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On the Road – UTV Rally – Moab, UT

By Charlene Bower
I am off and headed to the UTV Rally in Moab, UT. My Mom is my traveling partner out there. Mike (a new SXS team member) and my Dad are flying in on Wednesday night to join us in Moab.

These are our adventures…

For full event photo coverage Click Here

Day One – Monday – June 4, 2007

10:30 – Not the earliest departure time, but earlier than I thought we would hit the road. Getting ready for a trip and loading is not always the easiest, especially when we have so many vehicles going in so many different directions at SXS. With Nick, our publisher, out running the Baja 500 over the weekend, we lost a Rhino. Yep, lost it. No one in the office knew where the 2nd rhino was that was supposed to go into the trailer for the Moab trip. After some tracking it down…we found it… in Mexico! The Baja 500 turned out to be a disappointing run for the team that Nick co-pilots. I am sure I will get more details later in the week to report on…

With the Rhino located and the trucks swapped around, but not everything loaded and hooked up, the early Monday morning departure wasn’t going to work. After picking up my Mom and loading the 2nd Rhino, we headed toward the I-15 at around 10:30 a.m. Not a bad start.

After a quick stop at Del Taco in Barstow for the best tacos ever, we headed past the thermometer in Baker that read 101! Not a weekend to hit Dumont! Next stop was Vegas for fuel and I decided that we had better take advantage of the truck wash right across the way to polish up the ol’ truck and Sand Addiction trailer for the event.

Now, I have been to truck washes before to get my truck and trailer washed. You pull in and about 10 guys just go after your rig with brushes and high-pressure guns. But this was a tunnel the length of four big rigs that was full of high-pressure sprayers. You know, like the car wash that you get behind the gas stations – but a LOT longer! After having to stand on the door ledge to talk to the girl at the window, she told us to turn the radio to a certain channel so we could hear what direction to go, because you can’t see when you are in there and going straight isn’t always easy when you can’t see. Yea, let me second that thought. You couldn’t see didily and then she comes on and tells me to drift to the left… How are you supposed to do that? There were maybe only 2 or 3 inches of room between the trailer tires and the guide rails. So I “drifted” to the left and then the tire was against the rail…so how did that help? Now I am supposed to drift to the right… I had to start laughing; it was a loud and wild ride through this tunnel, the whole time hoping that the Sand Addiction graphics weren’t getting blown off the side! Once out of the tunnel, the guys did a great job finishing up and got us back out on the road all clean and pretty!

At around 104 degrees the entire way, thank goodness it was an easy trip. My mom sat in the passenger seat working on sending out renewal cards…another one of the magazine monthly deadlines that has to happen! Why not volunteer Mom to do it on the long drive! She was happy for something to do! So you had better renew when you get that card in the mail!

We continued on the I-15 through Nevada and then dropped into Arizona. We got our first look at the rock formations as we went through the Virgin River Gorge. There were the classic signs saying “Watch for Rocks” ~ I always find that sign funny when I see it in canyons like this! After the gorge, we crossed the line into Utah. Hanging a right at St. George, we headed to our night’s destination of Hurricane, UT. Making it into town around 6:30 ~ not a bad eight-hour day!

Hurricane sits at the mouth of Zion National Park. A cute little city that has the main drag as the highway, but as we neared the end of the town we finally found Main St. I love finding Main Street in little towns like this. They always have some history to them. We actually found the town’s museum and, since there was room to pull over and check it out, we stopped to look around. Turns out that Hurricane was founded in 1906 by 11 families that migrated here from New York. Like many other little towns in the area, it probably wouldn’t still be here if it hadn’t been for the Hurricane Canal. This canal is 12 miles long and took 12 years to build, but brought water from the Virgin River Gorge to the area for it to prosper. There were a lot of old wagons and work tools in the garden area, but the actual museum was closed. My Mom pointed out the small house on the corner that was actually the first ever house built in Hurricane. It looks like it is now a museum and might be a hotel, too.

We were stopping in Hurricane so we could spend some quality time with the guys from Cub Cadet. We featured their units in our last issue of SXS and this was a perfect opportunity to meet all of them and explore a new area at the same time. Mom and I were going to stay in the trailer, but being that at 8 p.m. it still hadn’t cooled down to under 95 degrees, we decided to go to the hotel that the Cub Cadet guys were staying at and find an air-conditioned room. Then we were off to dinner with them at the local sports bar. Great food! Great atmosphere! Great conversation! We talked a lot about the SXS market and the Cub Cadet plan of attack. Great group of guys!

The bad news was at dinner I realized that we instantly lost an hour. It immediately went from 8:15 to 9:15 ~ phew! And then I asked for the plan for tomorrow…6 a.m. breakfast! Ok, CA time puts that at 5 a.m… yea, I can hardly wait to see how tomorrow goes! It should be great though…..

Day 2 – Tuesday – June 5, 2007

12:08 a.m.: Just now sitting down to write about the day! And what a day! Waking up at 5:30 (4:30 CA Time) didn’t necessarily start the day out right either. The hotel bed was by far not the most comfortable, but the AC and the awesome shower made up for that as I passed out anyways. The alarm this morning came way too soon…but up and at it. We loaded our stuff back up in the trailer and grabbed some Frosted Mini Wheats before heading to the meeting spot. I have been trying to get my emails since we left but have been unsuccessful with our new wireless card… So in the parking lot of our meeting spot I was able to pick up a wireless connection and Wabam! I thought I was in. Not so lucky; I was online but my email still wouldn’t send or pick up! Grrrr! And not something that I really wanted difficulties with at 6:30 in the morning!

The Cub Cadet guys were loaded and ready to go so we followed them towards the riding area. My only expressed concern was to not lead me to a dead end trail where I couldn’t turn the trailer around. “No problem,” was their response. And it wasn’t. We went down about five miles of a dirt, washboard road called Turf Sod Rd. that I slowly managed to get down, trying not to kick up too much dust on our freshly washed truck and trailer. At the end we came to a huge staging area where they off-loaded all of their Cub Cadets and I off-loaded our camo Rhino. We gave it some gas and off we went into a river bed trail system. We ended up pretty much just playing around. The Cub Cadet guys were working on marketing photos and videos so that all of you can see what an impressive vehicle they have. They tried all kinds of crazy things with their units. We found some awesome trails, some great red sand, some cool purple hills, and lots of rocks.

This was my mom’s first time riding in and driving a Rhino, so I kept it cool. I wanted to make sure that she would continue to get into it over the week long event in Moab. She did great! A true Jeeper at heart, she took it all in and even drove it to keep up with me taking some pictures.

The Cub Cadet guys were great, all of them with smiles on their faces. Aaron, Dave, Ken, Wendy, and Rory kept us busy as we explored the area. Wendy took time to tell us about the local area and how her grandfather had helped found Hurricane, and Rory’s great-grandfather had helped found Toquerville. A lot of great history.

As noon approached, we started getting hungry and we realized that we had been up for way too long. But in Cub Cadet time (Ohio) they got up at 7:30, so who should be complaining here?!?!? They had to pick up another team member and decided to grab some pizza while in town and bring it back out. Not too long before that decision was made, the wind started to pick up and soon the dirt was flying by itself. Gusts up to who knows how hard started to hit us which took the 100 degree temps down to unnoticeable. It wasn’t pretty and it certainly wasn’t fun! I turned the trailer into the wind and we had a nice pizza dinner in the back of the trailer. At that point, I have to admit, I was done. My skin color was a nice shade of red and my hair was stringy and full of dirt. It was time for a shower! We loaded up our Rhino, said our Thank You’s and headed back toward town. The wind was so bad leaving that, at times, you couldn’t even see the road… our clean white truck and trailer was now a nice shade of red, thanks to this great wind. No wonder they call it Hurricane!

We took quick cold showers in the trailer and then loaded up in the truck and started northeast to Moab. We left around 4 and we had a five-and-a-half-hour drive per our GPS. We figured with fuel and a dinner stop that we would make it by 10:30… not bad… we rolled into Arch View RV Park at 10:15. Again, the trip was pretty uneventful. Some cooler weather (mid 90’s) most of the way allowed us to cruise without the overheating possibilities of the day before.

Once at Arch View, we checked in with Chris, the ring leader of the UTV Rally, and got our vendor area situated. I went into the main RV area to dump off all of the water that we had already used, and re-fill with water for the week. We are dry camping in the vendor area for the week. Which should be great once I figure out why the generator is not charging and the frig won’t roll over to gas. No big deal though, just another part of being a trailer owner, right! Always chasing something! I dropped the back gate, unloaded our two Rhinos, and got the beds situated for the night. Mom and I are ending the long day with a smile ~ there shouldn’t be any issues with sleeping tonight!

Tomorrow we are looking forward to a day of cleaning the trailer, figuring out its quirks, going to town for some food and supplies, and then vendor row opens by 1p.m.! There are lots of great companies that I already see here. It will be good time seeing everyone… This is a great industry with great people in it…everyone always has a smile on their face, because they love what they do, as I do! Yet another great day on the job…

Day 3 – Wednesday – June 6, 2007

Wind – Holy cow the wind blew all night long! I thought at one point the trailer was going to tip over it was blowing so hard…but no, that can’t happen because we are still attached to the truck…(Really logical, right….! But it allowed me to roll over and go back to sleep…). The alarms were set for 7:30 a.m. and that came way too quickly. After being woken by the wind at least a dozen or so times, sleep really hadn’t been handled.

We got up and I threw on some jeans and a hooded sweatshirt and headed outside to fight the wind and figure out our trailer problems in the light of day. The propane was easy…just needed to switch the tanks, and the power was easy too…just needed to plug the cord back into the trailer. Simple fixes. After unhooking the 5th wheel, I was ready to head back inside!

We decided to head into town before we got all dirty cleaning the trailer. Moab is a great little town! This is my 3rd time to Moab and I enjoy seeing the changes and remembering good times at the different places where I have been. We got Mom checked into her hotel and then we headed to the grocery store to get food for the week. The wind was definitely blowing in a cold front which chilled us both. The black clouds were coming. Mom realized that she had only brought one jacket, so we had to start shopping! We hit her favorite shop in town – and then we had to go into the shop next door! As we drove back out of town around 10, it started to rain. A nice rain wouldn’t hurt because it would cut the dust down on the trails, but again I had to laugh about getting the truck and trailer washed in Vegas!

We got the trailer all set up and Mom practically detailed the whole thing. Gotta love Mom’s!! We needed to put up our Side X Side Banners around the event, so I loaded Mom up in the Rhino and we tried to put up huge banners in the violent wind…you haven’t experienced anything until you have tried to do this! Zip ties didn’t work in this environment like they usually do, so we went to plan B – rope and screws with washers. Our two main banners are up, and we will play with the other ones tomorrow.

I tried to get some “real” work done, but couldn’t get any internet connections…grrrr… I tried three different ways and still couldn’t get on, so I made a call to get a weather update… 60 something degrees with 37-48mph gusts of wind! Yea, no kidding. And right about then the real storm hit! The rain poured down. The wind was blowing so hard that the rain was hitting the glass on the side of the trailer. We were just glad to be able to be inside the trailer and not out on a trail!

The afternoon went by fast by taking a little cat nap that turned into a much needed rest. Then I was up and about, and off to see all of the people that had started to arrive this afternoon. The registration area was hopping with all kinds of people, most of whom I had only talked to on the phone and had never had the opportunity to meet in person. Jon Crowley (one of our contributing editors) and I headed into the registration area to sign up for the ride tomorrow. He decided to go on the easy ride out to the sand dunes and I signed Mike, Mom, and Dad up for the intermediate ride called the 7 Mile Loop. While in there I got to meet the Bikeman Performance guys. Not soon after, the Cub Cadet gang that we hung out with yesterday rolled in and I was introduced to Steve and Dan from Seizmick. I saw Jagged X pull in, so I rolled up to them and introduced myself to Bill and his son. One of our new advertisers, Side X Side Xtras, has pulled their rig in behind mine, but I haven’t been able to meet Kevin and Pam yet. The group is certainly taking shape.

As the sun was setting, I loaded Mom back into the Rhino and off we went to get gas and dump the trash. We took a minute to watch a gorgeous sunset above the red rocks of Moab. We then loaded her bags into the truck and took her to the hotel room. I grabbed a shower while my laptop downloaded 49 emails! Phew! So you know what I have been doing for the last couple of hours!

12:15am ~ Mike and Dad just called to say they are just leaving Salt Lake! Mike’s plane in from Denver was delayed over two hours! I let them know their plan for tomorrow ~ a 7:30 ride meeting and an 8:30 departure time. The Rhinos are full of gas, the spare parts bin is ready to go, and the cooler is packed….

Day 4 ~ Thursday ~ June 7, 2007

7:00 a.m. – The alarm went off way too early after being awakened at 3:45 when Mike and Dad banged their way into the trailer. Poor guys, they had fought snow, wind, and rain to get to Moab before daylight! I got up and snuck around the trailer trying not to wake up Mike and all was good until 7:15 when Mom barged into the trailer with a very loud “Good Morning!”

And the mood was set for the day. We finished getting everything ready to go for the ride just before the group gathered by the Legend tent at 8 for the group meeting. After a few rules and trail etiquette reminders, we split into the three groups – Beginner, Intermediate, and Hard. The trail leaders then talked to their group about the trail that they would be on and off everyone went to finish gearing up their SXS for the ride.

Mike, Mom, and Dad all got their final gear together and jumped in and headed out. It was mass chaos around the park as people tried to figure out what group was what and where everyone was meeting. I handed my camera off to Mom to take pictures on the trail and there they went.

I headed into town to get supplies to fix the battery issues that we were having with the trailer. Always something! And then spent the morning at my parent’s hotel room working on the internet ~ finally! Three full days without real email or internet can drive a person crazy! Around 2 p.m. I headed back to the park so I would be there as the ride groups arrived. On my way back, I got the call from Dad that they were headed back towards camp – perfect timing!

They all came back with some great big grins on their faces! What a great trail ride they had just been on. They went on the 7 Mile Loop that takes you up on the west side of the highway way up on a ridge that gives you awesome views of the entire valley. They met a lot of great people on the trail, mostly people that had never been to Moab before. Mike admitted to running out of talent and laying his Rhino on the side when trying to mix it up with Brandon from Jagged X. He landed in the mud, so no scratches to report!

I set up the vendor booth at the trailer, while Dad and Mike started to work on the “battery not charging” situation. The vendor area was slow compared to most of the consumer events that we do, but this gave us time to talk to everyone individually and hear about their day. There are people here from everywhere…Oregon, Arizona, California, Alabama, Iowa, New York, Wyoming, Nevada, Ohio, Washington, and of course, Utah. Some industry leaders are here, too, including Yamaha, Warn, Everything Offroad, Legend, Seizmik, Bikeman Performance, Wally’s World, Jagged X, PRP Seats, Side X Side Xtras, Bullet-Proof Performance, KMS, Cart Wheelin’ Magazine, Toy Hauler Magazine, OMF, Rock Hard ATV, Rhino World, Cub Cadet, Dune, and some more I am too tired to remember right now. Everyone stopped by to say “Hi” and hang out. It was a great afternoon. And we got the battery issue handled – with a quick call to Weekend Warrior tech support, they walked us right to the problem and Whabam, it was fixed.

Just as dinner was getting ready and our stomachs were growling, Chris pulled everyone together for a raffle. He brought out a ton of stuff to give away, and it seemed like it went on forever. There were a lot of great prizes given out, compliments of the event sponsors. After about an hour, we headed back to the trailer for some yummy chicken and potatoes. Our stomachs were happy to see food and our feet were glad to see chairs!

We reminisced with Jon Crowley the day’s adventures. Jon took the easy route to the White Sand Dunes, a long 75-mile loop. We developed a strategy to get ready for the day tomorrow and what rides we were going to take, but we couldn’t decide, so we will make that decision in the morning. After dinner we gassed up the Rhinos that took about 2 ½ gallons of gas each and locked everything down for the night. Another great day!

Day 5 ~ Friday ~ June 8, 2007

So after I shut down my computer last night, I went to put my bed down in the back of the trailer and the switch didn’t have any power. Really, the bed was not coming down. Mike had just gotten out of the shower and had already climbed in bed and didn’t really care that I couldn’t get into my bed…he was done! So I grabbed a box of magazines to stand on and pulled my bedding down and slept on the couch! Not a very comfortable couch by the way… So I was already awake when the alarm went off at 7a.m.! Mom was much quieter on her arrival this morning and we all worked at getting ready for the day.

We decided to do the Poker Run since that was where the majority of the people were going and we could get some good photo ops. But I am not really sure what happened, because we didn’t really run with a large group, or run into too many people out on the trail. But everything has a reason, because we were able to hook up with the Cliffhanger Jeep and SXS Rental guys and Roger & Roger from Long Beach, CA.

We started off on the trails with Mike driving the camo Rhino with Dad as a passenger and me driving the Limited Edition Rhino with Mom as a passenger. Well, with my need for pictures, I volunteered Mom to take them, but it wasn’t long before I had to fire her! At the first stop we had to switch around the riding situation. I let Dad drive Mom around and I hopped in with Mike. After a quick “I’ll kill you if you roll this on me” statement, we were off. I was much happier taking a ton of pictures of everyone that we passed by and of our group doing some great things. So, yes, I have a ton of pictures from the day, even sparking biters (a.k.a. barking spiders).

Our goal today was to try and get a cover shot. Not sure if we really did, but we came mighty close with some of them. We will try again tomorrow…you never know what might be the best shot. The best one that we have so far is from the bottom of Bull Canyon looking up at Gemini Bridges. What an awesome sight! We then backtracked and went to the top of Gemini Bridges and tried to take some pictures up there but were relatively unsuccessful at getting a quality shot looking down with all of the shadows.

The trail riding was great and seeing all of the people out there was a lot of fun. We were excited to see all of the smiles on everyone’s faces! We made it back to the trailer around 2:30. Another great day with our stock Rhinos with practically no issues. Dad was noticing some squeaky brakes on the silver Rhino, so he made a stop at the Yamaha rig on the way in. He spent some time there and then returned to the trailer with no Rhino…the Yamaha guys were adjusting the brakes for us! Scott and the gang that takes care of the Yamaha Support vehicle were a great help. I walked over later and they were completely tearing apart the rear end of someone else’s Rhino. Their motto for the customer service trailer is to go from event to event to make sure that Yamaha customers are taken care of in the fullest sense. Thank you Yamaha!

We set up our vendor space again in front of the trailer. I decided to head into town to visit with the SXS Rental places so I could give them some of our magazines and to get their information to pass onto you in case you would like to come out here and try a SXS on these great trails! In the meantime, I left Mike in charge of the booth and getting my bed down. Well, the bed didn’t get handled until around 10 tonight (but we finally got it down! Whew! I sure didn’t want to sleep on that couch again!)

The afternoon and evening were great visiting with more people. Bulletproof Performance, Legend, Wally World, Vic’s Lights, OMF, and lots more! Mike went over to the Radar Run where I guess they clocked a whole bunch of SXS’s running a straight away. The highest mark was 46 mph by a Jagged X RZR. Pretty impressive.

Immediately following that there was another raffle. The raffle went on forever….there were so many great prizes that had been donated! Chris was also very respectful to his sponsors by having all us of come up and introduce ourselves and the company that we represent.

As the sun set and the raffle ended, we headed over to KMS’s booth for a jetting lesson. He has some really good ideas on jetting and how to do it. I just finished a complete jetting article and it was a good reinforcement of what I had written. Look for this to come up in one of the next issues.

By then it was already 8 and time to eat! Mom had spaghetti and salad ready in the trailer so we all headed in, including Jon (, Bones (OMF), Wally (Rhino World), George (Rhino Linings of Hesperia), and Pete (Got Sand?). Put this group together and there is bound to be a good time! We laughed for hours…and then it was time for everyone to go so we could download all of the pictures from our cameras and get them ready for another exciting day on the trail tomorrow.

Day 6 ~ Saturday ~ June 9,2007

We opted out of the hard ride because we would have had to trailer to the start and we couldn’t wing that. So we decided to join the moderate ride that took us through the Metal Masher Trail.

We also had an opportunity to trade the Yamaha support crew our 660 Rhino for a 450 Rhino. They had told us yesterday that the 450 is really the way to go in the rocks, that it will climb and rock crawl better than a 660 due to the engine compression. The only difference would be on the straight aways where the top end speed would come into play. We took them up on the offer and traded our camo 660 in for a red 450. We reloaded the bed with our safety equipment and off we went.

Over 25 vehicles headed out for the ride. We jumped into the front behind the WARN lead vehicle and Seizmik so we could take pictures of everyone going by at some point. I took a ton of pictures throughout the day…over 700! I hung out the side of the Rhino and turned around to take pictures, trying to get all of the angles. When we were at a good obstacle, I got out and walked my way around to get the best shots.

The 450 was doing great on the trails that we had done so far. Nothing too technical though. Mike was driving and climbed all of the spots the hard way. Our first technical stop was for WARN to show off their winch system. But actually, I think it showed off the versatility and ability of a SXS more than it did the winch. The winch was attached, we decided later, for roll back purposes only. The WARN prowler walked right up the ledges. This is only a small example of the challenges out among the rocks of Moab, and was a great sight for new people to the area.

As soon as we left the rock climb, we got to the part that makes the trail moderate +: a multi-step area that went on for a good ½ mile or so. I jumped out of the Rhino to run up and take pictures. I got a lot of great shots of everyone going up at different points. The photos show some of the steepness. These were not easy ledges. Some of the new people to SXS’ing wanted to turn around at this point. But, everyone worked together and we saw the machine and the driver shine by the end. There was one spot where Steve from Seizmik would lend a tether to the front bumper to keep from rolling backwards if the driver wanted it. Only one Ranger went onto its back roll cage. Forrest, from Ferguson Fabrication, that was driving just hung out in the seat until she was pushed back up and all she had to say was “Dangit, I spilled my coffee!” Now that is awesome! And nothing was damaged.

All of the ledges were a little bit different. We did notice that the different units with different wheel bases were able to attack the obstacles with different ease ability. The Rangers and Cub Cadets with the longer wheel bases had no problems walking up just about anything. The Rhinos had to jump a little bit or pay a little more attention to the line. I led Mike up to the difficult sections of each ledge and the 450 crawled right up it…very impressive!

While I was taking pictures on the rock steps, I got hot with my helmet on and realized that I was going to be walking for a while, so I took it off and gave it to a family that had just come up so they could take it to the top of the trail for me. Well, when I finally got to the top, they weren’t there anymore. The front of the group had continued on without stopping at the viewpoint. So off went my helmet. I had to ride for a few miles without one until we reunited with the other half of our group. I will admit, I didn’t feel safe without my helmet on! A great safety tool to have while on the trail at all times!

At the look-out we took a lunch break and hung out for a little while celebrating the success of the people who had wanted to turn around and go back. This is one of the best outlook points in Moab. What you don’t realize is that a majority of it is undercut. To the weak of heart, that can be difficult to handle. We hung out with the WARN guys and they showed us all of the safety equipment that they travel with. And we compared what we had as we took some pictures of the safety equipment that was given to us for the trail… A medical kit from and a tire repair kit from Safety Seal. I hate to say it, but luckily we didn’t actually get to TEST either one of these products!

Once back on the trail, we were soon reunited and headed back toward camp. We all felt like horses, running back to the stables.

The tug-of-war that started around 4 p.m. was a great laughing opportunity. The different units lined up back to back with a tow strap between them. It started out legit, but then as time went on it became more and more fun. Guys were jumping into and on units to give them more weight so they could move around. Some looked like little yipping dogs being pulled around by big tanks. It was a great hour-long event!

Not long after that we all went down the road to the Bar-M Chuckwagon for dinner. Plain clothed and showered, people still came up and talked to us about the magazine and the great days that we had shared. The Bar-M is a live western show and cowboy supper. They started the entertainment with a fun skit in the middle of the road that got everyone laughing and then it was time to go inside and get seated. A cafeteria-style dinner that was amazing took care of our stomachs needs…and some even went back for seconds! The family then took the stage to sing some great country songs. If you make it to Moab, this should be something that you plan to do!

After the official entertainment, Chris dropped a white sheet to play a slide show of everyone’s pictures that he had downloaded onto his laptop, while he raffled off the last of the prizes including a complete air ride system from Legend and a full cage and back seat set up from Everything Offroad. Chris really pulled out all the guns with the raffle. Over the course of the week, he had a ton of great prizes to give away. Even my Dad scored with three items! Now I guess he will have to get a SXS! ;-) At the end of the night we all parted ways. It was like leaving summer camp where you had so much fun with everyone and had so many memories that you didn’t want to leave. But you know you have to. It was a sad moment walking up to the truck, but we knew that we would see a good majority of them again at the Black Hills rally.

We headed back to the trailer to start pulling things together for a departure in the morning… Our last night in the trailer and onto our own beds tomorrow night!

Day 7 ~ Sunday ~ June 10, 2007

I hit the snooze button a couple of times this morning. Finally at 7:20 I hopped out of bed to start the mess of loading. We loaded, chased trailer lights, dumped the tanks, filled the propane for the next trip, got diesel fuel and by 9:22 (UT time) we were going under the Arch View sign hitting Hwy 191. Goodbye Moab, until next time!

We made our first stop in Green River for fuses to get the trailer lights fully operational. Easy. Handled. With a minor cell phone getting lost scare, (We found it under the back seat…how did it get there?) we were back on the road. Next, stop for fuel and Arby’s lunch, yea! We decided to skip ahead to CA time at this point and it was already noon in CA! A clean windshield and off again…

We hopped onto the I-15 and started heading southwest. We were just getting ready to pass a couple of trucks and I could hear the flapping of a tire… I looked at the semi to see which one of his tires had blown out and couldn’t see one…just then I looked in the passenger mirror and saw some black fly out from the trailer tire. Great a flat! We pulled off to the side of the road and assessed the situation. It had just started to delaminate and hadn’t even lost any air yet; we had just caught it. No stress, until we opened the door to the trailer and realized that the tire had gone through the wheel well and thrown tire tread, wood, and carpet all over the inside of the trailer! We even had tire tread up on top of the stove and Rhino hood! We also couldn’t locate the window blind that had been sitting there after falling off earlier in the week…sorry for littering, we sure didn’t mean to!!! Mike and I almost pulled a NASCAR. Well, at least without knowing where anything was. He broke the lugs and got the spare tire down while I grabbed the owner’s manual to try and find where the jack was in our new Chevy. (Under the back seat in case you are ever looking!) The little jack was very unstable in the high winds and with trucks driving by, so we lowered the front jacks on the trailer to help give it some stability. 20 minutes later we were rolling again.

We decided that we needed to get a fresh spare tire, so we stopped in Cedar City which was only about 5 miles away. Now remember, we are traveling in Utah on a Sunday…nothing is open except for the Wal-Mart. No luck, only passenger car tires in that size. So onto St. George where we headed toward Wal-Mart again, but this time we called ahead and, sure enough, they had one! When we rolled up, the guys were waiting for us with tire in hand. They mounted it, put it back under the trailer, checked the pressure in all of the other tires, and we were off again within 20 minutes! Hats off to the Tire Guys at Wal-Mart in St. George!

Home here we come! Nothing else can go wrong now! We had already hit our three for the trip; we were home free! Not so lucky! We pulled into the Pilot in North Las Vegas to fill up and who pulled up behind us but Roger & Roger. They had left at 11:30, so as we had figured we lost about two hours due to the tire situation. We said our hellos and goodbyes and back onto I-15…towards Del Taco in Barstow…we were going to make it there just in time for dinner! Until I lost complete power to the truck and the check engine light came on. I had my foot on the floor to just go 40 mph on the freeway! We milked it to the next exit and pulled into the Flying J. Now what? We started by checking fuses and all were fine. So then we called Nick for some ideas and he asked if we had called OnStar…Nope, didn’t even know we had it… OnStar is great! They read our codes within 30 seconds…we had an air intake problem to the turbo. Mike got out and started hitting the air filter on the ground while I talked to the OnStar guy about getting towed to the nearest Chevy dealership. I demanded that I not leave my trailer so we were now a big rig tow. They approved the trailer tow, but on a Sunday night they couldn’t find a tow truck that could do it. In the meantime, Mike created a sand dune in the parking lot with the air filter! We put the filter back in, put the Chevy dealership into the GPS, and started to limp it that way.

We are sure that our subscriptions will double in North Las Vegas because we could only go 10-20 mph for the entire 6 miles to the dealership which took us almost an hour to get to…no seriously! We eyed the service department, found out they open at 7 a.m. and headed to the Boulder Station Hotel and Casino. We checked in and were excited that at least we could get a shower that had pressure to get all of the tire grime off of us! A shower and a prime rib dinner put us both into a trance… Neither one of us wanted to be there…we just wanted to be in our beds at home….

Day 8 ~ Monday ~ June 11, 2007

This day wasn’t supposed to be part of the trip, so neither one of us were particularly happy…. We made it to the dealership by 6:30 a.m. (Yea, that alone makes me grouchy!) But we were working off the positive theory that it was 7:30 in Utah! We dropped the trailer alongside their driveway and were the first ones in line for service. Sandra came out around 6:50 to start our RO. We told her the problems and let her know that we were on the road and needed to keep driving. We pointed out the trailer and let her deal with the other customers that had shown up in the mean time.

If you have ever worked in or around a service department, I know that you, too, have the ultimate respect for service writers and managers. If you haven’t, well you had better start. That is, by far, the worst job in the whole world! I was a step-in service manager once while we were looking for a replacement and I will never look at a service department the same. They are some of the hardest working people that get absolutely no thanks because the customer is ALWAYS upset…. They either have a broken vehicle or are doing upgrades and they need their vehicle back as soon as possible. And that doesn’t even include the pricing issues that go along with service….But off my soap box…just say Thank You to your service advisor the next time you take your vehicle to a dealership.

Back to the trailer we went to hang out for the day. I laid back down to take a nap and Mike worked on his computer until around 9 when we decided to check in on the truck and reinforce our efforts to leave the same day. Sandra was great in helping us push the truck through the process. We decided to do a full service while we were there also, which they were just completing. We got walking directions to the local food joint and had a great breakfast which took us to around 11a.m. We checked in again with Sandra and the fuel filter was just being changed and then it would be moved into the tech department that reads and deals with codes. She said that it wouldn’t be until after 1 p.m. that their tech could get back on it. We were frustrated, but went back to the trailer and turned on the generator and air conditioner. I worked while Mike took a nap. And at 2 we tried again. This time we were a lot closer. The truck code had been read and it was what we had thought, so we were a lot happier. The only problem was that they didn’t have a filter to replace the old one. So they blew out the old one, reset the code and sent us on our way. 3:07 we pulled out of the driveway of Fairway Chevrolet with 245 miles to get home and a stop at Del Taco in Barstow. I don’t think that we have ever been so happy to leave Vegas! Or see the I-15 for that matter!

We laughed and talked about making it to Del Taco, and we even knocked on the dashboard that we wouldn’t have anymore problems. Well, the knocking on dashboard doesn’t work too well…we didn’t even make it ½ mile on the freeway before it went back to zero power and the light came back on. We immediately called OnStar and they read the same code as they had the night before. So we limped back to Fairway Chevrolet as they called Sandra to let her know that we were on our way back and to have a tech on call. Our hopes were crushed. We decided that this was the last attempt and if it didn’t work we were climbing on a plane or into a rental car and heading home! We made it back to the dealership and, while Mike pulled the truck and trailer around back, I went in to talk to Donnie, the sales manager, about pulling a filter out of one of the stock units. This is not something that happens in a dealership, so he sent me into the parts department to talk to Louie. Louie rocks! He had been admiring the trailer all day, and was now helping us get the heck out of there. Well, yes, they didn’t have a stock replacement, but they did have a high-flow replacement filter which is better for us anyways! Success! I grabbed the filter and was off to the service department to find the truck and trailer to get it installed. They reset the codes again and put in the new filter… and we were off again at 4:20, this time with little excitement. We already had plan C in place: leaving the truck and trailer at the dealership and leaving it until the weekend so we could get onto our next event. We got on the freeway and crossed our fingers…. One exit, two exits, soon we were out of town and climbing the hill… I think we made it!

Del Taco here we come! Two hours to Barstow and we are good to go. Weary and ready to have this part of the trip over with, we pushed through Baker and passed the thermometer that was only in the 90’s and then it happened… about 20 miles outside of Barstow the engine went into complete shut down mode again. Foot on the floor we went 40 mph to the next exit that had absolutely nothing on it, except a boarded up truck stop that was probably very popular sometime in the 60’s. Unreal! This can’t be happening. I pushed for On-Star as Mike maneuvered us into a parking position. We decided that we were only about an hour and a half from home, so we were done… Tow the truck and we would have Nick come and pick us up with another truck that could pull the trailer. So that’s exactly what we did. We disconnected the truck and an hour later loaded it up onto a flat bed that hauled it off to the Barstow Chevy dealership. I have never felt so stranded in my life. Even at 10 mph the truck could at least get us somewhere, but don’t think we didn’t consider unloading the Rhinos to mob around the desert to pass the time. As the sun set behind the mountains, the crows started circling above us…just like in the scary movies! Thank goodness, just as it was turning to dark our savior Nick arrived with the F350. We hooked up and headed to Del Taco. You know, after the day, I will have to admit it just didn’t taste like I wanted it to. So frustrating! An hour later I was delivered to my front porch and welcomed my own shower and bed!

Day 9 ~ Tuesday ~ June 12, 2007

Now the fun begins. Up early and to the office to unload the trailer completely. We have to do a turn around in one day because we are leaving again tomorrow for another event for our other magazine, Sand Addiction. We pulled out the Rhinos and had them washed. I got everything out of the trailer and put away, and then I called it a day at the office and headed home to unpack, do laundry, re-pack, download pictures, and call customers! What a day in the life! What a week in the life! Now that the action part is over, we get to sort through the tons of pictures that we took and write some great articles for the magazine. We also get to get ready for Black Hills UTV Rally ~ We can’t wait! It should be another great event! Hope to see you out there!!

Special thanks to
Chris Rademacher – You Rock!
Cub Cadet for our Flags and Brackets and ultimate hospitality
Arch View Resort and RV Park
Bar-M Chuckwagon
Cliffhanger Jeep & SXS Rentals
First Aid & Survival
Safety Seal Tire Repair Kits
Fairway Chevrolet
All of the event sponsors that made it happen!
Everyone with a smile on their face, which made us smile too!


Cliffhanger Jeep & SXS Rentals 435-259-0889

Highpoint Hummer & ATV Tours 435-259-2972

Moab Tour Rental 435-259-4080

So we are back home now, somewhat rested, stories are written, photos have been gone through, the magazine with the official stories has gone to print…and now it is your turn to enjoy our story. This is a long journal, but fun to read…make sure you get to the last couple of days where Mike and I have our adventure packed 38 hour drive home (yes, it should only take around 12 hours!). There are a ton of photos to get through, but better for you to see them, than for them just to be sitting on our computers!
Hope you enjoy!
~ Charlene

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10 Comments For This Post

  1. cody Says:

    You guys are dorks! Great story!

  2. Chris Rademacher Says:

    Now, that’s a great story! I really appreciate you taking the time to do that Charlene! I think I’m going to read it again! :)

  3. Don Says:

    Well, at least I know why we didn’t have any problems…you had them all, along with my son in law! Good story!!!!

  4. Ben & Deanna Says:

    Sometimes it is great to be “Mom & Dad” We had it easy! Thanks to all for putting on a great event, and to the participants! The group was great on all the trails, respecting each others abilities and giving the helping hand when needed!Moab is a special place, one that should not be missed!

  5. Roger (The Dad) Says:

    You guys were a great group to be around.
    Mom and Dad couldn’t have been nicer people. Mike’s a character and loves to ride for sure.
    Then there’s Charlene. Would you quit giving me heart attacks by standing soo close to all those ledges!!! Geeze, I got dizzy watching you get so close taking pictures. Between you Charlene and my son Roger I thought someone was going to fall.

    Anyway, I hope you all come back to Moab next year because we will be there and we would like to see all of you again.

    Take care, Roger
    of Roger and Roger



  7. Dave Weber (cub engineer) Says:

    What a story! I am happy to hear you made it home safely. The cub cadet team had a great time in Hurricane and Moab. I changed the airfilters everyday on the UTV’s just to be safe. Cub’s don’t have onstar.

    ps I hope to see you again.


    Dave Weber
    Cub Cadet

  8. Garren Says:

    Great story guys…very enjoyable to read. Can’t wait for Vegas to Reno! The 180 degree turn has happend and no lifting is allowed. ;)

  9. Jerry Hadden Says:

    Great story! I hope to come to one of the rally’s in the future so I can share the fun.

  10. Victor Krause Says:

    Awsome adventure, and not one mention of wishing you have a 97 Red Ford. VK

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