North West Mog Fest 2003

NWMF 2003 was not nearly as stressful of an event for us as NWMF 2002, hence the trip report is much shorter!

We set out from Calgary around 8pm on Tuesday August 12th.  Getting such a late start only allowed a few hours of driving & we slept in Sparwood, in a line of semi's.  Since the truckers tend to start up early, this makes for a good start on the next day.

On Wednesday, after breakfast in Cranbrook, we inadvertently took a side trip that added 150km to the trip.  Oops, so much for the early start.  Finally, we crossed into the United States at Nelway, Washington.  The border guard started to search the camper, but got a phone call that was obviously more important business & let us through (after making sure we weren't carrying any fruit or Canadian beef).

We traveled across the top of Washington, mostly on SR20, a nice size/quality of road to put on miles in the UniMoG.  Paved to keep down the dust, small enough to limit other traffic, and nice & scenic.  Wednesday night we camped in the Okanogan National Forest.

Thursday we headed to the I-5 & traveled mostly on the I-5 to Longview where we were able to cross the Columbia River into Oregon while the Lewis & Clark Bridge wasn't closed during its re-construction.  We headed toClatskanie then down highway #47 to McMinnville & on to the Molloy farm.

Driving into the farm with 6 forward gears & 2 reverse was a wonderful feeling!!!!  A bit of a change from limping in last year with only 3rd gear.  We checked out the layout of this year's obstacle course & chose our parking spot in the quieter camping up top (but NOT in the barnyard, we had to stay there last year!).

Friday was the trailride in the Tillamook Forest, after a very filling breakfast at the Flying M Ranch.

Something we didn't get to experience last year, being one of the lineup of trucks!

Saturday's playing in the obstacle course was punctuated by a burning Dodge van.  The van fire was well contained by the mogfest participants before the fire department arrived to extinguish the blaze.

Bruce inadvertently provided a bit of entertainment when he popped the tire off the rim.  Allan & Zach got him pulled out of the mud pit without quite tipping over so that he could change to his spare.  Too bad Bruce didn't seem willing to show us any more of what that truck can do, it looks pretty well outfitted for playing in rugged terrain.

There was also a lot of looking at everyone else's trucks going on.  While some were playing in the mud pit, others were busy displaying their trucks.

Here you can see some campers and tippers.

There were two other ex-Swiss MOGs in attendance, here is Hal Bruner's Swiss Radio Box beside our truck.

The 2450 "Dino Hunter" is rather impressive.  Dwarfs our little 404!!!

Saturday evening was the usual raffle with many donations from many sources.  We donated a hand made tow rope suitable for recovering a 404.  A somewhat shorter version of our 78 foot tow rope that we carry in our truck.  We won the very cool plastic Unimog 2100 & a really neat Unimog watch.  We were also awarded the "International Award" for driving down from Canada in our 404, making the trip again despite the fact that we broke down last year.

We haven't decided exactly where to display it yet, but we feel very honored to have been given this special award.

Sunday was the swap meet, with many people packing up to leave for home.  Some people chose to float (& hike) down the river Sunday afternoon, but we chose to laze & wash the truck.  We stayed a little longer, Monday we helped out with a bit of the cleanup and also spent some time relaxing down by the river, so that we could get a good start out on the road Tuesday morning.

Ryan gave "portable MOG shelter" a whole new meaning!!!

Tuesday we didn't put on a lot of mileage.  We camped at the end of a road near the base of Mount Hood, it was much too windy to look at camping further up the mountain.

Wednesday we drove a bit further across northern Oregon, camping that night in the Umatilla National Forest.  Another day with not much mileage, but it was kind of nice to be a bit more relaxed.

Thursday we drove past the edge of the Wallowas & through Hell's Canyon area, there were some hot stretches, but it was an interesting trip through a region we hadn't seen before.  We carried on into southern Idaho.  We didn't realize Idaho had beautiful mountains & trees!  It is rather different from other parts of the state.  That night we camped in a State Park somewhere along the way.

Friday we crossed Idaho & drove north into Montana.  We would have been happy to stop for the night somewhere near Missoula, but it was so smoky from forest fires that our eyes & throats were burning & we didn't really want to try to sleep in those conditions.  So we drove on to Flathead Lake, where we finally stopped for the night.  It was well after closing time for the park, but the gates were open & there were free campsites, so we pulled in anyway.

Friday's long drive made for a shorter trip home on Saturday.  We drove through Glacier National Park & then crossed into Alberta at Carway.  It is such a shock to go from the mountains to the prairies.  The last few hours of the trip home the air temperature was cool enough to put on a bit of speed, we're glad we didn't have to travel as slowly through the boring terrain of southern Alberta.

Saturdaynight it was home-sweet-home, trying to figure out how to sleep not in our camper & fix food that didn't come out of a jar!

Thetotal round trip was just over 4,400km.  The truck ran very well.  It is now time to change the fuel filters, and we need to adjust the brakes because of all the scared slowpokes we end up following through mountain passes, but that is just normal maintenance.  The transmission (now with 11,000km on it) went through no oil on the trip.  Our fuel economy was a reasonable 12 mpg(Cdn) and we went through about 2 1/2 litres of engine oil, which is below the factory spec. for that engine.  Since we got it, we've put over 31,000km on the truck, overall we can't complain about how well it has performed for us.  During the trail ride we were suffering from some missing after excessive idling, but we were able to later solve the problem with an idle adjustment.  Neither we nor the truck is accustomed to the different air density at the lower altitude!

Visiting all of the people at NWMF was great.  There are a lot of wonderful people to see (including, of course, the Molloy family themselves).  We look forward to visiting NWMF again one day, we just can't say at this point which year it will be.