Tom Rios gets a little air on Dump Bump
next destination was Dump Bump, which is another obstacle just up the road from
Potato Salad Hill. When I arrived at the obstacle I saw Collin Ignacio attempt
to climb the steep slick rock wall. He couldn’t get his rear tires up onto the
wall and kept digging his receiver hitch into the ground when he tried to back
up. After a few tries he gave up and Tom Rios took over with his Navajo. Tom’s
cousin Ralph was spotting and Tom seemed to be doing well, but every time he
made it to a certain spot his right front tire came off the rock face and he
started to tilt way off camber. After a few tries Tom gave up as well. I was
next in line for this obstacle. Following Ralph’s direction I lined up at a
slight angle to the rock face. I let the clutch out and slowly climbed up and
over the obstacle barely squealing a tire in the process. This was my turn to be
the only Explorer to conquer an obstacle!
Gerald Jarrett descends Lions back
day was nearly over and dinner was only a short time away, but a couple people
in our group decided that they wanted to tackle the infamous Lions Back. I knew
of a great location to film the event so I drove up to a high vantage point with
Charlotte and Collin's friend, Winter. It wasn’t long after we arrived at our
vantage point when we saw Collin coming up the immensely steep, long, and narrow
Lions Back. His ascent seemed to take forever as he pointed his Explorer skyward
and followed the dark black lines which had been etched by tires into the side
of the sandstone mountain over time. Collin made it to the top and we saw him
turn around, we all breathed a sigh of relief.
Collin finished his decent of Lions Back it was Gerald’s turn for a climb. By the
time Gerald drove up it started drizzling steadily. I won’t even drive up
Lions Back; I certainly couldn’t imagine doing it while it was raining. Gerald
made it to the top without a hitch. Soon after reaching the top, he disappeared
from view. He had traveled much farther along the top than Collin had. We were
getting a bit worried about Gerald when finally we could see him turned around
and heading towards us. For the trip down Gerald decided to open his sunroof! We
couldn’t see it from our vantage point, but when Gerald was nearly to the
bottom he popped his head out of the sunroof and gave a thumbs up! Sunday had
definitely been filled with excitement, but now it was time to call it quits and
meet for dinner.
Lions back most of us went back to our rooms to freshen up for dinner. It was
about 6:30 when I drove to the Silver Sage Inn to check on the folks who ran
Arches National Monument. When I arrived I saw Ray Hutchinson and Darien working
on the rear axle of Ray’s Explorer. The center pin on Ray’s axle had broke
allowing the axle housing to shift rearward. They were in the process of
replacing the pin and decided not to stop for dinner.
rest of the group, about 20 of us had dinner at the Branding Iron Steakhouse,
which is about 3 miles south of Moab. To me it was sort of a sad time, realizing
that most of the great folks I had met would be heading back home the next
morning. The weekend had gone by much too quickly. I wish we could have started
over and done it again!
I woke up Monday morning to the sound of a strong wind
blowing outside. I looked out the hotel window and I was astonished to see that
it was raining quite hard and steady. This weather was in stark contrast to the
beautiful weather which we had enjoyed all weekend.
Those who were still in town met at the City Market. A few
said their good byes and headed back home while the rest of us came up with a
plan of action for our last day. Tom Rios decided to take the Shafer Trail on
his way out of town. The 16 mile trail was rated as easy, but we thought it
might be more challenging due to the rainfall.
Gerald decided to show Rob Top of the World on their way
out of town. This would be Gerald's third trip to Top of the World and Rob's
I decided to ride along with Tom's group which consisted of
Tom Wilk, Todd Curtis, Peter Weber and myself. By the time we hit the trail it
was nearly dry except for a few puddles filled with red mud. The trail was
extremely easy, yet it was one of the most scenic drives I had taken all
weekend. The road gained altitude quickly in the switch backs and the views from
the road were spectacular.
Tom Wilk's '99 Explorer Sport
We ate lunch at the top of the switch backs from a
vantage point where we were able to look at the road that we had just driven up.
We could see bicyclists on the trail. The bicyclists were barely larger than the
dot made by the point of a pencil. This perspective really gave you an idea of
just how high we had climbed.
The Shafer Trail group
Todd Curtis, Tom Rios, Tom Wilk, Rick Horwitz, Peter Weber
After lunch it was a short drive out of the National Park.
We all pulled over, aired up our tires and said our final good byes.
sure Moab will become a regular destination for our group of Explorers. To me
Moab is a spiritual destination, displaying the most awesome gifts that nature
has to offer. With 29 trails it will be a long time before I see them all.
It’s just another reason to keep returning to this off-road wonderland.
My sincere thanks go out to:
Ford Motor Company
Kurtz Kustom Motor Sports
FLY-N-HI Offroad Centers
For making this an awesome event for everyone!
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