A few weeks off and a new truck =


Over the last 10 years I've slowly developed a taste for camping, offroading and exploration. See, I'm originally from New York City and camping meant you slept in a crappy tent in a glorified parking lot. But when I moved to California and purchased my first SUV, I ended up going to Death Valley with a small group and the place just blew me away.

Since then, I've gone through several trucks. Mercedes ML's, Land Rover Discovery's (I and II), Range Rover P38, LR3 and a Toyota FJ Cruiser. There's been one truck that I've wanted for years but the price of entry was just too high or the timing just never seemed to work. However, this year the stars aligned.

What made things even better was the fact that the company I work for allows a 2 month sabbatical every 7 years, so after two week vacation with my wife, I decided to take off and explore the southwest.

I spent some time prepping the truck. Changed the oil, tranny fluid, new tires, diff fluid, transfer case fluid, new plugs, new wires.

The timing was just right to meet up with a bunch of other G-wagen enthusiasts at G-Treffen. So before I took off on my southwest trip, I headed up to Oregon to meet up with some old friends.

As I leave the SF Bay area, I decide to stop by the Golden Gate bridge.

The drive up highway 5 was uneventful and I hardly took any pics...


This year the G-Treffen event was hosted by a long time member who happens to own a great winery. I actually ended up buying a couple of cases...If you ever have a chance to try Lumos wine, I highly recommend it.

People started to arrive and pick spots to park and set up.

It was great to see some old friends and meet some new ones. This annual event has grown quite a bit from the first one I attended many years ago with my SWB '85 300GD that barely made it up certain grades.

The LWB plus V8 made the drive a pleasure. With the extra room I was able to sleep inside comfortably.

Some folks brought their doggies.



It crossed my mind to snatch one of them to keep me company for the next couple of weeks...


As with any gathering of car guys, after the initial introductions people's attention turned towards the trucks and modifications, upgrades and accessories.



Some food and wine to start things off...

On day two there was a group ride. Sadly, we weren't able to find any real challenging trails, so it was more of a sight seeing trip. Coming from California and the places I normally explore the forest with its very thick brush and mist was very different and beautiful in its own way.

After another great dinner and night it was time to head back home. I made it back to San Jose and spent a night in my own bed. The following day I changed the plugs and wires and the truck ended up running much smoother. The following day I headed down to LA to meet Karl of G-wagen accessories and hit up Expedition Exchange to pick up some misc stuff.

I should have taken some pics but for whatever reason, I didn't.


I made it out of L.A. fairly early and didn't hit any real traffic. It was a straight shot past the Mojave desert, to Las Vegas, through a short section of Arizona into Utah and a town called St. George where I stayed in a motel.

The following day it was straight into Zion.

As the terrain changed to a nice red, so did the road.



I wasn't planning on spending too much time at Zion, so I kept moving along the main road through the park.

There was one section at a turn off that required a permit or blue sticker to get past. I think the rode took you deeper into the park but since I didn't plan this carefully, I decided to keep going and head towards Monument Valley.

As I left the park the terrain changed very quickly and there was a ranch with bison.

A tourist trap on the way back to Arizona.

A strange place to say the least. Originally purchased because of the indian artifacts it was converted into a bar during prohibition. Over the years it became a full blown tourist trap with the owner buying dinosaur bones, more indian relics.

After a few minutes I got the hell out of there.


It was on towards Glen Canyon and Lake Powell.

Coming up on Monument Valley.

It was already getting dark and I needed to find a camping spot, so I drove into Utah and found a trail in my guidebook that looked promising.

By the time I found the trail it was already dark. After driving a few miles I found what I thought was a good spot and began to make camp.

In the morning I could finally see where I camped.

What was really amazing was that in this place where I couldn't see anything or anyone, I had cell reception and received a call from my wife. Now keep in mind that I don't get good reception in my own house in San Jose, so to get a clear signal on the Navajo Nation in the middle of nowhere is amazing to me. I don't know what kind of deal the Navajo people made with one of these telco's but the cell reception is working REALLY well.


Authentic Adventurer
We share similiar stories. I'm from Long Island. Glad you got out too!!!

Nice report, thanks for posting up!!


Nice to see this write up, it proved me wrong. I always said no one ever buys one of those to get dirty. Just for doctors in the Hamptons (TV show we watch, but off topic). Anyway, I stand corrected, but even living out here I don't always see the beauty, thanks.


Great write-up! This is what I have in mind when I tell people that I want to get to point where I spend a month of each year out west! Thanks again for more motivation.



Thanks RBA, great photos. You're making me homesick. I grew up near St. George, and my grandfather was foreman on the ranch with the bison - though there weren't any bison back then.


I'm struggling to remember the name of the trail but I continued to follow my guidebook. Literally within 2 minutes of driving down the trail I could see this huge gorge.

I couldn't believe I was camping just yards away from this site at night and had no clue.