Journey to Moab 2013

CHAPTER 1:

Ask any Jeep owner what the one place they hope to visit one day, with their Jeep of course, and most of the time, the answer to that will be Moab.  The more you know about Jeeps the more you will understand why most Jeep owners consider Moab the promised land.  Every year my friends and I take one car trip for a little R&R to get away from the daily grind, and that trip is usually a trip to the Dragon with our sports cars.  For those of you not familiar with the dragon, you can check out this youtube video.

This year, due to scheduling conflicts, we were unable to make it to the dragon in time (once May hits, it gets too busy to have real fun on the Dragon) so I decided to do a different kind of car trip, I figured I’d take my Jeep to do some real offroading and adventuring, since there is nothing within a 500 mile radius of the tristate area for any decent offroad exploration…a few boring fire-roads, but other than that, nothing of note.  Only one friend was able to go.  He has a Jeep as well, but we decided since it’s only us two, it would be more fun (and cheaper…gas was quite an expense) to just take my rig.  We packed up the Jeep, and headed west.  The route was from NJ to Moab through I70.

We left at night, to minimize any NYC area traffic. It was nice to have 70+ speedlimit most of the way.

By morning, we made it to Ohio…which was pretty darn hilly, killing my miles per gallon, which on a trip like this, starts to add up.

We got hungry, but didn’t feel like wasting time looking for a decent meal since we were trying to make good time, so we just hopped into the closest rest area food joint, which happened to be a Mcdonalds. Now normally I wouldn’t bother with this detail, but they had something I had never seen (you guys might have, but it was new to me….)

It was a touchscreen, and every “major” flavor ie coke, diet coke, sprite, etc, had a submenu with a heap of other flavors. I have never seen anything like it. I also noticed that the machine was very pretty looking and well styled…which seemed “odd,” until I looked down….

Didn’t know these guys were designing appliances.

After Ohio, it was a whole lot of nothing…driving, driving and more driving. Passed through Indianapolis, which from the highway, looked like a cool city to check out…but we had no time, so we kept on truckin’. Illinois and Missouri were mostly farmland (along the highway) but had many religious roadside attractions (this is apparently the world’s largest cross)

Finally, we got to Kansas, which is a lot hillier than most of us believe…my MPG took a beating again.

 

Once we passed the Topeka signs and neared the western side of Kansas, the terrain flattened out, and we made good progress. Speed limits were 75mph which on hilly terrain, my rig struggles to hit with the current gear setup/tires. I will pay the price for my axle ratio gears (stock, 3.21s) in Colorado….

We have now been driving for over 24 hours, and we are both getting pretty tired, but decided to crack on. We were taking gas tank shifts, which on the Jeep, was about 300 or so miles (depending on terrain) and about 4 hours…so one drives, the other sleeps.

It was now getting dark, and it was my turn to drive. The flat drive in the dark (being basically the only vehicle on the road with the exception of a truck here and there) began to be tiresome and boooooooring with a capital B. Finally, after a few hours, we crossed into Colorado…..which was flat as hell….my excitement dropped quickly….I thought about the scene from Dumb & Dumber “I expected the rocky mountains to be a lot rockier than this….”  and if you have no idea which scene I’m referring to, I implore you to watch this…

 

I pulled into a gas station to refuel, guzzled down a 5 hour energy extra strength, and decided to do one more tank letting my friend keep on sleeping. So I trucked on….and then I made it to the rockies…..

While I was struck by the beauty, you guys have no idea what it’s like to drive an undergeared vehicle up slopes like this. 2nd was revving nearly at 5000 rpm and the temps started to climb (although not overheating) and 3rd was too low to sustain forward momentum. I was forced to sit in the right lane doing 35 (speedlimit was 65-70) with my hazards on. I gained some relief seeing trucks doing the same thing. After a serious climb, it started going downhill, which was a MASSIVE relief. However, the drive up the rockies took it out of me, and I couldn’t go on any longer. We needed to rest up, so we decided to play it smart and sleep for a day. I had a friend that lived just outside of Vail, and since it was on our way, we booked a hotel right next to the highway (Holiday Inn in Vail next to I70) and at 6am, checked in and went to sleep.

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