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4-5-04 6:54AM PST
Our first day in Moab was a beautiful one. We had a nice
drive from Vernal, UT, down to Moab. We arrived yesterday
afternoon at our condo where we parked the Pirate4x4.Com/RP
Films rolling headquarters.
recieved a call from Ron Stobaugh, president of Superior
Axle & Gear (our title sponsor for this coverage) and
he said he was heading over to Potato Salad Hill for a little
fun. An hour later he called back to say he rolled his beautiful
Superior TJ down Potato 4 times, and totaled it! The Jeep
was taken to Moab 4x4 for a new cage. Hopefully the boys
at Moab 4x4 can get it back into shape for today's run...
We've got video of the rollover, and are currently in the
process of getting it to the web. In the meantime, here's
a few trophies -
the damage to his Jeep, Ron hosted a BBQ last night at his
condo, and was in great spirits.
of today's run, the weather isn't exactly cooperating. It's
cold, and rainy here in Moab this morning. We'll post up
later today after the Superior Axle & Gear sponsored
run today on Moab Rim trail. Hopefully the rain will ease
up and we can have some fun. On second thought, we'll have
fun no matter what the weather is!
4/6/04 7:15AM PST
was the Superior Axle & Gear "The Rock" run.
This was a V.I.P. run for people in the industry, such as
vendors, competitors, etc. The weather was horrible, with
it being cold and rainy as we all met at Moab Brewery. Even
with the weather being as it was, over 50 vehicles showed
up to brave the weather and go try and have some fun.
group caravanned toward our destination - Moab Rim Trail.
About 1 mile down the pavement, my Land Crusier decided
it had had enough, and the front driver's wheel bearing
proceeded to catch on fire. It was pretty cool watching
2 foot flames shooting out of my hub! The axle actually
got so hot, it grinded itself in half, and welded itself
to the spindle!
decided to leave the Cruiser on the side of the road, and
proceed to the trail. I hooked up with DSI for the ride
to the trailhead.
we arrived at the trailhead, we were greeted by the BLM
asking us to stick to the trail, etc. He stated that the
enviros were in the process of trying to get this beautiful
trail closed to the public.
began our ascent up the trail, which has a quite intimidating
cliff of several hundered feet on the driver's side while
ride up the rest of the trail went great, and we were treated
to beautiful views of the Moab Valley at the top.
we made it around the bend to our final destination, we
were treated to a full tri tip lunch hosted by the Jeeper's
lunch, people hung out and enjoyed the views, relaxed, and
then headed back down the trail to civilization. By the
end of the day, the weather began to cooperate, and the
sun came out. Our ride back to civilization was much nicer
than the ride in.
would like to thank Superior Axle & Gear for letting
us tag along on this ride. It was a lot of fun, and the Jeeper's
Jamboree staff can sure fix a mean lunch!
4/6/04 8:00AM PST -
are getting our rigs ready to head out to Pritchett Canyon
and Upper Helldorado. We will be sure to report back later
with the carnage count! I've got a new axle/hub/spindle
on my Land Cruiser, so she's ready to rock!
4/6/04 9:48PM PST -
was a great day on Moab's toughest trail. There was no traffic
to speak of, and the trail was tough as ever. We had a great
group of drivers in our group, and hoped that we could make
it through the trail without major carnage.
"Rizzo" Gallagher from RP Films was leading the
way in his rental rock buggy courtesy of John Hall. Pat
was followed by Kelly Clifford, and then myself, Dave Schnieder
(aka: DSI), Kathy Crook, and bringing up the tail was Big
Rich Klein in his rental CJ courtesy of Jeff Mello.
making the first climb on Upper Proving Grounds look
Clifford smoked the first climb like it wasn't even
there in her Diablo II.
After the first obstacle on this trail, those
of us that had never run it before knew we were in for a
treat. The first waterfall was very tough, and several of
the rigs elected to take the one and only bypass on this
trail around it.
The next obstacle was a little easier, and
was conquered by everyone in our group. While you expect
a full blown Unlimited competition buggy like Kelly's Diablo
II to make an obstacle like this, it was exciting to watch
the lesser capable stock modified rigs driven by Kathy Crook
and Rich Klein claw their way to the top.
"Medium Bastard" Clifford climbing the next
series of ledges on UPG..
stacking a few rocks, Kathy Crook made it to the top
of this difficult stairstep.
conquering the stairstep, we made our way through a tight
v-crack, and approached the next obstacle. This large waterfall
had a difficult approach to it, as it required you to make
a sharp left turn while trying to climb it. The tricker
rock buggies shot right up the waterfall with no problems.
The rest of the group had a tougher time, however. At the
beginning of the trail, I lost hydraulics in my clutch,
so I was driving the entire trail without a clutch. This
normally wouldn't be a big deal on most trails, but Upper
Proving Grounds is a little tougher than the average trail!
smiling for the camera.
you can see in the photo above, I had some issues climbing
the wall. My old school Cruiser most likely could have made
this climb if I had a clutch, but in the end I decided to
winch up it.
one-shoted this climb and made most of us look stupid..
spanking the trail in his S&N FAB rig..
Crook putting her Warn winch to work.
Rich winching up the waterfall.
last obstacle was the great equalizer. What I mean by that
is it was the only obstacle that nobody in our group could
make. Not even the hot shots in their comp buggies could
make this one. Rumor has it that this waterfall has been
climbed before. Well not today. With 8 inches of water at
the base of the waterfall, I'd give the pink slip to my
Land Cruiser to anyone who could have made it today. Even
with perfectly dry conditions, I would love to see somebody
make the last waterfall. It's NUTS....
to say, everyone in our group unspooled their winches and
climbed up the wall, praying their cables and ropes were
up to par.
Rich "let" his son Lil Rich winch up the
last monster waterfall.
4/8/04 11:04PM PST -
was awesome! The plan was to run Upper Helldorado, which
many claim to be the toughest in Moab. When we unloaded
the rigs from the trailers, it began to downpour like we
were in the Amazon rainforest! The rain was coming down
so hard, we considered turning around. Those thoughts were
made into reality when there was a literal flash flood in
rained so hard on UH that the trail quickly became
of the flash floods, and also because of the fact most of
us were not prepared for the insane rain, we elected to
turn around and get the heck out of there and get dry and
warm. We figured we'd head back to town, get some dry warm
clothes, and make another attempt at Upper Helldorado after
to tell in this photo, but it's raining cats and dogs!
heading back to town and drying off, we had a great lunch
at "The Branding Iron" and headed back to Hell.
When we arrived back in Hell, the weather was sunny and
warm! All of our nice dry jackets came off, and we hit the
trail with the sun shining on us.
the very first obstacles, Team Red Bull had some bad luck.
Becca Webster popped one of her Pro Comp 40" X-Terrains,
and Dustin Webster broke his front driveshaft yoke trying
a crazy breakover.
Webster trying to back off of this rock after he broke
his front driveshaft.
both RedBull trucks broke, Dustin and Becca abandoned thier
rigs and follwed us in on foot to see what kind of carnage
could be had by the three remaining rigs - Mike Shaffer
in his Diablo II, Lance Clifford in his Diablo II, and Dave
Schneider (DSI) in his S&N Fab buggy. Of course RP
Films was along for the ride getting footage for their
upcoming DVD, Haulin' or Crawlin' II.
Shaffer taking a sick line that would swollow wider
full bodied rigs.
spotting DSI over this nasty area on UH.Nice
The three rock buggies made short work of the trail, and
it was great fun winding through the tight, off camber boulders.
For those that are familiar with UH, the toughest part of
this trail is at the end, just like on Upper Proving Grounds.
Like UPG, Helldorado's last obstacle is a verticle waterfall.
Only a couple of people are known to have made this waterfall
unassisted, one of them being Johnny
was dying to give this waterfall a shot, but knowing that
there was just an insane rainstorm only hours earlier, not
only would there be water at the bottom, but most likely
water running down the fall itself. Sure enough, there was
plenty of water and mud to be found. Mike figured he would
most likely have to winch it, but wanted to give it a few
after a couple of attempts at crawling it and going nowhere
but down, Mike hit it with a little short star and launched
right up it like it wasn't even there. Totally amazing!
it was my (Lance) turn. I lined up and launched the little
Diablo in 2nd gear. Unfortunately the winch on the rig was
broken, so I wasn't able to suck the front end down. This
caused the front end to bounce and unload in a way I didn't
like. I elected to be winched to the top and come back for
revenge when my winch was fixed.
gave the fall a few daring shots, and didn't have much luck.
Then we broke out the spotter strap and Mike and I yanked
him right to the top, first try. Hey, it's definitely better
catching air while the two fat boys pull on the rope..
we will be going to the vendor's fair and checking out all
the goodies. We also hope to run "Hell's Revenge"
and play in the hot tubs. Stay tuned!
4/8/04 9:30PST -
we ran "Hell's Revenge". We started at the "Dump
Bump" which everyone in our group crawled right up.
Dump Bump is on Private Property, and the owner of the property
was there collecting $1.00 per head to cross his property.
I wasn't excited about it, but I forked over my buck and
Reese crawlin' right up the "Dump Bump".
Revenge is a relatively mild trail which is more scenic
than difficult. It is heavily patrolled by BLM Rangers,
but we'll get back to that in a bit.
group of rigs pulling over the enjoy the view.
trail ride was a nice, mellow run through the slickrock
backcountry. We stopped at several spots along the way to
enjoy the breathtaking scenery.
made our way to the well known "Hot tubs" which
are large holes in the slickrock that you can drive through,
if you dare. Mike Shaffer was up first, and he put on a
great show by doing an awesome front wheel drive smoky burnout
then launching right up and out of the tub like it was nothing.
heating up the front tires to climb out of the hot
next was myself (Lance) in the 'ole Land Cruiser. I gave
it a few shots at low speed before I backed the beat up
rig and hammered down in 2nd gear. I launched almost to
the top, and ran out of gas! I backed the rig back down,
hooked up the secondary tank, and made another attempt.
Unfortunately I made one mistake - I forgot to secure the
propane tank! The tank fell off the back of the rig, and
ripped the brass fitting right off the fuel line. I was
glad that the only damage was a brass fitting, and not blowing
winched the Cruiser out of the hole and watched others attempt
it. Several people made unsucessful attempts at it while
we waited for Mike to run to town to pick up parts for my
damaged fuel line. One of the unsucessful people was UROC
pioneer Craig Stumph. Craig took an insane run at the climb
and he ended up going on his lid.
Stumph getting extracted from the hot tub..
Clifford decided to give the hot tub a shot in her Diablo
even though there was nothing to hold the front end down
(winch was broken). After a couple of attempts, she made
it to the top to the cheering approval of the crowd.
climbing the hot tub.
ended up getting the rig fixed, and headed back to the tow
rigs. We ran into a couple of BLM Rangers who wanted us
to pay $5.00 each for driving on the trail. While I felt
it was odd having to pay to drive on land that we own, we
elected to pay the $5.00 and be on our way.
haven't been to Moab in a while (other than competing in
an RCAA event), but it's getting very apparent that things
have changed. The BLM Rangers are getting very strict, the
rules are getting tighter and tighter, the police are getting
more strict, the amount of greenies are rapidly growing,
paying to run on public land, etc. Yes, it's still a fun
place to be, but it's definitely not the Moab I remember
from 1998. I just hope that responsible four wheelers can
help keep these trails open for years to come without loosing
too much freedom. I hope that the Moab community knows what
a vital role we four wheelers are to their economy, and
fight to make us all feel welcome in Moab for many years
"pulling us over" to collect $5.00 each
and ask questions about permits, etc.
- 4/9/04 6:20PM PST -
got videos of Mike Shaffer and Becca Webster spanking the
final waterfall on Upper Helldorado right here!