Winter in the Desert - 2013 travel blog

air intake

OK at any angle

any angle

admiring a 4-wheeler

on a trailer

parking lot

deep tire tread


paved bike trail

Colorado River

bike bridge across Colorado

on the bike ride

We know very little about 4-wheel driving the way it is done around here. But when you are here for the 37th annual Jeep Safari Expo and the arena where after market products are being sold is a short walk from the campground, you might as well go. We are left with the impression that while you might leave a Jeep dealer with a 4-wheel drive package, you have many things to add or modify to increase your chances that your 4-wheeler will survive here. The vehicles ride high off the ground so you need special shock absorbers and some kind of air tanks that you refill along the way. If you want to ride through rivers, you need an air intake that intakes the air from way over your head. You want to take the doors off your jeep and add webbing to hold you in instead; the doors will just get bashed in anyway. You need an especially sturdy bumper with a winch on it, both to be rescued and to rescue others. From a short video we saw the winch can also be used to keep you top up when you are in a situation where gravity would cause you to tip over. Generally you want to harden your vehicle so that encounters with rocks will not cause much damage. To this end one vendor sold bumpers, side armor, rock doors, rock sliders, side armor, and sport cages.

During the safari weekend, people register to take certain trails and they are lead through them by local aficionados who can enhance their chances of returning in one piece. The trails are rated as to difficulty and you might guess that trails named things like The Metal Masher, Hell's Revenge, and the Cliff Hanger are not to be taken by someone who just bought his new SUV. The trails also are rated numerically. Here's the definition of a #7: (#10 is the most challenging.) Trail consists of rock, sand and considerable slickrock with many steps exceeding 24". Steep inclines and declines are prevalent. Enhcanced off road equipment is required including front and rear locking devices, tall tires, maximum vehicle ground clearance, and tow hooks. A winch is desireable. Excellent driving skills are required. Vehicle mechanical or body damage is likley. Roll over possibilities exist. Sounds like fun???

There were a few booths at Expo that reminded us that we are in a red state. Second amendment concerns were being aired and petitions circulated to prevent more land from being part of the national park/BLM/national forest systems. Generally as a blue stater, I'm all for protecting and conserving land, but when you look at a map of Utah, vast swathes of the state are already under government control. Even bleeding heart liberals like me could conclude at some point that enough is enough.

Having had enough of all things 4-wheel, we got on our two wheelers and rode a short bike trail along the Colorado River. Most of the bike trails around here are for mountain bikers - no pavement in sight - so we were pleased to find a trail that was just our speed.

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