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Desert Trip 2022, Tour De Hanksville


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#1 Zoomad

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Posted 16 July 2022 - 08:30 PM

A little prelude before jumping into the trip. 2020 was my last installment for the desert trip, family kept me home for 2021. Folks had planned to go along and as plans do, they fall apart sometimes. It ended up being Larry and our buddy Ian, then a couple days in Bill joined up. They tackled the White Rim trail in Canyonlands and a few others near Moab, including taking the Rimrocker trail on the way over to Moab. No major breakage like 2020, but little things to address.

Plans leading into the '22 trip were left loose. Really loose as we knew they could unravel quickly. A few conversations over video call solidified a target zone and I set to mark out trails in the area we could take depending on the direction and where we wanted to go. Most of the rigs were pretty close to a ready state so it was down to a load and go when the time came. As it was I left Denver a day early to hang out at Larry's and join in on a party for his Father-in-law's 80th birthday. Good times, good food, and maybe a teensy amount of beers drunk. I camped out next to the driveway and made it easy to be ready to go the next day.

Without any further delay let's get with it..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day one.

 

The Colorado crew departs from Larry’s house at 6:30.

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The sky is grey overcast and it’s cool. Very un-Pueblo-like, but it makes going to desert much more inviting.  I rethought all that when I saw 107 degrees on my outside temp a couple of days later.

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We head west on highway 50 and pass though Canon City and enter the canyon cut by the Arkansas river and follow it up to Salida. Bill is leading and setting the pace. We are talking to each other on the radios while driving through a light rain.

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We did have a quick pit stop in Salida to use the facilities and grab road snacks/drinks. They were out of fuel though. 52191769686_11e5483509_z.jpg

 

We proceed west along highway 50. Our first and biggest mountain pass was in front of us and I radio ahead to Bill about hijacking the fuel transport in front of him. But I get no response back. I look down to see my radio shut off.

 

Coming up the cloudy Monarch Pass:

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This is pretty normal as my radio has an annoying feature that it shuts itself off if it is on for two hours. With it tied directly to the aux battery, it’s not a bad idea to keep the feature on as it prevents me from leaving it on after I park the truck and the radio kills the battery. So you just have to turn it back on. Nope. Not today. Power button is in responsive. Uh-oh.

 

I fire off a quick text telling him what’s up and to have Bill stop at the summit of the pass so I can inspect. Maybe it blew a fuse. We chug our way to the top where it was a chilly 45 degrees and I break out my volt meter to check it out.

 

There are inline fuses on both ends of the power lead and visually they look ok. So with the fuse holder open closest to the radio I check the voltage. It’s right at system voltage. Hmm. I’ve got my spare handheld radio I can use but it’s hard to hear it driving with the windows open at speed. But it’s all I can do because it looks like my main radio is dead at this point.

 

I pull mine out of the console and it’s not fully charged so Larry gave me his spare that was charged up. We slide back down the pass and encounter a newer Grand Cherokee pulling a teardrop trailer from Missouri. We end up passing the Jeep and then we heard a different voice on the radio asking for a radio check. Using GMRS we do pick up other people on the same channel from time to time. So Larry responds and the guy asked if we were in the squarebody campers in front of him. He complemented on all our rides and thought they were cool.

 

Conversation complete we rolled into Gunnison and topped off fuel (I got just a tick over 17mpg on that run, best so far with the 8.1). Fleeced well at the gas station we passed another 89-91 K5 rolling through town who gave us the thumbs up as we got by him.

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Directly out of Gunnison is Blue Mesa Reservoir. It is lower than I’ve ever seen it. Sad really, but there were still many out on the water. We hit construction on the next little pass but nothing major.

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 Now on the western slope we boogied through Montrose and Delta to Grand Junction.

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We are making good time and comparing with our fellow desert rats coming in from California, Arizona and southern Utah we had time to eat lunch.

 

After some good BBQ we gassed up again before hitting I-70 and pushing west again.

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 The run had us going past the Town of Green river and then turning south on state highway 24.

Coming down 24:

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Those mountains on the left will be important later..

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By about now I’m almost deaf. With no a/c and blasting down the interstate at 75-80 mph and the wind buffeting against the camper the sound was extreme. The stereo was cranked but couldn’t be heard much over the wind. Forget about hearing the handheld radio. I’d have to put it right to me ear to hear anything from it.

 

The heat was shooting up into the 90’s outside so driving with the windows up was not an option. But we eventually made it to our meet up spot in Hanksville and bought an ice cream bar at the gas station to cool off with and cold bottle of water. We refueled again and grabbed anything else we might have forgot while we waited for the rest to pull in.

Waiting in Hanksville:

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The gas station is pretty cool cut out of the rock on the hillside. 

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Thirty minutes in our friends Ty and his wife Jody arrived in their 4x4Inn as the plate says. That’s them behind the white van:

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Since our last trip he’s rebuilt the camper as it almost got destroyed bouncing in the back of the truck as he yanked Larry’s truck up the Flint switchbacks 2 years ago. He’s also upgraded to kings on all four corners to complement the Carli suspension parts he already had onboard. The 24valve 6-speed manual is humming along as always. We greet each other and catch up while we wait for the others.

 

The next to arrive is Tony. He’s retired from UPS and now coming out of St. George UT. He’s been out on previous Desert trips but in a Rubicon Jeep or his super duty. This time he had a Lexus LX470, otherwise known as a Toyota Prado in other countries. Really simple but with an old man emu lift the it tackled everything with ease.

Here he is with Don pulling up:

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Last but not least is Don out of AZ. His Power Wagon is a little different with a new front bumper and Method wheels. It’s just a killer setup when combined with the Four Wheel Camper in the bed.

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#2 Zoomad

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Posted 16 July 2022 - 08:31 PM

I should introduce the Colorado crew since I didn’t do it earlier.  Larry and Bill are the original Desert Rats.  They started this annual cruise into the desert over a decade ago. 

 

Larry’s K10 is like most, it’s ever evolving.  Though most of the heavy lifting was done after the 2020 trip when the truck tried to rip itself in half.  The truck no longer has the spaghetti type flex in the frame it once did.  He fixed some nagging issues from last year’s trip and it was ready to ride.

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Bill’s truck is pretty awesome in it’s own right.   It’s a unicorn of a Power Wagon.  The rare regular cab, 8 foot bed version.  Only thing more uncommon is a regular cab manual trans Waggy.   It’s perfect for him as the topper he added has allowed him to have some cozy living quarters off road.  So much so he’s put 30,000 miles on it since it bought it a year and a half ago.  What’s not to like in a truck with factory front and rear e-lockers and electric unlocking front swaybar. 

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Last and probably least, me.  The narrator, map minder and off road trail boss.   Little upgrades completed since the last trip the other Big Block squarebody camper was ready for another trip. 

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The band is back together again.  Three Rams (two waggys), Two Squarebodies and a lone Lexus.  Not a bad group of trucks and even better folks to hang out with.

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With everyone accounted for we went ahead and aired down as our first dirt section was 1000 feet to our west leading south into the Henry Mountains. Huh? Mountains, this is our annual foray into the desert what’s the deal right? If we want to climb mountains we can do that at home. Fear not, the payoff for the mountain run comes on Day two.

The Henrys rising from the desert floor like an oasis of green trees in a desert landscape of tan/red cliffs and canyons. 

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I will admit when the group elects me as resident route planner and trail boss some decisions are made that might slant in my direction a wee little bit. In this case gaining elevation off of the desert floor would be a welcome relief to the sweat-fest I was enjoying down low. Just as planned the temps came down as we gained elevation. It was in the 70’s where I found a great site to park all the trucks. That was 25 degrees less than Hanksville but stopping at 6,800 feet of elevation couldn’t have been more perfect. Higher up might have required the furnace.

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Camp is set up quickly and we get right back into swapping stories.  With a long road day completed dinner was kept simple.  Snacks and  sandwiches for most. 
 

With dinner completed and cleaned up we go back to bs’ing.

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 Part of the group had gone off on a little hike to find some petroglyphs on a rock below camp somewhere.

 

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Checking out the history:

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Looking back at the way we came in.

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I broke out my drone for the first time on the trip. Good fight, video, and still pics of the area. Really fun for sure and got some great shots up there.

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The trail in from the North we came in on.

 

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Looking West from a couple of hundred feet over the camp.

 

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Take a look down at the camp from above:

 

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We eventually break out the campfire in a can and talk later into the night. Tired from a long road day we all called it a night and hit the hay.

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#3 Zoomad

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Posted 16 July 2022 - 08:32 PM

Day 2.  

 

We all get up and move into our routine of closing down camp and get ready for another trail day.  This day we are going to climb over Bull Creek pass.   A major elevation change.   

 

The trail winds through pine and aspen forests as we gain elevation.  

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 Further and further up we went.  

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We took a pit stop at another camp spot further up the mountain.  It also happened to have a nice pit toilet, which you learn not to pass these up. 

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Eventually we end up above tree line.  The views are looking east into Canyonlands.  Amazing.  Simply amazing.   It was the method to my madness of trail selection.   Yes, elevation menu cooler temps. But the view at the top was the main focal point.    

 

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After taking our photos and standing and staring east into the amazing landscape we eventually push on.  The trail continues to twist up and around the side of the mountain.   The summit is reached on a northern face and we began our decent down the west side.  

The Summit:

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The interesting point here is the Henry’s have two national parks it sits in between.  We saw Canyonlands to the east and now we were looking west into Capital Reef national park.   52190681742_12fe841688_z.jpg

Which meant more amazing views.   As we descend I saw a spur on my map that led out to a lookout point to the west.   I think it was a Ham repeater shack that we stopped near but the views were stellar again.   

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Photos snapped we rejoin the group and keep going down.   The trail darn near made a complete loop as we got lower we ended up on the southeast face of the mountain where we ate lunch.   It started to sprinkle a little as we finished up.  

Lunch Spot:

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Rain was top of mind as just two days earlier monsoon fed thunderstorms nailed the area causing flash flooding and catching many off guard.  Three off-roaders got caught somewhere in Capitol Reef and required rescue, leaving the trucks to be recovered later.   

 

A good chunk of many of the trails we were on were running up or down dry river washes or at least crossing them many times. This threat loomed over us so we all kept a watchful eye on the sky.   Strangely enough we were not picking up anything on 7 different NOAA weather frequencies.   

 

As we continue our decent the scenery changes.  The tall pines give way to shorter shrubs.

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#4 Zoomad

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Posted 16 July 2022 - 08:33 PM

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Somewhere during our decent where it was steep enough to require dropping into Granny gear to avoid cooking the brakes my truck developed another exhaust leak.   First just a small one, then as we continued it progressively got worse.  I stopped at a small ranch house to investigate.

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We all took a short break and some explored while I looked things over.

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 Like from a slight tick to a full on demo derby car with no exhaust system at all.  Running downhill the truck went just fine but climbing back up little hills caused it to struggle.  The further we went the worse it got.  Where we eventually hit pavement and had to cover 30 or so miles to the next trail.  

Airing back up again:

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Now trying to go up little hills on the road at faster speeds the truck struggled and slowed way down.  

 

I was pretty annoyed and I think everyone heard that in my voice when questions came over the radio.   I was pretty certain that it blew out another donut at the exhaust manifold outlet on the driver side.   I had a spare used one that I saved when I went through this mess on the last trip.  But getting under the truck with it smoking hot and still in the upper 90’s outside was not appealing at all.  

 

We made it back to highway 24 right at the entrance to Capitol Reef and there was a little rest area with restrooms and paved parking area.   Ty had gone around me as he was choking on the overly rich fumes my truck was spewing out.  He was already in the rest area waiting for us.  

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I pulled in behind him, somewhat defeated and extremely hot, I get my head together and hop out to make sure we know where the problem is.  Tools are pulled out and we try to tighten the flange and start the truck up again. Nada.  No improvement.   Tony was watching from under the hood and noticed the sleeve from the donut just rattling around as Larry revved the engine up.  Sure enough the donut was wasted. 

 

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At this point before I could tell him no, Bill is under the truck pulling the sleeve from the pipe.  I fetch the spare out of the back of the truck.   

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Having already been used we were concerned that it’s already been compressed to a certain point we may not be able to squish it enough to seal.  Larry wondered if we had something we could wrap the donut with to “thicken” it up a little.  I laughed and remembered I had a roll of aluminum tape under my front seat (no storage place is unused in my truck) from my reflectex installation.   I retrieved the roll and showed it to Larry and he felt it was exactly what we needed.  While Bill handled dealing with the studs on the manifold I went to work on the “orb of sealing”.  I wrapped a few layers around the donut and trimmed the excess off with my knife.  We deemed it needed more so I put another 8 layers on it and trimmed it up again.  

 

The “Orb of Sealing” before trimming:

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The Orb after trimming up.

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By now everyone in the group has participated in one-way or another but it was a group effort.  Bill checked out the orb and deemed it good to go so he dove back under and installed it.  I provided the pulling power needed to get the pipe down low enough to get the donut in.  

 

We double nutted the studs to kill the possibility of any backing off and causing the problem again.  Larry fired the engine again and now all the noise went out the tailpipes where it’s supposed to go.  I put away tools and clean up as a tourist in a Honda about fuel hits us up.  

 

This lady passed two gas stations in Hanksville never looking at her fuel gauge and now was on “e” with the low fuel light on.   I had 15 gallons on the back of my rig for Bill and I, Larry had 10 for himself.  We would have gladly given her some if Larry hadn’t used the downtime to dump fuel in all three of our trucks.  Tony still had a jerry can full and offered to give her a couple of gallons.  

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She was super appreciative of the gesture. Though I did ask her where she was from and she said New Jersey proudly.   I replied, its no wonder Jersey girls don’t pump gas anyway.  I got a laugh out of her at least as she still was looking a little stressed.   

 

Roadside assistance completed we saddled back up and went a mere 10 miles east on 24 to our next trail.  

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We made the turn to dirt and went back into the routine of airing down. 

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 At that point a plain white Expedition pulled up and rolled the window down.  It was a volunteer ranger from Capital Reef NP.   Asked where we were going and if we were aware of the potential for flash flooding in the area.  We already knew about the flooding in Capital Reef that stranded three off roaders when they got caught off guard.   She said the weather report had afternoon storms in the forecast and that brings with it flash flooding in the normally dry river washes.  She broke out her map showed me where she came from and I showed her our plan.  She was only making sure we were aware  to be safe.  I explained our combined experience, each of us carrying either a garmin InReach or spot device for emergency location but also the fact that we are prepped for a full week of travel.   If rain did come and make roads impassable we could ride it out and stay put until the ground firms up.   Satisfied she wished us well and continued on her way.  

 

Ready to go ourselves we take off.  

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The target was a site we camped at two years ago and it’s not too much up the trail from the highway.  This site is about the only option since we already knew there weren’t other options further up.  It’s at the base of two large hills of this moonscape dirt and out of the way from any main drainage.  

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Speaking of the drainage we could see signs of how much water flowed through the area on the way up.   The normally dry wash was close to 500 feet wide at one point.   It looked like it could get ugly if the rains go off again.   

Camp action:

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Storm clouds brewing:

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#5 Zoomad

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Posted 16 July 2022 - 08:34 PM

Which once we got camp set up we was preparing to cook dinner when the rain rolled in.  Crap!   You could just look at the ground and tell this stuff was going to turn into gooey slimy clay.  I grab a couple of beers out of my fridge and hop into Larry’s camper to hang out while  the rain continues.  Just before we climb in, Larry and I witnessed something very cool.  On the cliff face in the background we saw a rockslide fall into the canyon.  The sound was so cool and once it was done, nobody would know it had just happened.

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Everyone else retreated to their respective rides to do the same.  

 

Larry cooked up a side dish for dinner and we just hang out and catch up.  After a half hour we can see the skies clear and the rain let up a bunch.   Eventually I can see Don out getting stuff situated again and Ty and Jody are out.   I pop out the door and first thing they all recommend is loose the foot ware.  Go barefoot as it’s way easier to cleanup as the mud is sticking like mad.  I kick my Tevas off on the gate and get down to the ground.   Yep.  It’s ooey gooey.   Really smooth actually and felt pretty good.   

 

You can see our tracks running around:

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Bill has his stove out on the gate of his truck and he’s got marinated pork chops going for tacos.  He brought fresh salsa and chopped up and onion and I bring over the cheese and tortillas.   Larry brings the pasta side dish and some roasted green chilies to chop up.  

 

Bill cooked the pork perfectly and cubed it up for our tacos.  We eat quite well on these trips and these tacos were insane.   

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Everyone else cooked up something yummy, though I was too busy stuffing my face to find out what it was.   52199869509_32666aefb7_z.jpg

 

Ty cleaning his feet on Don’s tires:

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I broke out the drone for another flight and got some great shots.   I started low and buzzing camp.  Thought it would be funny to get close to Larry.  A few years back on a snow run I pulled a drone out that was nothing more than toy quality.   Tried to launch off the hood of his Suburban and the wind caught it and blew the drone right into Larry’s face.  Blades whirring at full speed and all.   Needless to say he was not happy.  So I kept my distance this time.

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I took the drone up and took more shots from over our campsite.

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Given the size of the hill next to camp it took some altitude to see the sunset this time around.

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Eventually the campfire in a can  came out and we gathered around enjoying the conversation.   Soon the need to sleep took over and most turn in.   I make another attempt at taking night sky shots.  This time with my Iphone and I am shocked at the results.

 

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After stumbling around in the dark for a little while I hit the sack like the rest. 

,


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#6 Conestoga

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Posted 16 July 2022 - 09:43 PM

That corner in Hanksville definitely looks a bit different than it did last year.

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#7 Casa Escarlata Robles Too

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Posted 16 July 2022 - 09:54 PM

Thanks for the ride along. Looks like you all had a nice time.

Those "donuts"for the exhaust can be a real pain,and are hard to find

in just any auto parts store.Many years ago they were at least.

 

My 1967 GT 350 had them on the cast iron headers and I had a very hard time

finding replacements. The aluminum tape is a great idea.

 

Frank


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#8 Zoomad

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Posted 17 July 2022 - 03:14 AM

Day 3 

 

By now we are in the full routine.  But our late nights are keeping us from venturing out to catch the sunrise. But the morning dew added a little more moisture to the dirt.   Meaning it’s barefoot time still.  

 

We all pack up and are ready for the run today.  I managed to sort out the electrical issue with my radio so I could actually hear people again.  I call out the turn and we point the trucks north to head to Factory Butte and then further into the moonscape.  

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As the previous days have gone, the trails aren’t crazy rock crawling technical.  There are some challenging climbs or drops down that require full attention but the most part it’s unimproved roads with some spicy spots.  52199852894_23653cc502_b.jpg

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We are miles or better off paved roads so going nuts rock crawling is risky when you need to drive the beast home.  Our trucks are capable if we run into some things but my plan was to not focus on the crawling as much. 52199849339_bfb78535d7_b.jpg

 

The trail winds through the crazy grey dirt mounds eventually getting out on top and then diving back into a wash for a while.  We pull up to a trail intersection at Factory Butte and head left. 

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The trail climbs again and then comes around a blind corner and opens up to a wide flat landscape that has such a lunar-like look to it.  Just stunning and I’ve never seen anyplace like it.  So cool.  

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You end up climbing up and over  the mounds as the trail continues.   We turn again and find a wide valley with a surprising amount a green in it.   That green is hiding Muddy Creek somewhere within it.  

52189747468_ceb199c059_b.jpg

 

A creek we will have to cross to proceed.  My previous Gaia track led me right to it and I stop to inspect with the group.  It’s a steep entry into the water and the water is moving fairly quickly.   You can see a higher waterline from the recent rains too.  No recent tracks either.  So with the group watching over me  I put the trans in low gear and creep into the water. 

52200056825_1f040d15cb_b.jpg

 It’s steep enough and deep enough that my front bumper enters the water.  I start applying power and it’s not going anywhere.  Crap.  I put it in reverse and it’s pretty obvious to those outside my front wheels aren’t driving.  

52200054385_d190105e37_b.jpg

My hubs are well under water and the creek is living up to its name as it looks like a river of chocolate milk.  We need to check the hubs but I’m not quite ready to go swimming.   So Larry  hooked up his which an tugged my Blazer back up to higher ground. 

52200052650_d42683fb08_b.jpg

 Sure enough the left hub was unlocked.   I think I unlocked it on the last air up, but missed doing the other side.   But it don’t work unlocked.  Ty locked it in and Don checked the other and confirmed it was locked.  I dropped back in and had a hump on the creek floor to  go over.   It took a couple of tries but I packed it down and drove out of the creek.  The rest crossed with ease behind me.  

 

More moonlike landscapes.

52200049875_f65c547d98_b.jpg

52199567363_9a60f9d81e_b.jpg

 

 

 

 

  I found a spot in the crook of one of the dry riverbed where the wall provided some shade to stop for lunch.  52198549482_5c58716fac_b.jpg

52198548637_5f91c86f61_b.jpg

 

We compared fuel levels and all agreed we could make a run back to Hanksville to refuel and resupply. 

 

Now entering Ding and Dang canyons.

52199815834_416dc1b2a9_b.jpg

 

 So after lunch we exited the canyon and pounded a little pavement to take a dirt shortcut back to highway 24 past Goblin Valley state park.   

52188716052_8b1f60350f_b.jpg

 

***Continued…


  • 0

#9 Zoomad

Zoomad

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 289 posts
  • LocationColorado

Posted 17 July 2022 - 03:14 AM

Day 3 

 

By now we are in the full routine.  But our late nights are keeping us from venturing out to catch the sunrise. But the morning dew added a little more moisture to the dirt.   Meaning it’s barefoot time still.  

 

We all pack up and are ready for the run today.  I managed to sort out the electrical issue with my radio so I could actually hear people again.  I call out the turn and we point the trucks north to head to Factory Butte and then further into the moonscape.  

52189735966_234db7aa90_b.jpg

52190220500_abc4409bc7_b.jpg

52198592427_db61139e76_b.jpg

 

As the previous days have gone, the trails aren’t crazy rock crawling technical.  There are some challenging climbs or drops down that require full attention but the most part it’s unimproved roads with some spicy spots.  52199852894_23653cc502_b.jpg

52189735001_7257ed9df8_b.jpg

 

We are miles or better off paved roads so going nuts rock crawling is risky when you need to drive the beast home.  Our trucks are capable if we run into some things but my plan was to not focus on the crawling as much. 52199849339_bfb78535d7_b.jpg

 

The trail winds through the crazy grey dirt mounds eventually getting out on top and then diving back into a wash for a while.  We pull up to a trail intersection at Factory Butte and head left. 

52199577936_e78a47a171_b.jpg

 

The trail climbs again and then comes around a blind corner and opens up to a wide flat landscape that has such a lunar-like look to it.  Just stunning and I’ve never seen anyplace like it.  So cool.  

52199577936_e78a47a171_b.jpg

52191840410_2ac987c6da_b.jpg

52199837159_349370841d_b.jpg

You end up climbing up and over  the mounds as the trail continues.   We turn again and find a wide valley with a surprising amount a green in it.   That green is hiding Muddy Creek somewhere within it.  

52189747468_ceb199c059_b.jpg

 

A creek we will have to cross to proceed.  My previous Gaia track led me right to it and I stop to inspect with the group.  It’s a steep entry into the water and the water is moving fairly quickly.   You can see a higher waterline from the recent rains too.  No recent tracks either.  So with the group watching over me  I put the trans in low gear and creep into the water. 

52200056825_1f040d15cb_b.jpg

 It’s steep enough and deep enough that my front bumper enters the water.  I start applying power and it’s not going anywhere.  Crap.  I put it in reverse and it’s pretty obvious to those outside my front wheels aren’t driving.  

52200054385_d190105e37_b.jpg

My hubs are well under water and the creek is living up to its name as it looks like a river of chocolate milk.  We need to check the hubs but I’m not quite ready to go swimming.   So Larry  hooked up his which an tugged my Blazer back up to higher ground. 

52200052650_d42683fb08_b.jpg

 Sure enough the left hub was unlocked.   I think I unlocked it on the last air up, but missed doing the other side.   But it don’t work unlocked.  Ty locked it in and Don checked the other and confirmed it was locked.  I dropped back in and had a hump on the creek floor to  go over.   It took a couple of tries but I packed it down and drove out of the creek.  The rest crossed with ease behind me.  

 

More moonlike landscapes.

52200049875_f65c547d98_b.jpg

52199567363_9a60f9d81e_b.jpg

 

 

 

 

  I found a spot in the crook of one of the dry riverbed where the wall provided some shade to stop for lunch.  52198549482_5c58716fac_b.jpg

52198548637_5f91c86f61_b.jpg

 

We compared fuel levels and all agreed we could make a run back to Hanksville to refuel and resupply. 

 

Now entering Ding and Dang canyons.

52199815834_416dc1b2a9_b.jpg

 

 So after lunch we exited the canyon and pounded a little pavement to take a dirt shortcut back to highway 24 past Goblin Valley state park.   

52188716052_8b1f60350f_b.jpg

 

***Continued…


  • 0

#10 Zoomad

Zoomad

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 289 posts
  • LocationColorado

Posted 17 July 2022 - 03:14 AM

Day 3 

 

By now we are in the full routine.  But our late nights are keeping us from venturing out to catch the sunrise. But the morning dew added a little more moisture to the dirt.   Meaning it’s barefoot time still.  

 

We all pack up and are ready for the run today.  I managed to sort out the electrical issue with my radio so I could actually hear people again.  I call out the turn and we point the trucks north to head to Factory Butte and then further into the moonscape.  

52189735966_234db7aa90_b.jpg

52190220500_abc4409bc7_b.jpg

52198592427_db61139e76_b.jpg

 

As the previous days have gone, the trails aren’t crazy rock crawling technical.  There are some challenging climbs or drops down that require full attention but the most part it’s unimproved roads with some spicy spots.  52199852894_23653cc502_b.jpg

52189735001_7257ed9df8_b.jpg

 

We are miles or better off paved roads so going nuts rock crawling is risky when you need to drive the beast home.  Our trucks are capable if we run into some things but my plan was to not focus on the crawling as much. 52199849339_bfb78535d7_b.jpg

 

The trail winds through the crazy grey dirt mounds eventually getting out on top and then diving back into a wash for a while.  We pull up to a trail intersection at Factory Butte and head left. 

52199577936_e78a47a171_b.jpg

 

The trail climbs again and then comes around a blind corner and opens up to a wide flat landscape that has such a lunar-like look to it.  Just stunning and I’ve never seen anyplace like it.  So cool.  

52199577936_e78a47a171_b.jpg

52191840410_2ac987c6da_b.jpg

52199837159_349370841d_b.jpg

You end up climbing up and over  the mounds as the trail continues.   We turn again and find a wide valley with a surprising amount a green in it.   That green is hiding Muddy Creek somewhere within it.  

52189747468_ceb199c059_b.jpg

 

A creek we will have to cross to proceed.  My previous Gaia track led me right to it and I stop to inspect with the group.  It’s a steep entry into the water and the water is moving fairly quickly.   You can see a higher waterline from the recent rains too.  No recent tracks either.  So with the group watching over me  I put the trans in low gear and creep into the water. 

52200056825_1f040d15cb_b.jpg

 It’s steep enough and deep enough that my front bumper enters the water.  I start applying power and it’s not going anywhere.  Crap.  I put it in reverse and it’s pretty obvious to those outside my front wheels aren’t driving.  

52200054385_d190105e37_b.jpg

My hubs are well under water and the creek is living up to its name as it looks like a river of chocolate milk.  We need to check the hubs but I’m not quite ready to go swimming.   So Larry  hooked up his which an tugged my Blazer back up to higher ground. 

52200052650_d42683fb08_b.jpg

 Sure enough the left hub was unlocked.   I think I unlocked it on the last air up, but missed doing the other side.   But it don’t work unlocked.  Ty locked it in and Don checked the other and confirmed it was locked.  I dropped back in and had a hump on the creek floor to  go over.   It took a couple of tries but I packed it down and drove out of the creek.  The rest crossed with ease behind me.  

 

More moonlike landscapes.

52200049875_f65c547d98_b.jpg

52199567363_9a60f9d81e_b.jpg

 

 

 

 

  I found a spot in the crook of one of the dry riverbed where the wall provided some shade to stop for lunch.  52198549482_5c58716fac_b.jpg

52198548637_5f91c86f61_b.jpg

 

We compared fuel levels and all agreed we could make a run back to Hanksville to refuel and resupply. 

 

Now entering Ding and Dang canyons.

52199815834_416dc1b2a9_b.jpg

 

 So after lunch we exited the canyon and pounded a little pavement to take a dirt shortcut back to highway 24 past Goblin Valley state park.   

52188716052_8b1f60350f_b.jpg

 

***Continued…


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