ImpromptU-Ah! Back to Utah We Go!

Blackdawg

Dr. Frankenstein
ImpromptU-AH!



Back to Utah We Go!


It really had not been that long since we had been to Utah. Actually it had barely been 5 months. But Devin and I were still thinking about how amazing our last trip was. (If you missed it, check it out here)

So there I was on the couch at home after working almost 110 hours in two weeks to do a show at the concert hall I was running at the time. Tired of working. Tired of winter. Tired of the cold. It being March Spring was RIGHT around the corner. But in Northern Wyoming, it wasn't done snowing until the fat lady sang..in June. Usually...sometimes July.

Devin was fixing dinner when I suddenly realize, it was spring break next week. The college I worked at only gave us the next Thursday and Friday off. Being on Salaray pay with a chill boss, I had asked to take the whole week off having worked so much the last two weeks and not having any big show to prep for. She had said yes.

I had a week off to do….Nothing...my god did it sound good..

But….


Camping….yeah...camping sounded much better. Warm camping though….like..in...UTAH!!

HOLY ****!


“Babe, lets go to Utah next week! We can leave this Friday!”

“What? Are you crazy?!” Devin replied.

Too late, the idea had dawned on her as well and I could see the light of excitement start to twinkle in her eye.

“Yes….YES!!” she said.

Lucky for us she had no job...yet. Funny enough she got called on Thursday to say she had been hired at the local Library. No biggy though, just told them she could start on Monday...in a week :D

Excited I jumped online and asked if any of my Tacoma buddies wanted to join. Miraculously, Ben (@m3bassman) said,

“Well...its only like 8.5 hours away, **** it, I'll do a weekend in Utah!”

And so it began.

The Impromptu Trip to Utah.

IMPROMPTU-AH!

I scrambled to figure out what trails to run. Ben wanted to do Top of The World..which I wasn't as keen on since I had just run it in October. But hey, it was wheeling in Utah last minute and I wasn't gonna complain. Ben would get there well before me and said he would find a campsite on Onion Creek road for us before we got there. Done deal.

For the rest of the trip, Devin and I decided to go back to The Maze. But this time do some hiking, particularly go check out Horse Shoe Canyon which was home to The Grand Canvas petroglyph site. Loe and Behold! I got online and there were campsite permits available in The Maze! At spots we hadn't been! I made reservations for Hi Spur, Panorama Point and Millards Point. All good because we hadn't been there in The Maze yet!

Friday came and we drove back to my home town to pick up all the camp gear. Saturday morning we set off south!

Our first stop was at Thermopolis, Wy. Only 2 hours into our journey but I figured we were passing through and had many times before but I wanted to show Devin the World's Largest hot spring.

It's kinda big..

ImpromptU-Ah.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr
ImpromptU-Ah-3.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr

Also my Limited Finish SCS RAY10s had come in finally that spring. They were pretty and way too clean for a truck I own haha

ImpromptU-Ah-2.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr
ImpromptU-Ah-4.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr
ImpromptU-Ah-5.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr

Went nice with the Green though.

With a long drive ahead we buckled down and ate up the miles. It was Spring...ish..in the valley's we were traveling through, but very much still the winter in the mountains.

ImpromptU-Ah-6.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr

Then around 9pm at night, something amazing happened.

We had stopped in Rifle to get gas. Nothing out of the ordinary really until I pulled back onto the Interstate. I was deep in conversation about...something with Devin when I noticed a truck start to ride by *** a bit. I noticed it was a toyota and didn't think about it. Then the truck pulled up beside me. It was a 3rd gen 4runner, looked very nicely outfitted really with bumpers and the like. I kinda waved and he pulled in front of me. I flashed my lights as if to say “cool rig!” in my mind. He was obviously headed to Moab as well having an out of state plate…...couldn't quite tell what state it was but it had a vanity plate that said.

Unner


Unner...hmmmm...that rings a bit of a bell.

I followed him for a bit but he was going slower then i liked to go so I pulled around beside him and had Devin try via hand signals to say get on channel 22 on the radio. But we heard nothing and I just kept going.

The 4runner though stuck with me, the whole time right behind me.

“Man, I wonder if I know that guy. Something about his license plate rigs a bell” I said aloud.

Then it hit me like a ton of bricks. I DO KNOW THAT GUY!

“QUICK! Where is my phone! Go to Tacomaworld and my inbox. Look through there!” I told Devin.

She confirmed my theory.

January 30th, 2017. Private Message from a person with the screen name Unner asking about moab. His name was Gavyn and he had messaged me asking about trails his built runner could do. He had very little offroad experience with crawling as he was based in GEORGA! He had told me he was going to be doing his trip in March. I had helped him out with suggestions and tips. And forgotten about it.

And here he was riding my *** on the interstate!!!!

I became so excited!! What the freaking chances!! Seriously! How cool was this!! I decided to pull off the interstate at the next pull off to see if he would follow. I started my blinker early and he followed!!

I stopped on the off ramp. Jumped out of the truck and he did the same.

“Are you that guy that messaged me on TW?!” I exclaimed in excitment.

“Yeah man, that's me!” Gavyn replied.

HOLY ****! He had reconized me in Rifle. They had been at the Dominos accross the street and saw my truck at the pump. “Nice truck!” he had said to his buddy. Then the wheels set off a flag and he knew it was me and had scrambled to catch up to me. He had also removed his CB so couldn't talk and just figured he'd follow as long as he could.

On TOP of that. The pull out we were at was the ramp to Loma, Colorado. The EXACT place my last Utah adventure has started! We pulled in to Loma to top off the gas tanks. I was on a total high of how amazing this trip was already panning out to be.

ImpromptU-Ah-7.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr

“What are you're plans tonight?” I asked.

“We were just going to find some BLM to camp on.” Gavyn replied.

“Pfff, dude just come with me. My buddy has a spot already and you can wheel with us tomorrow! We are running TOTW!”

“That sounds great! That was the hardest thing I was planning on running anways so be great to have some company”

HELL YEAH! Turning into a toyota meet now!

We set off into the dark to find Ben and had a pretty uneventful drive to Onion Creek road.

When we got there I decided to air down knowing we had quite a few dirt miles to get to Ben plus TOTW was right there so might as well. By now it was close to 12:30am. Gavyn had been driving for 15 hours and I was on around 13. We were tired. So when Ben called me on the Ham radio my reply was a bit funny.

“Yeah we are just airing down, should be there soon. I also found a guy on the highway so he is coming too!”

This...confused Ben and seemed a bit odd. Found a guy on the highway?? Huh..

Anyways, we continued to find Ben all the way at Hide Out canyon and told him the crazy story of our new found southern friends. But we were tired and hit the hay ready for a fun day of Utah wheeling.

We woke up...in UTAH! It was still kind of hard to believe we were actually there. AND that we had stumbled onto Gavyn on the dark interstate.

We hit the dirt enthusiastically high on life with perfect weather.

IMG_0026 by Benjamin Springli, on Flickr
ImpromptU-Ah-8.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr
ImpromptU-Ah-10.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr

Onion creek road is just a smooth road, not really a trail per say. But it was nice to see it in the daylight this time, the canyons you drive through are great.

ImpromptU-Ah-9.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr
IMG_0029 by Benjamin Springli, on Flickr
IMG_0032 by Benjamin Springli, on Flickr

But the REAL reason to drive this road, other than to bypass Rose Garden hill on the Kokopelli route, is the water crossings!

ImpromptU-Ah-11.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr
ImpromptU-Ah-12.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr
ImpromptU-Ah-13.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr
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Blackdawg

Dr. Frankenstein
Of which there are..quite a lot. Over 28 I think. We lost count haha nothing deep mind you but fun to splash through!

The road is pretty long but we were in no real hurry and enjoyed the scenery.

ImpromptU-Ah-18.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr
ImpromptU-Ah-19.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr
ImpromptU-Ah-20.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr

Gotta say, Gavyn did an excellent job building this rig. Very clean and great armor choices. Tires are on the small side but won't be stopping him really. We all agreed it was a very nice rig.

ImpromptU-Ah-21.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr
ImpromptU-Ah-22.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr

Bit too nice really :p I was ready to help him take some paint off that nice armor!

Ben had brought the full fandamily with the pups.

ImpromptU-Ah-23.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr

Classic Moab canyons and rocks. It was good to be back so soon.

ImpromptU-Ah-24.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr
ImpromptU-Ah-25.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr

More water!

ImpromptU-Ah-26.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr

We got to the end of the road and stopped just before the highway. The valley that highway 128 runs though is stellar. This big open spot in the road was just gorgeous.

ImpromptU-Ah-27.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr
ImpromptU-Ah-28.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr
ImpromptU-Ah-29.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr
IMG_0036 by Benjamin Springli, on Flickr
ImpromptU-Ah-30.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr
ImpromptU-Ah-31.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr

Everyone was having a ball on the brisk spring day. Especially the dogs.

IMG_0039 by Benjamin Springli, on Flickr
IMG_0040 by Benjamin Springli, on Flickr

We made our way north and turned off at Dewey Bridge to check it out as its on the way to TOTW. Kinda mandatory really ha

ImpromptU-Ah-33.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr
ImpromptU-Ah-32.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr
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Blackdawg

Dr. Frankenstein
Once again i have the tall tires but lowest lift ha need to fix that some day..

IMG_0042 by Benjamin Springli, on Flickr

While inspecting Gavyns rig a big closer I saw that he had one of the very clean and now excint Whitson metalworks Roof rack.

ImpromptU-Ah-37.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr

For those of you who don't know, Gobi sued this guy for “copying” their patent and shut him down. They also sued Baja racks. Very unfortunate as its probably the best made roof rack out there for 3rd gens. Can read about the sad event HERE

Gavyn was probably the last guy to get one.

We continued do the road to the trailhead once again enjoying the fast smooth road.

ImpromptU-Ah-38.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr
ImpromptU-Ah-39.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr
ImpromptU-Ah-40.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr
ImpromptU-Ah-41.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr
ImpromptU-Ah-42.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr

Till at last we were at the trail head and dropped it in 4 low. Not one of us had lockers so was going to be a good day of open wheeling!

Seems like only yesterday we were here..

IMG_0045 by Benjamin Springli, on Flickr
ImpromptU-Ah-43.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr

We got started straight away climbing up the many many ledge's presented on this trail.

ImpromptU-Ah-44.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr

Kirsten, Ben's girlfriend, had taken the wheel and was set on driving up the whole trail.

ImpromptU-Ah-45.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr
IMG_0048 by Benjamin Springli, on Flickr

Ben's truck was the only manual here and she was having a bit of an issue with it. Ben gentle went to give some insturction and also to tell here not to worry about the truck.

“You won't break it, don't worry about it” he said grinning.

ImpromptU-Ah-46.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr

All she needed to hear!

IMG_0053 by Benjamin Springli, on Flickr

Gavyn was also having a blast and his truck was having 0 issues with the terrain as was he. For his first time rock crawling he was doing great!

ImpromptU-Ah-47.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr
ImpromptU-Ah-48.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr
IMG_0060 by Benjamin Springli, on Flickr
IMG_0063 by Benjamin Springli, on Flickr

Ben was getting his laps in for the day running around with the camera

ImpromptU-Ah-49.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr
IMG_0064 by Benjamin Springli, on Flickr
ImpromptU-Ah-50.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr
IMG_0071 by Benjamin Springli, on Flickr
 

Blackdawg

Dr. Frankenstein
Not a bad view either.

IMG_0076 by Benjamin Springli, on Flickr
IMG_0080 by Benjamin Springli, on Flickr

Kirsten was hitting her stride.

IMG_0083 by Benjamin Springli, on Flickr
IMG_0089 by Benjamin Springli, on Flickr
IMG_0090 by Benjamin Springli, on Flickr
IMG_0091 by Benjamin Springli, on Flickr

We all were just having a blast on the slick rock.

IMG_0094 by Benjamin Springli, on Flickr
IMG_0095 by Benjamin Springli, on Flickr
IMG_0107 by Benjamin Springli, on Flickr
ImpromptU-Ah-51.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr
ImpromptU-Ah-52.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr
IMG_4709 by Benjamin Springli, on Flickr

Good day, good group, good rigs.

ImpromptU-Ah-53.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr

Before long we had made it to the main obstacle of the day.

IMG_4713 by Benjamin Springli, on Flickr

We had a little pow wow on it and I pointed out the tricky spot to Gavyn. During this time 3 very big and expenisve overhauled UTVs came barreling down the trail racing each other and barely slowed down while they blew past us. Jerks…

IMG_4715 by Benjamin Springli, on Flickr

Anyways, I went first and of course took the harder line. Had just done it last october and every other time i had come.

IMG_4723 by Benjamin Springli, on Flickr
IMG_4724 by Benjamin Springli, on Flickr
IMG_4732 by Benjamin Springli, on Flickr

Got a little too far in but couldn't back out fully and...well..

IMG_4733 by Benjamin Springli, on Flickr
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Blackdawg

Dr. Frankenstein
NOOOO!!!!

IMG_4747 by Benjamin Springli, on Flickr

Damn..lasted 4 weeks. Oh well. Was gonna happen at some point!

IMG_4749 by Benjamin Springli, on Flickr
IMG_4765 by Benjamin Springli, on Flickr

Didn't help that I freaking plowed the front passenger side one into a rock right here when I wasn't paying attention too haha

IMG_4750 by Benjamin Springli, on Flickr

Gavyn decided to take the easier line to go up.

ImpromptU-Ah-54.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr
ImpromptU-Ah-55.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr

I then mis judge his front flex and spotted him a bit wrong and he got very tippy. Nothing bad though, I stood on his bumper while he backed down and I got him on the right line.

IMG_4754 by Benjamin Springli, on Flickr

Kirsten then went for the hard line. But pick the wrong line and kept smacking the bumper. Ben I think wanted her to figure out the line herself and didn't want he spotted up it, but after a few more large whacks and bending the fairlead, she conceded to the other line. No biggie though.

IMG_4755 by Benjamin Springli, on Flickr
ImpromptU-Ah-56.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr
IMG_4762 by Benjamin Springli, on Flickr

Right after this 3 very built jeeps came down the trail. This one didn't even have licence plates yet. They were all rocking 37s at least and this blue one also has an LS swap.

IMG_4766 by Benjamin Springli, on Flickr

It had also somehow nuked its rear driveshaft and they had been tugging it up the trail. Not really sure how you do that on this trail with a rig on 37s..but sucks to do that to a brand new toy.

We continued on up the many ledges, now bigger ones, after letting them pass.

IMG_4768 by Benjamin Springli, on Flickr
IMG_4777 by Benjamin Springli, on Flickr
IMG_4778 by Benjamin Springli, on Flickr
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IMG_4811 by Benjamin Springli, on Flickr
IMG_4813 by Benjamin Springli, on Flickr
 

Blackdawg

Dr. Frankenstein
For his first time in the rocks, Gavyn had been doing great. I think this was one the second time I spotted him all day.

IMG_4827 by Benjamin Springli, on Flickr
IMG_4832 by Benjamin Springli, on Flickr
IMG_4834 by Benjamin Springli, on Flickr

Kirsten was still slaying rocks with the manual as well.

IMG_4837 by Benjamin Springli, on Flickr
IMG_4840 by Benjamin Springli, on Flickr

Bam.

IMG_4841 by Benjamin Springli, on Flickr

I really do like this trail. But it has gotten very popular over the years and even from when I ran it in October last Fall it was rougher still. Trail Damage rates it a 5-7, but its getting more and more on the 7 side all the time.

Still, you don't need a locker for it so don't shy away from it.

Gavyn didn't.

ImpromptU-Ah-58.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr
ImpromptU-Ah-59.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr
ImpromptU-Ah-60.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr

Twisty. Gotta love that 3 link rear.

ImpromptU-Ah-61.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr
ImpromptU-Ah-62.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr
ImpromptU-Ah-64.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr
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We made it to the top and there was a group up there already posing on the ledge. So we ate lunch and waited our turn before going up to the very top. I also inspected my rock rash on my wheels.

Ouch…

ImpromptU-Ah-67.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr
ImpromptU-Ah-68.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr
ImpromptU-Ah-69.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr
ImpromptU-Ah-70.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr

And that why I can't have nice things!

After we ate the other group had moved on, so we walked up to the edge to take in the great view.

IMG_0116 by Benjamin Springli, on Flickr
IMG_0118 by Benjamin Springli, on Flickr
IMG_0119 by Benjamin Springli, on Flickr
 

Blackdawg

Dr. Frankenstein
I loved how there was snow on the mountains. I found it very cool to see how contrasting the landscape and temperatures are within miles of each other on this whole trip.

Ben was quick to get his rig up to the ledge for the classic TOTW photo.

IMG_0124 by Benjamin Springli, on Flickr
ImpromptU-Ah-71.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr
ImpromptU-Ah-72.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr
ImpromptU-Ah-73.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr
ImpromptU-Ah-74.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr
ImpromptU-Ah-76.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr

Then it was Gavyn's turn. Ben spotted him up the ledge. It can be pretty nerve racking to drive to this point as from the driver seat, all you see is..well..nothing and then a 2000' drop haha

ImpromptU-Ah-77.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr

Worth it though.

ImpromptU-Ah-78.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr
ImpromptU-Ah-79.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr
ImpromptU-Ah-80.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr

Pretty cool to think that this morning we had driving through that maze down below to get up here.

View on the other side isn't half bad either.

ImpromptU-Ah.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr

I didn't pose up there as I just had. BUT I broke one of my rules. Always take the photo as you'll never be there in that spot at that time again. Slight regret. Oh well.

There is also cell service up here and I knew my little brother frequently came to the Utah area and had texted him my plan a few days earlier. He happened to call me while we were up top and had just finish a short backpacking trip for school(I know, he literally lives outdoors...for SCHOOL. Talk about a guy with his priorities straight!). He had to back to work the next afternoon but I invited him to camp with us that night as it had been a long time since we had seen each other.

Gave him a rough estimation on when we would be in town to round him up at moab.

Stoked to get to see my brother, we packed up the trucks and headed back down.

ImpromptU-Ah-2.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr

I love how different a trail can be going the other direction. The approach angles and departure angle of the rig play a different role when going down hill.

ImpromptU-Ah-3.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr

Ben had reclaimed his rig and had decided to drag his rear bumper over..well everything on the way down! Haha

ImpromptU-Ah-4.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr
ImpromptU-Ah-5.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr

Going down is always faster though. I let Devin drive on the way down and she did great. The truck started making a terrible noise from the driver rear wheel though. Having just had my rear drums and brakes replaced, it just sounded like the pads were dragging. Figured we could get to the bottom and Id readjust them on flat ground.

ImpromptU-Ah-6.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr
ImpromptU-Ah-7.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr
ImpromptU-Ah-8.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr
ImpromptU-Ah-9.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr
ImpromptU-Ah-10.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr
ImpromptU-Ah-11.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr
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Blackdawg

Dr. Frankenstein
Not sure what this face means…

ImpromptU-Ah-14.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr

But this is a happy one!

ImpromptU-Ah-15.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr

We got to the bottom and I got the tools out. Unner grabed some screw drivers for me to use as well. Devin, prepared to be here for awhile as she has been to one too many trail fixes go comfy in her chair. Dogs as well.

IMG_4916 by Benjamin Springli, on Flickr
IMG_4922 by Benjamin Springli, on Flickr

No biggie I thought.

Right up until I crawled under the truck..

IMG_4926 by Benjamin Springli, on Flickr

Sons of all the bitches…:frusty:

The rear bearing seal had gone. Which meant the rear bearing had gone. My worst fear. I had been hunting down a road noise all spring and had thought it was my front bearings so i replaced them. Then i could feel in the brakes and figured it must be the rears as I had just done the fronts. Well...know what it is now!

Obviously this a bit of a problem. My range was going to be seriously limited and Moab would not have parts. I knew to pay a shop to do it was VERY expensive and most the time they didn't get the retainer rings lined up with seals anyways. But we could figure that out in the morning and decided to get to camp.

We had planned on camping and running Gemini Bridges and that area the next morning. So we decided to split up and once again have Ben go find us a camp spot while Gavyn and I went to find my brother in Moab.

We hit the highway and i promptly pulled off because this is not something you see everyday.

ImpromptU-Ah-17.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr
ImpromptU-Ah-18.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr
ImpromptU-Ah-16.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr
IMG_0134 by Benjamin Springli, on Flickr
IMG_0135 by Benjamin Springli, on Flickr

Again, seeing snow with the red desert...just awesome.

I limped into Moab and wasn't really sure how I was going to find Grant as Moab was a zoo. Spring and Fall are Moab's busy season. But funny enough I going slow pulling up to a light when a blonde beard dude stepped out with his hand out.

It was Grant.

We whipped in around the back of the building and he came running over. It was great to see him. After some brief talking about the crazy spontaneity of this trip on top of finding Gavyn and my exploded truck..I told him to go get his truck which was parked quite a ways away so we could go to camp. During this time I started texting Mike who in turn started posting on TW about my current situation.

As we started north I go ahold of Ben on the Ham, who did not have any good news.

“Totally packed back there, no sites anywhere” Ben said.

Crap.

We met up with him and tried to think of what to do as it was basically dark by now.

“We could go back to Dewey Bridge, there was that one big site right past the bridge. And another one just past that” I suggested.

We all agreed to head back to where we had come from. Plus this put me closer to Grand Junction which is where I was going to head the next day.

Ben needed gas so he went to Moab to refill while Grant, Gavyn and I went to find camp.

During this time, Mike relayed some very good news.

“Brett said he could come get you with the trailer to take you where you need to go to fix it. Other Brett offered his shop and tools in Colorado to repair it.”

Holy crap. TW to the rescue. Actually, Brett and Brett to the rescue!

I had lost signal though and had hoped my APRS text went to get in touch with both of the Brett's but it didn't seem I was getting out. Hopefully I could get cell service soon tomorrow to start talking to friends.

We found the large site empty and quickly setup camp and a fire to sit around and tell stories.

What a freaking GREAT day. And what a killer start to a trip. So much random spontaneous events had happened and aligned the planets to end up with 4 toyota rigs and some great friends all around the campfire back in Utah. Sure my truck was one step away from being immobile. But things weren't all bad. That was tomorrow's problem anyways. And so far, things had been working out...

My luck wasn't about to run out either. In fact, it was only going to get better.

To be Continued:

All Hail the Brett's!
 

Roody

Adventurer
Freakin' awesome story as always Monte. Gonna need to make it out there sometime, shooting for 2018/2019 for a Colorado/Utahadventure. Gotta say, these write-ups are the incredibly motivational, love reading the story aspects too.
 

pyrate

Rollin' along
Freakin' awesome story as always Monte. Gonna need to make it out there sometime, shooting for 2018/2019 for a Colorado/Utahadventure. Gotta say, these write-ups are the incredibly motivational, love reading the story aspects too.
I totally agree. I love that he puts the new thread in the end of his old threads too so we don't miss it! Do you happen to have your routes on mapped out that can be shared or general trail information?
 

unkamonkey

Explorer
As always Monte a great write up and pictures. I don't know how many times I have driven to the TOTW and Elephant Hill. It seems like you found the camping spot East of Dewey Bridge. There is also another road about a mile North of TOTW. It takes you to another overlook. Not too tough of a trail. There is 1 tough ledge to climb but there is a bypass. You need lockers F and R to do it. I have never found a name for the trail but a friend did a lot of mountain bike riding out there, he just called it Power Pole Valley.
 

Blackdawg

Dr. Frankenstein
Your killing me BD!
:)

Russ
:D This trip is only a week haha so won't be quite the novel as the last one!

Freakin' awesome story as always Monte. Gonna need to make it out there sometime, shooting for 2018/2019 for a Colorado/Utahadventure. Gotta say, these write-ups are the incredibly motivational, love reading the story aspects too.
Perfect! That's exactly what i want it to be! Inspiring!

Thank you for reading :)

I totally agree. I love that he puts the new thread in the end of his old threads too so we don't miss it! Do you happen to have your routes on mapped out that can be shared or general trail information?
Im glad you have noticed that. I hyper link every one of these at the end of the Credit post too in hopes if someone reads one, they can go to another. I think if you started from the First one i wrote till now you'd have a short book to read haha

I do have GPS data from the MUD trip and some from this trip as well. But the others I don't, didn't have a GPS setup until the MUD trip. All the tracks i have from that trip i found online. I forgot i was going to post those. I'll try and do that when i get back to my main computer.

I'll post the ones i have from this trip at the end too!

As always Monte a great write up and pictures. I don't know how many times I have driven to the TOTW and Elephant Hill. It seems like you found the camping spot East of Dewey Bridge. There is also another road about a mile North of TOTW. It takes you to another overlook. Not too tough of a trail. There is 1 tough ledge to climb but there is a bypass. You need lockers F and R to do it. I have never found a name for the trail but a friend did a lot of mountain bike riding out there, he just called it Power Pole Valley.
Thanks man.

Yep that is where we stayed!

Good to know though for next time.
 

Blackdawg

Dr. Frankenstein
Chapter 2:

All Hail the Bretts!!

We all woke fairly early the next morning. Not super early, but Grant had a long drive ahead. Plus what sounded like 100 turkeys duking it out had been making quite the racket all morning. Utah’s rooster perhaps :p

Was a nice morning though and had been fairly chilly that night.

ImpromptU-Ah-19.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr
ImpromptU-Ah-20.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr

After those that drink coffee had done so and those that ate breakfast had as well. It was time to split. Grant had to go back to work. Ben and Kirsten did as well. Gavyn and Derik had a whole week of adventure ahead.

So did I.

My rear bearing was, gone. How gone it was hard to say. Gavyn let me borrow a 24mm socket and i topped off the diff. Then hit the road my sites set on Grand Junction Colorado. A mere 70 miles of agonizing stress driving. The bearing was not making happy noises and I was very worried we wouldn’t make it.
Plus I didn’t even have a real plan on ****** I was going to do to remedy this whole situation. Once at the interstate though, my phone erupted.

Last night Mike had been busy relaying info on my situation. And thank god i have some great friends and the TW community is amazing.

Brett (@BossFoss) in Lander offered to drive to Grand Junction to pick me up with his diesel rig and tow me anywhere I needed to go!! :eek: I could not believe it when I read that text.

Brett (@Squeaky Penguin) in Steamboat Colorado offered up his shop and tools to get it fixed. Which was HUGE because he had made a homemade tool that you need to press out the bearings from the axles.

I called both of them. Colorado Brett said he would see if he could come into work late on Tuesday to help me rebuild the axle. I could not thank him enough and called Lander Brett back with the plan.

“No problem, I’ll set off here in a bit and be there tonight.” Brett said.

I couldn’t believe he was dropping everything and loading up his truck to come down down 6+ hours driving and 400 miles, just to two my broke *** another 200 miles to other Bretts to help me fix the truck.

It was a freaking miracle. All of this happened over the period of minutes.

I just had to make it to Grand Junction….

About 30 miles from Grand Junction, and things were not sounding good. The hum was very loud and then a shrill shrieking sound started appearing every so often. It was inanely never racking. More so than any other offroading thing I have ever done. We were begging the axle not to completely explode and just hold out for 10 more miles as we approached the Toyota Dealership.

ImpromptU-Ah-21.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr

We made it. Some how.

I called Colorado Brett to double check which parts I need and went in and bought everything I needed. It wasn’t cheap. Around 450 in parts I think. But it would cost another 500 to get them installed at the dealership.

From here, we looked on Google and found a large city part near by and i limped Igor the last mile there and we set up “camp” for the rest of the day. We had a long day of nothing ahead. It was noon and Brett wouldn’t be here until around 8 or so. We walked around the park which thankfully it was a beautiful day. But can’t do that all day. We also called the Hans Flat ranger station and canceled our Campsite Reservations as we weren’t totally sure we would be going back to Utah anyways.

Bored, we found a movie theater about a mile away and decided to go watch a movie. Then went shopping for some dinner. When we got back to the truck to cook dinner in our parking lot campsite. Brett was close and we had a short wait left.

ImpromptU-Ah-22.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr

After a short wait after some food. Brett showed up!

BossFoss to the rescue! Got Igor pulled up on the tilt bed trailer.

ImpromptU-Ah-23.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr
ImpromptU-Ah-24.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr

We hit the road and took Colorado Bretts advice and aimed for Craig Colorado as hotels would be cheaper there.

At rifle, the same exact gas station Gavyn spotted me at, I filled up Bretts rig with diesel.

ImpromptU-Ah-25.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr

A few hours later we were in Craig and pulled into the first hotel we found for the night. I wanted to buy Bretts room but he just smiled and said,

“You’ll pay me back after in some way. Im not worried.”

We crashed hard and early as we planned on trying to be at Colorado Bretts place by 7am.

In the morning we made it to Brett’s shop at 6:45am.

ImpromptU-Ah-26.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr

Brett has been performing surgery on his Tacoma all winter. It was quite brisk up at Steamboat this early in the morning and the shop wasn’t heated. We just bundled up and set to work.

When we pulled off the wheel and brake drum...things were...not pretty.

ImpromptU-Ah-27.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr
ImpromptU-Ah-28.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr

Gross. But pretty typical and expected considering the seal was blown. Wasn’t going to get any prettier though.

The the axle shafts pulled we got stetup to press the backing plate off the axle and bearing.

This is the tool that Brett had fabbed up. It bolts to the backing plate.

ImpromptU-Ah-29.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr

You then put it in the press and press out the axle.

ImpromptU-Ah-30.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr

With the axle out, the bearing revealed itself.

Or...what was left..

ImpromptU-Ah-31.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr

Hoooolllyyyyy beeeeejeeeesssuss! :eek:

I can’t believe I was driving 65mph on that! It’s literally missing 3 balls! And no...we did not find them. They had just disintegrated

Which had caused this to eat itself away.

ImpromptU-Ah-32.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr

Thats the ABS Tone ring. Its supposed to have teeth on it. Thankfully I had ripped out the ABS so wasn’t going to be replacing that anyways.

We kept working away and had the truck back together and on all fours in about 5 hours.

ImpromptU-Ah-33.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr

After which, Colorado Brett had to go into work and Lander Brett hit the road to get back to Lander.

“Enjoy your trip man” Brett(lander Brett) said with a soft warm smile.

I offered to refill his truck but he assured me that he would make it to Lander from there on the rest of the tank. Was a big tank in that thing. I thanked him again and again and he left.

Brett, once again. Thank you so much for coming and saving me. I owe you big time. @BossFoss :cheers:

ImpromptU-Ah-34.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr

I got my truck back in order. I can’t believe we just did this..Igor was trail ready again.

ImpromptU-Ah-35.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr
ImpromptU-Ah-36.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr

I ran into town to see Brett at his work and thanked him again for his hospitality and expertise in helping install the new bearings. Without his knowledge on setting the retaining rings, who knows what would have happened to the truck.

Brett, Thank you again for all your help. I haven’t forgotten about the beer I owe you. And trust me, its gonna be more than a 6 pack. Thanks buddy. @Squeaky Penguin :cheers:

Devin and I grabbed a bite to eat in Steamboat. It was Tuesday and we still had the rest of the week off. Moab wasn’t...THAT far away.

Screw it! Back we go!

We hit the highway and Devin took the wheel having napped a bit that day during the surgery. I got back on the phone and worked on getting camp site reservations made again for The Maze. I got ahold of the Ranger at hans Flat and told him our ordeal. He tried moving our permit we had canceled but couldn’t and told us to do it online. But we couldn’t due to the 24 hour rule which won’t allow you to make a reservation within 24 hours of the camp night..ugh. Tried calling the reservation office and of course they were closed. Missed them by minutes. It would have to wait till morning.

We set our sites on Green River Utah and Devin put the pedal to the metal.

ImpromptU-Ah-37.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr

We made it to Green river, filled up and found a spot to sleep south of the town on the road to Horseshoe Canyon around 9pm.

12 hours ago, my truck had been in pieces. 24 hours ago, we thought this trip was over and done for. But it wasn’t. We were here, where we had planned on being abiet a day late in the utah desert.

All thanks to the Bretts.

What top notch guys. Thank you guys so so much for your help.

All Hail the Bretts!

Baffled by all the events of this trip in just a few days. I went to bed feeling better about the world and the people in it.

ImpromptU-Ah-38.jpg by Monte Nickles Photos, on Flickr

Now..We just had to hope could get permits to The Maze in the morning.


To be Continued:

Chapter 3: This is Why We Came
 

unkamonkey

Explorer
Another nice write up and pictures
Too late now but there was an auto parts store on the South side of Moab I believe at that time it was a Checkers. They had 4X4 parts everywhere. I was told that they stock more 4X4 parts than anybody else in the country.
I was talking to the counter guy and he asked where I was camping "Oh Indian Creek" he said that there are 6 Indian ruins in that area but he would not tell me where they were. We found 4 of them.
Moab Off Road was also a place to deal with but I'm not sure if they are still open.
 

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