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General Articles - Trip Reports

Our First Easter Jeep Safari Experience

Article written by Sheila & Andy Klemme

Date Added: 01/18/2009

With the Easter Jeep Safari only a few months away, we wanted to start getting you first timers excited about what is to come. Here is the story as told by a couple of EJS 2007 virgins on their first outing.

Money was tight when Jeepin Joe first contacted Sheila and I about a trip to Moab. We gave him a firm maybe and went on our way.
A month passed and we had forgotten all about our ?maybe? when the phone rang. Joe again asked if we were up for going. We were finally in a position to say, probably. Joe contacted Moab Man and asked what we would need to do to get ready. At the time we were in a stock TJ with 31's. We didn't even have sway bar disconnects. Moab Man told Joe that we would be much better off with a small lift, but the cost was prohibitive for us.

Moab Man came through with a set of 2.5 inch Rancho lift springs for nothing more than the cost of shipping! I went down and purchased a set of JKS quicker disconnects for the front swaybar, and with less than 48 hours to go Joe came by to help install the lift. Proof that Jeepers are great people! I would have liked a locker, but it wasn't in the cards; and we wound up going open front and rear.

The day arrived, and we were off. We cannot begin to tell you the butterflies that were starting to develop knowing that we were not going to run level 2 or 3 trails, but level 4 and 4+ according to the internet sites that we have visited.
Arriving at the MOABJEEPER house where we would be staying didn't help to lessen our fears, as sitting right out in front of the house was Adventure Bob repairing the trail damage that he had taken earlier that day: a broken rear driveshaft u-joint and yoke. Sheila helped get Adventure Bob's Jeep back together. Sheila didn?t know Adventure Bob, or any of the MOABJEEPER crew, but they were going to be responsible for our lives over the next couple days so we figured it best to get in good with them. Meanwhile I unpacked our Jeep and prepped it for the next day?s trail, "Behind the Rocks."

After a night of uneasy rest, we rose early and made the short drive to "City Market" where the MOABJEEPER crew met that morning. After introductions we made our way to the trail head where we aired down to 10 psi and disconnected the sway bar. Sheila jumped in the hot seat and actually drove most of the trail. Turns out that she is pretty good at driving off road. She drove big name obstacles like "Hummer Hill" and "White Knuckle Hill." With Sheila driving and Advenure Bob spotting, we made it through without even a new scratch but that wouldn't last!

Day two was a two-trail day. First up was "Moab Rim." This trail is a relatively short in-and-out that has you leaning towards a really tall drop off. This was my trail to drive, but it was not to be. We got to the second real obstacle, the "Z-Turn" and try as he might, Adventure Bob just couldn't get me lined up right. OK, I admit it, he probably had me lined up correctly but my driving skill (or lack of) just couldn't get me over the ledge. In the end, my right foot got the better of me and the only thing that saved my butt from rolling into "Ouch Rock" (or so it seems, as ouch was scratched into the top of it) was my clutch. I decided that discretion was the better part of valor and parked the Jeep. I rode the rest of the trail with Adventure Bob, while Sheila jumped in with Jeepin Joe.

The second trail for day two was "Kane Creek Canyon." Again Sheila was in the seat for this trail. The beginning is not too bad but after having the tranny in our Jeep rebuilt due to water ingestion, both of us were on edge because of the multiple water crossings involved. Turns out we had nothing to worry about. At least until we got to the second part of the trail. The second part of the trail is rocky and has a pretty big water fall about halfway up a steep climb. It was at this waterfall that we took our first and only damage of the week. There are multiple thoughts on what happened but long story made short, we crunched our passenger side rocker panel. Sheila was really upset at first, but shortly got over it and started wearing it like a badge of honor!

That night we stayed up late mounting a "Bulldog 9500" winch to the front of our Jeep TJ because the next day we would be taking part in "Winches in Hell." This was a tough day but well worth it. I spent the day running up and down obstacles on "Hells Revenge" pulling hundreds if not thousands of feet of winch cable. Sheila spent the day staring at the sky while dangling on a thin piece of cable. Later she told me that she wanted to drive most of the obstacles that she winched over including "Hells Gate." It will have to wait for a future trip.

Thursday and Friday we took days off from the trails, and checked out the booths at the arena. All in all, we had a great time for our first time in Moab. The MOABJEEPER crew took us through things that we would have never thought possible in our Jeep. Was it fun? You bet! Would we do it again? In a heartbeat, in fact since our first trip, we have been back and hope we will be heading back for many years to come. Any regrets? Only one. That we waited so long to go. We proved that you don't need those Dana 60's and 400 horsepower engines that the other magazines tend to tout. We ran nothing less than a 4 rated trail the entire week, and while we did wind up with a little damage, we wouldn't have it any other way!

Final Thoughts

I do have one caution for you guys out there: do not let your significant other drive! You might never get to sit in the driver seat again and will wind up doing what I am. Looking for another Jeep. So what are you waiting for? Get to Moab!!

Our Thank You's!

We want to thank the MOABJEEPER Staff members for showing us an awesome time in Moab, and Jeepin' Joe for persistantly telling us we should be there.

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