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Old 06-06-2012, 10:22 PM   #11
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May, 04 (Day 7)


Date (day): May, 04 (Day 7)
Source: Moab, UT
Destination: Potash Road, Shafer Switchbacks, Riverside Oasis Camping and RV Park.
Travel Miles: N/A
Resources: Map; Potash;

Deviation from plan: I was able to get an early morning appointment at Moab Ford to check out our vans air conditioning system. As such, we stayed one additional night in the Best Western Plus Canyonlands Inn (just in case the van needed a more extensive repair).

Moment(s): Overall, this was an amazing day. However, the one moment that will stick with me forever was driving up from the bottom of the Shafer Switchbacks for the first time. I just could not get over the fact that there was a legally navigable road here. Snaking its way up what looked to be an impossible wall of rock.

Takeaway(s): Potash Road to Shafer Trail is beyond spectacular (at least for first timers like us). It goes on the must do list. 4x4 may not have been an absolute requirement for everyone although there were a few uphill places where having it most likely meant that you would not tear up the existing trail. Having 4x4 did make for a smoother ride too.

Sportsmobile Note(s): I delivered the van first thing in the morning and waited for the outcome. The van was in the shop for less than an hour when the service writer came to get me. He indicated that the van had what looked to be a severe A/C coolant leak but they were not able to locate it. Once they started tracing A/C lines and then found the additional lines that supplied the Star Cool system added by Sportsmobile, they were done. They told me to take the van back to Sportsmobile as they felt that it was impossible to try and figure out all of the additional piping. They were also very reluctant to charge the system (and include dye) as they said that it would be an expensive waste of coolant. Ultimately, I left with no service actually getting done to the van and there was no charge. I brought the van back to the hotel, checked out, and then headed out to our next destination (Potash Road).





Potash evaporation pond




Colorado River








Riverside Oasis Camping and RV Park


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Old 06-06-2012, 11:03 PM   #12
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May, 05 (Day 8)


Date (day): May, 05 (Day 8)
Source: Moab, UT
Destination: Long Canyon, Deadhorse Point, Shafer Switchbacks
Travel Miles: 100
Resources: Info;

Deviation from plan: My youngest brother showed up to do some light wheeling with us today. He came from where he is currently working in Colorado and met us in Moab for breakfast. We decided to hit Long Canyon and Dead Horse Point. With some daylight remaining we headed down the Shafer Switchbacks and went out as far as the Gooseneck Overlook before retreating back to the Riverside Oasis Camping and RV Park in Moab for the night.

Moment(s): Crawling up and through the gap left between the massive fallen rock and the cliff edge was pretty neat. While our rig had plenty of height and width clearance, there was plenty of evidence left on the above rock where other larger rigs failed.

Takeaway(s): Again, this is a must do (at least once). You will need 4x4 if you go up from the Colorado River to the Dead Horse Point Overlook. There is a short section maybe a little over a football field called Pucker Pass that is steep and full of silt. If traveling downhill, you probably wont need 4x4 (but you will need excellent brakes).

Sportsmobile Note(s): Our rig made the entire climb from the Colorado River to Dead Horse Point Overlook with zero issues. We used 4x4, LR, and pulled the sway bar pins. My brother also made it in his 4x4 Dodge Dakota with no issues.

Dead Horse Point Rd












Pucker Pass


View from Dead Horse Point




Shafer Trail




Descending the Shafer Switchbacks






White Rim Trail




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Old 06-07-2012, 12:31 AM   #13
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Re: TWOLOST: May, 2012: UT + AZ trip report (report in progr

I teethed on the rocks in Long Canyon for a geology degree eons ago. Did you have to put it in 4WD to get through Pucker Pass to the top? Hard to tell but from the pic it looks in good shape.
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Old 06-07-2012, 08:39 AM   #14
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Re: TWOLOST: May, 2012: UT + AZ trip report (report in progr

NV

What is the box out front on your van?
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Old 06-07-2012, 09:08 AM   #15
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Re: TWOLOST: May, 2012: UT + AZ trip report (report in progr


I did use 4WD to get up Pucker Pass. The trail surface was covered with a deep talcum powder like sand and in 4WD we tracked up the steepest part with no issue. As you will see in the next installment of this trip report 2WD (or partial 4WD) did not work for Jeep that we happened to follow up the same route the next day. The Jeep got stuck a half dozen times digging craters in the hillside in the process. After the Jeep was extracted by another more capable Jeep the route became significantly more difficult to navigate as there were foot deep trenches going all over the place. Based on the amazed looks of the faces in the local tour company Suburban (that had been watching all of this transpire from the top of this hillside) I would surmise that the tour guide + passengers were totally stunned that a Jeep failed... and a 12K pound van - did not.

Truth in advertising is that we could tell that there was definitely something wrong with the 4x4 system in the Jeep. The driver of the Jeep was probably also nicked named 'Gun It' as he had that thing floored on every attempt. It made for good theater for the spectators anyway. Not so good for the trail though.

Cheers,
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Old 06-07-2012, 09:18 AM   #16
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Re: TWOLOST: May, 2012: UT + AZ trip report (report in progr


The box in front of the van is where I put all of my maintenance related fluids (tranny oil, engine oil, gear oil, WD-40, etc...). I also carry various cleaning products as well (general interior, windows, etc...). On this trip, the rear box was full of extra diesel cans + a camping stove and fuel. Having our daughter along on this extended trip also meant that interior space was at a premium (think 37 days of diapers). Removing this stuff to the exterior made a few less dangerous items for her to get into as well.


Cheers,
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Old 06-07-2012, 09:46 AM   #17
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May, 06 (Day 9)


Date (day): May, 06 (Day 9)
Source: Moab, UT
Destination: Long Canyon (again), White Rim Trail
Travel Miles: 50
Resources: Map;

Deviation from plan: Once again, we met my brother for breakfast in Moab. We then headed to our favorite Moab city park (Swanny City Park) to trade camera memory cards and say our farewells. My brother then headed back to Colorado and we headed back for one more run at Long Canyon (just because it was kind of on our way and it was pretty neat).

Moment(s): We arrived at the Pucker Pass portion of Long Canyon with three Jeeps in front of us. There were also two other vehicles at the top of Pucker Pass waiting to come down. The first of the Jeeps made it up with no real issues. We noticed that the second of the three jeeps was having obvious 4x4 engagement problems before even attempting the climb. With the rev limiter pegged, run after run, the second Jeep would get half way up the climb before it would come to a halt and start digging axle deep holes. Ultimately, the first Jeep had to come back down the hill and winch the second Jeep up and out of there. The third of the three Jeeps had little issue. The whole escapade took about an hour. We followed shortly after the last Jeep made the climb such that those other vehicles waiting at the top did not delay us further. Unlike the previous day, we took a few hard bounces as we passed over the ditches that the second Jeep had augured out of the hillside… but there was very little drama. The faces of those waiting at the top of the hill as we drove by were priceless. Surprise!

Takeaway(s): A couple of days ago, when we did the Potash Road + Shafer Switchbacks we also stopped at the Island in the Sky Visitor Center (located just at the top of the Shafer Switchbacks). At that time, our itinerary for doing the White Rim Trial was Airport B, Potato Bottom, and Labyrinth. The problem was that when we originally started our permit process earlier in the year, these were the only sites available in the window of time that we had available. Fortunately, the staff found an opening at Murphy Hogback, which allowed us to more evenly break up the three days we were scheduled to be doing the White Rim Trail. As we would find out later, there was realistically no way would could have made the original schedule as Airport and Potato were just too far apart for us to navigate in a single day. Just checking to see if something better was available… really, really paid off.

Sportsmobile Note(s): Our campsite at Airport was really windy the one night we stayed there. The wind was blowing consistently at 25+ with gusts well beyond that. I had the top up and was wind was hitting us broadside. One of the things that I did before we left on this trip was to make four adjustable posts that I would put vertically in all four corners of the pop top. Because of the large(ish) bases I used, this setup not only did a good job of making sure the top could not crash down on anyone if one of the poles failed, it also did a reasonably good job of controlling the side to side sway in the wind. Adding lateral cross bracing would do even better… but what I had done worked pretty well on its first real wind test. There was never any real concern that the top would fail – even with the wind howling outside.


Pucker Pass


Shafer Switchbacks


White Rim Trail






Airport B













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Old 06-07-2012, 12:33 PM   #18
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Re: TWOLOST: May, 2012: UT + AZ trip report (report in progr

Absolutely beautiful pictures. We just came back from 12 days in the 4 corners area doing Bryce, Arches and Canyonlands among others. While I was on the rim at Canyonlands in my 2wd Sportsmobile I drooled with envy watching the guys down in the canyon with their 4 x 4s. Health issues keep us away from the 4 x 4 scene but we can hike like mad trying to get as close to that scenery as possible.
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Old 06-07-2012, 12:42 PM   #19
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Re: TWOLOST: May, 2012: UT + AZ trip report (report in progr

Fantastic! Congrats on successfully pulling off a trip like that with a 2-year-old!

-- Geoff
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Old 06-07-2012, 04:45 PM   #20
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Re: TWOLOST: May, 2012: UT + AZ trip report (report in progr

Quote:
Originally Posted by geoffff
Fantastic! Congrats on successfully pulling off a trip like that with a 2-year-old!

-- Geoff
Ditto to that!
We just went to the coast for the weekend (about 4 hours each way) with our 2 1/2 year old and my wife declared that most certainly were not ready for cross country trips this summer!

I must say though, if you have to travel with a toddler a van is a good way to go.

Excited to see more installments as they come along!
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