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Cruise Moab 2009

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Cruise Moab 2009 - FJ CruisersNearly every off road enthusiast dreams of visiting the 4x4 ‘mecca’ of the US – Moab, UT. Although we’ve been wheeling for years, we never were able to find the time to make the 7 hour trek over the mountains until this year for Cruise Moab 2009.
There are many 4x4 events held in Moab every year, and many others around the country. For a Toyota enthusiast, it just doesn’t get any better than Cruise Moab (CM).  People come from all corners of North America to participate in this annual event sponsored by Rising Sun 4x4 Club, and they all bring their toys.
Unlike the FJ Summit, most of the rigs at CM were older, hard core, trail ready trucks. While there were many FJ Cruisers, the great part of the event was running with everything from a nearly stock FJ-40 to complete custom 4Runner buggies. We even got to hit the trail with a classic FJ-45 truck!
We were not able to arrive until Wednesday night, so we missed out on some of the pre-running, but made up for it in a hurry. Early Thursday morning after registering, we hit US-191 south toward Canyonlands National Park, and Elephant Hill. This trail is rated a 4/10 by the Cruise Moab Committee, but is not like a ‘normal’ Easy (4) that we run in Colorado (see more on trail ratings in the sidebar). This trail has some very tricky obstacles, including a portion that you have to back down (or up on the way out) that proved to be a little confusing at first.
Luckily our Toytec lift, new BudBuilt skids and Aluminess front bumper provided all the clearance and protection we needed. We had no issues at all with the trail or the way our TRD performed. The group we were with was quite large, at over 20 Toyota trucks. About halfway through the run, Angie & I decided we needed to get our two dogs back on BLM land (they’re not allowed to roam the National Park), so we split from the group & headed out. As soon as we did 4 other FJ’s decided to roll out with us, so we ended up finishing the trail as an FJ only run. It reminded us of the Summit :)


Friday started pretty early as well, but we were excited to finally run Fins N’ Things. We had heard so much about it and how this trail really defines the ‘slick rock’ that Moab is famous for. This time we only had 3 FJ’s total: our TRD; Bill & Athena’s BC; and Justin & Julie in another TRD.  We were lucky to run right behind the FJ-45, and our trail leader was in a FJ-40. The day again went without any major issues. Angie drove over half the trail and did an amazing job. There was one obstacle that we ‘could’ have made, but opted out of it since there was a bypass.  We had a great time playing on several of the obstacles and challenging our driving skills. Toward the end of the second leg of the trail (near the turn-around spot) I really learned what good traction on slick rock can do. The TRD idled right up Kenny’s Climb, chirping the tires just a little.
By Friday night a storm moved in, and it was raining and dreary all day Saturday. We decided to head out on our own for a little exploration. We ended up staring up Rose Garden Hill in the rain, pondering our chances of making it up. Since we were alone, without a winch, and in the rain, we decided to take a rain check on the hill this time. We have plenty of reason to go back now.
On the way out Saturday morning, we decided to head over the La Sal Mountains, through Castle Valley, and up 128 to I-70. We found a couple of ‘mountain’ style trails that are very similar to the trails we’re used to, so that was a nice treat.  Despite the clouds we were able to get some great pics of Castle Valley below.  We are definitely looking forward to spending more time in this area.
If you’ve never been to Moab, I definitely recommend you plan a trip. Heading out for Cruise Moab is great if you’re looking for the camaraderie of a large event. If you’d rather take plenty of time on the trails and move at more of a leisurely pace, maybe get a couple of fellow FJ enthusiasts together & plan your own trip. Either way, you won’t be disappointed!


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