Moab Trip Report

Post by blogger | September 5, 2006      

Back late last night from an EPIC Moab. Started the weekend off Saturday with the mega 4×4 trip on Gold Bar Rim, Golden Spike and Poison Spider. We combo hiked/jeeped most of those trails, lots of fun obstacles but still a bit hot. Sunday we hiked/jeeped/bicycled Klondike Bluffs, then Monday we tackled Steel Bender (AKA Flat Pass). I was planning on hiking and biking some of that, but half way into the trip we had moderate carnage and I got to play dirt mechanic on the ‘ol Rumble Bee. That was fun too. I like any excuse to use tools.

We thought Moab would be crowded, but it was mellow. SandFlats area had plenty of open campsites, town was pleasant. Perhaps gas prices and heat kept folks away. Photo story:

Moab Utah vacation
I got a bit of photo editing done one evening, but we stayed away from civilization as much as possible so we didn’t have a chance to blog.

Moab Utah mountain bike
Louie getting his ride ready for another day of desert fun.

Moab Utah mountain bike
This is NOT our rig. I just thought I’d include this shot to whine about how these guys had their electric generator breaking the desert silence at nearly all hours. It always amazes me how some people in motor homes think it’s okay to intrude with their noise on an otherwise peaceful evening campground. I understand how nice a motorhome can be, and how important electrical power is to that experience — but run those generators during business hours, please! (Or use solar power for battery charging.)

Randonnee boot sole dimensions for backcountry skiing.

Up on Klondike Bluffs, my new Scarpa Hi-Trail hikers. Nice beefy low-cuts, but the rubber around the toe makes them a bit hot for sunny desert days. Desert footwear can be a tough question. Sandals work well unless you’re scrambling ground with lots of pebbles and small rocks that keep getting caught under your feet. Flip-flops sometimes work because they’re so loose on your feet they’re somewhat “self cleaning.” Running shoes with mesh uppers are usually cool enough, but the mesh is transparent to sand and cactus thorns. If I’m doing a lot of walking, my favorite is still a lightweight pair of leather hiking boots, without Gortex liner so they breath as well as possible. I wear the sandals while driving, and bring the other shoes in case any foot travel is involved.

Moab Utah dinosaur tracks
On the Klondike Bluffs trail, fossil dinosaur track with my foot for scale.

Moab Utah vacation
The boy gets some thrills. Short wheelbase Willys always delivers the adrenaline — it’s not as good at climbing and descending as the longer and bigger tire’d trucks you see all over Moab, but I like the challenge.

Moab Utah vacation
On the Steel Bender trail, sure enough, I pretzel my tie rod. Louie was watching and said it “didn’t make any noise or anything, it just looked like it melted…” It’s a bit iffy to be soloing these trails (one vehicle), but it’s a popular place on a weekend and one can depend on the kindness of strangers. This was a tricky one as the carnage occurred in the middle of a steep tippy obstacle. We had to winch out after detaching the rod, going slow and turning one of the wheels by grabbing the tire and yanking on it (the other was still hooked up to the steering system). An exchange program of sorts, as we’ve helped other folks out numerous times over the years. Good to carry lots of tools, water, etc, however. If necessary I could have caught a ride to Moab and easily brought parts back for a fix as we were only three miles from pavement.

Moab Utah vacation
Out comes the tie rod, I find the perfect crack in some Moab slickrock, then it’s all hands on task! Thanks to the father/son team from Grand Junction helping out, it de-kinked quite nicely (though it’ll need replacement).

Moab Utah vacation
And the sun sets on another western adventure…


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11 Responses to “Moab Trip Report”

  1. Scott G. September 5th, 2006 12:48 pm

    re: “It always amazes me how people in motor homes think it’s okay to intrude with their noise on an otherwise peaceful campground.”

    I feel the same way about snowmobiles in the back country. I guess we all have our pet-peeves. 🙂

    great pictures.

  2. Derek September 5th, 2006 5:02 pm


    I have a motorhome with a 4kw generator and 180w of solar on the roof. I rarely use the generator. And if I do, only very briefly and never during the evening hours.

    I think the stereo type of motorhome users being inconsiderate is overplayed, and could also be aimed at other user groups just as well.

    There’s a jerk in every crowd, whether they’re in a motorhome, mountain bike, ATV, or rock crawler.


  3. Mike Marolt September 5th, 2006 5:40 pm

    Lou: gold bar, gold spike, you are talking about not only the best 4x4ing, but also the best mountain biking around. Just can’t get enough of those trails. But i will leave the jeep behind. As technical as that is for biking, a jeep would be way too much for my shorts to handle.


  4. Lou September 5th, 2006 5:41 pm

    Hi Derek, you are correct. I stereotyped motor home users and I apologize. Will edit so I’m speaking of the one guy, as indeed I’ve camped around other mother homes that didn’t run their generator in the quiet evening. One has to admit, however, that doing so is all too common (as are other questionable behaviors by indeed, other user groups.)

    The solor power sounds like the way to go!

  5. Derek September 5th, 2006 6:28 pm

    I think the most annoying behavior in campsites are loud radios. A little common courtesy goes a long way. I always find it troubling to see folks in motorhomes being inconsiderate. Makes me embarrassed and self conscious to be using one.

    I’m sure you could relate in the 4×4 world as some folks are considerate and stay in designated use areas, and others tromple everything in site, screwing it up for the legit users.

    Crowded down there this past weekend?

  6. Lou September 6th, 2006 6:12 am

    Scott, are you stereotyping me as a snowmobile advocate (grin)?I’ve never been happy with how the noise snowmobiles make can intrude on other users, and I’ve expressed that in writing. More, I’ve always said that snowmobiles are not appropriate everywhere in the backcountry, and are of course illegal in many areas. They can be improved with quiet mufflers and sound regulations and I’d like to see that happen.

    Also, there are appropriate places for snowmobiles to make noise just as there are for folks with motor homes who want to run their generators. I’m glad they have those places.

    I’m a recreation advocate and believe that combined types of use is often a good thing, but noise does get in the way of that as it’s so intrusive. Technology and law could solve much of the problem, but there seems to be no political will in that area, instead we just ban things, but the bans get broken all the time and the problems continue.

  7. Lou September 6th, 2006 9:16 am

    P.S., it wasn’t crowded at all. Gas prices or heat? I don’t know, but it was really nice. Not off-season, but fine. Since I solo Jeep I don’t mind seeing a few other folks on the trail who can help out in a pinch.

  8. Doug Reynolds September 6th, 2006 5:04 pm

    Regarding your comment that “there are appropriate places for snowmobiles to make noise just as there are for folks with motor homes who want to run their generators.’

    The problem Lou is that nobody agrees on exactly where those places are or aren’t. Its one thing to say you know where they are and ask everybody to recognize the informal boundaries, but that’s just one person’s opinion. In the ened, the only way to truly make this work is to do just what you object to, set rules and regulations.

  9. Lou September 7th, 2006 5:24 am

    Doug, I certainly do object to excessive rules and regulations. Even when they work in my favor I still find them suspect. On the other hand, like any person with half a brain I see the need for civilization to have laws and rules…

    As for areas we agree on where certain recreational activities are banned, yep, that’s controversial but it does get done. Like any democratic decision not everyone agrees on every nuance, but the areas exist. A good example is legal Wilderness. I like most of the legal Wilderness we have, though I happen to think we have enough and need a different land designation that allows more backcountry recreation options such as mountain biking and 4×4 trails, while still managing the land as primitive backcountry.

  10. Mike L September 11th, 2006 8:39 pm

    Am I the only one who finds it amusing that Lou is complaining about noise in the desert campground the night before driving a 4×4 through the same area? If you want peace and quiet, get off of the beaten path.

    I enjoy the site, but get off of your high horse already!

  11. Lou September 12th, 2006 5:55 am

    Glad I can provide some amusement! After all, isn’t that what blogs are for (grin)?

    As for noise, we feel it’s appropriate to drive a 4×4 on a designated 4×4 trail, while it’s inappropriate to run a generator during a quiet evening camp. We also have no problem with RV generators running during the day, as we know they need to run them at some point. I don’t see how that opinion is a high horse…unless you take a rather simplistic view of recreation impacts.

    And speaking of opinions, indeed our family does many different forms of recreation. All have impacts. That’s not going to keep me from expressing my opinion about such impacts. Whether it be horses we use eroding Wilderness trails or 4×4 trail spectators leaving their water bottles and beer cans behind, at some point we’ll be discussing it here…

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