As promised, here is my Moab trip log. It was a great trip! I met and wheeled with some great people (including a few JF members) and was finally able to test out my Jeep. Feel free to ask any questions or make any comments you like. I am already looking forward to Moab 2010!!!!
Note: This was my first trip to Moab with my Jeep (been there twice before this but without the Jeep). This was also my first time driving the TJ off road since the build - so I took it easier than some would, no need busting my chops about not hitting pritchett Canyon or the escalator. Next time I am in Moab I will hit some of the more difficult trails like Moab Rim & Behind the Rocks. Looking back I am very happy with the list of trails I hit and very happy with how this TJ did and that I don't have to spend any money on repairs.
Note: I only ran solo on the last day - Dax, Jason & Kurt (JF Members) - please add some of your photos to this thread! Also, a big thanks to you guys for sharing your photos with me as many of the photos in this thread are from your cameras.
*The guide book by Charles Wells "Moab, UT Backroads & 4-Wheel Drive Trials" was money well spent! Great trail descriptions!
*There are many great Moab websites but I thought this one stood out as a great help: www.traildamage.com
*I am sure there are many good places to stay in Moab - but I really enjoyed staying at Archview Resort. We could ride our dirt bikes right from our door and the cabins were clean and very affordable. www.archviewresort.com
I was awake by 4AM - couldn't sleep since I was getting ready to head to MOAB!!!!!!
As soon as it was light out I hooked up the trailer and loaded the Jeep. I had to put all of our luggage in the Jeep after I had the it on the trailer since the back of the truck was filled with our dirt bikes. It was a toasty 18 degrees in morning with about an inch of new white stuff - We were looking forward to the Moab sun!
Here we are all loaded up.
Got to Boise and stopped at 4WP to have a stock pitman arm installed. Had to unload the Jeep... Decided to buy two more ratchet straps. So now I have a total of 6 ratchet straps all rated over 3,000# with a break strength of 10,000#. Might be overkill but I wanted peace of mind so I used 3 in the front and 3 in the rear. And to satisfy both sides of the tie down arguments I had two straps going to the axle and one going to the frame (bumper).
So here I am in Caldwell (Idaho) at the in-laws ready to leave.
Made it to Moab around 4:00PM - its was great to be back in this fun little town! It is always fun to see all the jeeps and buggies this place attracts especially during EJS. Did not take many photos during the trip to Moab - it was an uneventful 9 hour drive with kids constantly asking "how much longer?".
We did stop in Twin Falls Idaho - great view overlooking the Snake River Canyon.
The first night in Moab we stayed at the Comfort Inn Suites. $130 a night and it was crap, dirty pool, dirty room - don't recommend. Stay somewhere else if you have the chance. My wife took photos of some of the things we found in our room to send to the hotel manager - I won't share those photos here.
Saturday - had been waiting for this day for months! I was finally going to get on the trail. I signed up for a two day class with Bill Burke - bb4wa.com The class was great and I learned a lot. Much of what he taught had to do with being prepared and recovery which I knew little about. There was also of course instruction on spotting, tire placement, proper lines etc... The first day of the class was spent on Seven Mile Rim along with some portions of other trails. I would be happy to share my thoughts about this class with anyone interested.
I aired down to 10 psi - I could have gone lower, but 10 pounds seemed to work really well for all the trails I ran. Before the trip I purchased a Currie Deflator and taught my son how to use it like a good father.
Bill Burke's Defender. I know nothing about these Land Rovers, but I was impressed by it. I was amazed at all the stuff he is able to carry in this thing. What a dream job - get paid to wheel around the country and receive all your gear for free. Although he told some stories about some nightmare clients.
This trail has a lot of variety - although much of the trail is on dirt/sandy roads
A few fun steep slick rock climbs
There are several small ledges
Little crack towards the top.
Sitting on the edge of the overlook.
A steep and tippy section coming off the slick rock at the base of Merrimac Bute. One of those spots where everything in your back seat ends up on your dash.
A section that felt a lot steeper than this photo shows
In front of a section of slick rock that we climbed and came down (with Determination Towers in the back ground I believe). Day was sunny and in the 50s most of the day - was a great first day. I would recommend Seven Mile Rim as a good first day trail.
On Sunday we headed South out to the BFE area and ran the Strike Ravine trail. This was a trail I was not planning on doing but glad I did - it seemed to have less slick rock than all the others I ran. There was lots of rock - but the smaller loose kind. This was the second day of the class and it was fun to see how the different vehicles (and drivers) handled this trail. Besides my TJ, there was a 2000 ish WJ with a 3" lift, a JK Rubicon with a 2" lift, a stock FJ Cruiser and Bill Burkes Defender.
My modified TJ did very well compared to the others but I was very impressed with the WJ and the electric traction control system it had. That thing did very good. The JK Rubi also impressed me but, I was not as surprised since I expected it to perform well. I was a little surprised by the FJ in that it was the only rig that had problems - although some of that could have been driver related and due to the lower ground clearance.
Lots of this trail looks like this
We stopped for lunch near some abandoned mines that were really cool - but we were warned not to go in very far because of trapped gasses.
By far the most difficult part of this trail is a steep climb of loose rock and ledges. I believe it is called "The Big Ugly" and for good reason. Pictures do not do justice to this thing. We all made it up, but the FJ had to be winched up the first portion.
My son standing about half way up the hill - we spent some time looking at lines to take.
My turn came - I went ahead and locked up which helped.
After a steep decent we ended up at the trail head to Helldorado. That trail is crazy and looks like buggy territory although Bill Burke said he had taken his Defender to the end twice.
Monday - the class was now over. This was a really fun day as, we had 7 vehicles and a real variety of people. Two JKs, my TJ, a WJ, a XJ, a 1974 FJ and a new FJ Cruiser. We met for breakfast and hit the trail around 9:00. We hit Tower Arch first - drove through the park and aired down at the trail head. This was a fun trail and could easily be ran by a stock Jeep. The hike to Tower Arch was easy and we spent a good half hour at the Arch. Afterward, we headed back but took a different way out. We took the 4x4 trail to Eye of the Whale Arch and then left the park. That road was long but had some fun spots too.
Lined up ready to go...
Heading down the trail
Tower Arch - photo taken from point near the parking area.
After Tower Arch, we grabbed lunch and met back up at Fins & Things. I was really looking forward to this trail - and looking back it was probably my second favorite that I ran during the trip. Fins is primarily made up of all slick rock with some sandy areas mixed in. There are some really steep climbs and drops that were really fun (and thrilling) to drive up and down. This is a must do trail for anyone going to Moab in my opinion!
Aired down and ready to go
Short video of one of the drops - like in all photos or videos it was steeper than it looks!
Photo from same spot
A fun climb on the first half of Fins, unfortunately I don't have much video as my wife was usually dealing with my 2 year old daughter.
Photo from same spot
I thought I would add this video of my friend in his 74' FJ 40. His gearing was not low enough and he had trouble with some of the climbs. On this climb his front end came way up and he almost lost it. His gas tank rack saved him and we had a good laugh about it after - he is a big Toyota guy so I rubbed it in a little. He ended up taking the bypass.
One of the many steep slick rock climbs
Little bit of flex while coming down
Cool shot coming up a steep incline
This trail is rated difficult but it is something that almost anyone could do. There is a good chance you will drag your front and rear bumper unless you have high clearance - but a stock wrangler would have not trouble. Very fun!
On Tuesday I decided to do "Top of the World". Along with me was the same WJ I had ran with on previous days. Much of this trail was loose rock and dirt with some fun ledges mixed in. The lifted WJ had some trouble on a couple hills, but the trail was generally fairly easy even though it was rated difficult by the Wells book. Once on top I could not tell if I was at the ridge or just another hill - I jumped out and ran up to the edge and gasped as I stood at this overlook. I walked back and drove the Jeep up to the edge - or at least as close to the edge as I wanted to go without someone telling me when to stop! There is a portion of pointed rock that jets out over the edge and at the right angle, one could drive out further than I did, but it was far enough to get some good photos so I did not back up and drive out further.
It was windy and cold up on top so we did not stay as long as I would have liked. I think this is another must do trail in Moab.
This is what much of the trail looked like - dirt and loose rock.
Unfortunately I don't have any photos of the ledges.
On Wednesday my options were limited. My wife wanted a day to hike with my two sons and not watch my 2 year old Daughter. So she hiked Fiery Furnace in Arches and then rode her dirt bike later in the day. I was not detoured from wheeling however. I packed up some snacks, some juice, some diapers etc.. and hit the road. I passed Gold Bar Rim trail head and considered it for a second - just a second.
This trail was really easy and any stock 4x4 could do it. There was a sand dune near the Gemini Bridges trail head that was fun - it was windy however and sand in the eyes is no fun - especially for a two year old. We parked and hiked the trail to the bottom of the bridges and then continued on a jeep trail that eventually died out on the side of the canyon.
My wheeling budy for the day!
The dune was really cool as there were no tracks on it due to the wind. Made for some nice photos.
Short hike to the bridges
Looking up at Gemini Bridges.
Old road that died.
It would have been fun to take a more challenging trail - but for the Dads out there reading this (especially those with little girls) spending a day with your little two year old can be just as challenging and just as much fun. I would not trade this day for any others.
A trip to Moab with a Jeep would not be complete without hitting Hells Revenge. This trail packs in a lot from beginning to end! I ran this trail with Dax & Jason - two JF members. It was the first time running it for each of us and we had a blast. The trail wastes no time getting your blood pumping! The climbs and drops were very steep and fun (and a little frightening too). There are parts of this trail that requires you climb a steep section adjacent to a big drop off - going up a steep section of slick rock and looking in your mirror and seeing these drops can make nasty images of bent steel run through your mind.
Heading up a fin a the beginning of the trail
One of the steep little climbs
One of the rocky drops
The "Black Hole" is an area of the trail that runs along a big cliff - there is a dark shadow created from this cliff hence - the name Black Hole. The scary part is that the trail runs right along the edge of this cliff and you have to go between a tree and the cliff edge. Then make a sharp turn and go up a steep hill.
Here is a shot showing that spot on the trail
This photo is taken looking out the window from the spot in the photo above.
Another steep climb
Checking out what we just came up
We ate lunch at the end loop overlook and checked out Hells Gate on foot. We decided not to try it since none of us had done it before or felt comfortable spotting the other. Here is a photo taken from the over look.
One of the many off camber turns into a steep hill - at times like these I was giving thanks to Vanco.
After a few more fun climbs and drops we came to the hot tubs. One is crazy steep (the one with all the youtube video flips) and the other was much easier. We did the easy one....
My son checking out the crazy one... "Come on Dad, lets do it!" He was constantly trying to get me to do the crazy stuff. This thing is almost straight up! We did see a guy go down into it, but he could not get out and had to back out.
This tub was a lot of fun
Don't have a good photo of it, but this was steep enough to bring the front tires off the ground
On our way down - As I said before, this trail is fun start to finish.
We also skipped Escalator - that thing was nasty looking - Looks much worse in person. I don't think I would have came through that without some good amounts of damage.
My time in Moab was quickly running out and several people had recommended Poison Spider to me so I talked Dax & Jason into running this trail on Friday. What a great trail - this ended up being my favorite that I ran while in Moab. It had everything! Ledges, sandy roads, slick rock climbs, sand dunes, views, challenging loose rock hills etc.... This is an absolute must do for anyone wheeling in Moab! Most of the obstacles also had several options of difficulty depending on your line - the water fall for example is quite easy to the right and really difficult 10 feet to the left - I took this one and many others somewhere in the middle. The only bumps my jeep took while in Moab was on this trail.
Trail head - not far at all from Moab
The trail starts off with a decent climb up a rough and rocky road - there are several ledges to climb with a decent sized one about 2/3 the way to the top. This was the ledge that I nailed my bumper on going up and later going down. Jason who had a rental JK Rubi buried his bumper into some rock going up the same spot and the bumper did not look so good after.
Rental Jeep - oops! I guess this is how Alabama boys roll.
Coming up the "Waterfall"
Climb near the Waterfall
Many slick rock climbs
The "Wedgie" - This one worried me a little since I could not see exactly where my tires were going and I was hoping that I would not slide down on one side.
Saturday, my last day in Moab was a little bit of a downer but I tried to make the best of it... It was just us so we planned to hit one of the easier difficult trails (as rated by Wells) - we were planning to run Hidden Canyon - Bartlett Overlook. We woke up to snow and really cold temps so we decided to just do Bartlett which was supposed to only take a couple hours. Once off road, it was nasty - mud flying everywhere.... We stayed with our plan and did the trail but much of the time I was wondering how long it would take to get the mud off - I hate mud.
After Bartlett, we headed back into Moab and did Fins again - but this time it was just us. After Fins & Things, we drove over and took a look at Potato Salad Hill - I was amazed how much different it looked from the videos and photos I have seen. No one else was around even though this was the first day of EJS. I would consider trying this hill if could watch someone else do it a time or two. I am not saying it looked easy, but it looked more doable than I had thought it would. After that, I headed to the car wash and spent about an hour trying to get all of the mud off. That stuff is different than the mud I am used to - it is really hard to get off once it dries!
The scene waking up Saturday morning! I thought this was April in Moab?
Took a wrong turn on our way to Bartlett Overlook and came across Dubinky Well
Spring Break in Moab.
Fins & Things is always fun and there was NO MUD!
Potato Salad Hill - Next time in Moab! Much steeper than it looks in this first photo.
It was a little depressing waking up on Sunday knowing my wheeling in Moab was over. I had packed up the night before so it was just a matter of waking up and hitting the road. Before long the sun came out and it appeared that it would be a nice day in Moab - ugh! I really wanted to run Cliff Hanger but had to get going... The drive home was uneventful except for a blown trailer tire near Mountain Home (Idaho). I was driving along at about 75 and "BOOM". 30 minutes later we were back on the road headed for home. Unfortunately, little if any snow melted while we were gone so I am back in my winter wonderland... Ugh... Looking forward to getting back to Moab next Spring!
Packed up and ready to leave
On the way to Green River - sun was out. Moab and the Jeep in the mirror. Jeep on the trailer shadow - see you next year Moab!