~ jbjeep & MudBall's webpage ~

MOAB: April 4-13, 2003

I decided to do this trip report a little differently...with over 400 of my own pictures, plus those of the others, and video, its just not practical to post all the pictures this time, so...you will just get to see some of what I feel are the most interesting ones for each day or "event" that happened.

Most pictures are my own, but some pictures are from Keith & Jenny, some are from Victor, and some are from Bruce & Lisa too.

OBH Participants:

Linh, Stephanie, & Troy Phan...........Orange 4-Runner

Keith Willison & Jenny Day, and Jasper (dog).............Blue Samari

Jennifer Baker...................................Green TJ

Bruce & Lisa Stropp................................White TJ

Vic & Julie Lapp.......................................Silver TJ

Other Major Participants (non OBH):

Bob, Aka GreyFox [Leader].............White TJ

Jay and Brandy (dog) [Tailgunner]........Green TJ

Don, aka Bashful & Winnie [Tailgunner].....Blue CJ

Several CJ's, and a Toyota Land Cruiser from somewhere in CA

Friday, 4 April

I met up with Keith, Jenny, Lihn, Steph, and Troy in Cascade Locks about 5:30 on Friday evening. Lihn and I were both driving our rigs, and Keith had the Sammi on a trailer behind his pickup. We got travel plans decided and headed out for Boise. The weather cleared up a few minutes out of Cascade Locks (it had been raining) and we had dry pavement all the way to Pendleton. We stopped in Pendleton for dinner and called Bruce to let him know we were about 3 hours away. This was at approx. 930pm. Roughly 10 minutes out of Pendleton it started to rain, that soon turned to snow, and a very hellish drive over the Blue Mountains and down into Idaho. The snow was falling and accumulating on the roads, plows were few and far between at that hour, and the trucks were either going way slow or way fast. A very scary ride - it slowed us up significantly. We reached Boise at about 230am our time, 330am theirs. Found the key to the house, and settle down for a short sleep.

Saturday, 5 April

Bruce and Lisa were kind, knowing how late we came in, and let us sleep a little over. Then we got up, showered, they fed us breakfast, we stopped for gas and coffee, and down the road we went. Our little caravan was bigger by one pickup and trailer now. It had been snowing very lightly in Boise, but that soon cleared off. However we hit all kinds of weather on our way, rain, hail, snow, sun, etc. Things were going ok, until we took the turn at Spanish Forks onto Hwy 6. Soon after we changed roads, it started to rain again, and then to snow. I was getting a little concerned at this point. I knew we had a pass to go over and a gorge to go thru, but I didn't remember too much about them. It was bad, but at least there were plows and sanders out this time. The hwy goes over a 7,475 ft pass. Then there is the long, long, boring stretch of highway from Price south to the interstate. It was getting dark as we started east on the interstate. We had to make one more short stop, and then we were at Moab. It was about 8 or so at night I think. It was dark...and it was hard to find the Condo's that most of us were staying at, as I didn't know exactly where they were. We finally found them, and got unloaded, made a run to the store for breakfast food, and then crashed for the night.

On the drive down

yes that is snow

yes that is snow

yes that is more snow

Jasper learns to drink from a bottle

Sunday, 6 April

We got up and started working on rigs. Keith had to unload, and we all had to re-pack stuff, and Lihn was doing something (cant recall what) to the 4-Runner. In the afternoon we headed over to Cliffhanger, since it was the only trail other than Moab Rim that I knew I could find off the top of my head. While we were airing down on the road, some locals came by in a pickup and a CJ and asked if they could go in with us. We of course said ok. The took the truck down the first set of steps and parked it. All 3 of them then piled in the CJ and headed down the trail with us. We headed down and across the creek, and to the first obstacle as you head in, which is harder than it used to be (granted its been 4 years since I have been on this trail). We all got up and over that and headed on...at some point, not quite sure where we were on the trail, someone radioed that Keith was broken. So we stopped and waited a bit. I chatted with the local guys, and after a while they decided to go walk back and see if they could help, I soon followed them. The guys attempted to assist Keith and the rest of us took pictures and chatted and such. They got Keith back up and running and the decision was made that we would all go back to town, so that he could work on his rig and be ready for the next day. Getting out was funner than getting in. At one point, not more than about 100 yards from the entrance I think, the CJ broke a drive shaft and had to be pulled...and winched...over every obstacle and step on the way out. This wasn't a big issue however, and we soon had everyone out and even the big truck up the rock steps that are the entrance to Cliffhanger. We said good by, after making sure they could get the CJ home ok. Luckily they lived fairly close by on Kane Creek Road so we all headed into town. Keith got to work on the Sammi. We discovered later that while it was good that he brought his welding goggles, there is a good reason for carrying a full face mask. He had one heck of a burn on his face and neck, and we were looking at 5+ days in the sun still.

Cliff Hanger Trail

Looking down at the creek crossing

Monday, 7 April

This morning we met up with our defacto leader/tailgunner for the week. Vic had met some real nice folks at the campground that he was staying at and they offered to lead us for the week that we were there. Bob, aka Greyfox was out leader. Don, aka Bashful, and his wife Winnie were our tailgunners most of the week. Bob has a white YJ and Don & Winnie a blue CJ. We headed off for Fins-N-Things. It was kind of nippy up there on the slick rock. Well, actually, it was downright cold. There was a nice breeze blowing down from the La Salles, which were covered with fresh snow. The sun was out, but it was still cold most of the day.

When we finished up with Fins-N-Things, folks still wanted to wheel, so we decided to do Moab Rim, but only to the first viewpoint and back. Oh boy...and I thought I disliked it last time I ran it. It is not the place to be with a tall flexy lift. All the steps and such were much easier, but the off camber was scary! Everyone did really well, especially Vic who was the only one of us with no lockers. There is a Mnt Bike park area going in on the top of the rim, and a 4x4 rockcrawling park will soon be done up there also. Evidentially, the top area is private land. The ski lift type ride to the top of the rim is still there and running, and very well camouflaged. I was impressed with how well it blends in now. We watched some bikers and their bikes come up on the lift, it was quite amusing to see how some of the bikes get up there. Then we headed back down and back into town.

Fins-N-Things Trail

Moab Rim Trail

Looking back at Keith

Its private land up on top

How many bike's get up the Rim

Note the bike ramps

Tuesday, 8 April

Today was the long day...the plan is Golden Spike Trail. That means out heading Poison Spider Mesa, across the Spike, and down Gold Bar Rim to get home. This is one long day of wheeling. We met up with Bob in the morning, and about 5 other rigs from another group. Bashful doesn't really like this trail, so they didn't come out with us today. Instead Jay and his dog were the tailgunners. We had several additional Jeeps and a Land Cruiser in the group. The day started off really nice, the weather was great too. The first couple of obstacles went great, the wedge was fun for all, and so was the launchpad. Then we get to what is called Witches Crotch -I have also heard it called Tire Lifter. Bob our leader went up it, making it look easy and holding a nice pose for pictures. I was up next, and up I went, caught some great air and posed, and then something went wrong. I am not real certain of the sequence of events and the timing, but the rear right tire started to slip and I realized that not only was something very wrong, but that I was going over. All I know is I tucked in and hung on tight. I went nose over tail backwards, more or less, and landed on the drivers side, up against the rock wall. I turned off the engine and then there were people there helping me out. Getting the seatbelt undone was easy, as I had been wearing the 3" lapbelt that I had put in a few months ago. Getting out was another story as I had to get out of the seat and upright and then climb up the cage and out the top (passenger side), onto the wall and down. I pretty much went and sat down and let the others deal with the TJ. The got it righted quickly and pulled the plugs and turned the motor over to clear it. Put some more oil in, and looked at the leaky radiator and decided it would manage to get me back if we were careful with it. We straightened up my gear enough that I wasn't going to loose anything and then headed up the trail. I really got lucky, I wasn't really hurt. A bump on the head (very minor), some nice bruises from the lapbelt hitting my keys and pocket knife, a banged up knee, and a tiny cut on one hand. Nothing bad at all, considering. The rig was a different story...not a straight piece of sheetmetal left on it. The hood, grille, and windshield frame were badly damaged. The passenger side rear tail light was torn off. My rearview mirror came off, as did my drivers side visor. The tailgate was majorly tweaked, and both rear fenders have damage. The S&N Fab cage held up wonderfully! As did the custom rocker panel/nerfs from Sky Manufacturing. The damage to the Jeep and to me would have probably been a whole lot worse with out these. I noticed that several folks elected to by pass this obstacle after this. In fact, Keith was the only other one to try it that I know of.

So...we nurse the TJ down the trail and back into camp for the rest of the day, stopping several times throughout the day to add water to the radiator. At some point, Bob, our leader, took us off of the Golden Spike Trail and onto Eagles Dare. Not a place I would have gone if I had known. Not a place I want to go back to either. While much of it is very pretty, and we did get to see some arches (forgot the names), its a scary place that has earned its name. The hills are long and steep...very long, and very steep, and you are very high up when you get near the edges of the canyons. The rest of the group didn't seem to have much troubles with them at least. Eventually we got back on Golden Spike and headed off for the Golden Crack. I think that we all had a lot of fun at the Crack. Victor, being the only one of the group with no lockers, needed a little assistance to cross over. We played here for a time, or rather Bob did, and then we took off down the trail, stopping here and there for folks to play on the rocks or on the obstacles, like body snatcher and double whammy.

Pretty soon we got to the boring part of the trail...heading down Gold Bar Rim. We finally got down to the dirt road, and of course, within site of the highway, the TJ needed water one more time...(we were pretty low on water at this point). Bob and the others in front of me pulled off and I was instructed to just go, keep an eye on the temperature gauge and they would see me back in town. So I boogied down the hill and onto the highway and into town and back to the condo. No problems, other than some irritated drivers behind me. Being aired down I wasnt moving very fast on the highway.

Later that evening I went over to Vic's motorhome to see if Bob had gotten a line on a radiator for me. He, or someone had, actually they guys had managed to get a line on two of them by then. One was from a local TJ owner and the other was from the 4x4 shop. While I was there, one of the gang from Moab Off Road showed up. He had a used TJ radiator with him, it was for an auto, but it was the same size otherwise. I picked that up from him and headed home to get some rest.

Note: This days group of pictures is not in any order, unlike the others, which are.

Golden Spike Trail with

side trip to Eagles Dare Trail

Its amazing how this flexes

Having problems?

The wedge

The Launchpad

Arch on Eagles Dare


Showing off =)

"Marking their territory"

(body damage marks)

The Golden Crack

The Golden Crack

Jen at Witches Crotch

Still pulled from Victors Video Camera

Wheel Stand (thanks Jenny)

Still pulled from Victors Video Camera

Still pulled from Victors Video Camera


More aftermath

Keith at Witches Crotch

Click on the names of the people to see the two video’s I have of the roll.  One is shot by Lisa Stropp and the other by Victor Lapp.  Warning, these are LARGE files.

Click on this link for up close pictures of damage done in the roll

Wednesday, 9 April

Wednesday we hung about town, some folks went out sightseeing and shopping. I woke up stiff and sore (I felt like I had been run over by a large truck). It was a real slow morning for me. I looked at the radiator a little closer and realized I needed to talk to the 4x4 shop again - the mounts didn't seem correct - so I went and got Vic (good moral support) or rather he stopped by and we went over to the shop. We figured out the mounting issues, and chatted a bit, and Vic picked up some new springs for his TJ for a really good price too. Then I went to the parts store (they were expecting to see me, they had heard a rig had rolled the day before) and then went back to the Condo. Vic came over in a litle while and between the two of us we got the newly purchased radiator in the TJ (Thanks so much Vic!!) and everything looked good. I dinked around with my gear, getting it all back together for wheeling again, and then after some of the others came back, Bruce, Lisa, Jen and I walked downtown and went shopping. We hit most, if not all of the t-shirt places, and had a blast checking out stuff. We headed back to the condo eventually. I was hurting pretty bad by that time...stiff and sore had gradually snuck up on me and become worse. I took some meds for it after dinner and crashed.

Hanging out at the condo

Ice cream tonight

...sharing a cone, pals for life

Thursday, 10 April

Today I felt a lot better. Woke up still stiff and sore, but it was nothing compared to the day before. We headed out to meet up with Bob and Don and Winnie again, also meeting up with us was most of the group from the day before. On the agenda for the day was Pickle Canyon & Mashed Potatoes, both trails I had never heard of before. We headed out of town and soon turned off onto a side road, and off of that into a sandy wash. We ran on that for a long ways, it was interesting being in deep soft sand that wasn't dunes. Very pretty area too. Eventually we made it to the canyon. The first obstacle here is a doozey. Many of us ended up taking a pull to get up it. You have to set it up just right, get on it just the right amount, and have the right wheelbase to make this. You cant let your rig start bouncing either. Unfortunately, as the Land Cruiser headed up it gave a bounce on the second or third try and with the bounce was a nasty cracking noise. Something was definitely out of whack (something in the transfercase we think). So, most of that part of the group headed back into town with someone towing the Cruiser and the rest of us continued on up the canyon. The canyon was very scenic and unusual. Extremely red walls, weird rock formations, and a rockfall at its narrowest part (of course). We all managed to squeeze thru here, some of us needing a little winch assistance. Bruce cracked an alloy rim on this one. A quick change to the spare and we were back on the road. After completing the canyon we stopped for lunch next to a wash under some trees.

Then we headed up to Mashed Potatoes. They get their names from their looks...they say it looks like giant piles of mashed potatoes, however, I agree with Vic that it looked to me more like giant cow flops, but I guess that name isn't politically correct. lol. This was lots of technical stuff on rock. Lots of fun, you had to keep a tight group or you would loose the line and get into troubles. The two highlights of it were the Gravy Boat, which was a small, water filled hot tob. Only Bob, Don, and Keith attempted this. It was most interesting as you had two choices for exit points, one very close to a cliff with a long drop, or one that was very steep (and your tires are now wet). The rest of us watched the three of them play in it and then we headed on down the trail. The next play area was called Bashful's Crack (at least that's what Bob told us). Its just a small crack in the rock that you drive down and you give your suspension a real workout. This was a good place to have flex. After completing that trail, Bob took us up to a place called Tusher Tunnel. What Tusher Tunnel is, is a natural cave in the sand stone between two valleys. It was neat to walk thru, its not real long, and it was nice and cool (65 degrees maybe?) inside it. Its tall enough and wide enough to walk two abreast if you are very careful and one of you is short. I don't recall the history of the place, but I am sure Bob told us. He is nearly a walking encyclopedia on the area. After that we headed back to town and hit the showers. With all that sand, we all felt really dirty.

Pickle Canyon Trail

Nice glass

Ouch! He broke about 2 seconds later

Checking out the rockfall

The walls are redder than they look here

Mashed Potatoe Trail

Mashed Potatoe Trail

The Gravey Boat

(hot tub)


Note the drop about 10 feet in front of him

Mashed Potatoe Trail

Bashful's Crack

Tusher Tunnel

Friday, 11 April

Our last day on the trails. We decided to run Lower Helldorado and look at Upper Helldorado in the morning, Vic wasn't with us this day, as he was pulling out a day early take it easy on the trip home. Keith was really set on seeing these trails so off we went. It takes a while to get out to where the Helldorado Trails are, and they are not real long, but they can really hurt you. I think there were 3 main obstacles on Lower Helldorado. It was the third one that got Bruce. He broke the ears on his outer axle shaft, so he ended up disconnecting his vacuum line to the front axle and running out the rest of the way on 3 wheels. Luckily after that obstacle there was only a long long hill before he could take the wash and head out. The wash was at the start of Upper Helldorado. I walked Upper Helldorado a little ways - the first 3 obstacles - and that was enough. I am not ready for that stuff! Its for the big boys! Keith ran the first obstacle in and back, just for the fun of it. We watched a couple of other folks start in and then headed out. We met up with Bruce at the road, and I took him back into town for the truck and trailer. We stopped at the 4x4 shop to let them know we were bringing another rig in and then I dropped Bruce by his hotel to pick up the truck and trailer and went back over to the shop to wait for him. I got to talking with some of the guys there and realized that a bunch of them had been the tailgunners for Steel Bender last time I was in Moab for the Jeep Jamboree. That seemed to help the camaraderie (and the fact that I was hanging out in the main shop - where visitors are not supposed to be). After a while Bruce came back, and they got his axle fixed, and he went to go load up. He was soon back, there was definitely another problem. They took a look, and found that a spring hanger was shearing off. They welded that up and away he went. In the mean time, Bob, Keith, Linh, and maybe others? were up on Hell's Revenge. I could hear them on the cb occasionally while I was at the shop.

Once I finished at the shop, I headed back over to the apartment to meet up with the glass guy (Moab Man Auto Glass). His name is David, and he is a really nice guy. He not only took care of the glass, but helped me beat on the Jeep a little to get the Door to fit better. He also offered us the use of his shop if it got dark and we were still working on the Jeep. Wow! We didn't end up needing to take him up on the offer, but what a nice guy to offer. While he was installing the glass, he had to take off to get more of the glue for it (its a one tube job and he used 3 because the frame was so bent). While he was gone Keith came back, he broke up on Hell's Revenge and needed a portable welder...so after checking around, we found that my buddy Dan had gotten into town already, so we headed off to his campground to see if he had one with him. Traffic was horrible, as while I was at the 4x4 shop a fire had broken out just North of town and there was no power to the town at all. We finally go there, and Dan didn't have his portable with him, but camped right near him was a Zuk guy named Brent that Keith knew, and he had a portable and was willing to go up with him to fix the rig. So we headed over to the other campground to tell Bob (who had offered Keith a ride back up) that we had a welder and were ready to go. We then went back to the Condo, and Keith hitched a ride up with Bob, and I went back to work on the Jeep. After a bit, Dan and Big D showed up and helped me out some with the Jeep. Bruce was there, and in-between turning chicken on the BBQ, he assisted with figuring out what we needed to do to get my rig back together and home. Dan and Big D took off after a while, (mind you there was still no power in town) and after dinner Bruce wired up the missing taillight for me. We got the passenger door on fine, but the drivers side was a PITA. It just wont fit right with the bent windshield frame. At least we didn't have to worry about the top at that point...it was totally trashed and the header bar was broken - since it was aluminum it was unweldable (by us) too (not to mention there was still no power in town). So, I finally get my rig all set up and packed up as much as I can before it gets to dark and call it good for the night. Pretty soon Keith comes back...seems that once they fixed his rig, he just had to play...and ended up rolling his Sammi in Mickeys Hot Tub. His damage wasn't quite as bad, especially since he trailers the rig. While we were all out checking out the damages on his rig, we started to see lights! 5 hours later and the power was finally coming back on. Yea!

Lower Helldorado Trail

The first obsticale

Bob taking the hard line

Keith makes it look easy

Upper Helldorado Trail

Keith playing on the first obsticale


Hell's Revenge Trail

Mickey's Hot Tub

(where Keith rolled)


Saturday, 12 April

We packed up, and headed out for Boise. Pretty much stopping only for gas and potty breaks until we got up into the Provo area. Things were going well, we had good weather (thankfully!) all the way. We saw snow, but only up on the mountian tops this time. Along the road somewhere north of Salt Lake someone was honking at Bruce and pointing at the Jeep, so we pulled off, and found that his trailer had broken - the part that holds the ramps up. Luckily, it hadn't let go all the way, so that the ramps were still there and it was fixable. They guys got the ramps out and onto the trailer and strapped down and strapped up the ramp holders and off we went. We pulled into Boise around 8-ish I think, and ordered a couple of pizza's to tide us over and watched some video (of Wednesday of course).

On the drive home

Sunday, 13 April

Early this morning Keith and Bruce were up and working, both on the trailer and unloading Bruce's Jeep. Once that was finished, we all headed out for a good breakfast and then we hit the road for home. The trip over the Blue Mountains was most pleasant (if chilly) by comparison to the week prior. We had decent weather all the way to about The Dalles, where it started getting cold, and there were big black clouds on the horizon. We gassed up at Hood River and since it was sprinkling I put on a light jacket and we headed out. It soon started pouring down rain. I was having troubles seeing (remember, no top) - since I had no top and the rain was hitting on both sides of the windshield and both sides of my glasses to. We were just about 2 miles east of Cascade Locks when I got a loud thunk-thunk-thunk-thunk sound, I pulled off and stopped, checked under the hood, but didn't see anything. Tried to start it up and it went thunk-thunk-thunk-thunk again so I immediately shut it down and Lihn put a tow strap on me and towed me into town and across the Bridge of the Gods and home (mind you it was absolutely pouring until about the time we got it parked at the apartment). I then unloaded all my gear and started making phone calls. After some discussion, we all feared the worst...a thrown rod. I called and left a message for my boss, just saying I had some problems to deal with and wouldn't be in on Monday and would explain later.

Monday, 14 April Monday morning I called for a flat bed tow truck and had the TJ taken up to the dealership in Hood River. When they pulled the oil pan to check, it was definitely a rod that broken, and when it did it blew a hole in the block too. After talking with the folks at the insurance office I decided to try filing an insurance claim on the whole thing and hope for the best - praying that they wouldn't want to total it. By the time I got home from Hood River with the rental car that afternoon, the news was out. Most of the Jeepers in Hood River were aware that there was a rolled Jeep at the dealer (and of course several of them recognized it) and the word was passed. I checked my e-mail and already had messages asking what happened and such from my boss, and many others. Its amazing how fast word spreads! LOL.

On Thursday (4-17-03) I met with the insurance adjustor and evidentially once he realized that this is not your average Jeep, he had no question about not totaling it. (Whew!) The insurance adjuster said that they will cover the body damages, but a second adjuster will have to look at the engine on Monday (4-21-03). That person will decide if the engine failure was caused by the roll or not. If so, then it will be covered. If not, then... Ulp! Time to find a new engine... I took the rental car back, got a ride home from a freind, and waited for my brother in law to bring his spare car out (thanks Harold!). It was a much cheaper alternative for me than a rental car is, even with rental coverage.

04-23-03, Well, the guy couldnt make it on Monday, so we had to wait until Wednesday. This morning I get a call from the insurance and they are telling me that the second guy who looked at it decided it was a total. I said no way. We argued some, and then they said "get a quote on the body work". So, I headed up to Hood River to meet with a person from one of the local body shops. Ulp! The estimate comes back at $7K.

04-24-03: The insurance guy calls me, says he got the quote from the body shop, and now they are not going to total the rig, but, they will not cover the engine either. Only the body work, cage, top, and other small items that were damaged. He asks how I want to handle it and I say I don't know and I will get back to him.

04-25-03, I call and talk to the insurance guy again and we finally get all the details straightened out. I decided that it was time to get the Jeep out of the dealership shop and to a place where I can get to it easier. So, my friends Jake and Tony and some others met me at the dealership and loaded the TJ on a trailer and took it over to Tony's shop, where he offered to store it for me for a little while.

04-30-03: My freind Dan met up with me in Hood River this morning and we picked up the TJ from Tony's and headed into town. We dropped the TJ off at Leonard's Off Road to get a new engine put in. Now I wait on that, and then as soon as Leonard is done, its off to the body shop for a few more weeks, and then off to the fab shop (S&N Fab) for a couple of days to complete the work.

I want my rig back!!


I'm going into Jeep withdrawl!!

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