Maiden Overlanding Voyage

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JeepRushRick

Rank I
Member
Adventure

Contributor I

233
Aurora, IL, USA
First Name
Rick
Last Name
Heckman
Member #

26727

Maiden Voyage from Chicago to CO/UT...

Looking for ANY ADVICE you are willing to offer for when I do my 1st long term “Overlanding” trip.

I will be solo for much of it.
I have decades of experience camping but not quality time off road, so I am looking for basic trails (to moderate) with places to free camp primarily.

Vehicle: 2018 JLU Rubicon (STOCK)
Steel front bumper w Warn Winch and Steel rear bumper only upgrades.
Rhino Rack w Backbone to be installed shortly.

I’ve included my basic plan, and with my research and your help I can tweak thing because I AM COMPLETELY FREE THE ENTIRE MONTH OF JUNE.

May 21 after work, Drive to Grand Island NE area to sleep (where?)

May 22 Drive to Denver see former player I coached and the city.

May 24 Drive to Ft. Collins to see former college teammate.

May 25 (my 49 bday) drive to Summit County, see old hs teammate. Rafting? Mtn biking.

Estes Park May 26

May 26-27 Rocky Mtn NP
Camping outside of RMNP, where?
26-28th

West to Moab
Meet up with Hs teammate 5/29
Bike slick rock trail, poison spider area
Which Jeep trails?
Camping suggestions?

Arches NP, June 1/2
Camping area?

Canyonlands June 3/4
Camping area?

Capitol Reef June 5
Camping area?

Bryce Canyon June 5/6
Camping area?

June 7-???
Black Canyon of The Gunnison on way to
Ouray/Telluride/Silverton
Camping area?

Route 66 back to Chicago ?
 
Last edited:

Anak

Rank V
Member

Pathfinder I

2,271
Sandy Eggo
Moab, Arches and Canyonlands can be largely lumped in together. If things are busy in one spot, the other is minutes away. Plan on using part of your time there to seek out the things you want to do the next time you are there. I do not know of any good boondocking options in the area. I have stayed in Arches and at the Moab KOA. Setting up base camp in Moab and operating out of there works for me. It is a very popular area. Popular such that I expect any free camping options have been long shut down on account of excessive abuse. You can look here for BLM options, with fees: Moab area BLM campsites

I highly recommend you take the Shafer trail out of Canyonlands at least down to the White RIm Trail, and probably to Lathrop Canyon and the bank of the Colorado River (depending on trail conditions). That drive will take you from the high plateau top all the way to the bottom at the edge of the river. Great place to have lunch. Just note that you need to get a permit to drive the trail first. I think the permit is more about traffic management than anything else. Last I knew there was no cost for the permit.

Regarding Capitol Reef, there is BLM land just outside (I think within 10 miles) of the park entrance. Close to the highway it is a somewhat busy, undeveloped campground. Perhaps if you go farther into the hills the population will thin out. There are nice developed camp sites within the park, but most are on a first come--first served basis, and of course, come with fees.
 

JeepRushRick

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Adventure

Contributor I

233
Aurora, IL, USA
First Name
Rick
Last Name
Heckman
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26727

THANK YOU! YES, this will 100% be a learning experience for me. I will make lots of mistakes and do it better the next time.
I just retired from coaching football so that I can do THIS MORE. 40 years in the game is long enough!
I was worried that the original post sounded like I was looking for the easy way/just asking for others to 'do the work' for me. Glad you didn't read it that way, and thanks for your time and insight!
 

Ragman

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Enthusiast I

404
Geneva, IL, USA
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Richard
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Gearhart
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15373

Hey @JeepRushRick, Congratulations on the retirement-I am actually in Geneva, small world. The trip from Chicago to CO/UT is a really nice one and I recommend you contact the regional folks in that area. For sure Southern Utah (the National Parks are incredible but get very crowded so be prepared for that)-for sure Moab, Canyonlands, Arches (Zion nice but not really overlanding/camping) and the others are nice. Just for reference we normally stay in Grand Island area of Nebraska (off of 80) at a Hampton Inn when heading out to those areas from Chicago-nice break area. I will defer to the locals for details and possible camping areas that are not so crowded-Enjoy the Trip! Also if you are in Southern UT and have that much time there is some good info here on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon as well.
 

JeepRushRick

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Adventure

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233
Aurora, IL, USA
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Rick
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Heckman
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26727

Ragman, whats up neighbor?! I pedal up the Fox often. Yeah, Not necessarily trying to spend much time IN THE PARKS, but around them. I guess reaching out to locals makes sense, more learning to do! I might head to AZ, but I got a buddy rafting the South Fork of the Salmon River in Idaho, so I might meet up with him. No football, more freedom!
 

Team4M

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Tampa, FL, USA
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Anthony
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Martell
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28184

Congrats on your first epic journey. I spent some time in the San Juan mountains (looks like you'll be there June 7th) two years ago and that made me come home and sell my car and buy a 4x4. Spend some time researching "the Alpine Loop". it's a great way to get around the Ouray/Silverton /Lake City area and I highly recommend it. We went from lake city to Silverton over Cinnamon Pass and Hurricane Pass then up to Ouray and it was awesome! Lot's of dispersed camping opportunities and a few developed campgrounds about. Also in that area is engineer pass but we didn't have time to run that route. Closer to Telluride is Ophir & Black Bear pass and worth a look if your comfortable, capable and well equipped. If i ever get back that way, I'll be spending a lot of time in that area. Good luck!
 

1Truenorth

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Contributor II

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Midd.-tenn.
First Name
Wm
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Murray
We drove from Midd-Tenn. to Utah last summer, what I advise is State Hwy.'s all the way. The interstates are full and nasty, while NOBODY seems to use the State Highway system. You will have a ball, meet nicer gas station/food stop people and arrive marginally later. We drove for hours without seeing more than a few vehicles!