Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Jeeps, lots of Jeeps

4x4's on the Hell's Revenge Trail, Moab, Utah
 I've mentioned in past posts that we spend a lot of time in Moab, Utah. I have also mentioned the Easter Jeep Safari. Well now that we are nearing thirty days from 2016's event I thought I would explain a little about what this event is.
  Fifty years ago members of the Moab area Chamber of Commerce packed a lunch and loaded up their Jeeps for a trip out in the red rocks. One dirt trail called Behind the Rocks was the days entertainment. Since then the event has grown from one trail to over thirty. But where did they come from?
  Visitors today may not know it but Moab's has an extensive background in mining. During the 1950's a Uranium boom occurred and later potash and manganese were mined. Today oil and natural gas are being mined all over the area. It is because of the mining of yesterday that we have access to such great scenery and off-road recreation today. These roads were originally cut as access and exploratory roads for the mining companies. For the most part these roads were abandoned and other than the local 4-wheeling club repairing and marking the trails there is little maintenance.
Tip Over Challenge on the Hell's Revenge Trail
  Every Spring Moab is host to thousands of off-roaders who bring their 4-wheel drive vehicle of choice to the desert to traverse trails of various difficulty. Although Jeep is in the name, the event is open to all types of 4-wheel drive vehicles (no ATV's, UTV's or motorcycles though.) Participants register for the trails of their choice and pay a fee to attend the event where they will be taken on guided runs for up to nine days. An experienced "Trail Leader" and his helpers (called "gunners") will take the participants out for the day and will share their knowledge of the area and make sure everyone follows the rules and gets home safely. These trail "officials" are made up of volunteers and come from all over the country. There was a time when you would have seen me out there but over the past few years I've come to enjoy taking out smaller groups of ten to fifteen as opposed to fifty to eighty.
  One common misconception that I've heard from people that have never attended an event like this is that they think the Safari is some kind of race. It's quite the opposite, however. You may hit fifteen miles an hour if you find a long, flat stretch of road but this is rare. This is what they call rock crawling. It's slow and leisurely with some opportunities to test a vehicles abilities thrown in here and there. It's a family event where people pack a lunch and come together to share a common interest. Folks here are respectful of each other and the environment and are generally good people.
Vendor booths fill the Spanish Trail Arena
  During the event there is a large vendor show held at the Spanish Trail Arena. Here hundreds of vendors from the off-road community show off the latest and greatest products on the market from tires, winches, bumpers, and much more. This is where the who's who of off road come together to separate you from your money. It's a good time, trust me.
  On the last Saturday of the event, referred to as "Big Saturday," all of the trails will line up along main street and it's side streets to await a shotgun start. At 9:00 AM the roads leading into town are closed and 1600 vehicles will leave town in a what can best be described as a massive Jeep parade. This is the only day of the week that every trail offered is ran on the same day and needless to say is the busiest day of the week.
  Well that is a very quick, very rough overview of the Easter Jeep Safari. I wanted to make sure that you had an idea of what this event is since I'll be referring to it a lot in the next month. If you are interested in learning more about the event or the club that hosts it go to http://www.rr4w.com/.  I'm looking forward to attending this event again and even more excited to cover it for you here on the site.

Oh and a quick thank you to those of you that stop in here every week and to those of you who have just found us. If you like what you see please tell others about us. We want to reach as many people as possible because it's fun to share our experiences with you. Thanks!

Brandan

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