Sunday, May 19, 2013


  On May 6 I rode with Doug Bogart, my third ride with him in as many years, on a run named Golden Spike in the slick rock area northwest of Moab.The road is rated as a difficulty 4 out of 5.  This year Doug had a 2013 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited (4 door) which he bought in January. Doug is a great mechanic and added many accessories and parts over 3 months to make it very “trail worthy”. This was his second outing with the Jeep to see just how it behaved on challenging trails. His wife declines to ride with him on 4 rated trails, making a great opportunity for me to hitch a ride with him.

I have so many pictures of this run to share that I am breaking it into3  parts for ease of loading.

IMG_4744 The Jeeps in this run lined up to have a drivers meeting and to meet the trip leader and one another. Doug’s jeep is at the far right.


The leader of the run, Gary Hanson, did a fine job with keeping us progressing, despite the tendency of those on the run to socialize at every stop. He also was a spotter to help drivers with their wheel placement in challenging spots.


Here Doug is “airing down” his tires so they will have better traction on the smooth rocks. He let his down to about 14 lbs.

IMG_4749 A driver has his choice of the easier way up at the left or the harder way at the right.This is one of the easier obstacles.



Larry Cairncross driving his red 4 door chose a more challenging way up this one. 


Here are a series of challenges. The trick is to keep your Jeep moving, usually very slowly.



The  “Spotter” at the top  is directing the driver on wheel placement.



Part of the challenge here is the right turn at the bottom of the hill.


This downhill obstacle provid a stop for a  beautiful view of the Lasal mountains on the horizon.


The tracks show how to drive up this V in the rock – one tire on each side and keep your vehicle level. We paused at this place to let a group of “side by side” Polaris vehicles to pass us.



This place is called Launch Pad. At least the bottom has  U shape instead of a V.


Climbing out of Launching Pad. Is this about a 25 degree slope?



Skyline Drive is an optional extra credit on this run. About half or our group drove up this dome on one side and down on another.


We paused for lunch at the Wind Cave. Of the eleven Jeeps in our group, 7 were 4 door and the rest were 2 doors.


Although this run is called Golden Spike, Doug explained to me that it covered half of Poison Spider, all of Golden Spike, and half of Golden Rim. It runs  for 30 miles of 4 wheeling in all. We had very few stretches of 100 yards of relatively smooth road. The rest was either high rocks or medium sized rocks. The body of Doug’s Jeep was raised 4.5 inches and the taller tires added 2 more inches. His has lockers for the front and rear axles. Engaging a locker results in both wheels turning at the same rate  when one wheel has little or no traction. When the front axel is  locked steering is very difficult.


The route  shown here is the more difficult of two ways to get up the canyon. Doug elected to take this option to see how his new Jeep will perform. It climbed it flawlessly. The easier route is at the right.


Larry Cairncross felt something wrong with the front of his Jeep before trying to take the easier route up. Inspection showed that a nut and spacer had come off a bolt, allowing it to drift out of the suspension, and a bracket to be torn.. He found the bolt, which was damaged beyond further use. Larry had a collection of bolts, nuts and washers for Doug to use to put everything back together so that Larry could complete the run. Doug here had plenty of onlookers, but no one offered supervision!


His Jeep repaired, Larry continued the run.


A spotter guided Doug down this steep narrow spot.


At the edge of the rim we were treated to a fine view on highway 191 at the bottom of the Moab Rift. This road takes one up to I 70 north of Moab.IMG_4785

 Here are several pictures of the Jeeps crossing the Golden Crack. Often one tire has no traction, but the other three pull the vehicle through. Extreme articulation  (the angle between the  body and the front axe)  is the reason they can make it. Low tire pressure also helps.









When traveling with this group of well-equipped Jeeps, I learned a little about their cost. A new Wrangler Unlimited (4 door), Rubicon model, costs around $35,000. The many addons to make them trail worthy on this kind of challenging trail will cost over $15,000.  This includes taller all terrain tires. custom wheels onto which the tires are bolted,  longer springs and shock absorbers, more skid plates on the bottom, bumpers, spare tire carrier, winch, air compressor, running boards, CB and sometimes ham radios, GPS and mount, and probably a lot of other items. The folks who have these vehicles choose this way to spend their discretionary dollars rather than on boats or airplanes or, in my case, camera collections!

 The following pictures are all taken at a more challenging part of the trail. It looks like a 30 degree slope! This one probably has a name but I did not learn it.

One of the Jeeps ;in the group could not make it up this steep slick rock and had to be pulled up with a strap. A few rocks were thrown in the hole on which the left front tire of the Jeep in the next picture is resting and the rest made it on the first try!








The jeeps below are to me extreme in their being customized. While I am sure that they are trail worthy, the ones with the fancy paint jobs may never see a brushy trail.





I saw this one at a tire shop which fixed flats free as a part of the promotion for the rally. One of our tires picked up a foreign object resulting in its leaking, and it was fixed at no cost.

IMG_4811 Roll cages are the most unusual feature of these two. The one below has a custom body.



Moab 2013 Chicken Corner

On May 6 we took our first run of the FMCA  4 Wheelers Chapter 2013 rally at  Moab. This trail is rated at a 2 out of 5, and I feel very comfortable driving the Grand Cherokee on such a road with the modifications made a couple of years ago – lifted 3” with All Terrain tires. We had taken this run 3 years ago. It is about 40 miles long, 25 of which is in low range.

Unfortunately, the day was cloudy. The serious rain held off until the later part of the trip on the way back.




Here are our trail leaders for the run, Bob Cleary and wife, 


This is the lineup of our seven Jeeps on the outing at a “10-100” stop. The “necessary” at the left intentionally  has no roof.


On this kind of run our Jeep is just as capable as the Wranglers and more comfortable!   


Kane Canyon  is good example of the country through which we traveled.    


Harrah Pass, el. 4780, was the second stop of the run for us to take a stretch.


IMG_4726From the pass we looked down on the Colorado River and saw the extensive settling or evaporation ponds used in connection with the active potash mine on the other side of the river. We were told that the ponds readily were visible in Google Earth. Our road in the valley is visible at the left.



We took this shelf road to reach the valley below.


Our shelf road skirted a deep side canyon.


Here we are at the end of the road having lunch overlooking the Colorado River.


This view is downstream..


And here is the upstream view.  Dead Horse State Park is directly across the river from our lunch spot.



Chicken Corner is named for the corner of the footpath as it goes around the rock wall at the right of the bush.  I chickened out at the bush!