Having coordinated the 4th Annual JeepsUnlimited Moab Run in 2004, I opted to just be a participant in this year’s run and lead a few trail runs if need be.  As in the other JU runs that Donna and I have attended, we made new friends and got a chance to renew acquaintances with others that we’ve not seen since the previous year.  Attendance was down this year (compared to last) but what we lacked in quantity, we certainly made up for in quality. 

We had the chance to share a number of trails with some folks from Texas.  Chuck and Tammy and their friend Donnie made their first trip to Moab but I have a feeling it won’t be their last.  As luck would have it, they also stayed at the same motel as Donna and I so we got a chance to chat off the trail as well as on the trail.  I look forward to sharing more trail time with them, hopefully later this year.

This year’s trip mileage total 1154 miles.  I burned a total of 75.7 gallons of gasoline which turns out to be 15.24 MPG.  This includes the trip up and back and six days on the trail at Moab.  Not too bad when you consider the fact that I pulled my 6′ off-road trailer on the trip. 

And so, with no particular order for the pictures, here are some of my favorites from our 2005 Moab run with our friends from the JeepsUnlimited on-line forum.

Here’s a picture of Donnie coming down Moab Rim.  This is the Devil’s Crack obstacle.  He’s making it look easy with his Full Traction 6″ lift and 37″ tires.  Donnie told me his next modification is to replace the quick disconnects with a sway bar.  I think he was fairly impressed with my new SwayLOC.  If he doesn’t get that, he’ll probably get a Currie Anti-Rock.  This was Donnie’s first trip from Texas to Moab and he promised he will be doing it again.

This was the 1st year that our two dogs, Syra and Angle, accompanied us to Moab.  Needless to say, the long days on the trail took its toll.  They were extremely tired and were very happy to take the day off on Wednesday.  Donna snapped this picture when she caught them sleeping in late.  Syra (the brown one) is usually up at o’dark:30 but this time she wasn’t budging one bit. 

We had never been down the trail that leads to the Secret Spire, so we made an easy day of it and checked it out.  My power steering pump started to croak on the previous day’s run and I wasn’t looking for a trail where I would regret being stranded if it went out.  I had a new pump over-nighted and installed it the following day before hitting the last trail for the week.  We also visited a nice overlook on the Spring Canyon Point Trail that took us out to the Green River.  A cool place called the Dellenbaugh Tunnel was also on the agenda for this day.  All in all, a great day to spend with our friends.


A nice picture of Matt flexing his way across the Golden Crack.  I was totally impressed with his home made lift.  His YJ sports a SOA front end and a long arm coil sprung rear end.  I think the rear uses a set of triangulated rear uppers.  It was his first Moab run and he was smiling just about every time I saw him.

Meet Chuck and Tammy, our new found friends from Texas.  They trailered their TJ from the Texas coast along with Donnie’s.  I think Chuck said he was getting about 8 MPG with his tow rig.  OUCH!   As chance had it, they stayed at the same motel we were at so we got to know them pretty well.  Donna and I are looking forward to spending more trail time with them.

While running the Golden Spike, Mike decided to take a chance near the edge of the rim.  It is several hundred feet down at that point.  I hope he set his parking brake on his TJ.  <grin on> Hate to see a good Jeep go over the side like that!  <grin off>

Moab 2005

We spent the day on Metal Masher.  Here, Joel spots Todd and his quite capable YJ to the top of Rock Chucker.  Joel had just climbed to the top of this optional obstacle.  His YJ is in the background.

Ernie was the only long wheel base member of our week long group.  He drove his Commanche every where we went and once again managed to get a rocker panel (I think it was on a ledge on Golden Spike if I remember correctly).  We got this picture of him as we worked his way down Moab Rim with a light drizzle of rain coming down.  He is just clearing the Devil’s Crack.

Mike finishes up the bottom leg of the Z-turn on Moab Rim (same drizzle coming down as in Ernie’s pic).  While it doesn’t look very tough here, his left front tire is about to drop into a sizable hole.  The last part of this obstacle puts you off-camber to the driver’s side…..drop your front tire into a hole….hit the brakes when it surprises you….OOPS…..over you go (seen pics of those that followed that very recipe for a roll over).  Mike and the rest of the group navigated it all without incident.

Before Sunday’s rain started in the afternoon, I snapped a picture of the Moab Rim crew as we paused after clearing the Z-Turn while coming up the nasty mile.  There is nothing better than a hot cup of coffee (I like mine black, please), weather  that require you to wear a jacket, and a lot of barking tires on the off-camber slick rock as you work your way to the top of the rim.  Watch your step….its a long way down to the highway below.

No trail report with pics is complete without at least one good rear view mirror photo.  I caught Trina creeping around a rock along the edge of Moab Rim.  Don’t swing too wide on that turn or it may be your last one! 

We all just finished crossing the Golden Crack….probably THE most photographed obstacle on the trail.   While Mike was taking a picture of the group, we decided he didn’t have enough crack pictures….one more certainly wouldn’t hurt, right?   Hey, did anyone see my contact lens? 

Moab 2005

Speaking of the Golden Crack, here is a picture of Steve getting his TJ over the crack.  He got half way across and kind of didn’t go any further.  After consulting the FAQ, we determined that the rear ARB should be engaged.  Once it was, forward progress was restored and Steve made fast work of this obstacle.

Mark pilots his TJ up Launch Pad, another landmark obstacle on the Golden Spike Trail.  No, this picture is NOT exaggerated…..this is just how it is.  You line up at the bottom of the slickrock fin, point your vehicle straight ahead, and grab a big bunch of sky for about 10~12 seconds while you claw your way to the top.  It’s not bad until you hit the bump that is about 3/4 of the way to the top….but don’t nail it too hard….wheelies at this point are NOT a good option.

Ernie decides that Tim is not getting enough air coming out of the Wedgie, another popular obstacle on the Poison Spider  Mesa trail.  So he does what any helpful Jeeper would do….he grabs the front bumper and pushes up on it just to make sure Steve’s pucker factor reached its limit.  Gotta love friends like that, right?

The parking lot (aka., Jeeper air down spot) at the start of the Poison Spider Mesa trail.  We grouped up here for last minute adjustments (change shock settings, do the disconnects, lock hubs, let some air out of the tire, etc.) before we headed out for the longest trail of our trip, the Golden Spike.  To run the Spike, you run about a 1/3 of Poison Spider Mesa, cut over to the Golden Spike, and finish up running the Gold Bar Rim trail backwards.  Makes for a long day with a good sized group, but it is always fun.

Trina gave Jill a ride up Widow Maker…..she is getting in position at the base of the rock.  Widow Maker is one of the notable obstacles on the Metal Masher Trail.  We all took a turn on the end of the stap.  About 6 of us got on the strap and helped Joel (first up) to the top of the rock ledge and then one by one we strapped the next vehicle up.  This is one obstacle that favors a longer wheel based vehicle.

Hey, here is one of me, starting up the Z-Turn on Moab Rim.  This was the first year I ran the Moab trails with my half doors and a soft top.  I really enjoyed the TJ set up in that fashion.  We carried the upper doors in the rear, secure in a Raingler Net that was slung from the roll bar.  Worked great! 


Well, that is about it.  There are dozens and dozens more pictures of the group but I’ve not got the space to put them all up here.  I hope you’ve enjoyed browsing a few select pics from the week’s activities. 

Hope you can make it next spring when the 6th Annual JeepsUnlimited Moab Run hits the trails again!

The Cracks

I got an e-mail from a local AZVJC club member who also happens to be my tire guy at the Discount Tire store that I frequent.  He asked if I wanted to join him and a few friends for a run at the Cracks.  The Cracks are a good 3+ hour drive from my place but it was going to be one of the last weekends to run it before the summer heat came to stay.  I set the alarm clock for o’dark:30 and was gassed and heading down the freeway with the two dogs in back by 6:00 AM.  After a few stops to let the dogs do their relief thing, I caught up to the group as they waited on the trail for one other person.  I quickly aired down and slipped the t-case into 4:1 for some Moab style fun.  Moab???  Yeah, the neat thing about the Cracks is that if you didn’t know better, you would swear you were wheelin’ on some of the Moab trails.  The landscape is quite similar and the rocks bark the MT/Rs just like the sandstone at Moab.  One of the wives has even stenciled some white lizards onto the rocks to mark the trail, just like you see on various slickrock trails at Moab. 

Well, now you see why it is called “The Cracks”.  A large part of the area is sliced and diced like this with big cracks running through the bedrock.  Some are pretty small and others are pretty big.  This one was kind of average in size. 

In some cases, the cracks are big enough that trees grow out of them….and you could easily drop your Jeep into one too!  OOPS!   Every now and then, the narrow deep cracks will catch an unsuspecting animal, such as a young calf.  The animal will drop down several feet, wedged between the sides of the crack.  You can imagine what the end result is.  Hey, no one ever said Mother Nature was a sweet ol’ gal.  You’ll see the bones (if you look hard enough) as you wander around.

A couple of the short buses that were in the group.  I believe my buddy from Discount Tire was driving one of them and I his son was piloting the other. 

Coming down off one of the many ledges that make up the trail.  Like I said, very typical of ledges you would find at Moab, like on the Gold Bar Rim or Golden Spike trails.

The Cracks

In some of the larger cracks (the ones you can drop several vehicles in to), the local birds of prey may build a nest, as was done here.  We saw one circling around while we were near the nest.  Sorry, I don’t know what it was (falcon, hawk, etc.)…but it was pretty good sized.

One of the folks managed to get far enough over the ledge to snap this picture of the nestlings.  When they thought we were gone, they got pretty vocal, crying for their parents and most likely wanting something to eat.  Heck, it was near lunch time and I was getting hungry myself! 

We found one crack that looked as though it could be crossed.  This is JimF, a good friend of mine, giving it a try.  I love the photo angle here as it makes it look like it is almost impossible to cross (and when you drive it, you really believe it!).

So pretty soon it was my turn to take a try at this crack.  Someone was nice enough to snap a few pics as I went across.

Half way across….I paused to snap a picture of the “crack dwellers”.  They are kind of like bag people only they hang out in groups in the cracks.  Actually, the guy closest to me is Rick, my buddy from the tire shop.  He was shooting some crack video.

Oh yeah….almost got the rear clear of the crack.  If you are off to the driver’s side just a bit too far, you’ll drop a tire into the abyss and then you will be in a situation that won’t be fun.

Syra and Angle take a break in the shade.  This was near the end of May and we were having abnormally high temps.  By mid-day, the rocks and dirt were heating up…..a tough go for the dogs.  They rode back to camp with me in the back of the TJ and we called it a day.  Ledges had been climbed and cracks were crossed….good times were shared with friends (and dogs)….it just don’t get any better than that.

Thanks to Erik for leading the run and to Rick for the invite….and thanks to whoever snapped the pics that I acquired from someone’s on-line photo folder (maybe JimF’s).

Here is a short clip of video that was taken during the run.