First Trip of the Year to Assateague National Seashore

On Saturday February 20th CORE 4×4 did our first of the year OSV trail trip to Assateague Island on the MD side. It was a really great day and we were in total 19 adults and kids attending in 7 cars. So a nice and big group with an approx. 50/50 mix of CORE Members and CORE Guests. Jendra invited everyone to extend the trip to watch the sunset and full moon rise with a dinner on the beach for those interested.

The group included:

  • Niels and Bimbee in a JK Sport
  • Jendra and Aimee and their two kids in and JKU Sport
  • Andrew, Cherie, and Ethan (one year old son) in a Xterra
  • James and Sarah in a Range Rover
  • Suren and Seema in a Toyota Tacoma
  • Steve and Mary in a Grand Cherokee
  • Joe Padula + three friends in a Land Cruiser

We met at 11:00am at the MD Assateague State Park Rangers Station parking lot. Planned time to air down and enter the beach was 11:30am which gave those of us who needed a new OSV permit at the Rangers Station some time to do that. Normally we try to do 2-3 trips to Assateague a year, why most of us buy a year OSV permit and beach entrance pass. Most of the year it’s a wonderful and beautiful place for fishing and camping so many of us visit there many times a year.

Andrew, Cherie and Ethan as well as Bimbee and I made a weekend trip out of it and stayed in hotel in Ocean City from Friday to Sunday. The weather forecast for the day was not good, predicting rain all day up until Friday. Friday evening the forecast changed a bit and it actually ended up that the rain stopped pretty much as we hit the beach at 11:30am. So really great surprise to the good side and it was dry most of the day and evening.

Normally we do the first stretch of the trip to the state boarder line in pretty much one run. That stretch is around 12 miles. When we hit the border, we took a long lunch break. As you can see in the pictures and videos we normally line up to take a full car group photo. We took it very easy during lunch and hung out next to our cars eating and drinking the lunch we brought ourselves. A lot of great chatting, small talking, nerdy talks about cars and upgrades, other trip experiences and having fun with small walks to the one old house left there and to the seashore and so on.

After the lunch at around 1:30pm we started the drive back to the beach exit but this time with a few small side trips to the inland part of the National Seashore. There are two separate tracks along the beach stretch where you can drive into an inland part and get a beautiful view of the inland sea facing west. We made a short stop at each place. At the first inland spot we saw the wild horses just on the other side of some inland water. They are so pretty these horses and there were seven of them in a spread-out group. At least one pony was among them.

When we got to the second inland track Steve and Mary got stock in the Grand Cherokee in the deep loose sand just at the entrance. Andrew and Cherie stayed in their Xterra to get them out of the sand which was a successful recovery. However, during the recovery it looked like the front wheels on the Grand Cherokee didn’t have any traction in 4-wheel drive. When we all came back from the small break at the inland spot, we investigated the matter further and could conclude that the 4-wheel drive on the Grand Cherokee didn’t work as it should. Basically, there was only traction on the rear wheels and nothing on the front wheels.

After a few short attempts to continue the drive it was clear that the Grand Cherokee was not able to fulfill the rest of the ride on the beach with only traction on the back wheels. The vehicle simply got stuck all the time. We decided to tow it with Steve and Mary in it the rest of the way and the Xterra became the tow truck with a strap in between the two vehicles. While getting the Jeep ready for towing a Ranger pulled up to us to ask what was going on. He made a few OSV permit checks but was friendly and accepted the plan we had made for getting ourselves out of the beach again. At the first try to get going pulling the Grand Cherokee out of the sand the Xterra almost got stuck itself. Andrew got the Xterra out of the sand again and in a second try both vehicles got momentum helped by towing closer to the seashore where the sand is more compressed. And so it went for the rest of the trip to the exit.

One thing to note is that because we had to tow the Grand Cherokee close to the seashore we had to pass all other cars parked on the beach on the “wrong” side so to say. Normally you are only allowed to pass the cars so the cars you pass are between you and the seashore. Not the other way around so you are between the seashore and the parked cars. The reason is that the parked cars often are fishing, and you cannot see the fishing line which you will then break or pull with you if you pass between the seashore and the parked cars. Therefore, Bimbee and I had to drive a good distance in front of the Xterra and the Grand Cherokee to make sure no fishing lines would come in the way from the towing train.One thing to note is that because we had to tow the Grand Cherokee close to the seashore we had to pass all other cars parked on the beach on the “wrong” side so to say. Normally you are only allowed to pass the cars so the cars you pass are between you and the seashore. Not the other way around so you are between the seashore and the parked cars. The reason is that the parked cars often are fishing, and you cannot see the fishing line which you will then break or pull with you if you pass between the seashore and the parked cars. Therefore, Bimbee and I had to drive a good distance in front of the Xterra and the Grand Cherokee to make sure no fishing lines would come in the way from the towing train.

After we all returned to the exit Andrew and Cherie, Jendra and Aimee, and Suren and Seema decided to make one more ride down to the VA boarder line. The main reason was that Jendra had found out that they lost their sons sandals down at the lunch spot at the state border line and wanted to give it a try to find them. Also, it looked like the weather would not clear up to be able to see the sunset and the full moon rise. So the alternative spontaneous plan was to do one more beach ride to the state border line and back again and then return to home from there. Bimbee and I decided to go along for a bit so Bimbee could try to drive the Wrangler on the beach and in 4-wheel drive for the first time. We joined for the first two-three miles or so and then turned around to go back to the exit to air up and go back to the hotel in Ocean City.

Another wonderful trail ride with CORE 4×4 and I can’t wait for the next one to come up. Hopefully soon!

Photo Album: 02/27/21 Assateague National Seashore

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Trail Report by Niels Vilstrup. Pictures provided by Andrew and Cherie Taylor, Jendra and Aimee Rambharos, and Joe Padula. GPS Track provided by Andrew Taylor.

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