Sunday, April 23, 2017

Easter Jeep Safari and a Happy Jack !

Gopher Flats
Moab, UT
April, 2017

In the past few years it has been impossible to get   reservations in Moab for Easter Jeep Safari. Thanks to Dee, we were good to go this year and experience our first EJS.  Joe and I didn't sign up for any safari trails.  With all levels of skills and equipment it can be a very long day when 25 to 30 jeeps are participating.  In fact, some folks didn't get off trail until 10:30 pm.  Thats a long day ! 

I did however have have an awesome day riding along with Dee on the first of four Pritchett Trail runs the first Sunday of the safari.  Jeff, a friend and past MFFW president was our leader with Dee, Melissa (our current president), Gary, and Larry as gunners.  What a great team.  It was amazing to watch them in action as they maneuvered everyone up the most difficult obstacles I have seen.  No one broke and only 2 army hummer and a well built Dodge pick-up had to get strapped.  We were even off the trail and home by 4:30 !

Jeff spots a jeep up Chewy which is one of the first obstacles.  The picture doesn't do this obstacle justice is very ledgy and tippy.

Rocker Knocker is the scariest to me. I like tippy, but this is way tippy as you move along sideways on the ledge before you actually climb it.

If that's not enough, there are lots more challenges on this 4.2 mile extreme trail...Brickyard, Rock Pile with the only bypass on the trail called Son of Rock Pile, Axel Hill, and Yellow Hill all with huge tippy ledges.  Charles Wells and his crew chose to ride along with MFFW for the photo shoot which is in his Guide To Moab, UT Backroads and 4-Wheel-Drive Trails. 

The vendors come out in full force during EJS.  The inside and outside areas at the Old Spanish Trail Arena are packed with all sorts of jeep stuff from parts and accessories, t-shirts, clubs from all over the country, hard-core jeeps, and I even saw a doggie booth full of doggie jeep gear.  Names I recognized were Fox, Currie, PSC, Poison Spyder, EVO, Torque, Hercules, and Nitto. 

And look who we ran into...our friends Jedd and Camilla from Hercules Tires.  Joe likes their new 37" trail tire and when its time to replace the Nittos on Pearl, we will likely buy Hercules. 

We made one purchase...a pair of 4" flood lights for Wile E's front bumper for sunset and night rides...from Quake Led.
There was also a display of new jeep concept vehicles "down on Main Street".  This Wrangler gives passengers a better view with translucent doors and roof.  

My favorite, Jeep Quicksand, looks more like a hot-rod.  It has 32" tires in front and 37" tires in the back.

Joe takes a few minutes to "study" the 3.6-Liter Pentastar Engine that we have in Pearl.
It wasn't nearly as congested as I thought it would be in Moab.  I heard about 900 jeeps participated in this years trails.  We usually stopped by the City Market early right after the gym and even managed a Lionsback  breakfast at the Diner one morning.

Another highlight around Gopher Flats is a beautiful green doggie run.  Yep, our puppies are in heaven romping around on a carpet of plush green fescue sod. 

 Even Sally has done a sprint or two.
Dover on the other hand, loves to just lay in the cool grass and watch the world go peaceful !  

 Jack is one happy pup !

Good catch little buddy !

That's it for now.  Until next time...

  HAPPY TRAILS !  Go, Jack, go...

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Wile E

Gopher Flats
Moab, UT

Pearl, our 2013 JK, has been an awesome jeep.
Moab Rim...October 2016

All the modifications we have made to her have allowed us to successfully do some really hard obstacles on some difficult trails.  Not one time (knock on wood) has she faltered or spent time in the shop for repairs.  

Last October, we decided it was time to give Pearl a rest and invest in a jeep we could take out and enjoy without having to worry about breaking our only means of transportation.  

We found a 1988 YJ a friend had for sale and so the adventure began.

Work began at M4O (Moab 4X4 Outpost) before we left for the winter.  Below is our Dana 60 front axle being fitted with a M4O truss.

 New King coilover shocks being installed.  

And then, new Nitto 40" trail grappler tires were installed.

M4O installed PSC hydraulic steering...

and checked out all the running lights.

We headed out to run Hell's Revenge but discovered significant oil leaks at the trail head.  It took major will power to use good judgement and return Wile E back to M4O where we left it with Steve Nance and his crew to give the YJ a good going over during the winter.  Note the tire stickers didn't even get worn off.

So when we returned to Moab in mid March, we found Wile E  ready to hit the trail with a re-built head & valve train assembly, M4O doors and a brand new freshly painted hood.

Here we are bringing Wile E. through the gate at Gopher Flats for the first time !

We've run the north side of Fins n' Things once,  backward (south to north) Steelbender twice, and the Steelbender Loop once.  All those trails are close to home...just in case.  We've made several trips to town (at my request 'cause I'm loving it) and and in-between had Wile E back to M4O to change out rear coilerover springs and add bump stops, extend the exhaust pipe, and tweak the Teraflex transfer case linkage.
Our first pictures of Wile E on trail...thanks Dee !

So the fun begins...until next time, 


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Corona Arch

Gopher Flats
Moab, UT
April 11, 2017

Hiking to Corona Arch is one of my favorite things to do in Moab.  We haven't done this trail since our son Joe and DIL Jena were here in June, 2015.  It was time, and yesterday was the day !

With highs expected in the mid seventies, we were up and at the trailhead a little before 10:00 am.  The parking lot only had two other vehicles...perfect !  

Corona Arch Trail is rated moderate.  It's an in and out 3 mile roundtrip trail that follows Bootlegger Canyon.  The trail begins with a climb up a rocky talus slope, that changes to sand and then climbs a shallow rocky canyon.  From there its a trek across sloping slickrock with cairns showing the way.  There is very little shade on this trail...spring and fall are perfect months to explore here.      

In one spot, Moki steps and a cable make climbing a steep slickrock ledge a lot easier.
A ladder is used to climb up another steep slickrock bench.  I love the gnarly cedar tree that stands all alone at the top.  A cable for the ladder wraps around the base of the tree.    

Corona Arch is magnificent with an opening that measures 140' X 105'.  I was glad to see signs restricting rope usage on the arch.  It has been a popular spot for rappelling.  An added bonus on the hike is Bowtie Arch.  It's a pothole arch formed when a pothole above filled with water and eroded down into a cave below.

Bowtie Arch...

I climbed up to the base of Bowtie Arch and found Moon Flowers growing in the moist soil.

Corona Arch...
A zoomed in photo of Joe looking up at Corona Arch.

Same photo not zoomed in.
If you look closely, you can see me walking under the arch. 

And an up shot... 
All along the way to and from the arches, we enjoyed the warm sunshine and signs of spring along the way.  Reds and oranges were the colors of the day.  The Hedgehog cacti were quite stunning...

as were the Indian Paintbrush.

It's amazing how these plants grow in a small clump of dirt in the middle of slickrock.

A little bit of yellow...
A Stemless Woollybase (in the Sunflower Family)
and a butterfly add to the magnificent little things all around us.

Oh and there were whites too.   
Tomentose Amsonia

Well, I can't say enough about what an awesome day it was.
Until next time,