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#RenegadeCJ meets the Wild West

Trail Day 1:
Harvard's Trail Rating: 7/10
Harvard's View Rating: 9/10

First Trail was Holy Cross City Jeep Trail in Minturn, CO. 3.8 miles up and 3.8 miles down. +2,350' in elevation with a final elevation of 11,652'.

The CJ build had ~100 total miles on it at this point and about 5 actual trail miles at Gulches ORV.

Colorado wheeling is a different animal than headed 20 minutes up the road to Gulches....

We got to the trail head around 10AM after stopping in the town of Minturn for some trail snacks. Very limited choices in town. From the trailer parking area it's about an 8 mile ride to the trail head Got stopped for a downed tree cleanup for 10-15 minutes on the way up. Jeff joined us on this trail and the first 1.5 miles it was smooth sailing. We had a group of buggys right behind us at the start and kept good ground up until "The Knotch". There were a few ledges before the first "obstacle" and Jeff ended up bending his tie-rod either on the knotch or one of the previous ones. I had already crested the obstacle and parked waiting for him, still seeing orange in the rear view....when I get parked an orange Ultra4 buggy comes past... "Hey man what happened to the Rubicon that was behind me"? Oh, he pulled over to let us pass....cool.

15 minutes later, No Jeff. We didn't realize it at the time but he had went to the exit to head to town and get a new TRE. No cell service, no radios, shit!

So, we rock on by ourselves. Me, the wife, and The Todd.

We ease up Steep Rock and catch the buggy crew at French Creek Crossing. Watched them make it look really difficult for about 10 minutes, then crawl up the creek and follow them to the next set of obstacles. I chose the right side of "Old Tippy Tree" to get the full effect going up. Pretty cool off camber spot with nothing but air and opportunity for a bad day below you. CJ made short work of it.

We reached Holy Cross City at lunch time and explored the area a bit. This SC guy was not ready for hiking in that altitude. HOLY OUT OF BREATH! We had a sandwich, expored, cracked a celebratory mountain candy can and headed back down the mountain.

After the Tippy Tree decent my confidence in the CJ was there. Finally. Brakes held the ledge and it was working flawlessly.

We eased down the rest of the trail, cruised back to the trailer and took off towards Moab, UT.

Overall trail review. It's a very bumpy, fairly steep, 4 mile trail ride. There are 5 good obstacles up and down and are staggered out good enough to keep it interesting. Exploring and the view up top are worth the time.

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Shortly after finishing lunch at Holy Cross City we here a buzzing noise that sounds like a moped and a lot of laughing and screaming. Seemed to be heading our way....what the hell??

Sure enough here come two dudes on Honda 90 and 110 vintage trail bikes that are part of the Colorado Ghost Town Club or something of that nature. Very nice guy and extremely knowledgeable of the area. They had pictures of what the area was and the entire history. They educated us on the town. It was built in the 1800's. Was an active mining city for only 4 years before they abandoned the city. Pretty cool history lesson and very interesting to see these trail bikes making that climb.

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Trail Day 2:
Top of the World-Moab, UT
Harvard's trail rating-2/10
View rating-10/10

We decided to load up for the trailer for the trip to Top of the World because Todd was riding the RZR and it doesn't have a tag. Also, the 1 hour drive from the house didn't hurt that decision.

100+*F was the forecast this day... I believe it was hotter than 100...

We started the trail around 11AM. I got a little excited on the dirt roads on the way to the actual trail and the CJ temp started to spike. Cool, no problem we will wait on the guys behind us and let it cool down. We were leading the way as I had the trail book that showed the directions. Very important in Moab...

We make it about a mile in and the CJ is wanting to run hot. It gets to 220* and I pulled off and cracked the hood. Cooled right down and we continue. This became a trend fairly quickly. The slow sluggish climb up to the top and the high temps were not good to the CJ. We got to the fork in the trail and the fuel pump failed....this was something that was suspect before we left. I had the spare in the tool bag. Unfortunately I didn't make sure the fittings were all the same....had to cut the lines and splice it in order to get it to work. Up the trail we go. We ended up stopping about 5-6 times to let the Jeep cool off overall.

Mid Carolina crew passed us while we were doing the fuel pump and we caught up with them at the top. Can't wait to see Tripp's pictures of the CJ. We took our turn to get the best photo op I could imagine. View is absolutely stunning...

We spent about an hour up top and headed down. Shannon and I set off first and kept a really slow pace coming down but got ahead of the group. I was a bit worried about the Jeep running hot so we ended up about 10 minutes ahead of Jimbo, Jeff, and Todd. We stopped at the fork and waited on them. Got some cool pictures of the Lexus getting rowdy coming up the ledge at the fork and dropping down the ledges coming from the top. Once they caught up we took it real slow the rest of the way so we could stay together. Jeep did fine coming down the mountain on temperature.

This trail ended up being an all day ordeal. Probably 7 hours in total. Spent a good bit of time up top taking pictures and chatting with the Mid Carolina group. The ladies were whipped from the beating the trail gave us so we grabbed food on the way in and called it a day.

Trail review: It sucks. But, it's a must see in the same sense. View and picture opportunity at the top are an absolute must do. If I ran the trail again i'd go left at the fork and hit the ledges coming up that way and also run it down that way. Left side was much more fun.

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Trail Day 3:
Poison Spider Mesa
Harvard's Trail Rating 8/10
View Rating 6/10

In an effort to dodge the crowds that were in town for Labor Day we chose Poison Spider for day 2 of Moab. My initial plans were to hit this with some others later but the crowds pushed us to change plans a bit. This ended up being a good call.

I woke up around 6:30 and trimmed the inner fenders on the CJ and started wrapping the headers to keep the engine temps down after the Top of the World cooling debacle. Our neighbors came out drinking their coffee and thanked me for the 6:30 AM wake up call via side grinder. I told them there was no extra charge and they were welcome. I felt like I may have gotten a few birds but it was still dark and I was slinging sparks with my sunglasses on to protect my 20/20 vision.

We got to the trail around 11AM. Right out of the bag there is a good ledge with a few options. I chose the hard line to the right because I had on my Hard Line Crawlers shirt (RIP John G). This trend continued for the day. Every 1/2 mile or so of trail there was a good ledge or steep incline to hit. There was also a bypass for 80% of the "hard" stuff. The main trail was fairly smooth and you could keep a good pace. We topped the view point at around 1:30 and spent some time at "little arch". Some of the dare devils in the group chose to go out on top of the arch. Gave the girls (and Dale) a little heart arrhythmia. I really wanted to continue on to Golden Spike but the wife wanted to get some time in town and we had been on a pretty hard roll the past 4 days so we went on down and called it a fairly early day. We took the Jeep to town and went by Moab Brewery for some drinks. Had dinner at the pizza place which was pretty meh (this is a trend on eating in Moab)

Overall, I think Poison Spider was my favorite trail in Moab. It has something for everyone and with the group we had that really made it a fun trail. Jim had a line he could do and be challenged and we did too. Some of the steep ledges such as the waterfall and one on the way out were a ball of fun. Todd stood the RZR up on one coming out (this is also a trend).

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Poison Spyder was my favorite also. You didn't miss much by skipping Golden Spike and Gold Bar Rim. I think the only reason to run those trails is to do the crack. We did the "Trifecta" in 8 hours, books say 8-10, it could be done in 6.

It was raining on and off when we did it Wednesday, so we weren't out of the Jeeps much. I missed that arch.


I was more wanting to do Rusty Nail. When I go back Golden Spike, Rusty Nail, and Moab Rim will be top priority. I’d also run Pritchett again. It was bad ass.
Yeah, I'd probably go in from Gold Bar Rim, do Rusty Nail, cross the crack then turn around and go back. The first mile of Moab Rim up to the overlook was definitely a good time.
Trail Day 4:
Hells Revenge Moab, UT.
Harvard's Trail Rating: 6/10
View Rating: 5/10

We had stayed out of the "main attractions" early in the week to avoid the crowds. Hells Revenge is possibly the most iconic trail in Moab if you ask a 4 Wheel Drive enthusiast. We had been watching the weather forecast and the initial forecast was for highs in the 60's this day. Awesome! A break from the heat. "Not so fast" in my Lee Corso voice..... The desert is a finicky little SOB. The high ended up being in the 40's and it snowed on us at some of the higher elevations. Rained on and off most of the day after lunch...

I think we started the trail around 11AM. We waited on the rain to clear out of the area that morning. We were leading the group and having fun on the up and down climbs that Hells Revenge provides. I realized quickly the over hood view in the CJ is going to need some work. I couldn't see squat on some of those climbs when we would crest the hill. We make it to Hell's Gate around 12:45. I had no idea where the entrance was as I was just driving. Jimbo and those stop and walk to Hell's Gate. Guess they were planning on me hitting it first. I pull up to the entrance and had to get out to assess the drop in. I could't see it well and it looked pretty steep. Ease down and ease right up the trail. Had my nerves a little because we were the first to do it, i'd never seen it, and i'd watched all the videos of people losing their mind on it. Turns out it's just a cool climb. Nothing crazy in a built Jeep. We make quick work of it and let the others know the worst part is dropping in. Jimbo is next. The Lexus did amazing down and up. He toted the rear about 4' when he dropped in and I am pretty sure his ass hole sucked a hole in the seat. Jeff and Todd also made it look fairly easy.

We left Hells Gate and went to the hot tubs. It had rained, they were wet, and it was beginning to rain again. I had to see them though. We dropped in Mickey's and one shotted it. Todd decided my rzr 900 could do it. WRONG. Winched up out and continued on. At this point we were cold. Wife was not feeling it anymore but I wanted to see Devils hot tub and escalator. We pulled up to Devils hot tub and there was a crowd wanting us to hit it. It was raining and the wife said lets just keep riding... We made it to the escalator and there was a rzr 1000 flipped over in it. They got it out and fished out their parts. It started pouring rain....We pulled up to it and made it to the bad spot. My tire slipped the side a touch and I pulled the driver front several feet in the air. Eased out of that and re-positioned. Once the tire was in the right place it wasn't bad.

We cut it short after Escalator and went back to the house to warm up and get food.

Overall it is a cool trail. I would go back. I would like to at least drop into Devil's hot tub and give it a go on a dry day. It was definitely not my favorite trail though. I thought the main trail was mediocre at best. It took a long time to get to anything fun. Hells Gate, Escalator, and Hot Tubs were bad ass obstacles though.

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