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Moab misadventure...or How I learned to stop worrying and love the tow rope.


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#1 singletrack

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Posted 18 April 2005 - 05:00 PM

This a long story of which John [the sucker king] and I didn't take many pics. But it's purdy funny, so read on....
Posted Image

The Moab "meet" got started about 7:00 am when John showed up at Big Bend having driven all night from Lyons. He had finished working on his car at 11 the night before!

We made a quick run into town, and then headed out to the first trail, Top of the World.

Top of the World is a 5 mile climb to a killer view point overlooking Onion Creek and the La Sal mtns. This is as close I wanted to come to oblivion. Onion Creek RD can be seen at the bottom.

The trail is pretty rough, with lots of coarse rocky ledges. Here's John powering up one of the rougher sections. Lots of fun wheelin' all the way.

When we got to the top, we met this couple. Dude had apparently just proposed to his girl! Pretty cool random occurance, and we initially took it as a sign that it would be a good trip. In hindsight, I would say this couple will likely be divorced in a few months.

Trouble started at the top of the trail, on the very last obstacle. John put a hole in the sidewall of a Cooper SST, and we hadta change it out. After hanging around a bit and explaining a few times how our Jap-trash cars had gotten up there, we started descending. Maybe a mile from the top, we realized the John's hatch was missing a lift block from the rear crossmember! We searched for the missing parts a while, and finding nothing, continued to gingerly retrace our steps.

We got to graded dirt road at the bottom, and it was decided that John would head into town to do some repairs, and I was gonna finish the loop we had intended to run. So we parted ways about 5, intending to meet in town around 8.

The route I took turned out to be the gnarliest thing I've yet done with my car. I connected a few mining roads a started following the Kokopelli Trail. Whoo-Boy. I advanced further into unknown terrain, being careful not to drive down anything I couldn't get back up. Then I came to a 400' descent down pretty much the steepest, loosest, rockiest, most ledge filled and off camber section of trail imaginable. The right side of the trail = death. This is the last pic I took from the top. [death hill not pictured]. I scouted the other side of the canyon to make sure I could drive out, and rechecked my position on the map. It would be smooth sailing from here, so I went for it.

Don't worry, I made it. After high-centering once and nearly rolling more times than I can count, I made it down in one piece, and started cruising on rolling, relatively smooth trail. The sun was setting, but it was a short run to the graded Onion Creek RD. I was driving into the setting sun, 2nd or 3rd gear low. That's when a tiny little rock that I didn't even see went through my skid plate and took out my oil pump. I lost 5 qts of oil in about 10 seconds. I was 14 miles from pavement, 35 miles from town, and it was getting dark fast. I had food, water, beer and gear so spending the night looked like the best option. I cleaned up the oil slick, moved the car off the trail, and made some grub.

I knew John was waiting for me in town, so I hiked a bit to the biggest rock I could find in the hopes I could get cell-phone reception. I managed to complete one call, and left a voicemail saying I was not dead. John hadn't slept in 35 hours or so at this point, moreover, his car might well still be broken. Having had enough fun for one day, I went to bed.

Next morning I woke up, drank a beer, and assessed the situation. I had one broken car, and one functional bicycle. Hmmmm....

I used my sleeping bag and foam pad to build a fort in the car, as I would have to leave the dog behind. Once he had proper shade, ventalation, and water, I jumped on my bike and started riding. As it turns out I was 1/2 a mile from the remote, but 2wd accessible Onion Creek RD. Onion creek descends all the way to the river, so I covered the 14 miles in under an hour, stopping along the way to tell a BLM ranger what was going on.

I got back to the pavement, stashed my bike in a ravine near the road, and switched to "thumb" power. I immediately caught a ride to town.

Once we emerged from the river gorge, my cell phone started working again, and I got a message from John. I had my ride drop me off in mid-town, and walked over to the Virginian Hotel, where I found a lifted hatch on jack stands sans rear wheels. John had found the lost lift block and bolt, but the threads were chewed up and it wouldn't go together. Having recently hada similar problem with my corssmember, we went to the hardware store and gota 1/2" bolt and tap, and replaced the 12mm stuff. Worked good, and the hatch was running again.

At this point we realized neither one of us had brought a tow-strap, so we stopped by the friendly neighborhood Carquest to pick one up. They wanted 60 bucks for a 20' strap and two D hooks! Fortunately, John found a $10 12' tow rope in the bargin bin (the kind that breaks easily) and we decided WTF, let's run it.

We got back to my car 4 hours after I had set out on my bike, and let a very relieved dog outa the car. We had to prep for the long tow, which meant removing the remains of my skid plate, and pulling a rear axle.

There was some debate as to weather or not the Hatch could pull the Wagon, and initially it couldn't, because I had my p-brake on. Whoops. Once we got going, we covered the last bit of rough terrain easily, and really got going on the graded road. Onion Creek is a very scenic drive with 10-15 water crossings over 14 miles. We went tandem the whole way with an incredibly short and pathetic tow rope. I gotta say, we were flying given the cicumstances, and actually passed a Jeep Cherokee through a stream crossing. It was pretty hairy, as I had no brake booster and REALLY lacked stopping power. But we made it.

Leaving the car at the trailhead, we went back into town so I could call AAA, then drove back out to Onion Creek to wait for the tow truck. John set out for home at that point, and I ran off to recover my bike from its hidden position. By the time I got back to the car, the flatbed had shown up. Kevin, the driver, turned out to be a pretty kewl dude with a rock buggy in the garage. He knew exactly where the death hill was, and thought I was quite insane for driving down it. Anyway, it was an 80 mile tow back to my house, which was free - Thanks AAA!

John can fill you in on his side of the story, a tale of 3.2 beer and cheap motels.

It might sound like a disaster, but it was a blast! No regrets, and no serious damage to the cars.

#2 Sweet82

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Posted 18 April 2005 - 05:14 PM

Sounds like TOTW took it's toll on Subarus? I would have guessed that trail could have been done with out much damage? As I remember it, there are just a few small ledges that need to be scaled and the rest is just good solid uphill?

Did you guys get time to do any other trails?
How was your gearing when you were attempting the steeper stuff?
What is your assessment of the welded diff on Moab trails?

I'm curious,
Glenn
82 SubaruHummer--Never been to Moab...
01 Forester--Been to Moab but not on trails.

#3 singletrack

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Posted 18 April 2005 - 05:20 PM

Sounds like TOTW took it's toll on Subarus?

No it wasn't too bad, just the flat and a bolt that rattled loose. The bolt actually came out on the washboardy graded road just outside of Dewey Bridge.

The rock that took me out was on a different trail, and was tiny, a non-obstacle. I just didn't see it and hit it at a good clip.

No problems with the locker, BTW.

#4 subaru_styles

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Posted 18 April 2005 - 05:20 PM

so exactly how small was that rock you hit? :lol:

#5 singletrack

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Posted 18 April 2005 - 05:22 PM

so exactly how small was that rock you hit? :lol:

It was small, but firmly attached the ground. It was in a gully, so it was more the angle that I hit it at combined with a bit of speed.

That frickin' oil pump only had 500 miles on it!

#6 Wasteland

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Posted 18 April 2005 - 05:26 PM

Ah man I love those kind of trips! Glad to hear you guys made it home! So was it just you and John? Where the hell was Dave? I know his Hatch sat in the driveway all weekend.

#7 dklein90

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Posted 18 April 2005 - 06:03 PM

sounds like an awsome trip, you may have inspired me to buy an older Subaru rather than the Foresters Ive been looking at.

Has anyone ever tackled the Rubicon Trail in a Subaru?
-Dave

#8 mudrat79

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Posted 18 April 2005 - 07:14 PM

Yes 3 of Us Have done a Good Potion of the Rubicon trail....

Do a Search For Rubicom pics.....There are a Bunch of them......:)

John.....

#9 the sucker king

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Posted 18 April 2005 - 07:26 PM

here's a pic of joel:
http://img238.echo.c.../00004613ra.jpg

glad you made it home otay. i will reiterate it was an ef'n good time. we'll be back soon i am sure

#10 the sucker king

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Posted 18 April 2005 - 07:42 PM

John can fill you in on his side of the story, a tale of 3.2 beer and cheap motels.

It might sound like a disaster, but it was a blast! No regrets, and no serious damage to the cars.


my side of the story is in the meet and greet thread here:
http://www.ultimates...ad.php?p=275306

3.2 beer is easy to find in moab. cheap hotels and hookers are not.

#11 singletrack

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Posted 18 April 2005 - 09:49 PM

here's a pic of joel:
http://img238.echo.c.../00004613ra.jpg

Oh, I like that one!

Yeah, I got home fine glad you did too.

#12 baccaruda

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Posted 18 April 2005 - 10:16 PM

thanks for the new desktop background! sorry to hear about your oil pump but i'm glad you cleaned up the oil.. good thing you brought your bike :D is that a custom or factory bike mount?

oh and $60 for a 20' tow line justifies shoplifting in my opinion. that is flat out outrageous.

#13 singletrack

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Posted 18 April 2005 - 11:21 PM

sorry to hear about your oil pump but i'm glad you cleaned up the oil.. good thing you brought your bike :D is that a custom or factory bike mount?

The BLM Ranger was glad too. He seemed kinda amused I kept apologizing for the mess, and reminded me that most wouldn't have bothered. :-\

The rack is fully custom home-depot threaded pipe. The duct tape is factory though. ;) Seriously, store bought doesn't cut it for wheelin' with a $4K bike hanging off the back.

Where the hell was Dave? I know his Hatch sat in the driveway all weekend.

Doh! I forgot to leave the wheels out for you, din't I?

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#14 SuBrat84

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Posted 19 April 2005 - 12:12 AM

Hey, Jessica (and me too :grin: ) was wondering if MOAB is an acronym.. and if so, what it stands for? Thanks!

#15 singletrack

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Posted 19 April 2005 - 12:17 AM

Hey, Jessica (and me too :grin: ) was wondering if MOAB is an acronym.. and if so, what it stands for? Thanks!

Well, it is for the Air Force. Massive Ordinance Air Bomb or something like that. It's the biggest non-nukular we've got I think. They dropped one on Osama and missed.

For the rest of us it's just a town in eastern UT.

#16 SuBrat84

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Posted 19 April 2005 - 12:19 AM

i knew the USAF term.. i always call it "Mother of all Bombs" .... they named a town there MOAB? weird.

#17 Zefy

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Posted 19 April 2005 - 01:09 AM

haha leave it to the americans to name a town after a weapon...:rolleyes:


nice pics! good story too... now i want a 4 wheeler...

#18 ezapar

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Posted 19 April 2005 - 01:29 AM

haha leave it to the americans to name a town after a weapon...:rolleyes:


Easy there Zefy. . . If it wasn't for us, you Canadians would be speaking Russian. :lol:

#19 offroadsubaruguy

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Posted 19 April 2005 - 08:27 AM

sorry i missed it, had to work, looked like fun though..... maybe next time.....

#20 MorganM

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Posted 19 April 2005 - 08:48 AM

What a great Subaru adventure story to start my TUE work day with; thanks :drunk:

Glad you got out okay and have no regrets! So next time you are going UP that death hill right? :brow:

#21 Zefy

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Posted 19 April 2005 - 12:28 PM

Zapar

Easy there Zefy. . . If it wasn't for us, you Canadians would be speaking Russian. :lol:



haha

don't forget Zap we are the only country to truly defeat the US in a war...:drunk: :D

check and mate...:lol:

w00t~! its all good...

#22 ezapar

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Posted 19 April 2005 - 12:41 PM

haha

don't forget Zap we are the only country to truly defeat the US in a war...:drunk: :D

check and mate...:lol:

w00t~! its all good...


What war? A beer drinking contest or something? lol You guys only have about 60 soldiers.

(please forgive the hijack singletrack, I can't resist)

#23 Sweet82

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Posted 19 April 2005 - 01:12 PM

haha leave it to the americans to name a town after a weapon...:rolleyes:


nice pics! good story too... now i want a 4 wheeler...



The town of MOAB was around a long time before the MOAB bomb.
I don't think the Military had even the slightest thought about MOAB Utah when the came up with the acronym for that bomb.

#24 singletrack

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Posted 19 April 2005 - 03:43 PM

please forgive the hijack singletrack, I can't resist

Bah, the Canucks deserve what they get. :)

The town of MOAB was around a long time before the MOAB bomb.

Yeah, founded in like 1880ish; the name is Biblical. This is Utah after all.

#25 MorganM

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Posted 19 April 2005 - 03:56 PM

Lemme bring this here thread back on topic!

DId you FUBAR the oil pump at all?

What's the plan for new skids? :brow:




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