Warming up at 13,207 feet for the trip to -282 feet


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Hello all,

I've been lurking here for a couple months, but I feel I now have reason to join. Before you knew me, I grew up in south Florida, loved biking, catching critters, shooting pool with the guys, and my family took me and my sister on plenty of adventures. They love to travel, and passed that on to us at a very young age. The passion was ignited when I was just 6 on my first trip overseas: France, Egypt, Kenya, and Tanzania. We would take a month long trip every summer before I went to camp in Colorado. For winter and spring breaks, we would find shorter trips to go on. By age 9, Christmas 1998, we had made it to all 7 continents. And so it went.

Fast forward to a little over a month ago. I'm 26 now, the country count is I think at 51, and for a couple years now I've been eager for my buddy to say the words “I think I'm going to sell the Jeep.” The vehicle in question: a blue '98 XJ Cherokee. At only 265k miles, it felt plenty strong and we put it straight to work. Three days after bringing it home to the Mopar barn we call home for now, we took it and the dogs up to Argentine Pass, which if I remember correctly was 13,207 feet. Even on these worn out old tires, it clawed its way up to the top with no problems. We* were hooked.

*The girl is Sam. The dogs are Titus (Big brown dog) and Jenson (Black and white dog). Sam is a traveler as well, and a product of an international union to begin with. Spanish mother, Irish father. Born in Ireland, made it to Colorado via growing up in NYC. She and her dad loved chasing the northern lights, and had a dream to see them in every country above the arctic circle. Sadly, he passed away from Cancer in May. She is a delightful adventure companion, and we have fun in all we do.

Late last month considering how difficult the last few months have been, we decided to take a vacation. We were going to head into the Northwest, but it was all on fire. So we went southwest. Plenty to see out there. I've driven through the southwest numerous times, and I always wondered from the Interstate what it was really like when I didn't have to just get from here to the coast, or vice versa. So exploring was in order. Now we wanted to take a few weeks with no distractions, so we managed a few weeks with one distraction. Sam had to come back to Frisco to work one day. ONE DAY. Sam is working on her photography business, has worked for almost a decade as a motocross medic, and still works sometimes at a family practice....which is where she had to go that day. So partway through the trip we booked it back to the mountains for a day, and headed out again immediately after.

Here's what I'm going to do to kick this off, I'm going to share pictures of our trip up Argentine Pass, then I'm going to spend the next few days organizing the thousands of photos we took from our Southwest trip and write up a report. To keep you guys interested the log reads something like this:

Denver (Frederick really), Moab, Monument Valley, Lake Powell, White Pocket, Zion, Arches, back to Leadville, Denver again, Leadville again again, Goblin Valley, Lake Mead, Death Valley, Joshua Tree, San Diego, San Felipe, Lake Havasu, Sedona, North Rim Grand Canyon, Frederick. 6100 miles in all, in just about 3 weeks. If you would like to see how all that turned out, stick around, and I'll fill you in. Every day felt like a week, and we will be doing more of this.

My name is Travis, and on behalf of Sam and the boys I'd like to say it's good to be here. We are excited to outfit the rig to do more for longer, and we look forward to the opportunity to meet all you. I'll have to grab an Expedition Portal sticker to balance out the In-N-Out sticker we picked up along the way.

Here's our first Jeep outing, and a teaser from the bigger trip. Corona Arch in the evening with the whole family.



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Thanks! I know this is going to be easier to keep up with in the future as trips happen, and this time I'm just going to have to bust it out now. I'm also organizing pictures from the actual camera and two phones. BUT. While I write this up....this is how the boys were feeling during our first Moab hike. The first of 3 that day. Stay tuned.



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Day 1 Getting out of CO

The one thing I did to prepare the Jeep for the trip, besides fluids and filters was touch up the sun-baked fender flares, and brighten up the face. Well worth a couple cans of spray paint, I think.

Why Moab first? The obvious answer is when you finally get a 4x4 instead of an endless stream of muscle cars, import sports cars, and motorcycles, you remember that it's not actually that far away. We left Frederick late in the morning since we sort of only really packed up for this trip halfway the night before, and finished when we woke up. Turns out we forgot one of the leashes, but that's how travel goes sometimes. We took the river road in, which of course is a lovely drive.

I like the comparison of watching the boys play from safety....and from where Sam is sitting.

Sam had never been to Moab before, and I had only driven through it. Once driving back from LA after driving a $750 1977 Ranchero down there and left it after it had paid for itself hauling toyota 4x4 axles and being crashed slightly by a swanky hotel valet (if anyone sees a primer grey '77 with a bed topper and a 400 small block let me know because I genuinely have no idea where it ended up), and once driving back from LA with my last BMW which I owned for about 9 months. That seems to be my BMW average. The Ranchero I had for about 9 days i think.

We found a campsite on the east side of the river in a cloud of mosquitoes and made hamburgers. The first of many. Possibly the best thing this trip did for us was get us on the cycle of the sun. I so missed that living like something resembling a normal life. When I wake up with the sun, and go to sleep when it's dark, i just feel better. And it will become worth it for the sunrise rainbow outside Joshua Tree, and the view over the Gulf of California at San Felipe later on. Our first site looked like this.

The first full day coming up is when we start our first hikes, 3 in all amounting to about 10 miles. Morning Glory arch in the morning before the heat, a watering hole at mid day after a burrito at the Moab Brewery, then Corona Arch in the evening.


Nice, I always reccomend 128 when people visit Moab. A very scenic drive. I don't have a dog but I have a leash hanging in the closet in my camper...


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I have to apologize already for falling behind. But I'll offer it up as a bit of a metaphor as well. I haven't been as happy as I would like since getting back from this trip. I'm back home with all my cars and there's just too much stuff. Now I'm back to worrying about rent, and what I'm going to do next, and not able to get away as often. This cloudy day, as it turns out, was a great way to make an example. It's been cloudy all day lately. It's getting cooler, the summer is over, and I don't want to feel stuck, whether it's inside or in life. I follow so many tremendous stories and someday our story will be one of them. When this lease is up.....this Jeep better be ready to go. You know the kind of trip. "Sold my house quit my job" kind of stuff. I'm ahead of the curve, I already quit my job, I just need to sell the extra cars.

SO.....what do you do when it's a cloudy day and you feel socked in? You go find the sun. If you can't see it somewhere on the horizon, you have to go up. And well, that's what Jeeps are good at.

These are the kinds of days I'm talking about. During the day construction crews are widening a street that hardly has any traffic, at night you revert back to watching shows instead of reading like you should.

You don't have to go very far though to start finding something to do.

And just like that you're out of your funk....you're above the clouds. Happy again. Sometimes you can't see a new place every day. Sometimes even amidst a beautiful life, a beautiful state....with just a bit of cloudy weather, you can forget how to push it back so you can see clearly. Once you remember though, rise above it and take a look at what you can find.

And last but not least, don't forget to enjoy yourself.

Pics taken today up Storm Mountain trail west of Loveland, CO


I'm hardly ever on Expo, yet today stumbled upon your thread and love what you have to say. "Every day felt like a week, and we will be doing more of this."

The bug bites hard. Its a good one. I hope to see you on the trail sometime. Locally check out some of the Toyota club forums. Good people. I'm in Rising Sun and we do a lot of overland travel as well. Good people always welcome on trips regardless of vehicle. And www.rockymountainoverland.com, I don't do as much there as I should, given the cool regional adventures people are up to.