Sunday, May 26, 2013

Fins 'N' Things - Learning What Our Stock Jeep Can Do

Moab, UT

Last Wednesday (5-22)...was to be a play with the pups day, laundry day, and grocery store day. We did make it to  the doggie park and played ball with Wrecks and Jack.

 When we returned home, the owner of Portal RV Resort, Doug Sorensen and his wife, Jane were working around the KOI pond.
 Joe went over to introduce himself and thank Doug for allowing us to bring our four pups. One thing led to another and soon the conversation was about Jeeps.

Next thing I knew, we were in the Jeep and following Doug...destination Fins 'N' Things...for a trip to learn the capabilities of our Jeep Wrangler and to gain a better understanding of how we would utilize it in the future. Another couple from the park, Leonard and Gayle joined us.

According to our Backroads & 4-Wheel
Drive Trails Guide, Fins 'N' Things is rated fourth down on the Difficult list...I sure didn't know that when we left home!

Doug's Jeep is really cool! He loves driving it! And, he was great at explaining what Joe needed to do to get the best performance from Pearl!
Joe was instructed to shift the transfer box to low and stay in first gear and use the clutch as little as keep it smooth so as not to bounce the suspension.

Also, we were told to follow close...5 to 6 feet behind Doug.                             

At first...we traveled over the slickrock. White spots and tire tracks mark the trail.

Then, the trail changed to rocks...we followed close and learned you don't straddle the rocks,  but rather pick a path that places your tires on them so as to keep the hood of the Jeep level as possible.

Leonard and Gayle were close behind us !

For the first decline, Doug went first...we all got out and watched. He parked and then directed Joe down...

 Joe waiting at the top of the slickrock decline...

For this obstacle, I chose to take pictures rather than ride.

Slow....slower......and even slower! If you look closely, you can see a lot of scrapes on the rock. With Doug's direction...Pearl had no scrapes!

I think Joe's hooked!

 After more dips and slickrock, we came to the really fun part...well for me it was fun, but I wasn't doing the work.

The biggest decline on Fins 'N' Things...a 68 degree decline!  Doug went first. Joe and I watched from the Jeep as he slowly disappeared!

I rode this one down with my pictures are of Leonard. That's the most vertical I have ever been in a vehicle...

 The truck in the left picture followed Leonard down...

 One more decline...the first part was not so steep with a leveled out section, then a steep decline and a drop off to sand.

Up, down and around with a lot of tricky spotting to navigate over, through and by much fun! I think I am hooked too!

The last part of the trail was through sand and sharply banked S curves and we were done!  I wish I could have captured more pictures throughout this adventure, but it was impossible to hold on and use the camera.

Here are our major "takeaways" from the "Doug Sorensen Experience". Take a guided tour with a professional or otherwise experienced 4 X 4 off roader to better determine how extreme your off roading is likely to be. This will enable you to better understand the modifications, if any, you will want to make to your ride.  After our Fins "N" Things ride, Doug introduced us to Jim Horne of Moab's Outlaw Jeep Tours ( who helped us determine what modifications we should consider making to Pearl.  Jim and his team build extreme 4 X 4 vehicles and also maintain their fleet of rental Jeeps.  Like Doug, he is a passionate rock crawler and off roader.  Their obvious love and passion for the sport coupled with their clear desire to help us select only the modifications essential for our 4 X 4 goals, made the decision to move forward easy.



  1. That sounded like a real fun ride. Nice that you had an expert along to guide you. Now think of all the places you will be headed too!


  2. Very cool!!! That was great to have Doug take you out and give you a few lessons. That definitely helps. It is amazing what these stock Jeeps can do. Now you must visit Anza Borrego State Park east of San Diego. We had some outstanding Jeep trips combined with hiking. One day we drove 15 miles of real Jeep road with three water crossings to a five mile hike to some ruins. The park is the second largest in the US and just a Jeep/hiker paradise. The campground at the park is very nice and has full hookups. There website says 30' limited but that isn't try. The sites are 70' pull throughs. You just have to put 30' on the form. Old rule never changed. The park was full of Big Rigs. We used a "Foot in a Field" as our guide book. Check back on our blog at the beginning Jan. You would love it with your Jeep!!

    Good luck trying out the trails. Can't wait to see what is next.

  3. Oh Oh I see some off roading in your future!!!

  4. What great class! Hands on is the best way to learn. Now you're prepared for most trails.

  5. Next thing we'll be seeing you running the Baja. LOL. Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.