Updated: Jan 11
After the team nearly washed a rig down the Sequatchie River, it was time to return and redeem themselves.
It's February 2020 and Myself (Matt), my wife Caley, and Jason decided to make the trip to Coppinger Cove in Tennessee. I remember the water levels from trips past and with the recent rains, I knew it would be deep. For those who have been to "the cove"know that the first three water crossings can be very deep, with the last one impassable at times. Well, it was that day. Jason attempted to cross the final river and nearly lost his rig in the process. So we turned around.
Just outside of camp, we would come across the most exciting obstacle of the trail. A 4 foot straight drop or a V-notch that would guarantee door damage. It looked like too much fun and I had to go first.
There is really not a worse feeling than getting hours away from home to hit a weekend ride, just to be turned around 25% in. To top things off, we all decided to head to a different location, just to have Jason break a pinion gear. Needless to say we were needing a redo.
So We Had A Redo...
The group was itching to get out for a real trip, and with the experience we had earlier in the year, The Cove was the place we had to go. Our friends at Expedition Overland were looking to host their Overlander Film Festival, so we had a good excuse to go. So we all packed up and hit the road.
The group meet up with flatbed Toyota Austin just down the street from the trailhead. With rains the days prior, we didn't want to take chances. So the group finished his DIY snorkel using a chainsaw to cut the final pieces. (Don't try that at home) This only took a short period of time and we were on the trail. This were very easy going straight out of the box. With summer beating down, the water levels were insanely low and all three crossing were a breeze.
After the third cross, we would only drive a short distance down the trail before setting up a early camp next to the river. It had been a while since we got to relax at camp, so finding an early campsite was great. Caley and I purchased some pre-seasoned fajita steaks from Walmart and the rest of the group picked up tons of killer taco stuff. Now I have to say, the tacos we made this night have got to be the BEST tacos we have ever made on the trail. Needless to say, everyone ate way too much and we were all passed out way before we said we would.
The following morning we would wake up to a smokey haze over the river and the sun peaking through the trees. It was a great was to kick off what would be a wild morning. Just outside of camp, we would come across the most exciting obstacle of the trail. A 4 foot straight drop or a V-notch that would guarantee door damage. It looked like too much fun and I had to go first. I slowly pulled up, dropped in, and...I was stuck. I had all 4 wheels off the ground and was not moving. So we pulled winch line and had everyone push the truck off the ledge to get the front tires on the ground. We would proceed to the do the same thing for every truck in the group.
Once past the "mini gunshot" obstacle, we would WORK the rigs all day through the trail. The cove is well known for its rock gardens that can catch out any rig. The goal was to make it all the way through without breaking, while still moving fast enough to see everything there is to see. All of the rigs worked flawlessly as we bashed over rocks and drug the underside of our trucks over everything. But isn't that what we built them for?
Because we were shooting for the Film Festival, we spent some time at each obstacle and really took the time to enjoy where we were. Sometimes when doing rides, you are so focused on where you are going and the time you are making, you don't get to enjoy where you are at. This trip reminded us why we do this. The friends, the trucks, and the trails are all part of it. But all of that comes second to nature. Next time you are out on the trails, just stop and take it in. It can be in the most boring spot of the trail. But look around and the life around you. Appreciate it and respect it. Because it may not be there tomorrow.
This has to be one of the most fun trips we have got to do as a team. From start to finish it was exciting. While I would love to give away all the cool obstacles and things to see at Coppinger Cove, we think it is a place that you just need to explore on your own. It is wild. It is unforgiving. It is real. We hope you get a chance to explore it before it is too late.