HIGHLANDER's maiden voyage!
(If you haven't yet seen the build up... click here!)

Well... Here we go! After spending every available moment for the previous two weeks, and all of the money in the bank, we were finally able to run the truck that we had spent a full year building. (if you haven't read about the build yet, check it out!) We both had taken the Friday before Memorial Day off so that we could prepare, and head up to Hertel, WI for the spring mud rally. As things went, we spent all day Friday working on the truck, and didn't even get it onto the trailer until very late at night. By then, we had decided just to stay at home for one more night instead of rush things. We got up pretty early on Saturday, finished packing, and left for Hertel. We arrived by early afternoon, and began setting up the truck.
As we took the truck off of the trailer, we found out that we hadn't relieved the rear pinion yoke quite far enough, and it was binding when we were under power. A couple of hours and a file were all it took to take care of that problem, and after tying up some minor loose ends, we were finally ready to take it out.


This Highlander's VERY FIRST taste of the mud. We were being quite gentle, and trying to feel how it would react, and perform. We worked our way around the outside of the pit. The mud around the outside wasn't very deep, maybe 8-12 inches at the deepest, so we just felt out the truck.


After the first trip, we parked the truck and re-inspected the critical parts like the axle u-bolts, body mounts, and other equipment.

 After our initial euphoria wore off, we went back into the pit, and decided to see if we could get stuck. (just to make sure) It didn't take long to find a hole with some pretty deep ruts at the bottom, and we buried the truck to the top of the 44's. The tractor came and yanked us out just in time for the close of the pits on Saturday.


 Here is a look inside the Big Dummy Multi-Purpose Vehicle.  It tows the truck, holds our tools, stores our tires, food, beer, spare parts, and is our tent.  It sure beats sleeping on the ground, especially when it is raining!


On Sunday, we worked the truck a little harder, and started to gain a lot of confidence in what it was able to make it through, and the job that we did building it. This series shows Jason finding a hole, and deepening it just a little. 
As you can see here, the hole that we deepened earlier would become our favorite. We found ourselves stuck in it a total of 3 times over the weekend!


This series was taken a little later on in the day, after we had developed a fairly descent layer of muck on the truck.


Believe it or not, we cleaned most of the thick goo off of the truck long before this shot was taken.


When Monday (Memorial Day) came, we decided to pack it up early to beat the rush back home. We need to put the small tires on in order to get the truck to fit onto the trailer.


Once we made it back to where the truck would be parked, we spent the next 5 hours cleaning up. You can see that the truck is actually black. Cleanup is probably the worst part of the whole weekend. (but ABSOLUTELY necessary)


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