After setting up camp, we headed back into town to get our tech inspection done and hang out with everyone at the Slickrock Campground for a while.
Thursday was pretty long for the first day there. My first trail that I decided on was Fins and Things, easy enough for an introduction to “Wheeling in Moab”. It was a typical gorgeous, blue sky day and the views were stunning. For the most part it was a pretty mild ride. There were only a couple of even kind of tricky spots along the way. I did end up standing the FJ on it’s front bumper in one steep descent on the front half of the trail. With a little effort and a really good panic moment, I brought it back down on all four and off we went. Our trail leader had picked out a great spot for us to take our lunch break with no shortage of views. In the middle of the second half of our trail we had another entertaining encounter. All of the sudden, I looked left and saw a bunch of Jeepers coming up behind us. Of course, we are in the middle of Moab and we run into someone we know . . . Nena, the owner of Barlow’s Jeep School and Rentals from Sedona, AZ is on the same trail and right behind us. She spotted the FJC Mag FJ, put her Jeep in park and came running across to say hi! I didn’t hear the end of that one for a while. “Why is a Jeeper running over here to say hi to a guy in an FJ?” That’s how we roll! That evening was the vendor night at the Slickrock Campground. Other that it being dusty and a little windy, it was a pretty good time. It’s always nice to see the usual faces of the vendors and only made better by the new people that we met throughout the evening.
Friday morning came early for sure. This time I chose to take on Porcupine Rim, which is rated as a 5. This trail has some of the most amazing views in the region for sure. Porcupine Rim is a little harder than Fins and Things with slightly taller steps to climb and more of a rocky ledge for the trail. I think that the locker was used on one, maybe two of the steps. All in all, a good intermediate trail. The lunch spot was up at the rim where everyone sits on the edge of a huge cliff overlooking Castle Valley. After taking in the view and eating a bit, it was time to get everyone’s picture with their truck on the rock overhanging the cliff. Looking like and feeling like you are on the edge of the world for sure! The way back down was just as entertaining, dodging all of the mountain bikers and the rescue team on their way to pick up a downed biker.
That evening was the raffle, the award dinner, and what turned out to be our last night hanging out at the event. The raffle was a great time for everyone there. It went on for quite a while and just about everyone there went home with some kind of prize. The dinner was also well done. You can’t go wrong with burgers and brats. After dinner came a few adult beverages and talks of going off of the grid for the next day.
Saturday morning came and we met up with Eli from Ironman 4x4 and a few of his friends to take a day to ourselves. From some of the obstacles to making new friends, there were ten of us in five rigs and it was simply a spectacular day on the trail. We had Brian and his 80 Series with Scott as his navigator, Paul and his 100 Series with Jimmy and Mike navigating, Eli with the Ironman 4x4 FJ, Joe in his FJ and his brother Dale navigating, Bob with his Tacoma, and me all over the place taking pics. Definitely a motley crew, but man it was a good time. Only at an event like Cruise Moab, could you do what we did that day. Everyone told us that Lock Hart Basin was going to take us for a ride. They said it was going to take us 12 hours . . . Well, we did the trail in under 8 hours and back to town in under 9. Lock Hart did give us a run though, we did come to one dead end but luckily it took us less than five minutes and we were on the right trail again. We came across some difficult obstacles with steps and a few tight squeezes. We made it through all of them without much more than a scratch. We all thought that we were going to lose Eli and his FJ at one point with a rock shifting under his front tire on the edge of a cliff. Unfortunately I didn’t get a picture of this because I was downhill from him running for higher ground. There were some really incredible views along the way, including a little hike to see a tailpiece of a plane wreck from the 1952. We never did find the engine that supposedly was around there somewhere.
I know now why this is such a popular event in the Toyota off-road world:
Great People + Great Venue = Great Event
Well done Cruise Moab, Well done!
Thank you to the organizers of the event, all of the vendors, and all of the attendees for making our first Cruise Moab a really great time!
Can’t wait for next year!