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My Moab Adventure

Contributed By: Alan Taylor

I was finishing changing the oil and tranny pan gaskets literally minutes before taking off for Moab. I didn't get to the valve covers, but I got the worst of the leaks. Had the new Edlebrock performer intake and 1406 carby on, along with a new thermostat and radiator cap. Big Blue was running better than ever as we hit the road for Moab. My wife was following in the Montero since she and my daughter and 2 yr. old son aren't as into the hardcore trails as my oldest son and I.

Friday morning I lined up for Moab Rim (rated 4+) and while I was waiting, a guy walks across the street and says:"nice Cherokee, I've got 4 Wagoneers at home". We chatted a while and I told him about the list.

Not 5 minutes later a guy pulls into the parking lot in a dark red 70's Wagoneer with a spring over and 33's from Colorado. We go through the same routine and I gave him the list info and Micheal Shimniok's number for the CFSJA group.

My WT turned a lot of heads with 35's and a Rhino Chaser grill in it, but the best attention was had on the "trail" as the Jeep walked over every obstacle in sight. To call Moab Rim a trail is pushing it. It is an extremely steep series of large stair step ledges and off camber turns over sand stone rock. The first part is a 100 yard drop off down to the road on your left, and fender munching boulders on the right. The entire trail is either swallowing your tires in cracks and holes or stuffing them into your wheel wells. My rig articulates extremely well, and it was tested to the max all day. I was one of 2 full sizes on the trail, the other being my friend's built D*dge R*mch*rger with 1 ton axles and a detroit locker. The trail is one obstacle after another climbing up to the top of a Mesa overlooking Moab. It is 7 miles round trip and took 7 hours to complete. Basically, you go up, play around on some obstacles at the top and come down the same way. Once we made it to the top it started to snow, obscuring any view of the valley below. So we all ate our lunches in our Jeeps with the heaters going and watched the snow come down. The thought of going back down over wet and snow covered rocks was not a comforting one, but as it turned out, the wet sandstone provides a lot more traction than the mud. I was number 4 in line of about 25 vehicles in our group and after lunch we continued over some very steep up and down grades and ledges on our way to the "Dome of the Rock". This is an 85% grade climb up over a solid rock hill that is rounded off at the top. About 1/4 of the way up there is a 2 foot ledge that you have to bump over, which kills any momentum you may have had, and makes you start out almost vertical to climb the hill. The trail leader came over the CB and said that this is an optional climb and pointed out the bypass. The Ramch*rger climbed up after the trail leaders' CJ and the YJ in front of me pulled off. From my viewpoint just before the base, I could see my buddy's entire roof and 1/2 of his hood as he crawled up. Well, I couldn't let that D*dge show up a Jeep could I? I started up the hill, got my front tires over the step and stalled out when my rears hit it! I didn't have quite enough throttle. So I fired it up, bumped the step and chugged on over without spinning a tire. That was a rush! I couldn't see anything but sky and snow the entire way up! My 7 year old son in the back seat let out a long "cooooollll" as we crested the top. My rear locker is a godsend. I'll be adding a front ARB this summer.

Well, there were many more great ledges, drop offs and holes that would swallow a volkswagon, but this is long enough already. Suffice it to say that I drove it home in one piece with only a crinkled right rear fender flare (that adds character).

That night I was in the parking lot when a sweet white GW pulled in and parked. I couldn't miss the FSJ sticker in the window, so I went over and met Michael Shimniok and James Junkin from the list. We were all at the same Motel. We went up to their room and chatted while we watched some video of thier escapades on the trails. Great guys, and it's nice to have a couple of faces to put with the posts.

Despite the bad weather, it was a great time and I highly reccommend a trip to Moab to the list. There are trails for everyone and the scenery is gorgeous.

Moab is Mecca,

Alan Taylor
78 Cherokee Chief WT

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