I believe it is largely due to this career change that I have been so substantially less motivated to work on my website. Before I had this position I saw the website as a potential monetary source freeing me from what seemed like a job with no clear way out. It was a way to do what I loved and make money, despite the monetary portion of the entire process being a long road. I no longer feel that drive to “free” myself as I am now in a position that I enjoy, in an industry I love. That being said I have to remind myself that the website, although being a lot of work, was also a joy to create and something I have been very proud of. As of late the website has become a dumping ground for me and more of a Journal that gives the three of you that read it (up 50%) an insight into some of my adventures, dreams, and misfortunes.
Website goals for this year includes doubling the number of trails currently featured on my website. Step one for that to happen would mean getting the Jeep fixed from the debacle that was my most recent Moab trip. I was flat towing the Jeep as I have been doing since I purchased my truck and everything was fine with the exception of a ticking sound that had quietly started revealing itself. With nothing to do about it we forged on. “We” includes the typical crew Goose, and myself but on this trip we added three more characters to the story. Danae, my new co-worker and her two boxer dogs Rosco, and puppy Watson. I of course did not reveal my concern for the ticking sound as to not alarm Danae to the potential for my equipment to leave us stranded and at the mercy of the world. Anyway, we made it to Moab just fine, but as we started looking for campsites Saturday at 1400hrs we discovered that the Moab season was in full swing. Campsites were booked and the people were thick. After checking a few of the known areas we decided that we were gonna have to venture further out of town than anticipated. Following CR128 out of Moab looking and checking for campsites at every chance, it was at this point that Caroline (my truck) warned me that I had low voltage. Due to the conditions, I determined that it must be my alternator. When I pulled over to check things out thinking it may (hopefully) be a loose wire, after shutting the truck off I was unable to start the truck again, she was dead in the water. It was at this point that my apologies to Danae started.
It was official, my truck, tick or no tick had shit the bed and left me stranded for the first time. I unhooked the Jeep from the truck and jumped the truck, I let the Jeep charge the truck for a little while while I formulated a plan. With a little testing by disconnecting and reconnecting the cables I was now sure it was the alternator. With minimal cell signal in the canyon Danae and I unloaded camping stuff out of the Jeep into the truck, locked up the truck took the Jeep and dogs into town in search of a solution. Once we had cell service I started seeking out auto parts stores in order of my discrimination from most acceptable to least. Yep you may have guessed the first store, NAPA, did not have the alternator I needed, they could have it by Tuesday, the morning I was scheduled to leave. Struck out at the CarQuest auto parts as well. The dreaded O'riley's had the alternator I needed. I reluctantly purchased the only alternator in town and suddenly felt optimistic about our chances. There was still daylight and I had the solution to my problem in my hands. There was an uneventful yet beautiful drive back to the truck, unloaded the toolboxes (of which there were three) and set to work. On a trip like this I would never go without a full supply of tools for this exact reason. I continued to apologize to Danae right up until she told me “Why are you apologizing? You're fixing it aren't you?” I replied with a simple “yes” to which she then replied “ok then shut up and stop apologizing.” This was a refreshing and welcome response despite its delivery. With the alternator swapped the truck fired back into life. We cleared the camping gear out of the truck and back into the Jeep, hooked the Jeep back up and we were on our way again with daylight left to burn. Things were looking up.
We knew that we were gonna have to head a ways out of town to find a campsite that wasn't full so after consulting the map we headed up Castle Valley looking for a spot that was a little more remote. When we arrived at the campground the trucks gas light was on (because I'm an awesome planner) but low and behold there was one campsite available. We claimed it and had a home for the night. After camp was set up, before dark I might add, we started discussing food options. After the drama and long travel of the day I suggested that we head back into Moab to grab dinner at a Mexican joint. There would be margaritas and it would also give me the opportunity to fuel up the truck, so that wasn't weighing on my mind. Dinner in town turned out to be unquestionably the right choice. We headed back to camp started a campfire and enjoyed our first night out with a few drinks and laughs.
The next morning with no protection from the sun we were up early. It was decided before hand that one day we would be spent in Arches National Park and the other day would be spent wheeling. It was Sunday and it was also free national park day so naturally we took advantage. We took the upper doors off of the Jeep loaded up the hounds, lunch, and ourselves and off we went. It was a little bit of a drive into town and once we were there we were able to look up the rules on dogs in the park. Basically they just couldn't leave the vehicle. So we drove around the park seeing what we could see from the road and stopping for photos when the moment was right. It was at this time when we came across an unexpected road that lead out of the park and into who knows where. We seized the opportunity to adventure. Heading into the unknown we went. Well I make it sound all dramatic we went about a half mile back through this trail in and out of the creek bed before we came to a dead end. We let the dogs out of the Jeep to run and found that we had just taken a wrong turn and the trail continued on. With this being our national park day and not our 4 wheeling day we decided to turn around and head out back into the park. We loaded up all of the dogs and right as I turned into the turnaround a rock jutted out and grabbed the driver side mirror of my Jeep. It was damaged beyond repair, shattered the mirror and I would later find out that I snapped the rusty bolt that mounts the mirror bracket. With nothing left to do but carry on we completed our tour of Arches National Park without any further drama.
Once out of the park we were itching for a hike with the dogs. We found a trail that I was vaguely familiar with and was also dog friendly. We headed over to the trailhead, changed shoes and started up the trail. It was a very warm day and we were admittedly slightly under prepared. We arrived at a good turning point where we could see the arch take some photos and head back down. Once back at the Jeep we let the dogs cool off in the Colorado then made the decision that sunset would be pretty magnificent at a place known as Thelma and Louise point. We rumbled up the very bumpy road made it to Thelma and Louise point snapped a few photos and made the decision to instead of return the way we came to continue on. I had never been farther than this point but knew that the “chicken corners” and a main road were in our future. Continuing up we enjoyed the big scenery that Moab provides and climbed the chicken corners and found our main road, it was a beautiful day and the sunset was perfectly timed. We made a quick stop in town for ice and headed back out to our campsite.
Danae prepared all of the food and drink for the trip and that was the best decision made the entire trip. We ate very well and and were never hungry. The food was all well prepped so there was very little work to do when it came to cooking. Steak kabobs, chicken tacos, and plenty of snacks made for a spoiled weekend. Anyway off the food topic we ate like royalty and moved our campsite to a better location as EVERYONE in the camp ground left after our first night and it stayed empty until we left. Campfire, drinks, and laughs ensued.
Up early the next morning excited for my “wheeling” day of the trip I got the Jeep ready by promptly breaking the passenger side mirror trying to relocate it to the drivers side. We once again ate breakfast packed lunch and the dogs and headed out. We took a trail up LaSal Loop which wound up the mountain and out onto the mesa above our campsite and Castle Valley. The road followed the edge of the Mesa providing great views, we ran into a mostly gone International truck and only one other Jeep. Little did I know at the time this trail brought us into the Sand Flats Recreation area right to the trail I wanted to do more than any other... “Hells Revenge”. The trail went without incident and was as mind blowing the second time as it was the first time. The pooches were not thrilled by the adventure and so by the time we were done on the trail we decided to call it an early day and head back into camp. We gassed up and took the paved route back to our campsite. The dogs ran around entertaining themselves all evening we cooked out our last meal of the trip and once again good food, good drinks, and good humor propelled us into the night. The next morning was a quiet kinda rainy kinda gloomy morning, we packed up camp/ threw everything in the truck and figured it could all be sorted out later, hooked up the Jeep and said farewell to Moab.
Now at this point you may expect the adventures to be over and if you remember way back to the beginning of this diatribe I mentioned that this was an expensive but worthwhile trip to Moab. Well here come the expensive side of the entire trip. Somewhere east of Grand Junction we experienced what felt like the Jeep falling off its hitch and being caught by the safety chains. Now a quick look in the mirror confirmed that it was not the Jeep that had been lost. My mind being the type that is always worried about something mechanical have been worried about my transmission this entire time. With my truck doubling as a plow truck and this generation's notoriously unreliable transmissions it is something that is always on my mind… that's where I went. I thought for sure my transmission had fallen out of the truck or had jammed two gears or something else catastrophic. With no place to pull over and a quick diagnosis of the transmission functioning, I chalked it up to being the tranny acting up so I crossed my fingers and carried on. It wasn't until Frisco that I was fueling up the truck and I started really poking around. It was at this time that I discovered my front driveshaft on the Jeep had fallen out! I believe the front u-joint strap bolts backed out and the drive shaft fell out of the front yoke. This then resulted in the catapulting of the Jeep up and over the drive shaft shearing all of the remaining bolts. On its way out the driveshaft cracked the transfer case in two places, hit the exhaust, and transmission. I am still waiting to repair the Jeep as of the date of this publishing.
This entry has taken an extensive amount of time to write, due to my own laziness and lack of motivation to work on my website. I recently spent some time on my site poking around and looking at what I had created and was surprised to find how proud I was of my site all over again. My website looks and is generally awesome. So I feel as though my escapades will continue this summer pending the correct mechanical intervention on the Jeep. Hopefully the next time we talk it will be a trail report on a new trail I have recently run and not about my feelings and life woes. That being said another episode of “History of a Simple Jeep” will be due shortly.