Cruise Moab 2011 trip report

Cruisin'

Out in the shop, building something cool!
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Hey all, here's the start of the trip report. I'll be adding more as I have time to type it all up.

Here’s part one of the trip report: Its past my bedtime but I just feel like reliving some of the cool memories of an amazing trip.

It all started innocently enough: Chatting with Amy one January morning while having breakfast I mention that one of these years I’d like to take a trip south for Cruise Moab. Much to my shock she says “Why not this year? I’m good with the kids for a week”. Did I just hear what I think I heard? A follow up conversation later in the day to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating, and the wheels in my mind start turning. I get registered before the end of the week, and I’m committed.

Now I have some projects I need to get going on. I had purchased the M101 in the fall, and needed to convert it into camping duty. A slow week in the shop afforded the time to finish the tailgate, fab up a lid for the RTT to sit on, mount stabilizer legs, and install the camp kitchen my highly talented brother, Daryl, had built for us. And there are truck projects. Hi-Lift mount for the ladder, repaint the ladder and sliders, install a lift, take care of some maintenance issues...

As of April 1st I have super beefy rear lower control arms fabbed up with 1/2” DOM tubes, and all the other parts gathered for a 2.5” OME lift. I’ll need to deal with sway bar link extension and castor correction, but I’m making the parts for those when I do the job. Oh, and I just discovered that I have a rear brake dragging badly... One month and counting.
Oh yes, and at the beginning of April the plan for the trip changed a bit. Originally just Daryl and I would be making the trip, but then Amy decided that the didn’t want to miss the adventure and scenery of a trip to Moab, and since she’s still on Mat leave with our youngest, she decided that she and the kids would like to come too. This will be changing the dynamic of the trip, what with traveling 2,000km in 2 days with a 1yr old and 3 yr old, but I’m glad that they will be along on the trip. Amy is running a 1/2 marathon on Sunday May 1st, so we can’t leave early. We are to head out Sunday evening and drive through the night.

We left Chilliwack about 8:15pm. Border was no problem. Drove through the night with just a bit of conversation to keep the driver awake. Daryl and I did most of the driving. A fuel stop at a little nothing town called Huntington Id reveals a fuel station with no fuel. Good thing we filled the 2 jerry cans at the last stop. Also discovered that these old school NATO style cans need a spout, not just a funnel. What a mess.

Had a visit with Amy’s Aunt and Uncle in Boise on Monday and stayed the night. Tuesday we made a shop at a Machine shop on Salt Lake City and picked up some parts. Shop tours are cool We were at Summit Machine Summit Machine Daryl and I checked out the place while Amy and the kids played at a park around the corner. After a stop at Wal Mart, and some dinner at Arby’s we were back on the road for the home stretch.
Bombing down the highway with about 50mi to go I notice that the coolant temp is reading quite high. I slow down, but it doesn’t really help. After a bit I turn on the heat and all that really accomplishes is making us all very uncomfortable. I had to stop at the side of the highway and use the cab heat to cool things down under the hood. Got it cooled down and limped at 40mph towards Moab. So much for a daylight arrival. About 3 mi out of town the guage seemed normal so I booted it and it was working fine. It seems that the right thing would be to change the thermostat, thinking that it had been stuck closed.

Then next morning I ran the truck through tech inspection. I was a bit surprised that the “inspection” pretty well consisted of a guy asking “do the brakes work” and such questions like that. After about 2 minutes I was given clearance to run trails rated up to a 7 and sent on my way.
Driving a RHD 80 with a Diesel generates quite a stir south of the 49th. There was almost always somebody checking the truck out, and wanting to look under the hood. Poor saps have to wait another 5 years.
Daryl and I changed the thermostat at the campsite, then after lunch Daryl and Amy went for a bike ride on the Slickrock trail, while I took the kids for a quick run on Fins & Things.

Check out Amy's album on Facebook for some pics. I'll post more wheeling pics here
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150569225195456.677384.663155455&l=354a4a0e26.
 
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Cruisin'

Out in the shop, building something cool!
Joined
Aug 29, 2007
Messages
1,240
Location
Grand Forks, BC
Just wanting to make sure the link is working and you all can see the pics... Let me know!
 
Joined
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Powell River, BC
Just wanting to make sure the link is working and you all can see the pics... Let me know!

Facecrack links only work if you have a facebook account, which I do (but not of my own accord, but that's a story for another time), but I rarely log into it.

Okay I'm wrong. First time for everything. The link does work with no account.
:p
 
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Joined
Mar 28, 2002
Messages
4,801
Just wanting to make sure the link is working and you all can see the pics... Let me know!

Yup, it works and I don't have an account with FB. Annoying popup every few pics, but you can close that and continue.

Elephant Hill has amazing scenery eh?

gb
 

Cruisin'

Out in the shop, building something cool!
Joined
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Grand Forks, BC
Thursday: Hell's Revenge

Thursday we ran Hell’s Revenge. I ended up at the back of the pack just in front of the tail gunner (happened to be Christo Slee on this run). I had ended up being the wrong group leaving town and wound up at the wrong trail head. I boogied back to catch up with the right group and was there just as the last guys were rolling onto the rock.

This is a classic trail with lots of wheeling on slickrock. The traction on this stuff is amazing. Ledges that would have you winching here were just a matter of being smooth and giving a little throttle at the right time to get up and over. The lunch break was at Hell’s Gate. There is an environmental study underway this year so any groups over 10 trucks are not allowed to run some obstacles like Hell’s Gate or the Escalator. We did get to see a smaller group take it on, and there was a great view of the Colorado River in that area. After lunch we carried on and on the way up towards the Ampitheater there was a very steep line about 1.5 truck lengths off the main path that a few of us tried. Ahead of me was a double locked older 4Runner. He gave it the 3 attempts and wasn’t able to make it up. After his 3rd attempts he blew the most amazing white cloud of smoke out the tailpipe. He figured he’d pulled a bit of oil into the intake because it was so steep! I was up next. First attempt I wasn’t quite able to stick it, ending up sliding backwards and grounding out the rear bumper with a major crunch! Fully locked, I gave another go, about a foot to the right from the first line. I was two footing it to keep the revs up a bit, then let off the brake when I felt the rear tires make the transition from flat ground to the steep. With a liberal application of throttle (black smoke for the americans!), and all four tires scraping for traction it clawed its way up. All 6,300lbs of heavy Cruiser made it up the almost un-imaginably steep climb!!!

The next obstacle on the list is Tip-Over Challenge. I walked up first to have a look. The last part of the climb is quite off camber, and if you get a wheel in the hole on the right it would be pretty easy to find yourself going over, and I’m sure it would go over more than once on the way back down! This is one place where having the steering wheel on the right is a big advantage to being able to see the line as you’re going up. Once again, fully locked to avoid sliding sideways and into trouble I followed the instructions of the spotter and eased up with hardly any wheel spin. The next truck after me was only locked in the rear and started to get into trouble as his back end was sliding sideways towards trouble. They called for the strap and I backed into position. As I was hooking a shackle to my rear tow point Christo Slee says to me “I hope the guy who built that bumper did a good job” Apparently he does have a sense of humour. With a little tug I got the 4Runner up and the rest of the group that tried it made it up without any issues.

Over the last couple of years the exit has changed, and now the only way out is what used to be the hard way. There was some rocky parts to work over on the way down, and some rough stuff. Once out of the trail we headed to a nice grassy park I’d seen on the way up so the kids could run around and blow off some steam before going back to camp.

***Tried to attach a few pictures, but there was a problem. Honestly, they're all on the FB link in the first post... HG is the second set of wheeling ones...
 

Cruisin'

Out in the shop, building something cool!
Joined
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Grand Forks, BC
Friday: Poison Spider Mesa

Friday’s run was Poison Spider Mesa. This trail was rated one level easier than Hell’s Revenge, but didn’t feel like it to me. I think there were more obstacles, though not as many really tough alternate routes. This trail is more rocky, with some high speed sand stretches on the plateau thrown it. Going fast in the sand is not like anything I’ve done around here. Its so smooth, and the truck feels like its sort of floating along through the corners.

The highlights on this trail were some of the big ledges, and the waterfall, which was quite a technical climb through some large broken rock. This trail removed paint from every piece of armour on my truck, including some 6” up on my front bumper from one of the ledges. After the waterfall comes the infamous Wedgie. This is one spot where you must pay VERY careful attention to your spotter. On the right you’re fully relying on sidewall traction. The Dick Cepek Mud Country tires stuck like glue to this stuff and I made it through without incident.

It was pretty hot this day. After the lunch stop and on the way back one of the V8 powered 40s had a fuel boilage problem and had to stop to cool off for a while. One of the other guys towed here to the top of a climb and once on the flats the truck cooled off to the point that it would run again.

Every year they have a big dinner and raffle. The roast dinner was very good, and the prizes at the raffle were very impressive. Highlights being a set of BFG M/T tires, a fridge, a roof rack, and a few other high dollar items. I came away with a really nice aluminum storage tote which will go nicely in the M101. Its sealed so it should make a good food tote.
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Cruisin'

Out in the shop, building something cool!
Joined
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Saturday: Elephant Hill, or not???

After the dinner and back at camp Amy and I were on the big debate: Do we get up early for the 7am start for the Elephant Hill run, or do we sleep in, have a leisurely day and take in some of the local sights. We packed a tote with some food and other stuff we’d need if we decided to to E Hill, set an alarm and went to bed, still not sure if we’d bother when the alarm went off.

5:30. The alarm goes off. We decide that we need more sleep and that a lazy day is in order.

6:30 Julia wakes up with a bloody nose. The are here is pretty dry to its no surprise really. By the time we get her cleaned up Owen is awake too, so we decide that since we’re all awake, and not about to fall back asleep now that we’ll get dressed LIKE NOW and hurry up to catch the group. Everybody in the truck, throw a bit of air in the tires for the 70mi of pavement to come and eat while driving to try to get caught up to the rest of the group. We’re about 20 minutes behind.

Every time I crest a hill I’m on the CB trying to see if I can get a hold of the group. Finally off in the distance I see a line of trucks. Amy checks with the binoculars, and it looks like Cruisers. We caught up to them at about 55mi, just before their first stop.

We learned later that Daryl thought that there was no way that we’d be getting up early because about 45 minutes after we all went to bed he heard someone yell “FIRE”. A couple minutes he hears “Its out”. Next a police car arrives, then about 3 fire trucks. Apparently it wasn’t out after all, and the fire trucks hung out idling about 50 feet from our tents for 30 minutes or more. We must have been tired because neither Amy or I heard any of this action. Daryl’s next adventure came at about 8:30 when he went to unlock his bike to head out for a ride on one of the epic mountain bike trails there. I had put my lock on the bikes, and of course I was not there, and neither were my keys. Daryl set about finding some of the most well equipped campers there to borrow a grinder. He found one after about 15 minutes, and liberated his bike.

Pic 1: Well Owen, where do you think we should wheel today?
Pic 2: Good choice!
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Cruisin'

Out in the shop, building something cool!
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Saturday: Elephant Hill!!!

Meanwhile on Elephant Hill...
Wow were we ever glad we got out butts out of bed and came here. This place is amazing! Here it feels like you’re in the formations instead of on top of them. I’m convinced God created this place just to confound geologists because the formations just don’t make any sense. Just how did that boulder get placed on top of that spire anyhow?

The first part of the trail is a steep ascent with a couple sharp switchbacks. On the way down the other side one of the switchbacks is so sharp that you actually have to back down a section. Yes, really. Apparently last year one of the trail leaders tried to make the turn and rolled. 20 minutes into the trail. Some people turned around and left right there. This time there were no problems and nobody turned around. However this is where I began to suspect something was up with my brakes. On the way down the very steep technical descent the pedal started feeling quite soft, and was making it most of the way to the floor. I was able to give it a few pumps to bring it back and made it safely to the bottom, but I knew something was up. A quick peek under the back where I had recently replace the rear calipers revealed nothing, so I decided to ignore it.

The first stop is an area called Devil’s Kitchen. There is a great big cave there formed by a couple of enormous boulders leaning on each other.

After some wheeling through the flats among the formations, and a few minor obstacles (had to winch an unlocked 80 off a rock that hung up his rear diff) we came to our lunch stop and hiking adventure. It was here that I spotted that the inside of my left front tire was very wet. A quick inspection revealed that this was the source of my braking issues. The soft line to the caliper had a split in the casing and was losing a bit of fluid. It wasn’t super bad though, a hard push on the brakes would put the pedal to the floor in about 15 seconds, and I hadn’t lost much fluid yet. We devised a possible trail fix and decided to give it a shot before crimping a hard line. I wrapped the affected area with electrical tape, then some spiral wrap, then more electrical tape, and finally a couple of hose clamps. Turns out it was a pretty effective fix since I wasn’t able to get a new hose on the way home, the fixed hose is still in service, and it has since dried up. No further fluid loss! I have new braided stainless lines on order from Slee though, seems like a good excuse to upgrade!

The hike here was particularly interesting with some very narrow slot canyons to walk through. Some were narrow enough that I was rubbing both shoulders going through. We checked out the views, took about a billion pictures, then headed back to carry on to the next stop. More desert wheeling and rocky stretches brought us to another short hike and a view of the confluence of the Green and Colorado Rivers.

Back in the air conditioned truck (it was about 30 deg that day) and we were on our way for the last leg of the trail. A few more petroglyphs and some fossils in a rocky river bed for the kids to check out, more impossible rock formations, and we were back at the steep entry obstacle. Since my brakes were still an unknown the group decided that we should have another built 80 behind me in case we needed to put on a strap to slow my descent. Being very mindful of my line, and stopping where I didn’t need to be hard on the brakes and I made it down safely and without assistance.

We aired up in the parking lot, and made the 70 mile trek back to the town of Moab. We’re all tired and hot from a long day in the truck, but the scenery and terrain of this area was well worth it.
 

Cruisin'

Out in the shop, building something cool!
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The long road home

Overheating issues came back on Hwy 6 heading away from Moab. Started seeing some high temps heading up one of the passes. I knew Glen was behind me so I stopped at the side of the road, and pulled off the big driving lights to get more air flow. He suggested going further than that so we also removed the grill and licence plate. It helped a bit, but I was still having to go up the hills with the cab heat on full blast. In Salt Lake City I found a parts store and got a new rad cap. Also had to add about 2L of coolant. It appeared that as things heated up the excel coolant got pushed into the expansion tank, then as it cooled again it would pull in air instead. Then I'd have air circulating and giving me weird readings on the temp gauge. With the new cap and the coolant topped up it was pretty well trouble free for the rest of the trip home. I did have to top up the coolant one more time, but it was running fine. I will have to tear into it eventually to see if I have a small leak that's letting air in when its not pressurized, but its drivable for the time being (as long as I don't go to the desert with a truckload of stuff again;)

This was a fantastic trip and I recommend anyone who has been wondering if its worth the long drive to get there. Believe me, it is! I'm already working on a plan to get there again next year.
 
Joined
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great photos! It looks like the family had a grand time. I know what it is like to travel with a young girl. It is a lot of work...But, it looks like they had a blast and are getting to the age where they can truly enjoy the outdoor experience. More safe travels to come:)
 

Cruisin'

Out in the shop, building something cool!
Joined
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Nice writeup, more pics coming?

You can check out the Facebook link at the bottom of the first post. 170 pics should keep you going for a while :). Also, I'll try to post a few more here, but I was having issues loading pictures on last night.
 
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I budget 20 hours driving time (excluding stops). My fuel cost was $850 for 5,100 km, including 8 days trail running. Last year fuel was about $500.
 

Cruisin'

Out in the shop, building something cool!
Joined
Aug 29, 2007
Messages
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Location
Grand Forks, BC
Good pics, looks like fun! Deffinitely on my to do list. Any idea how much you spent on fuel? How many hours it took you to get there?

It was about 24 hours of driving +/- a bit, and cost just about $700 in fuel at an average of $4.30/gal. I was getting about 18 imp MPG loaded with bikes on the roof and the trailer in tow. There was a stiff headwind most of the way home too, which probably cost a couple MPG.
 

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