I started this adventure while I was in Afghanistan in 2015, I decided that I was going to do an epic tour around the country or as much of it as I could and I was going to hit Moab, which was on my bucket list, during the trip. First I had to get out of Afghanistan. LOL… I did. I was offered a job doing documentation for the Marine Corps; it also afforded me the opportunity to have the freedom to work anywhere. That solidified the trip in my mind. Now I just needed to plan it out and get whoever wanted to go to show up.
TheJeepMafia gets involved, after I announced my intentions of US Jeep Tour, it morphed a couple times into different things as with any plan, they change, long story short, it was advertised and socialized and people jumped on board and people jumped off. Plans were made and when hotels were booked it became real. I was actually going to go to Moab. The whole trip never started as the epic adventure that is ended up being as you will find out as I continue to write this journey.
The road trip began on June 25, 2016 about 5am from Albany, GA. I had a delivery to make first. I had been dog sitting for my in-laws while they were on vacation. So I had a very nervous 13yr old dog in the back seat, she stood the whole 3 hrs to Atlanta where I dropped her off. LOL
Next I had a pickup to make and I had some bootlegging to do. I had promised one of TheJeepMafiosos (@KingpinBobby) that I would bring him some beer that he couldn’t get in his home state. So first I had to stop at Walmart and decorate Jake with “Headed to Moab”.
Then the liquor store and load up.
With Jake’s window labeled and beer loaded it was time to hit the road.
So I headed down the road and first states I passed through were Tennessee, Kentucky and Illinois. One note while I was going through Tennessee, a White Rubicon JKU with some pink accents passed me, of course a nice looking JeepGirl driving it. So, I decided she was getting koozied. I sped up and grabbed a koozie and waved it at them, the passenger really looked disinterested, the driver was waving and loving it. She said something to the other girl and she finally rolled the window down. I inched over to them, mirrors about 4 inches apart at about 70 mph I put them into her hand and she squeezed and pulled them into the Jeep… Big waves and smile from the JeepGirl. The 1st high speed highway koozie! I was only passing through these states so nothing to exciting to report besides the high speed koozie.
So when I passed into the “communist state of Illinois” as a friend of mine who lives in Illinois used to say, I remember, I have weapons and armor in the Jeep. Uh oh… don’t get pulled over, don’t speed, don’t make eye contact with the police.
While I was in Illinois I passed an exit for INA “INA 1/2 Mile” I remember tweeting it and making a joke about it.
Well I made it through with no incidents. Thankfully.
Heading out of Illinois and into Missouri I was off to see @spencer_74 in St. Louis, Shannon was great, we chatted for a few minutes and got a picture, funny story, I had to wedge my phone on a sign post and set the timer to get the picture. Hey, whatever it takes. I took off and met up with the only traffic I encountered, on the whole trip (in hindsight), in St. Louis.
So I was on my way to see and crash out at @SolarTJChick house, which she has an absolutely fantastic family, they took me out to dinner and we sat and talked about Jeeps and just chilled out. A note about Lynda’s house, they were worried about the dog liking me or not (Rest her soul), she loved me. Everyone was shocked. I was happy.
The next day before we took off and had a little photo shoot Lynda cooked breakfast and it was awesome!
After the photo shoot we went for ice cream which was the highlight of the morning. I koozied 4 Jeeps right around Dairy Queen. #KoozieTheWorld. Home Made Breakfast and Ice Cream, what a day.
So we went back to the house and as I backed in clipped her basketball goal by the driveway and snapped my flagpole off the Jeep… LOL! 1200 miles and I get in an accident in her driveway. Sorry, no picture I was too emotional.
Solar had to take me to their famous local tree, an over 500 yr. old Oak tree. It was pretty cool. I let Solar drive Jake and of course during a drought she found the only mud puddle and Jake was dirty… LOL
We also passed a road and I notice the name, she said she had driven passed it many times and never noticed, “Jake’s Bluff”. So we stopped and I got a picture.
We got back to the house and I took a closer look at Olaf just as a precaution, I noticed a couple things that could be issues and she said she would have them looked at. Overall, Olaf was looking stout and strong. I got my stuff and said my goodbyes and headed for Springfield and my next Mafia meetup with @JeeperMel and @KingpinBobby.
I got to Springfield with no issues even though as I passed by Lake of the Ozarks I checked in on FaceBook (FB) just so people could tell where I was. Later I found out it had checked me into a Hotel. LOL Oh well, that’s what happens when you check-in while driving.
So I get to Robert and Mel’s house and I was met with the most hospitality ever, they had a sign in their Garage Bar Welcoming Me and Jake. Way Cool!
So Robert showed me around his bar, I think I had an awesome beer and he demonstrated his stereo, phenomenal, on 3 I couldn’t even hear anything! He said it went to 30… I think things would have fallen off the neighbor’s shelves across the street, LOL.
I delivered my bootlegging cargo and kept a 12 pack of Black and Tan to be given to @ReturnCheck in Moab.
We decided to go to dinner and have some brew and chat, so we went to the Springfield Brewery, got some good food and had some good beers, when we left, we wanted a picture, so Robert and I laid down on the sidewalk and got a picture in front of the door near the historical marker in front of the brewery Too Cool… I thought, “I could seriously party all night with these two”, but I had to get back on the road and they had to get to sleep for the late shift. So we called it a night and I headed off down the road.
Next stop would have been Tulsa to see @iwata77, @laurie988 and @kricketjeeper but a lot happened and that meetup was cancelled. What happened you ask, well, Life, Work and a wreck all excuses were accepted.
Next stop was a rest stop in the middle of Kansas the most exciting and scenic states I drove through at night, can you feel the sarcasm? I did koozie a Black JKU at the rest stop before I went to sleep… LOL
I woke up and got on the road, a Monster for breakfast and it was hammer down and get to Colorado, but first a stop to catch the Sunrise with Jake
and I come upon Exit 277 “Jeep Road”, a picture of course!! But I had to drive off the highway and up the little hill and park next to the sign for a proper picture.
Then I chased a storm for a few hours, I never got wet but the area in front of me did, glad it was gone by the time I got there. I was still hauling the 12 pack of Black and Tan although I looked at it a lot and really could have used one from time to time.
Colorado… Here I come.
I wasn’t at my friend’s house for 30mins after 1900 miles and he said, “Let’s go for a ride and find something close.” I almost laughed and we found one from the Mafia Map about 35 minutes away, Devil’s Head Loop Trail, it ended up being pretty cool.
I koozied 4 Jeeps and found the biggest boulder I have ever seen.
Flexed the Jeep out on another rock shelf and it looked like Jake was take flight with one wheel in the air with nothing under him.
So this was a work and play trip… I was actually on the clock for my project during the day and at night we (Norm and I) would take off and hit trails or do something Jeep related. Then on the weekends we were off to the mountains and more Jeeping and trail riding.
In between the work and mountain trails I was trying to meet as many Mafia Members as I could while I was in whatever area of the Country I was in. So the next MafiaMeetup was with @yavibecca and @wdfaDecal (John) a husband and wife team with a KJ Liberty, we met up at Panera and talked Jeeps and photography, before they got there I was holding the spot for them. John was asking a lot of questions about CJs, he wanted to get one and do a build he just didn’t know if he wanted a CJ5 or CJ7, Becca was into photography and Jeeping. Great couple and lots of fun. But a bunch of us were headed to Wheeler Lake that weekend and they couldn’t make it because, “Liberty”.
During the “work” portion of the day, one particular day. I had to use Jake to haul some household things… LOL namely a mattress and box spring. I think I tweeted something like “Mall Crawling Mattress Mover” with a picture of the two secured to the top of Jake. It was funny we accomplished the task and moved on, it was a good day. Jake has to learn to multi-task. I found out my @gamountain_cord grab handles worked well for attaching the straps to for hold down points.
It was approaching the weekend and the initial plan was to go up to Dillion Lake, CO and go kayaking, so both kayaks went on top of Jake. It looked good, like they were meant to be there. Also made for a kickass picture.
We were on our way up to Buena Vista (BV) to stay the night with Norm’s brother Chris. But it was Thursday, we had to work. So we found a Starbucks on the way and we broke out the computers and we worked… Of course I see an XJ in the parking lot and I go koozie it, but low and behold it was the Barista in Starbucks’ Jeep. So I brought the Koozie in and got a picture with her (Alana) and me and the Pink Camo Koozie. It was a great time, making friends and influencing young jeepers to make the most of what she had in her Jeep. It didn’t take too much, she loved her Jeep and Jeeping.
So we are headed over to BV and as we go over Kenosha Pass (IMG_7803), we stopped and took some pictures of course. But parked at the pass was a pretty blue Prius almost the same color as Jake. So who cares you ask, “PriusLivesMatter” so I JeepMafia Koozied it (IMG_7802)! Just for a laugh, I’ll koozie anything. LOL
We have been driving for a while and of course we are in need of some sort of kick, so we stop at Java Moose Coffee House and Deli, great little place, I would recommend it as a pit stop.
After Java Moose we head up to the trail which takes us to Weston Pass, the first Pass we do with the kayaks on the top of Jake. As we get to the campground we stop and let the dog out to play in the stream, she has been very good to this point but she needs some fun also and she had a blast.
The very bumpy ride with highway air pressure jarred our teeth loose all the way to the top at 11,921ft. So I decided to take the air pressure down to about 20 psi and see how the remainder of the ride would be. I thought Norm was going to punch me when we hit the first bumps and we felt nothing. I laughed and said, “I guess I should have done that for the ride up”, LMAO.
We got some great pics on the way down. We had brought Norms’ Subaru up the backside as far as it could go in the snow in March, it was nice to see what the whole trail looked like.
I drove across some sage which smelled amazing to get some very nice shots of the Valley that we had just come down from.
In BV for the night we decided to go trail riding. Great fun at night. Usually LOL. Additionally in BV they have some tunnels you can drive through as part of the road, they used to be old railroad lines long since abandoned and turned into road. But great night time pictures and with all Jakes lights also great pictures, he kinda looked like a train coming down the tracks.
So on the trail ride we find a rock that looked like a nice place to park on and get a picture. Two kayaks on the Jeep and parked up on a rock.
No problem so I thought, I had like a ¼ tank of gas, when I came off the rock, I had been up there so long waiting to get the pictures. The fuel gauge had pegged out way passed empty. So we thought we were running out of gas because it wasn’t coming back up to where it was as we were driving. Uh Oh. Oh and we found out the road we needed to get out without going all the way back the way we came was blocked off…. Worry started to set in we were going to run out of gas. I think it was
Chris who dropped his phone and I stopped and we got out to look for it. When we started back on the trail again, the Fuel gauge had finally corrected itself, we all sighed relief.
We got out of the trail system and headed to town for a well-deserved beverage and something to eat. At the restaurant there were some boulders outside, so of course, “Hey, Kurt you can’t get up those can you” Silly guys… so another photo shoot of me climbing the rocks outside the restaurant. Good time.
We had been driving trails and in the dust of the mountains so much that I could write “MAFIA” in the dust on the dash, so of course I did.
The next day we got up early before work and went to breakfast at the world renowned “Evergreen Café of BV” it really is a fantastic place to eat with great hostesses. Also makes for a nice backdrop of the mountains in the distance for a picture.
Work time. We usually work at the Roastery in down town BV, they have a Great Drink I have fallen in Love with called a “Honey Badger” it is a nice Honey Latte with a nice dose of cayenne pepper in it which gives it a nice kick. I had worked for a few hours and was in need of a walk around break, so as I get to the other end of town I see this very nice Silver CJ7 Renegade and of course I koozie it. Then I head upstairs to Chris’s office where I had a meeting. Come to find out after the meeting, the Renegade was a friend of Chris’s and we walked down to the Jeep and he told me all about it, great family owned Jeep he was only the Second owner. So I brought Jake around and got a picture with the Old CJ7.
After talking to the owner of the CJ7, he suggested I go out and talk to the owner of Tomken Machine Shop, the local Jeep Speed shop. So I drove out there and had a tour of the shop and facilities. The owner was a great guy and Jeeper. They do a lot of custom builds. It was a nice break and still got to talk Jeeps with someone.(IMG_7879)
So workday is over, it is time to take of from BV and head to Dillion Reservoir for some kayaking, on the way out of town, I look to my left and there is a Big Buck grazing on the grass in downtown BV, yup this is Colorado, LOL.
First stop we had was in Climax, CO at 11,318ft they had a historic train setup as the monument to the town. If I knew more about the history I would tell you, but Jeeping is my thing not history… LOL
Next stop was a monument to the Highest Masonic Lodge in the USA. 10,518ft in the town of Kokomo, CO. I knew we were heading up when the temp started to drop from the nice 80’s to a nearly frigid 59 with the tube doors on, brrr
When we finally got to Dillion lake some weather had rolled in an that stopped us from going out on the lake. A couple dropped in with their kayaks and were back on shore after about 2 minutes, just too windy and water too choppy.
So we decided that it was time for lunch, we headed to Dillion Dam Brewery. Where I picked up a Dam Brewery Glass for “@KingPinBobby” and his magnificent Man-Cave Garage.
After Lunch we headed for Webster Pass since we had time from no kayaking trip. On the way up to Westin Pass we went through the small town of Montezuma and I found it funny, they have two stop signs, one stop sign said “Hammertime” under the STOP. Too funny, the other one had written “Stop stealing our stop sign” I guess that is a problem, lol.
We entered Arapaho National Forest to get to Webster Pass,
one of the highlights was going to be that we were going to cross the head waters of the Snake River, the river made famous by Evil Knievel. A lot of the trail up to Webster and passed Radical Hill was driving up a stream as the snow was still melting as a matter a fact at one point before the turn to Radical Hill we went through a snow bank which had been carved out to drive through.
But we did drive through the head waters of the Snake River which at the time was only about 2ft deep. No issues. We stopped and took pictures of Jake and the kayaks with Radical hill in the background.
The switchback up to Webster pass was very tight and in one spot actually had to back up and turn to get around the bend and stuffed the rear tire up in the fender well.
What we found at the top of Webster Pass was an impassable snow bank about 35ft wide and about 20ft deep.
To the Left of Webster Pass was the trail up to the top of Red Cone Peak, it was sign posted one way. It is very steep going in that direction but still doable. So we got back in the Jeep and headed up the trail and it was very steep. But I made it with no problem. Then I had a brilliant idea to go back down (walking) to Webster Pass and take photos of the Jeep while it was parked on top of the hill on the way to Webster Pass.Going down was no issue and it did let me get some awesome pictures. They hike back up to the Jeep, that was a test of will. We are at 12,103ft and I have a bad ankle, so not only did I limp back up the 400 yards to the Jeep but it took me 20 mins and I seriously thought my heart was going to explode and I couldn’t get enough air. I actually called Norm and got enough reception we talked and I told him to get in the Jeep and come and get me. But he said, “Hell no” He wasn’t driving my Jeep down the steep incline I had just drove up, I understood.
But I made it back to the top and just needed to rest and take some deep breathes for about 5 minutes, grabbed a monster and rested.
While standing there on the little hill before going up to Red Cone, I saw a break in the snow up the ridge a little ways by Webster Pass, which from this view looked like it was just steep drive down to the trail. We would investigate when we went back down to Webster. So we drove back down the incline to the pass and up the ridge to the spot to check it out. As we approached, I could see it was not going to happen. We got out and check it, not a bad incline, the issue was it was loose dirt and
rocks and once you dropped into it, there was going to be no braking it was going to be a uncontrolled slide. It was a No Go.
So back up the first incline towards Red Cone Peak. The trail to Red Cone was narrow and very steep to either side, we all know that no pictures ever do a trail or a ride justice, and when we got to the incline to the peak it was much steeper than the small incline I had walked up.
I was in 4L and 1st gear and I was approaching 4000 rpms, revving very high by making progress slowly, I decided to pop in into 2nd for a little more wheel speed, bad choice, I nearly stopped due to the incline, I immediately went back to 1st gear and just revved it out to the top.
Once at the top it was a peak and I didn’t see the trail turn to the left. I decided to stop and just have a look around. We got out and walked around and I noticed that if I would have went forward another 20ft, we would have got down to the bottom a lot quicker than we came to the top. The Red Cone peak is only 698ft higher than Webster Pass, 12,801ft, but the climb is incredible. The views we had from Red Cone were amazing, complete clear view 360 degrees. We took some great pictures and
headed back down the way we came, Norm joked and said, “You going to walk back down and get some pictures looking up at Red Cone?” , I won’t repeat my answer. LOL
On the way back down to Webster Pass and then back the way we came…
As we came down the steep incline to Webster for the third time… there were 5 or 6 White Mountain goats loitering round the Webster Pass sign, I got my 300mm zoom lens and my Nikon out because I thought they would bolt as soon as we got close.
No way, they really didn’t care that we were there, they were too busy licking the ground, no one said Mountain goats were smart… LOL As we drove by I got a picture of them pretty close up, later looking through the pictures, one I took a picture of looked like it was sticking its tongue out at me, too funny.
Once we got passed them, I stopped and got out, I was letting Norm drive back down the mountain for experience and I got a Selfie with the goats in the background. It ended up being pretty uneventful on the way back down.
As we went over the Continental Divide on the way back home at Loveland Pass 11,990ft we stopped for a picture of course and it was as the sun was going down so it was a great shot.
The next day I made a trip down to Colorado Springs to visit relatives and while I was in the area I drove down to Pueblo and hung out with @SkotCG and @TonyBacaPhoto and listened to the neighbors fire off fireworks and drink some local beers, It was all good after the downpour stopped.
The next day… I celebrated my 50th Birthday. It was a nice relaxing day… Annalisa had made me a Mint Chocolate Chip with walnuts and Oreo Cookie Ice Cream Cake! What a treat!!
My next event in the big trip was a get together that I had setup with some of the JeepMafia in Colorado, but for once reason or another mostly mechanical failures a few couldn’t make it. We were heading out to Wheeler Lake which is south of Breckenridge. First I had a meetup with XJ_Jeeper (Travis) and BrianGomerGalas, both are XJ Jeepers… Travis has a completely stock Jeep and Brians is pretty well build and capable. Brian was unable to make the trip due to an overheating
problem but he was able to come out and meet me and Travis at the Home Depot just off the highway to put faces to names.
After we ended our meetup and snagged a Home Depot employee to take our picture Travis and I headed to the meeting spot for the rest of the Wheeler Lake crew.
So we met up with Bryan Calcus (labancaxj) and his girl Sadie and a friend of Bryans Logan were all in Bryans White XJ. Jacob Kirby and Briana Reeves were in Red XJ and Justin Timmerman and Kris Ottack were along for the ride in a Toyota 4Runner.
We chatted for a bit and then hit the road we still had an hour or so to get to Wheeler and meet up with Ron Manders (mandersrobe) in a Black JKU Rubicon and Matt Brissey in a Beast of a yellow TJ with 1 tons. After my GPS system decided to take us the wrong way and head to Breckenridge, we turned around and followed Logan in Bryans XJ since they had been there before.
We arrived and Rob showed up with Zig Degroot as a passenger and Matt caught up to us on the second obstacle. We got a group pic and took our potty breaks and headed up the trail.
As we rolled out I stopped and Koozied a gorgeous looking CJ5.
Then we headed up the trail to the first obstacle which wasn’t too bad for most of us with lifts.
Just drove right up the rocks no problem, Travis in his stock XJ needed a little more coaxing, but he made it eventually. (DSC_5504)
The Second obstacle wasn’t too difficult…
When travis tried to get up the obstacle, he just didn’t have to clearance and seemed like it wasn’t going to happen and we were going to have to pull him up
The third obstacle was a little more challenging, there was three possible lines to get up it, straddle a V Notch, climb and bounce up and over a couple ledges or up a small rock incline.
Mandersrobe had no issues
I chose option 2. Which I made eventually, as I was focused on the rocks and the mud from the night before sliding me around and losing my traction
I noticed Matt show up in his Yellow beast. My first line was a fail, my second line was a little better but a hard bounce slid me down into a rock
(later found out I cracked a wheel) my third line was the best line and with a bit of skinny pedal I was up and over the obstacle with little or no damage (so I thought at the time).
Then a couple of us at the same time asked Travis, “What gear are you in?” he said 4H… Ugh we laughed and told him to forget about 4H and stay in 4L, he went right up…. LOL
Matt came around in his Monster and drove up it like it was the freeway and asked what everyone ones problem was… we will get back to his cockiness later.. LOL
So as we are going up the trail just normal medium/difficult trail stuff nothing to bad, except for Travis who did have to be pulled a couple times over larger rocks
we head for bowling ball hill, which is just as it sounds, a hill with rocks (wet rocks) the size of bowling balls just to add some more fun to the trail, snow has been melting and before the hill we are basically driving up a river with a current, it is only 5-6 inches deep,
but it was very cool to drive up it. After Bowling Ball hill be have a tight switch back with larger boulders to turn up into and go over the top of before it all calms down and we arrive at the lake.
As we approach the lake a huge snow bank is blocking the path which we all just drive through and in the end turns into a snowy muddy trap for some unsuspecting 4×4. I say that because after we arrived, a bunch of Toyotas arrived and 4 Suzuki Samurais. The all made it through as well.
I pull up to the Lake and there is another Deep Water Blue JKU Rubicon parked there, so I park next to them and of course I koozie them and ask where they are from. Now we are south of Breckenridge Colorado, I drove from South Georgia and I meet another Jeep the same as mine at a Mountain Lake and they are from Atlanta Georgia… too funny!! Small world.
They left and we had the lake all to ourselves for a minute, I got ahead of myself back there the Yota’s and Suzuki’s hadn’t arrived yet, so we lined up the Jeeps and our token Yota for a picture, of course I had to Flex on the TJ w/tons. Why not!
Then everyone else showed up. We all sat and ate lunch and mingled with the other wheelers and then we got back in line and headed down the trail, we didn’t get far when it was traffic jam coming up. While we were waiting for the traffic to clear Matt to advantage of this time to show everyone what he could do in the 3 ft deep snow and his one ton equipped TJ. Great show to watch, but the
traffic cleared and we headed down, much easier going down even for Travis and his little stock XJ which was doing amazing. Once we got down the switchback and on to the river trail of bowling balls, we passed a little waterfall to the left
which I drove passed and Matt decided to drive up it with his TJ he didn’t get very far when he came back down I didn’t think anything until I looked back and saw his wheels were looking at each other, that meant a broken tie rod normally, I stopped and went back to see what happened and that is what it was, he said it was the second time he had busted the tie rod at the draglink connection. Time for a new and different setup. He pulled his broken TJ off to the side and hopped in with me.
We got down to a clearing where Rob and Zig and the others were waiting. They gave Matt such a hard time about breaking the TJ. Then I felt a thud and I looked back and a guy on a motorcycle had tried to get passed me and hit the back of the Jeep, turned a little and rode by, never stopped or anything, He’s lucky no damage to Jake. So we continued down the hill. As we were driving Matt told me that I had a nice rig and there probably wasn’t anything in Colorado I couldn’t do with my current setup, that made me smile and gave me a big boost. I appreciated that. I have a lot of hard work into Jake.
We got down to the second obstacle where there were 3 -4 vehicle trying to get up it as we were coming down. As they got up it they parked off to the side as while we waited our group of 7 turned into a group of 20 with the others coming off the lake. After everyone was clear we all picked an easy line mainly the V-notch and easily drove down the obstacle and to the final rocks and then out of the trail, no issues.
Great pictures looking down the valley from the trail, a great lake and a great day of Jeeping. Last thing to do stop and fillup with gas and air the tires up and head home 2 ½ hours to wheel another day tomorrow.
The next day came and I went outside to get ready for the trip to Left Hand Canyon and I see my tire is flat,
think back to the rock I hit at Wheeler Lake when I didn’t think I did anything, I removed the trim ring from the tire and found out I had about a 4” crack in the bead and it wasn’t repairable. So Upgrade time, but first we have a Jeeping day planned. So I changed the tire and put the spare on and we headed out to Boulder and to the mountains. Once we got up to the parking area for the trail, we saw a pretty sweet Jeep parked there so I went over and took a few pictures and Koozied it. I now follow him on IG Jeep.Outlaw awesome Jeep and a great Jeeper. Left Hand Canyon ended up being flooded and closed to anyone. So we moved to plan B.
Peaceful Valley (St Vrain Trail and Coney Flats Trail) – After following the signs to Peaceful Valley and Camp Dick campgrounds we drove to the back of the Peaceful Valley campground and climbed over the gate keeper and then decided to air down the tires for a smoother ride.
Today I had two passengers my great friend Norm and his gorgeous fiancée Annalisa. So I decided to take a break from driving and let Norm and Annalisa drive for a while and I could let loose and have some fun . So as they each took turns driving I stood on the side rails of Jake and rode along having a great time.
We stopped to take pictures all along the way Norm switched driving duties with Annalisa and got out on the rails, then we stopped in a stream for some pictures and I decided to get on top and Urban surf on Jake. Then Annalisa got on top and found out quick just how hot the top was but still surfed it and even did a couple pushups…
We came across a long water crossing that some bicyclists were getting ready to make a run through, so I gave on of them my phone and he took a video of Norm driving and Me on one side and Annalisa on the other side of Jake driving through the water.
When we go to the end of St. Vrains trail we stopped and got some pictures of the stream with everyone standing near it .
Just taking a rest before moving on to the Coney Flats section of the trail and then on to Beaver Reservoir.
It was a great drive up to the reservoir and had to cross a stream, about 2ft deep, to get to the rest of the trail at the reservoir. More pictures and some snacks and we were on our way to the end of the trail.
There was a Dad and his kids finishing up a finishing trip as we got there, we ended up following them out in their Ford F150 which took a beating on the rocks when we left, lots of dents and dings along the bottom of the doors and the bed. At one point there was a sharp left turn it took him a few minutes but he made it around, the area was full of other Jeeps of all kinds, there must have been 8-10 Jeeps TJs, JKs, XJs even a CJ7 all standing around and just watching. As I made my approach on the left side of the obstacle I heard one of the Jeepers say, “that’s the wrong line” I looked back and drove over the rock and kept on going, “wrong line, my eye.” The rest of the trail was fairly uneventful again, we just ended up back at the highway and headed back to get the 4Runner which we left near Left Hand Canyon. We headed back to home base and some well-deserved rest. But a surprise when I got back that night, Erin and Rob had arrived from Minnesota. So I popped over to their Hotel for a beer and a chat before we take off in a day or so to go to Moab. Great Meetup of course, they are the Best!!
The next morning I decided to go to the tire store and see what I could get in the way of wheels, seeing as I had another one broken. Discount Tire in Centennial had a 4th of July Sale on wheels and I found a nice set for a great deal. The wheels looked great and complimented Jake great.
The next day was Lets go to 4 Corners Day with Erin and Rob. So I got packed and took off about 6am headed south out of Denver down to 4 Corners and then we were going to have a meetup in Durango with some Mafia and maybe a night ride before heading to Moab. But there were other plans in the mix that I was unaware of until I got on the highway that morning… as I merged onto the interstate I suddenly heard a serious grinding noise coming from the rear end. I slowed and pulled over. I checked everything and visually it was fine, as I started again the grinding got worse. I stopped and when I tried to back up, the Jeep just stopped and wouldn’t even move. I had a problem. I would have bet it was going to be a ring and pinion or a locker.
So I called the insurance company and when it was said and done I got a wrecker on the way to take me to a shop. How did I find a shop, I great guy who stopped to see what was wrong told me about the shop, he was a Jeeper, just driving his work truck. He also told me about the Colorado Jeep Rescue Facebook page also. So we exchanged info so we could wheel the next time I was in town. So I waited for the wrecker. Then… Police showed up,
I was broke down he was just checking on me, very nice his first question to me was “Are you a Christian?” I looked at him and said “Yes” why? He had seen my HE>I sticker on the Jeep. Then the Psalms and Tire Tread cross on the hood. All was good and he carried on with his duties. So I decided to tweet out a I’m not going to Moab tweet with a funny picture I made.
Just killing time, I look in the rear view mirror and there is a Mercedes about 100 ft in back of me with a flat front tire. So I wasn’t doing anything anyway, I walked back and the girl was crying in the front, she got out and I reassured her it was going to be fine. I opened the back hatch and got the tire lowered and taken off, she was surprised she didn’t even think she had a spare. She started smiling.
So I got the tire nearly changed when the Highway Dept Roadside service truck showed up almost the same time the wrecker showed up, so I let the service guy finish tightening the lugs nuts,
I got a hug from the very nice looking Mercedes girl and went back to Jake to get him on the flatbed wrecker. Once we finally got it on the Wrecker we were on the way over to Western Driveline.
The owner of the shop drove it in and I cringed at the noise, the mechanic took the rear end apart and when he took the diff cover off expected, like the rest of us, for parts to fall out but nothing.
Completely perfect rear end. We all looked at each other and were bewildered. The mechanic says hang on a second turned the axle and heard the sound, he went over the the passenger side and pulled the rotor off and that was the problem, the lug studs had backed themselves in towards the e-brake and were grinding on the e-brake.
I was very relieved and it was an easy fix. So some locktight later and all back together I was finally on my way to Moab, 6 hours later. I would skip 4 Corners and head right to Moab. I let Erin and Rob know what was going on, they said it was good I didn’t go to 4 Corners, the line was so long they never got to the actual site, so we were all headed to Moab a day early! Yay, more Moab time.
So along the way before I got to Utah a Challenger came up in back of me and I could tell something was wrong when he flew passed me, his whole front air dam was loose and dragging on the ground, parts flying off and he flew down the road, poor guy I thought, no way I was catching him to stop him. But 5 miles up the road he was pulled over trying to fix it. So I stopped and went back to see if I could help. He was an Army Soldier on his way to Cali. I grabbed my zip ties and found a part of a tie down strap on the side of the road, we were able to get the Grille Insert and Air dam secured up so it wasn’t dragging. I took off and a few minutes later he passed by me again, I never saw him again, I guess our fix held.
Next stop Moab. When I got there Rob and Erin were already at the Hotel and Rod and Fuzzy had been there already for a day. So we all met at the Moab Brewery for Dinner, Beers and great talk.
The next day we had planned on using the additional Moab day to do the Top of the World Trail which was a long drive and why most people didn’t do and stuck to the more local to Moab trails.
So we took off about 7am headed to the Top of the World!! Rod, Erin/Rob and Me.
Stopping for plenty of pics along the way.
Except for one spot, It was a pretty easy trail all the way up. The one spot was quite a ledge that had been dug out from previous attempts, we all would have done it without incident except a Land Rover came by and told us not to try the middle of the rock because they couldn’t get up it and almost rolled over. So, it was settled, I would go up the middle. LOL
I tried a few times and scrapped and clunked, couldn’t do it so I went to the side and no issues (IMG_0132,DSC_5928a).
The only issue was when I got up the obstacle and went back down to take pictures I saw Erin fall onto a cactus… Ouch… But after she pulled the needles out of her arm (She’s tough) all was good. Rob got up the obstacle pretty good from a different side.
We had some fun ledges to climb up on the way also.
We had fun on the drive up to the Top. Absolutely spectacular views, none of us were disappointed by the drive or the end of the trail at the edge. So I was the first to drive up the edge, we had walked it and we all knew if we put the engine over the little indentation in the rock we would still be 6 feet from the edge. But the problem was the “Adrenaline Factor” as Rod guided me up to the edge and over the indentation in the rock, I could see nothing but hood and sky, knowing it was 1800ft straight down from there. He kept saying a few more feet, keep coming, keep coming… a few more feet. I looked at him and said… nope.. I’m good right here. Thanks! LOL (DSC_5945,5946,5947,5948,5953,5955,5961)(IMG_0172)
I got out and got the pictures that I wanted on the as close to the edge of the cliff as I was getting. Then I backed away and Rod pulled up. It was funny, he was now in the driver’s seat and he got
about as far as I did and said the same thing, he now understood what I was talking about and the adrenaline I was feeling driving towards to the edge of nowhere.
After he got his pics he backed down and I drove back up from a different angle and was able to get in a little closer because I could see the edge. Rob had decided that he was not going to attempt it with the clutch. One wrong slip and he would be down to the hotel first.
So I had carried my AR10 with me all the way to take a picture I had see, I brought a Skull mask I had bought online and my body armor, so I found a great spot on the way down and get geared up and got a couple pictures in the scrub brush. Awesome Pictures!!
Some great flex and dropping of ledge pictures as we came down the trail
near the bottom we found a great spot to take a group picture with the valleys in back of us. So we took a break and lined up.
The trailhead was at Dewey Bridge built in 1916. While driving back to town I noticed a vibration that wasn’t there before. Time to check it out once I got back. When we got back to town driving by one of the little shops was an awesome old Wagoneer .
Once we got back to the Hotel Quality Inn of Moab. I checked out the Jeep and found out some of the grinding and clunking on the trail was me hitting the rear driveshaft, which was now dented and missing 3 weights, I couldn’t get much above 45 mph before it got too bad, so I was heading over to Moabs only Offroad mechanics shop a guy comes walking over to the Jeep from his nicely built black 2Dr JK, asked me where an easier trail was to start off with since this was his first time in Moab. I told him I was here for the first time too, so I wouldn’t be much help. We started talking about mechanics and things and he made a comment about getting a VA loan and opening up his own shop and do real mechanics. I agreed and asked him what branch he was in or had been in (he had a beard going). He said Marines, I said “Oorah!” I’m a Retired Marine. I asked him what he did and he said EOD, I said Shut the Front Door (or something like that). No way! He said yes, why. I told him I was Marine EOD Master Blaster Retired. So we chatted about how small the world was and mutual EOD friends. It was nice to have a coincidence like that. The Marine Corps is small and the EOD community is even smaller, So we said catch ya later and we went our separate ways, vowing to go wheel together in Moab. But Brett and I never did get back together on the trails, TheMafia had a pretty full schedule and he broke the next day.
So when I got back Andrew (lonestarrox) showed up and took his Rubicon off the trailer.
We took over the back of the parking lot, backing all of our Jeeps in under the tree, as we did Jordan (weatherman7176) showed up also. So we decided to get everything for the morning and we would be taking off for Hell’s Revenge about 7am, it worked out for Top of the World so it would give us plenty of time to get out and get pictures and do all the parts of the trail.
We lined up at the trail head after paying our $5 to get into the area and aired down our tires, Me, Rod, Erin/Rob, Jordan and Andrew. The start of the trail was Lionsback like. LionsBack was closed, we all wanted to go on it, but couldn’t.
So there was plenty of slickrock to climb up and steep inclines on our way towards the Hell’s Gate.
After one obstacle we all parked up in a line and took some pictures,
a Nice looking CJ6 came driving by, a CJ6 is an extended version of a CJ5 the CJ5’s version of a Scrambler.
I realized it was time to call 4WheelParts in Salt Lake to get a New Driveshaft for the rear one I damaged on the Top of the World Trail. I got it ordered and the salesman laughed when I told him I was calling from Hell’s Revenge Trail. I got it pretty cheaply even with overnight charges to get it to me Saturday. So with that task done we continued on the trail. Up on a little hill where we turned
around near the beginning of Hell’s Gate we stopped for pictures and I got Erin working the camera! Bruh! Such a Ham.. LOL
Just a little slickrock climb
Rob had to help push Jordan’s Jeep up the hill. So instead of the Jeep’s we lined up for a pic next to the edge with the river and mountains in the background. Then Rod and I were off to Hell’s Gate.
As I headed for Hell’s Gate,
Erin wheeled ‘The Yeti’ over to the Hell’s Gate exit to take pictures, Yes Erin wheeled in Moab!!
Rob had my 35mm camera and was positioned on the trail down the hill, to catch some good pictures as I came down the Gate and then Rod.
Flexing would be at its maximum I was sure.
It wasn’t as bad as I thought, but we had to now go up the same type of V-notch to get back out of Hell. We must just be that good because neither me nor Rod had any issues getting down or back up and out of Hell’s Gate. Even though Rod three wheeled it for a second, no issues.
Miles and Miles of slickrock trails. Such fun..!!
At the Top of Hell’s Gate Exit, I got a blue ziptie and put Chuck on the Lightbar for the rest of the trip.
Chuck had been my Co-pilot since I started the Journey and he needed a better view in Moab. As we were coming along the Dragon’s Tail Jordan got a little tipsy. He hadn’t disconnected his from
SwayBar and Just needed a little coaching and guiding to get out of the position he was in, no problem. Got plenty of pictures before helping him out though!! LOL
Andrew had a unique ability of always ending up in the back and driving a little slower than the rest of the group. I was very used to the group I was with almost bumper to bumper… even when driving at highways speeds, yea I run with some crazies some times.
We drove along the slick rock trail for another few miles and we came to Mickey’s bath tub. We stopped and took pictures; no one wanted to attempt it. There was a Monster Jeep coming up the trail that we were sure would have no trouble going in and out.
So we finished the Dragon’s Tail and we could hear the Jeep aforementioned revving and squealing, we knew it was in the bath tub. I decided to climb to the top of the hill and get a “from above” shot of us. Turned out to be great pictures.
When we drove away and ended up at the “escalator” a knarly hill with an extra, it has a bathtub in the middle. There was a Jeep up in the tub and not having a good day one of the Local guides was trying to talk him through the very tippy situation. He was able to get into a line and drive his way up the rest of the hill with his winch line connected to the guides vehicle, just in case. But he made it,
his wife was standing near me and I gave her a Mafia Koozie and she said this was the First day of their vacation.
Then the Monster Jeep with Dana 70’s and everything you could think of drove up the escalator, the guide was with this Jeep and another, TJ Rubicon with Coil-overs. The Monster got flexy and tippy but no problems at all getting up the hill. The guide advised the TJ not to attempt this obstacle and he told our group the same thing. So we bypassed it. Next time, there will be NO bypassing the escalator.
The next and really the last obstacle was a “Tippy Challenge” and of course we (Rod and I) had to do it. Neither of us got tippy and just squealed the tires and drove right up the hill. Conquered.
We finished the Hell’s Revenge trail with no problems or incidents, no breaks or injuries. It was a great day, at the end we lined up on a cliff overlooking Moab and got some excellent pictures for posterity.
Heading back down to the parking lot there was a couple flexy ledges, but nothing anyone couldn’t handle. Jordan, three-wheeled and got flexy on the way back.
Back at the Quality Inn, we got a nice group picture everyone was in attendance. Rod (GreyStone), Me (Jake), Erin and Rob (TheYeti), Andrew (The Greener), Check and Beth (LifeSaver), Jordan (Weatherman), Keith and ErinGates (????), Fuzzy (The Toad Rig).
We just stood out in the parking lot and talked and told stories and had a Great time!! Check got comfy in Jake. Then a Little Jeep Renegade drove in front of the line and I got that with all our Jeeps. We went out and had a great dinner at the Brewery again and got ready for the Long day in the morning on the Trifecta (Poison Spyder, Golden Spike and Gold Bar Rim). We agreed to meet at 6:30 and we would leave at 7:00, at 8:15 we took off for the trail. LOL.
There were 7 Jeeps Rod (Jordan as shotgun), Me, Erin/Rob, Keith/Erin, Check/Beth, Fuzzy and Andrew.
We stopped at the Trailhead and took beginning pics and to air down our tires. Disconnect our sway bars, It was the first time some of the sway bars had been disconnected.
Then headed for the trail, I was in the lead today. The trail was rocky and ledgey right from the get go. A switchback which I decided to get rather close to the edge up above everyone and got some pics.
I had the Top off, the freedom tops on and my Jungle doors, it was a great day to ride and easy to take pictures. The first decline I got through and ran back to guide everyone else. No problems, the next one was a little more challenging and the trail wasn’t going to get any easier. Fuzzy was already getting 3 wheel action.. Bound to be a great day!
The first real major obstacle even had a winch anchor mounted into the rock. This would be ErinGates’ first time we found out she was half mountain goat. LOL. Everyone made it up the obstacle on one line or another. We parked up inline and got some pictures when we looked up and saw ErinG up on the side of the cliff. So we tossed her a camera and she got some even better pictures. Of course we were facing the wrong way… so we all had to turn around and head up the hill… just some slick rock and ledges more of the same. We continued on and came to our first V-Notch we had to straddle. So I drove over it and parked, Rod had come through right in back of me… TheYeti was next and Rod said it would be cool to let them go over the top of you in the V, so
I jumped down in the V as they started to drive up and they didn’t have a chance to react and they went over the top of me I got good pictures of under the Yeti.
Erin said later that it freaked her out, they didn’t want to crush me. I thought it was awesome!! LOL At that point everyone knew I was going to be bad that day and it was going to get crazy!
Another ledge and incline got a few great pictures as Rod and Greystone emerged over the top. Check came up no issues and Keith and ErinG got on 3 wheels before getting to the top. So after a break and some picture of all of us lined up we continued on the trail. Lots of trail riding easy ups and down and through slickrock and sand.. just a nice easy trail ride along Poison Spyder… we decided to stop for small rest and I got some shot of the Pirate flag I was flying on Jake this trip. Noticed Keith was under his Jeep and he had a pretty substantial leak coming from his read pinion seal. Nothing could be done about it. So we chilled, rested and talked and then continued on. As we came to a very steep incline I had noticed Beth was driving Lifesaver, she relinquished driving back to Check, it seemed everytime she decided to drive we came to an obstacle not long after. Evreyone made it up and down pretty easy. I had my GoPro mounted on the winch controller so, when I was on inclines and I couldn’t see over the hood, I ended up driving by watching the video from my iPhone, basically a front facing camera view. All the trails were easy for me due to this fact. All about planning. All good. So we made it to the top of Golden Spike where there is a marker and a US Flag flying.
Another place to rest and get some great pictures, the views from the top were fantastic. We all made it to the top no problems, ErinG was even so happy she acted like she liked Keith and posed for a Cute Couples Pic… Awe..
Love this picture of Jake at the Top.
We came down off Golden Spike and passed “Where Eagles Dare Trail” and kept heading towards Gold Bar Rim Trail. As we came down a slick tippy area I had come through and Rod close behind me, I ran back to guide everyone else if needed and Rod came running up and lost his footing and tripped, I asked him if he was okay (after I took a picture), he was laughing and he was fine. LOL.
Everyone had no problem getting down the incline even getting a little flexy in the process. WE came through a small trail with cliffs either side… and then came upon a small bathtub, didn’t know how deep it was so Check got a stick and tested it, all good. I drove in an out and then after a couple attempts got up a substantial ledge that followed it.
The Keith smoked some tires and got up it. Rob same thing, the manual transmission guys were burning tires all day, made for nice pics and who doesn’t like the smell of burning rubber… LOL Check, Andrew and Fuzzy took the bypass.
A few more ledges and then we decided to stop for lunch. As we all chatted and checked the Jeeps and ate, a few walked around exploring and found out we were next to a cliff with of course an amazing view. So we all walked up and checked it out. Of course we found out who the crazies were in the group and that would be Keith and ErinG… they decided that walking to the edge and checking it out wasn’t enough, they needed to go out and sit down and dangle their feet over the edge, it made some of the group almost sick to their stomach to watch… A bit too much adrenaline for some of us. LOL
To top it off as Keith pushed back to get up, he crushed ErinG’s hand against the rock, I thought she was going to grab him and toss him off theedge… LOL! But she didn’t and she got off the rock, a little worse for wear, I’m sure Keith was going to pay later. I got back to Jake and was just looking around to see if I had anything wrong, as I do on occasion. Low and behold I had something wrong
I had broken the Rear Trackbar Brace. So we got some wrenches and took it off. The bracket was still in place. We got back on the trail.
A little more trail up and down ledges and and we came to a rock I decided to flex on… I wasn’t paying attention and Keith came over and said that’s a cool face… I looked over and I had almost flexed on a face someone has made from the rocks.. I got a great picture of Keith.
Over the hill and through some more trail we came to an area that looked pretty gnarly. I got out and scouted it and there was only one way down and it was going to test some of the Jeeps. But there was no turning back now. I found my line and I went down first…
Everyone was kind of nervous about the steep rocky decline, Beth decided to sit on a rock and watch,
but I assured everyone it was fine and I guided everyone down the decline without incident. The last to go down was Keith and I jumped on the side of his Jeep and rode back up to Jake, I had caught a couple rides on the rails with Keith already that day. It was going to be a confidence building day for the entire group that day. We were more than half way through the trail and we had been out for about 8 hrs already. But we knew going into today it was going to be a test for the Jeepers and Jeeps. After that very difficult obstacle we came around and up to the top of Gold Bar Rim and found another area to take pictures with the Jeeps next to the cliff down straight about 1200ft, So we took some fun pictures and kept going. Playing follow the leader for a day was a lot of fun.
So when we finally got to Golden Crack, which I had been waiting for all day. One by one after I went over the crack
we all went over the crack, Rob actually got in the crack and took video of my going over him and through the crack, Thanks Rob! We were able to get Check and Lifesaver across the crack also
After the crack we had to make it up a set of very changing ledges and a lot of coaching was involved, a lot of smoke from the wheels of Rob and Keith and Fuzzy got very flexy and three wheeled it.
We found a great flat spot after the ledges and lined up and got some unbelievable pictures of all the Jeeps with the Blue Sky and clouds in the background. A lot of the trail I found Beth walking it instead of riding with Check
After another set of multiple ledges where Keith got 3 wheels a few times we made it to the top and took a break for some more pictures. Rod found a spot to get a picture of the Jeeps through a hole in the rock formation… (just warned me he had watered the area while he was over there, LOL)
More ledges and More ledges.. More inclines and More declines… it was the pattern for the day. One spot Andrew took the high road and Fuzzy took the low road, and Fuzzy got some fender damage for his efforts.
But in the end we all made it through and continued on Gold Bar Rim.
One of the final obstacles before the top and then the down hill back to the trail was a gnarly multi rock and ledge climb incline. So I scouted a good line through it and went for it.
No problem. It would be a problem for no one that day as we had been through a lot and everyone was now familiar with the capability of themselves and their Jeep, when to use that skinny pedal and when not to.
At the top, I felt something in the back of my Jeep wasn’t right. So once everyone got through the obstacle we found a flat spot and I stopped. Rob came up and said I looked loose in the back, we got under Jake and checked it out and as I thought, since the trackbar brace was gone, it didn’t take long for the extended trackbar bracket to move back and forth and break the weld. The only thing I could do was take the trackbar off completely to save any further damage to the axle bracket and trackbar.
I got under and started taking the driver side off as Rod got some tools and Keith brought some as well. Rob got under and started taking the passenger side off. The bolt was pretty tight and Rob got a bar to try and break it loose, as he moved the bar it just skimmed across my cheek. I had my side off and got out from under the Jeep, felt my cheek where the bar skimmed it and blood, blood everywhere! LOL… I bent down not to get blood all over and asked if anyone had a first aid kit as I got cut in the face. ErinG was a too the rescue with Keith’s Military grade first aid kit.
She cleaned it with alcohol and by the time a Band-Aid was put on it had already stopped bleeding. So all patched up we got the rest of the trackbar off and headed down the trail to the end we were very close to the finish and it was a good thing, no trackbar was a fun backend swinging ride down to the bottom. As we left I saw ErinG in Parkour Mode running across the rocks above us as we drove down to the bottom, at one point I didn’t see her anymore and got on the radio to make sure she was still with us, Keith reported she was back in the Jeep, crazy awesome JeepGirl! We got to the bottom and I got a pic of the Trifecta Sign (GoldBar Spike Spider) (IMG_8453)
as we left I got a nice picture Gooney Bird Rock Formation
and a Selfie of my battle wound from Rob.
The Trail hydration results were… 5 Monsters and about 10 bottles of water.
What an Epic Day!! The drive back to the hotel was very slow at 25-30mph due to not having a rear trackbar. But once I got back, I checked to with the front desk to get my new driveshaft, not there. This was not good. It was Saturday, it was late. I had no drive shaft and I had a broken Jeep. Sunday was going to be a fun day.
I went over to the gas station to get some ice in the morning and snacks just out of habit. While I was in the quick mart I mentioned to the guy behind the counter I had broken my Jeep and was in need of a welder and did he know if the local 4×4 shop was open on Sunday, he said he thought they opened later. But if not he had a couple friends who were welders and would try to get in touch with them if needed. So I went on my way and waited around until about 11am at that point I knew the shop wasn’t going to open on Sunday, so I headed back over to the quick mart to talk to the guy again. I get there and of course he had just left. So they called him and he in turn called me. He called a couple guys and about 20 minutes later one of them called me and said he was willing to do the job for a couple hundred dollars. I was good with that. So I meet him at his shop and pull Jake in
and start taking him apart while explaining to him what was wrong and talking it over about how he could fix it. The first thing he did while I got Jake taken apart was fix the Trackbar Brace.
Then he cleaned everything up and welded the factory bracket back in place and Then we were able to bolt the spare extended bracket back on and reattach the Trackbar. Everything went great. Best couple hundred dollars I had spent, I was now able to get back up to 40mph and just had to wait for the driveshaft to be delivered, hopefully in the morning on Monday.
Sunday afternoon I met up with Fuzzy and we went to the Canyon Lands
and our first stop was Dead Horse Point, which was the spot where “Thelma and Louise” flew off the mountain into the Canyon. So Fuzzy and I took some pictures
then we headed over to Shafer Canyon to get some pictures, we were looking for a spot to get some Milky Way pictures with the Jeeps included. So from on top of Shafer Canyon we got some pictures of the trail we would be driving down into the Canyon.
It would be a fun drive at dusk and another fun ride back up in the dark.
We waited around just chit chatting for about 3 hrs until it was completely dark, although the moon was very bright it would have no effect on Fuzzy’s pictures this night. It was a great night of photos.
I called at 8am to 4WheelParts and the manager was just as surprised as I was the driveshaft wasn’t there. He took my number and called me back a little while later and said UPS couldn’t explain why a driveshaft in Denver was sent to Tennessee and then to Salt Lake (which arrived too late to deliver on Saturday) He was nice and refunded me the overnight charges, which was fair even though it wasn’t their fault. I went out to the parking lot and started to get the old driveshaft out in preparation of the new one arriving.
The UPS truck arrived at 1030 and I walked into the Hotel front desk and my rear driveshaft was finally here. I took it out to the Jeep in the parking lot and finished taking the old rear driveshaft out (IMG_8529) and install the new one.
I only had an 8mm wrench and deep socket… so I went next door to the Dollar store and bought a $10 socket set that had an 8mm short socket in it and got the old driveshaft out.
I could now start installing the new double cardon Rubicon Express driveshaft.
I got the driveshaft installed in about an hour and a half in the parking lot of the Quality Hotel. As I was finishing cleaning up and packing up, Check and Beth rolled into the parking lot back from seeing their daughter. It old him, of course you showed up once all the work was finished. So it was finally over, Moab2016 was coming to a close, the remaining few was about to depart the area. Check, Beth, Fuzzy and I got a pic of the last to leave.
Next stop Montana and my Jeep Daughter and grandkids. It was getting cold heading up into the mountains in Idaho and Montana from 60 degrees to 31 degrees at one point in Montana, I decided to put the doors on, I had up to this point running with the safari doors. It was time to get warm and finish the drive to Great Falls.
My daughter has an 88 XJ (a work in progress)
The next door neighbor has a nice Old Wagoneer, so of course he got some koozies.
I spent the few days in Montana just having fun with my daughter (LittleXJGurl) and my Son-in-Law and 2 grandchildren. During the stay we worked on her XJ, tune up, power window/locks got fixed, making it safer to drive and park. So my daughter was backing the XJ up and backed right into Jakes d-ring, rear tail light damage which we just put back together with glue and tape… LOL.
We went for a lot of rides in Jake one great picture on our way to pick up Ray; my daughters husband. It was just a great Jeep Family time.
On the day before I left I made a special trip up into Canada to visit @SherwoodFores one of the Canadian JeepMafia.
My crossing into Canada was going to be uneventful and the guard asked me if I had any weapons, I told him no, I left them in Montana, no ammunition either. He saw the holster mounted under the steering wheel and came out of his post and came to the Jeep to look. Satisfied he told me to carry on. Once I got up to the little town, we had a great lunch and took some pics on the little town of Stavely where we had lunch. Just a quick trip and on the way back to the US I got caught in a hail storm and then a couple of the clouds started having some rotation qualities and I decided it was beyond time to get back to the states.
I had one thing to pickup before I got out of Canada (Kinder Eggs).
With my mission accomplished I crossed the border safely back into the US.
On the way back I stopped and took a pic of a sign and sent it to @Shelbymeador.
My daughter who is in the Air Force got called into work and I was on to the next stop in my journey. Minnesota and then Wisconsin, I got a great picture of the North Dakota sign on the way.
Stopped in at Erin/Robs (TheMudYeti) house on my way to Wisconsin. Quick stop to talk and gets some hugs and I was on my way.
Next stop, Hometown of Rhinelander, WI (home of the Hodag,
My sister was up from Wausau and she had a New Cherokee (IMG_8690). So I koozied her…
I koozied a Nice Rubicon that was in back of my High School, it was her First Jeep and she said, she had never owned a vehicle that she made excused to go out for rides in
It was a quick couple days in Rhinelander visiting my Mom and sisters before going up north to Ashland to visit my brother. Before I left I went back to the HS and asked for permission to climb my Jeep on the rock out back that was historically known for graduating classes repainting it.
Up in Ashland I spent some good quality time with my brother and my niece (Xan).
On the night before I left for Michigan we had a nice dinner with all the Family, who had made the trip up to Ashland, at the South Shore Brewery. SO I bought a growler from the brewery to send to (KingPinBobby) in Springfield, MO.
So it was a nice night drive across the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, I stopped on the other side of Mackinac Bridge and took a couple pictures
Next stop, Big R’s Hogs & Dogs in Farwell, MI to have a quick bite to eat and a meetup with @Louly34 another Mafia Member.
Very quick 10 minute stop and I was on my way to Kalamazoo to meet up with Professional Pistol/Rifle Shooter (@Jenifrwyatt). We met at a brewery for a quick snack and chat before she went and had her hair done, the JeepLife of a JeepGirl.
LOL After I left I spotted a Rubicon at Menards and had to koozie it. Then it was off the highway for the night in Indiana and a breakfast date with some old Jeep friends in Ohio in the morning.
I met up with Andy and Shelley in Wauseon, OH where I used to live not far from them. So we went and had breakfast and another friend of ours Guy came as well, it was a nice time just chatting about old times and current adventures.
Next stop a great friend of mine (@Chefmark72162we) as I headed for his house I passed by Jeep Pkwy and Willys Pkwy in Toledo they were closed for construction.
Mark happens to be a HUGE Michigan fan, you can tell by his Jeep. We were waiting for Jim another one of our friends to show up then we were headed to Lunch before I was on my way to PA and another Mafia Meetup. When Jim finally showed up we were ready to head out and get some food.
As we turn the corner out of Marks neighborhood my reading glasses sitting on the dash slid right out the window, so I radioed up that I had to stop and get my glasses. We all turned around and as I stood there waiting for some cars go by so I could go into the street and get them, the last car we were waiting for… Yup… Ran them over. UGH! So we got in and carried on to the gas station before we headed to lunch.
At the gas station we decided to go to the Toledo Jeep Plant, so I could get a Koozie Bucket list Koozie. I was going to Koozie the Jeep at the Jeep Plant. As we drive up to the plant, Mark stops just at the gate and I pull up in back of him as I reach in the center console for a koozie. I started coughing I thought for no reason then I smelled something strange and there was smoke in the Jeep. What happened was unknown to me the pin from my fire extinguisher had fallen out, when I lifted the lid to the center console (the fire extinguisher was in the rear seat cup holder), I had depressed the handle on the fire extinguisher and it had went off in the back seat…
So nothing to do about it now, I got the koozie and went and Koozied Jeep’s Jeep Wrangler. Since that was finished, we pulled the Jeeps on the grass by the fence and got pictures with JEEP in the background, then I got a picture by the Veterans Display Jeep, we were finally on our way to Lunch. Sucking extinguisher dust the whole way… cough cough…
When we got to the place we were having lunch another Jeeper (Tim H) was there waiting for us. A Jeep Commander was parked just near us and had to be koozied
Mark the consummate friend and Jokester instead of helping me clean the mess out of the Jeep decided to write me a note in the dust… ‘Toldeo, 2016, “Hi”.’ I got as much of it out of the Jeep as I could and covered the area with a blanket so I wouldn’t be sucking dust the whole way to PA.
As I headed out of Toledo I got a nice pic of the Bridge
Driving has to be kept exciting so I was on the side of a Tanker Truck whose tank was chrome, made for a nice picture.
So I made it to (wcallahan17) house and some dinner.
JeepFamily, everyone has a Jeep, Mom (JKU Rubicon), Dad (Willys and XJ) Daughter (L J) and Son (CJ7). AWESOME!!! Then a friend Jeep Man Dan (DanWalsh65) stopped by with another LJ and Wendy tried Jake on for size.
We went to see Wendys daughter at work and I tried Gypsy on for size before I left for Cincinnati and another Mafia Meetup.
On the way out I got a nice pic of Gypsy and they got one of me in their mirror and they got a pic of me taking a pic of the PA sign.
Next stop, after having way too much with the Callahan Family, is Cincinnati and a meetup with TweetieTara, It was supposed to be an early meeting but it was going to be late, We worked it out and we a quick hour and a half meeting.. LOL at 1245am at a gas station/laundromat/convenience store… It was supposed to be quick… but we got talking and more talking and more talking and finally… we got tired.. LOL.
The Last Mafia Meetup for this trip complete, a water and 2 monsters left in the cooler and I hit TN and GA.
The epic adventure comes to a close. As I came into GA a nice Jeep ame up in back of me, I saw it for a while off, so I grabbed a koozie and held it out the window as far as I could, as they drove passed me, they waved and I waved the koozie at them and he slid over and the JeepGirl in the passenger side grabbed it… my 2nd 70mph koozie complete!
Now it was just a Monster and Chuck to keep me company until I got home.
I made it home 29 days, 17 states, 1 Canadian Province and 9136.4 miles traveled.
The Jeep did fantastic; It’s a good thing I love to drive. I have met so many great Jeepers and had such as wonderful adventure I didn’t want it to end. But this trip was complete and it was time to get some rest and spend some time with my family. I can’t write everything about the trip, many of the little nuances of what happened or things we talked about and did and encountered can only be relived in our memories and when we all get together for beers and more jeeping in the future.
Until next time my new friends, old friends and all of the Mafia I had the pleasure to meet, Peace Out!