Thursday, August 8, 2019

Moab Adventure 2017


A non-stop flight from Baltimore to Salt Lake City started my Moab Adventure. I wanted to take my Jeep, but it would have been at least a three day trek across the country ~ Just to get there. I didn't have the luxury of that extra time. 
#YOLO



Jeep Momma Tip #1
Next time, I will book my flight to Grand Junction, Colorado. The drive is just under two hours. The drive from Salt Lake City is four hours. 

So... whenever I am on vacation, my goal is to eat at restaurants I have never tried before. As I headed for Moab, I found a Mexican Fast Food place. Mexican is my favorite cuisine. Del Taco was yummy and fresh. Definitely not Taco Bell ~ much better.   



To get the most out of my trip, I did a lot of internet research. One of the great ideas I found was a link to Moab's Scenic By-ways. Utah 128 was a little detour I just had to take. A spectacular route along the Colorado River gorge. 

It was absolutely amazing! 

But my first stop was Cisco, Utah - population zero. Yep, a ghost town. Check that off my Bucket List!  




Cisco was founded in the 1880's as a saloon town and a water refilling station for steam locomotives along the main line. 













Cisco is on Utah 128, so I just kept on driving towards Moab. It was very exciting to see the famous Moab sign. Of course a selfie needed to be taken. Then it was on down the scenic by-way. 









The scenery was breathtaking as I wound thru the canyons along the Colorado River. I kept stopping at the turnouts to take pictures. I didn't think I was going to make it to Moab before nightfall.  





One of the grandest views of the West is along this route. The Red Rock Spires of the Fisher Towers set against the snow covered peaks of the La Sal Mountains is awe-inspiring. 




By the way, the La Sal Mountains became my friend during this trip. They were with me every day. I could always count on seeing them at least a couple of times during the day. 


After checking into my room, I headed out to look for a spot for dinner. Being alone I wanted a place to eat where I could sit at a bar. There is more of a chance to met people that way. Zax Pizza was it. I ordered a glass of wine and a small pizza. YES, there is alcohol in Utah. The same wine and beer as you can get anywhere. AND you can even get hard liquor. 



I ended up meeting some very interesting folks. Two guys from Idaho mountain biking the trails for the weekend. One young kid who had no idea what he wanted to do with his life, so he is out traveling trying to figure it all out. He is leaning towards the military  A guy on a Harley. Like me it was supposed to be a big trip with his family, but they all bailed too. He wasn't going to let that stop him. #YOLO Then there was the guy who got fired. He decided to see the country and was on his second month of traveling the US. 

There is no way I would have met these folks had I not been alone. Meeting new people and hearing about their adventures always inspires me!  


Wow! what a first day. I went to bed that night with a smile on my face anxiously looking forward to the next day's adventure. 

Day 2 in Moab started out with an unplanned stop.  A couple of days before I left for Moab, I found out another off-road lady was also in town the same time I was. Charlene Bower, with Bower MotorSports Media  and Ladies OffRoad Network, and I connected on facebook. We decided to meet for breakfast. 
A Must Stop For All Off-Roaders! 

The Moab Diner, an iconic Moab destination, turned out to be 
a great spot for breakfast. Not only is the food and service fantastic, each table displays a different off-road company. Charlene and I sat at the Warn Industries table. We had an awesome conversation and decided to hook up again later that evening. Charlene offered to be my passenger during my Sunset Jeep Tour with Outlaw Jeep Tours. 

Everything Happens For A Reason! 

With my belly full it was time to head out. 
Next stop Dead Horse State Parkwhere immense vertical cliffs meet with canyons carved by ice and water. The views were phenomenal near the visitors center, and I wasn't even to the Dead Horse Point overlook yet! The point with the most spectacular views around! I decided to hike the East Rim Trail to the overlook. A moderate trail 1.5 miles to the overlook with continuous canyon views. ~ Amazing ~       


Jeep Momma Tip #2
There were a few times I was unsure of which way the trail
went. I had to ask a couple who was coming from the opposite direction. They pointed out the trail markers to me ~~ the stacked rocks. I had no idea. Once they were pointed out I saw them every where along my hike. I guess I was too busy looking at the breathtaking views to notice.  

Jeep Momma Tip #3
If you don't have time to hike to Dead Horse Point you can drive to it. 

Instead of taking the West Rim hike which was 2.5 miles, I just back tracked to the visitor's center. I wanted to hit another park before my evening Jeep ride. So off to Canyonlands National Park 

WOW! The views are just as spectacular! This park is vast with countless trails for hiking throughout canyons with fantastically formed buttes carved out by the Colorado River. 


One day I would love to come back to this park, and hike a few of their trails. For this trip there was just enough time to drive to each overlook, then spend a few minutes staring out across the canyons. Then it was on to my next adventure!   




I had a little time to fill before it was time to hit the off-road trails. So I found a taco place right next door to Outlaw Jeep Tours. I enjoyed some chicken tacos on the outside patio on Main Street in Moab. However, I was too anxious to eat, so after a few nibbles I just tried to relax and watch the Jeeps cruise up and down the street. 






Hell's Revenge Here I Come! 






There is the saying "Everything Happens For a Reason!". I believe that. Forces brought Charlene Bower and myself together for a reason. 



Charlene was the calm to my fear. She helped me face my fear of heights head on. She is a certified I4WDTA trainer ~ international 4 Wheel-drive Trainer's Association. The members go through a stringent training program having to pass written and practical exams

I booked a Jeep and a guide for a Friday Night Sunset Jeep Tour with Outlaw Jeep Tours. They offer many types of tours. You can ride-along as a passenger in their Jeep, you can follow along in your Jeep, or you can drive their Jeep and follow along with a guide. The last option is what I picked. I wanted to drive their Jeep!


They are the only company in Moab where you can drive their Jeep AND get a knowledgeable guide to 
guide you along the trails.


Hell's Revenge was the trail for the night. Hell's Revenge is know for it's high steep climbs, heart pounding descents, and beautiful views of the La Sal Mountains and Negro Bill's Canyon. 



Everything about Hell's Revenge is Heart Pounding! 

Right off the bat you are thrown to the Lion's Den! The entrance to Hell's Revenge is a "Fin". These are Navajo Sandstone Slickrock formations. The trails is littered with them. Some are steeper than the others.  
I have an extreme fear of heights, so this was a huge challenge for me. With Charlene in the passenger seat talking me through my fear, I made it to the top, not as fast as most Jeepers though. I'm sure residents of Moab could hear my cursing echoing through the canyons as I inched my way up the fin. 


Now, that I was at the top I had to make the journey down the back side only to more fins. Each time it was a little easier, but it was still an intense drive.





I was in a Wrangler with a 3.5" Ranch lift, Raceline Monster Wheels, 40" STT Pro Tires, Dana Spicer ultimate 60 axles with e lockers and 5:38 gears. 
One Badass Jeep! 




Hell's Revenge is trail-rated for a 6. Stock 4x4 vehicles can make it through the trail with by-passes for some of the more challenging obstacles. There are steep climbs and descents, along with some edges that are not for the faint of heart. The steep slopes, however, are not technically difficult because of the excellent traction on the sandstone rock.

Once you make it over the first fin, you come up to a cliff over looking the town of Moab. On top of this cliff are some dinosaur tracks in the rock. Pretty Cool, that I was roaming where dinosaurs once lived.  



There are several obstacles on Hell's Revenge. One is called Hell's Gate. This is a very difficult obstacle. So my guide, K.L., took over the driver's seat while I grabbed on tight in the passenger seat. This is one scary ride down then back up again. 


Hell's Gate Video - view from the dash

Hell's Gate Video - view from outside the Jeep  

Even though it was an intense trail, I had a blast. K.L. was very patient and understanding of my fear. He certainly deserves a medal for having to put up with me.  


Since I was on the sunset tour we only had a few hours of sunlight. Normally this tour doesn't run the whole trail. The local tour company's usually just turn around at some point in the trail. Apparently the exit of the trail has become very worn and bumpy. I ended up having to drive the last couple of fins in the dark. So the fin I drove first at the entrance, well I had to drive that in the dark. Talk about intense.  

I went to bed this night feeling drained, nervous and excited all at the same time. I was hoping I would be able to make it all day on the trails without Charlene as my supportive passenger. 



Jeep Momma's Hell's Revenge Videos 
   
This video are all the most scary moments I had on Hell's Revenge.  

This is the longer version of my drive on Hell's Revenge. 

This is video of an obstacle on Hell's Revenge. Just my kind of obstacle! 
After my night on Hell's Revenge, I woke up the next morning with a lot of anxiety. I was worried if I would make it on the trails all day long. Hell's Revenge took a lot out of me.




Once I arrived at Outlaw Jeep Tours I met with K.L., my guide from the night before. He volunteered to be my co-pilot. We loaded up "Shrek", the green beast that I would be driving for the day and headed for the trails. 

As we headed out for Fins and Things, I was a little more relaxed. K.L. is an awesome guide with a calming voice. He grew up in the Moab area, and has been 4x4'ing the trails since the 80's. I was in good hands. 


Fins and Things is an awesome trail. There are some intense fins, but after my initiation the night before, I was able to handle them with minor swearing. 





The trail is in three parts and has many different terrains and obstacles such as Kenny's Climb.




After finishing all of Fins and Things it was time for a lunch and bathroom break. Then we headed to the other side of Moab for the trail, Poison Spider





Just the entrance alone was enough to put my nerves back on edge ~ harrowing switchbacks with sharp drop offs. Once at the top I was able to relax, until I realized I lost my cellphone. After we tore apart the Jeep, I realized I left in in the bathroom. Sadly, we weren't able to finish the trail. So K.L. got in the drivers seat to get us off the trail as quickly as possible. He tore down that mountainside like he was driving on a straight interstate. We barreled down that thing at a high rate of speed, or what I consider high rate. 

Back on the other side of Moab, much to my relief we found my phone. Since it was growing late we decided to stay on that side and ran Porcupine Rim. What a perfect trail, again with many terrains and obstacles. I really enjoyed this trail!







The whole day was amazing and it left me itching for more trail rides. So I have already begun thinking about my next trip out. 



After turning in the keys to Shrek it was time to get some souvenir shopping done. While walking along Moab's Main Street my phone rang. 

It was Charlene, my favorite co-pilot. We met up for dinner at Jay's Pasta. A great stop you should make if you ever find yourself in Moab. 



Then she took me to legendary Grandpa's Garage. What a perfect ending to a fabulous day. 





It was a bittersweet day. I still had a few more adventures left, but it was my last day in Moab. I headed out early to beat the crowds at Arches National Park.  


The word is the line to get into the park can be a long wait. I decided to get there right when the park opened ~ 7am. 

Wow! Another Utah Jewel. The views were amazing. 



I stopped at each and every stop in the park with the exception of the last one, Devils Garden. It was closed because of road construction going on in the park. 




At the Delicate Arch stop, I was ready for the 3 mile round trip hike. After checking out the parking lot, I decided against it. There were 3 tour buses full of kids and people ready to make the hike. I don't do crowds very well.

I am glad I decided not to do this hike. I instead drove a mile up the road to a spot where I could see the Arch from over a canyon. As I sat by myself I could see the sea of people wondering around the Arch. 

The choice not to make that hike was a good one. The short little hike up a rocky hill was worth it. The peaceful, quiet by myself time, looking out at the beautiful scenes before me was amazing.  







I continued to drive on to the Sand Dune Arch. Very cool little spot, a sandy beach in between the fins. 









From there I continued on to the Broken Arch trail.






Then the best kept secret. A really cool hike to the lesser renowned trail to the Tapestry Arch





It was a peaceful, uncrowded hike through sandy trails up and down the slick rock.      






With Arches now complete it was time for a well deserved
lunch. So I headed back to Zax Pizza for an all you can eat pizza and salad. Plus my favorite, a raspberry martini. During lunch I received a call my boat tour was cancelled due to lack of interest. So I went for a drive along another Moab Scenic by-way ~ Utah 313. 





Utah 313, Potash Road, is a winding ride along the Colorado River. Gorgeous views of an incredible Red Rock Canyon. 






One of the highlights is Indian writing on the canyon walls. 






Then I finished the night off with some Mexican food and a Moab sized Sangria.



WOW! What an Amazing Adventure, one I will never forget and will make again!  


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