Mud and Ruts
Difficulty: 3-5 depending on weather
Suitable for: Well equipped vehicles only, possible deep mud
Time needed: a full day
Some parts of this one go through
forests where the ONF may ticket you. All those tracks have no posted
interdiction but you may still run into problems (120-123, 178-186). Between
178 and 186 you enter a private owned forest. Well, I found this out be
chance as there are no signs. But if you run into trouble you better be
gentle and try to arrange things. Remember: I didn't tell you to go there.
This roadbook has some very treacherous
places. Although generally not worse than the "Farms and Fortifications"
it has some stretches that are only driveable with a highly equipped car
and a competent driver in any but the dryest conditions. I once made it
in the hottest days of summer when the last rain was over 2 months ago.
I found still knee-deep mud, just thicker and smellier than in winter.
I remember having played in that
special corner of the woods myself more than once during the wet season
and it always was a sheer battle. Just to tell you: I used to have first
an Suzuki LJ80, than an Jeep CJ7, fuel injected with 2 locking diffs and
then an V8 90 with 33 inches tyres. In NONE of them it was easy except
in July or August. And I always carried heavy recovery gear which was
used quite regularly.
This one has all an avid 4-wheeler
wants. The roadbook contains some nasty traps and even a fishbone although
an easy one. The lenght of 39 miles for the first part and 60,5 miles
for the second part (if my records are correct) are among the longest
bearable for a single day.
Additionally we had put up 2 sets
of questions which the participants had to answer. Any incorrect answer
got you a penalty. Look at the questions and try out your luck.
Additionally 30 penalty points were given for not bringing, among others,
a raw egg and a living hen or 2 living fish.
Wooden stamps hang at different places all over the parcours and people
had to find them. They were indicated by a red/white colored plastic strap
some metres before. We put quite some effort in putting them at the most
disgusting places. One hung over the middle of a waist-deep mudhole, another
one on top of a water tank and so on. The last stamp was at the end of
a sewer under an abondoned factory, only accessible by boat (we thought).
The start is at the home of my good
friend Usch at Crusnes. This is a small village in France which lies about
10 km south of the Luxembourg/ French border near Esch/Alzette. Exact
position for the start is N49° 26,168 and E 5°55,002.
Here are now the pages
from the roadbook. Safe them and print them out. They were scanned at
a resolution of 96dpi which should be ample for your use.
The usual explications:
Start is facing TO the village
center. Down the road is a church which is the next box 2.
No problems here. Between 9
and the following 4 or 5 situations watch out for trafic. This greenlane
often sees locals driving at breakneck speeds not expecting oncoming
4x4's. Picture left taken near box 10
The picture at the left is
taken at box 11. Watch out, the railway line is NOT abondoned.
Box 17 passes near a football
terrain. If there is a match refrain from passing.
Box 21 is a fishbone. It's
not that complicated. Click here for an explication what a fishbone
is. If you don't manage to drive it go back to box 20 and turn right
on the tarmac road instead of hitting the greenlane. Drive for about
0,3 miles and you will come onto box 22 (but from the right side).
Picture left was taken between
26 and 29. Road conditions often change as it's not regularly maintained.
Soemtimes fallen trees have to be cleared.
Box 34: This is AFTER crossing
Box 38-41: Watch out!
Between 58 and 59 may be some
mud, especially near the runoff of the pond in 59. Nothing too deep
Box 61 may be quite more challenging
though. Deep ruts are always there and the hillclimb is usually
Between 71 and 72 the lane
may be overgrown by thick hedges. Scratches are guaranteed. Also
some deep ruts. Stay IN the ruts, the barbed fence on both sides
does more harm than the hedges. After this there's also a slippery
off-camber uphill although it had been improved in 2000.
Between 86 and 87 is a slippery
downhill. Don't brake, just go down. There's no danger if you don't
hit the ditch at 87 which is FAR away from the hill.
Box 93 was the end of the first
part although there were more boxes left. It surprised the drivers
as there was a penalty for being too fast.
So box 92 is the same as 93
on page 5. Simply go straight on.
Between 103 and 104 maybe some
ruts. Nothing too worrying though.
Picture left was taken near
that place from an low flying airplane.
Box 107 isn't too visible as
you will be travelling quite fast. Watch your back as other drivers
don't expect you turning in here.
Between 112 and 113 is a very
slippery uphill. DON'T hit the fence to your right. We already had
torn it up once and the field belongs to the mayor over several
villages all around. Luckily he was quite an understanding man and
a couple of bottles put it all right again.
Picture left: Serge slipped
off the lane and had endless trouble getting up. Maybe not the brightest
idea to do this in the middle of winter on street tyres?
Box 116 means: Follow the road
towards Viviers until...
Box 119: Visibility low on
the main road.
Box 120: May or may not be
very visible. In any case it's the only lane that leads up to the
Box 121-123: Care when you
drive through the forest. The uphill might be greasy.
Box 130-131: May not be visible.
The local farmer uses to plough right through the lane but the lane
is LEGAL. This doens't necessary mean you must use it when there
are no other traces.
Box 135: Again low visibility.
Surprise! There is a new element.
You must use the map you were supposed to have to find out the direction
you had to go. Not really complicated, all made it without any trouble.
Between 154 and 157 there may
be some places with lots of water and/or mud. Drive slowly.
No, we didn't do any pictures
on that particular section. The woods are very dark and most of
the time we were too busy to extract us from the mud and to wrestle
with the steering wheel.
Between 169 and 170 is a ford
which normally doesn't make any problem, only 30-40 cm deep. Except
after long heavy rains where you should really test the depth before
entering. There is a foothbridge to the left.
Trouble starts between 178
and 186. I strongly suggest taking the shortcut pictured left. Just
stay on the road until you hit 186 after some hundred metres.
Already the entrance at 178
and 179 isn't too obvious. After that the path is very small. Then
180 has deep mud and ruts in the bend. Between 180 and 181 is a
ditch you must pass in which is used by local wildlife as sanitary
facility judging the odor...
182-183 also presents some
deep mud holes which may contain logs from previous recovery attempts
by other users. In winter I had to use my winch 4 times on this
short stretch. But you MUST drive slowly for the logs and other
187-188 may also have dep mud.
But it had recently (2000) been improved.
194 is only visible at the
last moment. So drive slowly.
Box 196-197 leads you through
the forecourt of a farmer's house. Drive slowly, french farmers
may wear a shotgun.
198-199 may not be very obvious.
Keep to the most likely place when no traces are visible.
Between 217 and 218 the participants
had to search for the last stamp which was hidden UNDER the old
factory. Well, they were supposed to carry an inflatable raft. Here
they had to use it. One of them even SWAM into the river and under
the factory! He got a special bonus for that.
The arrival at 222 was at a
small restaurant. A good place to make take a break. If you want
to drive back to Luxembourg go back to 221 and turn right to Longwy
and Longuyon. The frontier is at about 30 km.
Well, that's it fro this one.
How did the participants do? Let's be kind and say some made more
efforts than others. The questions posed a big problem and the best
team got away with 43 wrong answers. 6 of them run out of time even
at the quite large schedule we set. Some were lost hopelessly and
we got only news from them the next day as was the case with Mr.
R., the director the only prison in Luxembourg. A couple of them
managed to burry their cars deeper than the doorsills giving them
opportunity to dig for hours (as they were on the wrong track anyway).
The first 3 places went to
Nobbes (LR 90 TD) who won an HiJack, Raff ((Discovery) who got an
toolbox and Daktari (LR 110) who got an air compressor. The event
was open for all makes and there were 7 Land Rovers and 13 other
makes. The price for best spirit went to Martine M. on Jeep CJ-7
who did great on the questions but got hopelessly stuck and abondoned
only 5 km from the arrival as it was too dark to see the tracks
Of the 7 Land Rovers at the
start 6 were among the first 10 at the arrival.
give me feedback when you drove this one.