Preparation, Packing, and on the Road. Easter Jeep Safari 2019

My group of friends starting talking about going to Moab for Easter Jeep Safari at my daughters first birthday party in July 2018.  Talk started to become a reality when we reserved our condo that we would rent for the week.  We were lucky to get the condo that we did, as house rentals fill up almost as soon as the event closes for the previous year.  

I had alot to do to the jeep.  Before EJS I did the Mountain State Overland Trip in November 2018 through Virginia.  This was not an extreme off road trip, but I did get to test and break in the new AEV suspension work on my load out for gear and supplies.  After the MSO trip I did have to do some upgrades for protection for the more difficult trails that I was planing on doing in Moab.  Lower Control Arm skid plates, replacing all 4 lower control arms and upgrading the tie rod were all in the plan.  

The group of us got together for dinner and conversations in December to discuss the drive out to Moab, and what trails we wanted to do.  Our plan for diving out is to get on I-70 in Columbus, Ohio and take that the whole way out.  To me, this is a less stressful route, because you miss Chicago traffic, and there is only one toll road its very inexpensive, vs the Ohio and Indiana, Toll Roads, which get pricey, especially with a trailer that one often guys is towing his Jeep behind a Ford F-150.  Trail selection starts in January, online and they fit up fast.  We all became members of red Rock 4X4 which gave us early trail signup.  EJS trails we were going to do was Top of the World, Kane Creek and Steel bender.  The plan was to take  one day off from trails to relax, as we have a long 2-day 24+ hour drive from Ohio to Moab.  We also found 2 trails that we did on our own, Copper Ridge and Tower Arch in Arches National Park.

Packing for a 10 day trip is not easy, we were lucky that we had a condo with washing machines, and with taking the mid week day of, I am able to clean clothes and the Jeep, since I’m almost living in the jeep.   

My college friend Jeff, who loves Adventure will be doing us in Denver and driving out too Moab and doing a few days of trails before flying home.  It will be great to catch up with him and he wants to buy a Jeep so we can should him what he can expect when he gets one.  

Day 1 of the trip out, we have hotel rooms reserved in Topeka, Kansas, which is about 1/2 way.  We hope to get there by dinner.  I have selected Texas Road House for dinner, its near the hotel, and I enjoy a nice dinner after a long day behind the wheel.  Time is working in our favor on the way to Moab, we are gaining 2 hours, traveling through the Central and Mountain Time Zones.  Topeka will be a 1 Hour time gain!

Hitting the road at 0430AM, we are planning on meeting at a truck stop in Lodi, Ohio off I-71 at 5am.  This was selected as a great meeting locations our group was coming from all over Northeast Ohio.  This is when we have our first of many delays.  We have four of us traveling out, one of the guys trailers his Jeep behind a Ford F-150.  About 17 miles from the truck stop he has a wheel failure.  The steel wheel has a weld and the weld has cracked causing a flat.  The spare tire on the trailer is rusted to the lugs holding it on, it take some time and pressure to get the wheel off.  Over the course of the next 2 days, he ends up replacing 3 of the 4 trailer wheels.  We are lucky that he is able to find and replace all the wheels and tires and get not 1 but 2 spare tires.  We started looking like a NASCAR Pit Crew replacing the tires as the day went on.  We get into Topeka much later than expected, no Texas Road House, just enough  time to get to the hotel room and 7 hours of shut-eye.  We have another 12+ hour day to get to Moab.

Day 2 starts out early, a quick stop at McDonalds for a breakfast, and back at time behind the wheel.  

Just west of Topeka is Jeep Road on I-70.  We have to stop and get photos of our Jeeps there!  Back on the road, next stop Denver to pick up Jeff.

Jeff flew into Denver airport and took the light rail to a Walmart, shopping area.  This is right off I-70 and we are able to get food for the rest of the week.  Moab has grocery stores, m but the prices are expensive, so here we are able to get as much food fortes week and save some money, we will have to get fresh meat at the local store in Moab.  I stock up on the lunch meat and bread for the week, long with chips, and other muchies.  

Once we are west of Denver that is when the drive is the best, for the past 1,300 miles and 19+ hours all we see is corn fields and wind turbines.  Now we see the Rocky Mountains, snow, steep road grades and wildlife.  Between Denver and Grand Junction, Colorado the roadway has may step grades and we travel through the Eisenhower Tunnel.  Glenwood Springs Canyon on I-70 is a fun section of road.  It parallels the Colorado River and at times, the west and east bound sections of Interstate are suspended above each other to lessen the environmental impact.  

We get into Moab after dark, which is disappointing as the drive from I-70 down US 191 into Moab is a beautiful drive.  With the Red Rock of Moab towering above you, and just driving through down town is alot of fun. 

Unpacking all the jeeps, getting settled in the condo and great the jeep prepped for trails, as we have an early start to day 1 of Easter Jeep Safari 2019! 

Published by Expedition Team. Overland

As a Boy Scout Eagle Scout, camping, camp fires and maps have always been a passion. After getting my professional carrier established as a Boeing 737 Captain for a Major US Airline, I was able to get back to my routes of playing in the woods, mud and building things. I got my first Jeep in 2012. It was a 2002 Jeep Wrangler TJ, I did not modify it, and it had many mechanical problems, as I was a novice, and not mechanical, I sold it for a new 2013 Jeep Wrangler Sport Unlimited. In 2014 I installed an American Expedition Vehicles (AEV) 2.5" lift with Kelly Safari 35" tires. In 2015 I continued my build with AEV front and rear bumpers, snorkel, skid plates, and off road lights. Up until now, I did off-roading at the local Southington Off Road Park, Rausch Creek in Pennsylvania, and Badlands Park in Indiana. JKFreaks.com was an outstanding resource and I was able to make life-long friendship. In 2015 I did my first big trip with the jeep, first we stopped in Ouray, Colorado. We had two days of trails and did Imogene & Engineer Passes. I left part of myself in the San Juan Mountains and my want to return has been strong since. After Ouray, we went to Moab, Utah for Jeep Jamboree. Moab is "Jeepers Paradise". Endless miles of trails, from dirt roads to the most extreme, Moab offers endless possibilities for the Jeeper, hiker, mountain biker, everyone. Since 2015 I have returned to Moab in 2017 & 2019. In 2018, I traded in my 2013 JKU Sport for a 2018 JKU Rubicon Recon. I did this drastic move, because I was at the point in my build where I needed to upgrade my axels. I made the very difficult decision and striped as much as I could from my 2013 Jeep to move to the new jeep, as they were both the same style of jeeps; JKU's. I spent the spring and summer of 2018 to build my jeep. I once again installed an AEV 3.5" lift, 35" BFGoodrich KO2's and AEV front and rear bumpers. With this build I wanted to move from the "Rock Crawler" to an Overland build. I can still do all the difficult trail of Moab, Rubicon Trail, but also the fire roads and cover many miles full of camping and off road gear. With Overlanding in mind, I have build a cargo platform for my ARB 50q Fridge, and specific loading of the camping gear. Where is the Future? Buying an Earth Roamer and exploring as much of the country as possible? Thats a goal, but I hope in the coming years to get a roof rack, roof top tent, and then doing more Expeditions though Appalachian, Rocky Mountains, desert of New Mexico and Arizona, and the National Parks west of the Rocky Mountains.

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