Moab Was AWESOME!!! – AGAIN-!!!! Cherokee Kicked Butt!

Finally getting around to writing about the Moab trip as I have been rediculously  busy! How the boss can find weeks of stuff to do while i’m gone for only a week is a complete and total mystery to me but it seems to happen every year! This year we wheeled some trails you seldom hear about. Myself plus a few friends wheeled from Moab to Blanding ut. and only had to drive on pavement a few miles that were unavoidable unless we wished to seriously violate the tread lightly rules (NOT RECOMMENDED). We started out in Moab and proceeded down Kane creek road from the Mc Donalds, drove all the way out over Hurrah pass and then onto the Lockhart basin trail. Now not many people do this trail because it is far from town and the end leaves you 80 miles from Moab. The first part of this trail was actually harder than I expected though our well prepared group had no problems. Since I was leading on 33 inch rubber and the rest had 35s I wasn’t too worried. The middle part of the trail is just mostly just dirt road suitable for training for the Dakar rally…. marge now knows what trailing throttle oversteer is as I indulged my fantasies of being a pro desert racer. Toward the end of this trail is a little stream crossing that we stopped at for a few pics…I purposely let my buddy in a CJ5 cross first and then tried to pass him in the creek….. he saw what was coming but slightly too late… stomped the throttle on a 401 AMC and still wound up soaked with creek water…..oh the look on his face!   We camped at the needles outpost campground just outside Canyonlands National Park needles district and campfire grilled some awesome steaks procured earlier at the Old Geezer meat shop in Moab. Seriously awesome. I don’t usually plug stuff but these guys get the nod! Campfire cooked a #10 can of greenbeans and taters in tinfoil too…. did not hear one single complaint… Bought my buddy a shower so he wouldn’t smell like creek for the crest of the trip. The next morning we headed out to elephant hill in the park- now years ago this was considered seriously hard core and worthy of the lunatic fringe types but the park service has filled and paved the trail so that the park service maintenance vehicles can pass. Still, the trail offers plenty of interest to most people and we found it to be fun and scenic. once at the bottom of the other side we traveled to the confluence overlook and hiked out to the viewpoint. We then returned to the vehicles and had lunch which was manifold cooked hotdogs…… yeah the intake on a Cherokee 4.0 provides a fine place to cook stuff what with the underhood temps being around 190 degrees and all. Just don’t get the wrapped up tinfoil package near the throttle linkage. The group then proceeded to the next objective- bobby’s hole, also known as impossible hill! Well, It’s just a name after all and since all members of the group have lockers front and rear no winch cable needed to be pulled. We were then on the lookout for a suitable camping spot on blm land outside the park, which we soon found near ruin park. Had another dinner that couldn’t be beat consisting of campfire grilled prime rib burgers and canned  corn. Had a campfire discussion that ranged from dirty jokes to religion and nobody seemed like they needed to kill off the opposing viewpoint…….ahh the company of good friends! Then in the beautiful desert morning we headed out to see the remains of ruin park where ancient people once had a farm community. They had built stone and mud buildings for shelter and food storage and the dry desert air has preserved them beautifully even though no one has lived there for at least 600 years…. an absolutely worthwhile trip to visit this area. Somewhere along  about here one of the front shocks decides it’s had enough desert racing and spits the shaft out the top of the shock…. it was quickly removed and we proceeded without further ado. We then continued on beef basin road for a while until we got to gooseberry road… this road heads south over the Abajo mountain area and has elevations around 10,000 feet in places. The rangers that we talked to said no one had broken through the snowdrifts to open up the road yet. They even alluded that it would likely be quite impossible… so we proceeded anyway… and broke snowdrift after snowdrift with minimal problems…. for a while……we then found ourselves on a north facing steep uphill section covered with 4-5 foot drifts which I promptly became… er…temporarily immobilized in. My buddy with the CJ5 pulled out some winch cable and handed me the hook…..when I bent over to hook up to the tow point he stuffed a snowball in my plumbers crack…. ahh paybacks…. After many tries we did conquer the hill of snow and headed for Blanding on elk mountain road- a wide well graded gravel road with a pretty cool stream crossing that I used to clean the mud off the bottom of the Cherokee until the distributor got tired of the dunking and refused to cooperate further. No matter, i had it dried out and running again before the rest managed to catch up! Had dinner in Blanding that was just ok not great but filled us up and we were happy…mostly…. as blanding is a dry town there are no adult beverages to be had and some in the group felt a little cheated. Oh well, the joys of utah are many and strange! I guess that’s why it’s called BLAND -ING Headed back to Moab for some rest and relaxation and discovered that the key to my RV worked the lock on a certain 401 powered CJ5. So, while my bud is in the shower…. I “steal” his jeep and park it around the corner….paybacks are a bitch sometimes….he he he! Well that’s enough for tonite the rest of the story soon! I promise!

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