Moab!!! | OVERLAND BOUND COMMUNITY
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CHILL907

Rank V
Member

Pathfinder I

1,479
Peoria, AZ
Member #

7258

I had such a great time on my first trip to Moab that I had to return! My 17yr old brother-in-law has taken an interest in off-roading but has limited experience and he drives a Camry. In fact, none of my in-laws have any off-road experience so I figured why not round us all up in Moab at the Sand Flats recreation area and do some rock crawling.

Picture of our camp first morning in Moab waiting for family to show up. We ended up with me, my wife and our son, my parents, my wife's parents and brother, and my wife's friend with her husband and two kids. We were camped in the Sand Flats Recreation Area campsite E-1. It was a fantastic spot with plenty of room for our group. The only real complaint anybody had was the 100 degree weather, but I guess that's what we get for camping in Moab in August.
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After spending a very long highway day on Thursday from Phoenix to Moab, we opted for a hike to Morning Glory Arch to stretch our legs and let our kid and dog get some wiggles out.
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This was a great family hike. It is 5 miles round trip with numerous water crossings to cool off with. My little boy and our dog loved splashing around
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With so much interest in rock crawling and limited seating capacity in the FJ, we decided to rent a Jeep Rubicon from Cliffhanger Jeep Rentals. We've had a friend use them before and had a great experience and our experience was the same. Friday night and Saturday Morning was dedicated to Fins N Things. This was my wife's favorite trail the last time and so we hit again while it was cool outside. My mother-in-law was in charge of photography for this ride and I will post of pictures as soon as I get copies.

Saturday afternoon we hit up Hell's Revenge! Me and my brother-in-law drove the FJ while my father-in-law drove the Jeep.
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New to rock crawling, my father-in-law was taken back by all the long steep climbs and descents as well as the near physics defying amount of traction the "slick rock" provided.
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There were some talks about an obstacle called Hell's Gate. It is something I would love to conquer one day but I do not feel that my experience level is up for the task. Spend time on YouTube and you can find videos of stock vehicles going right up it and modified ones tumbling down it. As we rolled up to view the top of Hell's Gate, we found this unfortunate Bronco on its side.
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The group in the Bronco was from Ontario Canada and this was their first time to Moab. Their unfortunate experience provided me an opportunity to show my 17yr old brother-in-law how the off-road/overland community comes together to help each other in times of need. The weight of the bronco was a little concerning but out came the winch cable and everybody quickly went to work to get our new friends back on all fours.
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After some muscle and lot of strain on my rig, the Bronco was safely at the top with minimal damage. A little hot and sweaty, we were treated to some grateful handshakes and smiles. This is what our community is all about!!!
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Half way through Hell's Revenge we were treated to a beautiful view of the Colorado River.
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By the end of the day, My Father and Brother-in-law's skills had greatly improved. For their first time, they did fantastic as drivers and more importantly as spotters. It was hot on the trail, but traffic was very minimal allowing us to take our time and focus on being safe and learning the ropes. My Father-in-law kept commenting that he had a kindergarten level of off-road knowledge attempting a college level course. I am grateful for all those who have helped me along the way and I'm glad I was able to pass it on.
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Sunday afternoon our family and friends all headed home so we broke camp and headed up Sand Flats Road to explore the La Sal Mountains. Early in the evening, along the La Sal Mountain Loop, I applied the brakes while going down a hill when we heard a lot screeching/grinding sound followed by a locked up tire. Our evening plans had just instantly changed! The bottom bolt holding the brake caliper to the spindle had disappeared and as I applied the brakes the rotor pulled the caliper outward against on of my brand new wheels! Being on a steep hill, we opted to further sacrifice the wheel to get to flatter ground before busting out the hi-lift.
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A passerby stopped to lend a hand and helped me with a temporary fix to get me back to town. I ended up removing the top the bolt and relocated it to the bottom so when I applied the brakes it would hopefully pull the caliper into the rotor and not away from it. Just after dark we were up and running and headed back to town for a much needed hotel stay. Monday morning we found a bolt that fit but was not grade 8. We took a chance on it and set our sights back to home. There still being a couple days left in our vacation, we found this spot on our way at Recapture Reservoir near Blanding UT and decided we needed one more night of camping.
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Tuesday Morning we headed for home. I had never seen Monument Valley, so made a slight course correction and headed for some new roads.
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We call our rig Five & Dime and I've lost plenty of blood, sweat, money, and tears working on it. But, it is always worth it!
 

CHILL907

Rank V
Member

Pathfinder I

1,479
Peoria, AZ
Member #

7258

Finally got the pictures from Fins N Things. We set out Friday night driving a small section of Fins N Things to satisfy my craving for some nighttime rock crawling, and test out my new rock lights. I had never done any serious nighttime wheelin' before and there were some lessons learned. One example, your spotter may not be all that impressed with all of your lighting...like...a super bright light bar...lol!
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Friday night was a short night, only doing a small section of the trail, because Saturday promised to be a long day of wheeling. Saturday we were up an on the trail before sunrise. Sleeping in can be nice and all but there is something alluring about the desert in the early morning twilight that makes the effort worth it.
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Today was the day that we introduced my in-laws to the world of rock-crawling! Here my wife is showing her dad and brother some pointers on spotting and line selection. Involving my wife into off-roading has been extremely rewarding. She has become quite the skilled driver and she is an excellent spotter.
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If you are new to rock-crawling, Fins N Things is a great trail for getting your feet wet. It is long enough to keep you entertained for several hours and there are obstacles of varying difficulty to test your equipment and nerve. It is far from the most difficult trail in Moab but here are some things I would suggest for your rig:
33" tires or bigger
Tread pattern isn't super important as the rocks provide almost physics defying traction
Make sure you air down. The FJ ran 20psi and JKU ran 25psi
At least one locker
Good ground clearance
Approach/Breakover/Departure angles will get tested as there are some pretty steep rocks to play on.
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On this drop the receiver portion of my rear bumper kissed the rocks adding to the collage of scratches left behind by previous rigs
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Took an opportunity to let the kids out to play. One of the best parts of bringing the family along, is watching my boy explore this world with wonderment. It never takes our German Shepherd long to find a stick!
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One of the challenges to early mornings are the steep climbs driving straight into the sun. Here, some knowledge of the trail and/or a good spotter are super invaluable. This obstacle was nothing cosmic, but the blinding sun leaves you with plenty of uncertainty of what's ahead.
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Here I put my brother-in-law behind the wheel. This was nothing like anything he had ever done before.
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From time to time, my wife will tell me that off-roading really isn't her thing and that she does it because she wants to support me in my hobby/addiction. This picture here is proof that she really does enjoy this!
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My brother-in-law attempting the same climb. Some would call me crazy to let a 17yr old drive my rig on such a challenging course. I have known this young man for 10 years now and have watched him grow up into a very confident, capable, responsible, and respectful individual. He has really taken an interest in 4wheeling and I have really enjoyed teaching him and showing him the ropes. I have no doubt that his interest in al this will continue and I look forward to future trips with this kid.
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