
miles to actually get to the ranch base camp.
Saturday we woke up early and were ready to wheel. They
served us a home cooked cowboy breakfast and I'm talking
eggs, bacon, sausage, biscuits and gravy and all the
works. If it seems like I'm mentioning the food a lot
it's because it was that good.
This run was open to all 4x4 vehicles.
So there were toyotas, samurais, a hummer or two and of
course lots of Jeeps. It's always fun to look at all the
vehicles with their different modifications. Our group
was only Jeeps. We had from as old as a 1973 CJ5 all the
way up to a current model JK wrangler. It was amazing to
me how many people were from Houston and the surrounding
After a brief safety and driver's
meeting we picked up our sack lunches and we headed out
to wheel. The terrain is a lot of loose rock and due to
all the rain we had this season we had to gather
momentum for many of the steeper hill climbs. The dark
mud was very sticky and our tires had a hard time self
cleaning in some cases.
Saturday we ran Javelina Gulch,
Javelina Creek and Wrangler Ridges. Most of these trails
were relatively easy low lying trails cutting in and out
of dry creek beds. As most runs that are well co-ordinated
you run the easy trails first to determine what level
your participants are at before moving to the harder
Saturday evening our meal was
hamburgers and sausages grilled over the pit in a
similar fashion to Friday. Once again a delicious meal
and we were all very satisfied. After dinner they had a
Pinata for the children and another for the adults. The
adult pinata was fun to watch because they really worked
to make it very tough. Of course both were filled with
candy and the kids had a blast. The raffle had some
excellent prizes. I think everyone under the age of 13
or so won some sort of toy and the adults won things
from T-shirts to Cattle drive coupons. I think one
participant even won a welder.
They had a really nice fireworks
display after the festivities were done. We were able to
hang out at the pool, drink a few beers and watch the
Sunday we only wheeled until noon. We
were able to cover a fair amount of trails many of them
much harder than Saturday. These trails seemed to be
really good for everyone because there were some really
hard lines that would split off from the normal trails
for the more hardcore group. I believe we ran
Ranchlands, Cherokee Hill and Boulder Ridge trails. On
one of these trails was "the wall". It was essentially a
vertical climb with a ledge running along the right
side. The driver can't see this ledge and in most cases
doesn't have a whole lot of traction on the front tires
to turn. If you can get enough momentum to get to
started up the hill you need to immediately turn left to
avoid the ledge or it will knock you backwards and make
you shoot right back down. Sometimes it would raise your
front end even higher and since you are near vertical it
was quite scary.
Our trail leaders Kenny Reed, Mike
Woitena, Sam Davis and Greg Machado from
great. They did their job carefully directing us over
obstacles and through the beautiful Hill Country Trails.
These trail guides were provided by Austin Jeep
Exclusive and San Antonio Jeep Exclusive. There was no
breakage that I know of besides a bent tie rod on one
Jeep and some very minor body damage on another. This
really shows that these guides knew what they were doing
and gave confidence to the participants. We did hear
that another group had a Toyota buggy that rolled and
the participants had some slight injuries. We all hope
for their speedy recovery.
The wildlife is an experience I will
never forget. The longhorns were amazing and the deer
ran rampant. We saw exotics like zebras, camels, and
giraffes. Of course we saw donkeys, goats a few snakes,
raccoons and other critters too. This was without going
on the wildlife tour that they offered us Sunday
morning. I guess the ranch had spread corn throughout
the camp area to attract some of these animals to us.
Thank You to the YO Ranch and our
trail guides for having us and putting on a great event.
Although I heard rumor that there may not be many more
Wheelin events. I can just hope that the rumor is not
true. Thanks to Tammy for the pictures.
Adam "tank" Miller