By Wednesday morning, I had decided to take the day off and have the rear springs on Lady checked out. We had some pretty high pucker factor moments on Hell's Revenge. My right rear spring was sagging badly and it was allowing Lady to squat on the back right corner when the trail was uphill and slightly off camber to the right. Once throttle was applied, the drive train torque would lift her left front tire about 10"~12" and we would end up walking up the slickrock on three tires. We got many compliments for the show we put on, but it was getting hard to handle that kind of a suspension problem and still drive in a safe manner.
I arrived at Moab Off-Road a bit before their doors opened. I spoke with a young tech that agreed that a spring swap between the left and right sides might be a good enough temp repair to get me through the remainder of the week. It took him about 15 minutes (air tools certainly are nice) to swap the springs and I found a $20 bill to cover the minimum labor charge.
I stopped by the City Market before the guys shoved off and let them know I was not running that day. Dwayne and William were also taking a breather as William was having a tire problem (slow leak) and wanted to attend to that. William and Dwayne agreed to hook up with me, later in the afternoon, and burn a couple of hours on Poison Spider Mesa to see if the springs and tire were doing any better. I wanted to do a quick checkout run before committing to a run with the group again.
In the mean time, I headed back to camp to see Donna. I was happy to tell her that Lady was hopefully doing better and that we could do some "tourist shopping" in town and then catch lunch at the SlickRock Cafe. She had just finished doing laundry so once that was put away, we headed into town and did a bunch of window shopping. I got my customary T-shirt (Poison Spider Mesa for this year) and we managed to find a couple of things that we both had been looking for. It was nice to take a break after 3 days of good wheelin'. Besides that, we had agreed that Thursday would be the Golden Spike run. On a good day, with no break downs, we figured it would take us 11 hours to run the Spike. We needed this down time to get ourselves ready.
You can not directly access the Golden Spike Trail from either end. The most common way to run this trail is to start at Poison Spider Mesa and run about 50% of it. There is a turn off that takes you over to the start of the Golden Spike. About 7 hours later, you should be finishing up the Spike and find yourself at the point where the Gold Bar Rim trail stops at the rim overlook. So....you run the Gold Bar Rim trail backwards to the highway, which then finishes up your run for the day. Last year, I spent a day on Poison Spider Mesa and led another day on Gold Bar Rim. So....as you can see, Thursday was going to be a LONG day for sure.
On Thursday, we adjusted our gathering time for 7:00 AM at the City Market. By 7:15, a small group of us headed off to Poison Spider Mesa, with Josh in the lead.
We ran the Poison Spider Mesa section with no problems. We stopped at several of the obstacles and took digital and video pictures. Of course, everyone had a good time running the Water Falls and the Wedgie.
Steve takes his directions from Josh as he works his CJ-5 through the Wedgie. Josh and I gave the folks with the video cameras some great air shots as we exited the obstacle. There is a hole that you can drop your right rear tire into and get some good air with your front left.
Here is William and Josh (riding shotgun up the obstacle) at the bottom of the Launch Pad. Yes, it is rather steep. (it didn't get its name because it was an easy roll to the top, duh?) William made it up OK, although he was thinking about the bypass at one point in time. I was the first to crawl to the top, which put me at the top with a winch cable just in case someone got into trouble (which didn't do much good for me, right?)
After the Launch Pad, we rolled on up to the top of Skyline Drive....a big slickrock dome that has a commanding view of the area. We all paused up on top and Donna snapped this picture of us. Yeah....that's me in the middle....the good lookin' one with the new Jeepin' hat! [insert BIG GRIN here] Left to right is Hans from CO, Josh from UT, Dwayne from OK, myself from AZ, Steve from OK, Dave from ID, William from CA, and Brian from CA.
So, we fast forward a bit past a number of un-named ledges and obstacles and get to the famous Golden Crack. I once heard that the Golden Crack is THE most photographed obstacle in Moab's maze of trails. After watching everyone go across, I think I have to agree. We shot more video footage and more digital stills of Jeeps here than any other place on the trail. William had been living for months for this obstacle. Quite some time back, on JU, he had made the statement that he was going to "Spank the Crack" when he got to Moab. I am most happy to report that he did just that. He was completely pumped up after he made it over.
Here is Josh taking his 8" lifted TJ with 38.5" Swampers across the Golden Crack. Check out that droop on his front right tire. Looks pretty good. Getting in and out of that rig is no small matter either.
Here is Josh's wife, Katie, giving you some perspective of the Golden Crack and his TJ going over it. Yes sir, that is a long jump up to get into the shotgun seat. Luckily she was only handing something into him and didn't have to climb into the TJ at that point in time.
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