Trip Leaders – Mike and Laura Whittington
Mike & Laura Whittington
Bob & Judy Boltner
Bob & Kathy Besch
Bruce Phillips and daughter, Rebecca
Chad & Joanna Oellien
Gary, Rene Charman and daughter, Carley
Garth & Niki Thomas
Jerome Blunck & Brenda Karczag
Joe & Orit Picker
Rich & Corkey Wohlers
Mike and Terey Sidlinger
Brian and Jan Kenny
Bob and Diane Marshal
Dean and Daunne Fraley
Most everybody arrived on Saturday and got settled in, got their vehicles ready and enjoyed the company of others. The rest arrived on Sunday.
The weather was perfect all week.
We did a few new trails this year: Cameo Cliffs, Jax Trax, Fins and Things and Seven Mile Rim. And a few old favorites: Hells Revenge, Golden Spike and Where Eagles Dare.
Sunday – Cameo Cliffs and Jax Trax. Well… we completed Jax Trax but not Cameo Cliffs. These trails are connected together and located about 25 miles south of Moab. They’re rated as difficult but pretty low on the difficulty list. This was the first time any of us had been in this area. The trails consisted of sand, slick rock, lots of Juniper trees and cows, along with great views of the LaSal Mountains.
All started well until about half way through Jax Trax when we hit the first obstacle. Jerome started up the first step and suddenly rear drive went no go. He thought he broke a driveshaft until he looked underneath his Jeep. Both of the rear control arms broke! When this happened, the drive shaft was forced into an abnormal position breaking both u-joint straps. Turns out both arms were cracking for some time and went unnoticed. Jerome recently lengthened the control arms when he switched from a TJ to LJ and moved the suspension over. The additional leverage created by the lengthened arms combined with existing cracks caused the failure. The control arms were removed and taken back to camp by Jerome, Bob Boltner and the Oelliens for welding by Bob. The rest of the group continued on.
Then, John Labbett announced that he didn’t have power steering. His power steering pump shaft seized up in the pump! Great… let’s get our breakdowns over early in the week then it will be clear sailing. That ended our day on the trail. I towed John back to the highway where it was left until John and Bob Marshal returned later in the day to retrieve it with Bob’s trailer.
That night, after Bob Boltner did a temporary repair on Jerome’s control arms, Bob, Jerome, Chad and I returned to Jerome’s Jeep and reinstalled the control arms. Jerome drove back to camp on front drive only. We got back around midnight. BTW… Jerome wheeled the rest of the week on those repaired control arms!! Amazing work Bob Boltner! I thought those arms were trash.
John Labette called PSC Steering on Monday and overnight expressed a new pump. He had it going again on Tuesday night ready for Wednesday.
Monday – Fins and Things. With a day like Sunday, we needed an easy day on Monday. Fins and Things is like a mini Hell’s Revenge Trail. In fact, it’s located just east of HR. This was another new trail for the group. The trail is fairly short with a lot of sand and a lot more slick rock. The best part was the last fourth of the trail. I’ll call this the roller coaster. Lots of ups, downs, etc.
Tuesday – Hells Revenge. One of our favorite trails with lots and lots of slick rock and many obstacles. The day was perfect. Most everyone did Hells Gate and several of us did The Escalator.
We all met for dinner (34 people) at Moab Brewery.
Wednesday – Golden Spike and Where Eagles Dare. This is my personal favorite in Moab. GS/WED is a long trail with lots of fun from start to finish. There are lots of great obstacles and breathtaking views of the area near the Colorado River and Canyonlands northwest of Moab. The slick rock climbs and descents seem impossible but we do them the entire day. There’s a great viewpoint at the Colorado River overlook where the railroad tracks heading over to Potash come out of the tunnel below you. If everything goes well, you can be back in camp by 5:00. It didn’t, and we didn’t. We were making great time through the first half, then Gary Charman announced that he didn’t have front axle drive, nada. Turns out that the front drive shaft was too short for the lift. When full articulation occurred, the front OEM driveshaft pulled out of the splined shaft. The factory driveshaft, when installed is held together by a snap ring. The snap ring failed when the driveshaft came out and the only thing holding it in place was a rubber boot. Gary was able to use 4L (now in 2L) and when needed (a lot) Gary either winched or was strapped by Bob Besch’s Hemi V8. Bob Boltner finally pulled the front driveshaft when we got off the trail. (A big thanks to the two Bobs on this day). Then Gary drove the rest of the way back to town in 2H. We got back to camp around 10:30 PM. That was the end of Gary’s of jeeping.
Thursday – Too tired from yesterday. We all decided it would be a good day to abstain from trail running. We either hung out in camp, did a bit of vehicle maintenance, headed over to one of the National Parks, walked around town visiting the tourist traps or did a bit of hiking or bicycle riding.
Friday – Seven Mile Rim. This was another new trail for the group and surprisingly, a lot of fun. SMR was a great way to cap off the week. Not all that challenging but as with the other trails, beautiful scenery, great overlook of the Grand Valley and the LaSal mountains. We even visited an arch called Uranium Arch.
On Saturday, we all packed up and headed for home. Sure we had a few mishaps but that’s part of the game and we all know it. It certainly didn’t dampen this great trip. When we run into a glitch, we all jump in and find a solution. On The Rocks is the best. We all had a great time and look forward to our next grand adventure.