2011 Easter Jeep Safari
Story and Photos by Nolen Grogan
Coverage brought to you by 4Wheel Parts
[ Photo Gallery ]
[ Sunday ] [ Monday ] [ Tuesday ] [ Wednesday ] [ Thursday / Friday ]
Moday's Metal Masher-4 Wheel Parts Run
Today we got an early start. We met at the trailhead north of town at 8 am and staged for the day's run up Metal Masher. It was unreal how many people showed up to run with the 4 Wheel Parts crew. It must have been 50 plus vehicles with everything from full-on competition rigs to bone stock Jeeps. I lost count when the first parking lot filled up and the Jeeps, buggys and trailers began to spill into the parking lot across the road. Brent from 4 Wheel Parts set everyone up with food, drink and a really cool flashlight for showing up to ride. From there, we took off uphill to the begin Metal Masher.
Metal Masher is a moderate trail with plenty of side options to test the more equipped vehicles. My crew ran the trail today in a brand new 4-door JK with 37" BFG KM2's and no lockers. With only 229 miles on it when we started the day, we were a bit nervous with our instructions "not to bend it". The trail runs along the high ridge that overlooks Hwy 191 north of Moab. Cliff vistas, the snowy La Sal mountains and amazing rock formations keep you entertained along the entire trail.
Most all of the major obstacles on Metal Masher have bypasses. It is really nice with a group this large as the main group keeps moving and the people that want to try the harder obstacles get to do so without holding up such a large group.
Just before you get to the classic Metal Masher squeeze, there is an optional loop that requires some serious equipment. First up was Bender in the 4 Wheel Parts Ultra 4 racer. He eased up and literally walked the hill. The buggy did not even slip a tire. Once he got to the top, he cooked off a bit of the "new" on the BFG KRT-B's for a nice show.
Next up was Lance from Pirate 4x4 in his kick ass sleeper extra cab Toyota. Like everything else this week he made it look stupid easy. Ben Napier in the Bomber and Tin Bender John killed it in their buggies. Finally the JK guys had seen enough and with some great spotting, they made it up nicely. In the end, some short wheelbase JK's and TJ's also made the climb.
We moved on from this optional climb and ended up in the narrow slot that gives Metal Masher its name. It was a tight squeeze for the 4 door JK's but they all managed to squeeze by without any damage. This short section lead through a technical switchback and then to the edge of the earth, a 1000' vertical drop to Hwy 191.
The absolute best part of this trail is where we had lunch. Right on the edge of the cliff. It was windy and scary as the gusts were blowing OFF the cliff! It was crazy to stand right next to the edge and have the wind blowing that hard. Lance and Mustard Dog walked up and sat right on the edge of a rock that made me scared just watching and taking pictures. It was seriously insane.
After lunch it was all downhill. The trail was nice with some ledges and great views. Once we made it down a ways, the trail leader sent all of the non-locked rigs around to the top of Widowmaker to watch people come up the last major obstacle of the day. By the time we got there, Lance and Ben had already made the climb. We arrived just in time to see Bender in the 4 Wheel Parts rig one-shot the climb. After that, there was a long time before anyone made the climb without a winch.
Once we got everyone up Widowmaker, everyone turned toward home at a pretty good pace. It had been a long day and we still had 12 miles of washboard and gravel to get us back to the highway. Camo had the 4 door JK floating nicely on the exit road when we came to a full stop on the last section of trail before we dropped into Little Canyon and home. Ben Napier in the Bomber decided to take advantage of a wide spot in the trail and passed Lance and Marcy in the Toyota in full Ultra 4 style. Once he passed them, Mustard Dog decided not to give way and as the road narrowed, he turned directly into Mustard Dog's buggy. Luckily, Mustard was running hard on the front axle since he had busted his rear driveshaft and when they hit, the buggies completely locked up and they skidded to a stop. They went from 50 mph to dead stop in 5 feet. Total lockdown. Proof positive you don't play bumper cars in an open wheeled buggy!
Flaash pulled them apart and we made it back home. Thanks 4 Wheel Parts for being outstanding hosts and MD and Napster for the entertainment in the end. Stay tuned, we will bring more Easter Jeep fun to Pirate.