Cruise Moab 2001
Elephant Hill, Canyonland National Park
Cruise Moab is hosted by the Rising Sun Landcruiser Club. Rising Sun is a small club with a big heart. They have been hosting Cruise Moab for over 20 years and they have it down to an art. Base camp is at the Slickrock Campground on the north side of Moab. Arriving into camp, one is greeted with the sights and sounds of a family of Cruiserheads, all ready for action.
I had arrived early in my white FZJ-80 after a roundabout route that led me from Ft Worth, TX, nearly 1200 miles to Moab. On the first day, my co-pilot, Nick Stone and I hooked up with Brian Williams, owner of Outback Suspensions, and did two awesome slickrock trails, Fins n Things and Hells Revenge, in our FZJ-80’s. I had tested my new Outback Suspension on obstacles such as the Bump Dump, Tip-Over Challenge and Hells Gate. Needless to say, I was VERY impressed with how my FZJ-80 performed on the rough stuff.
Thursday was the first day of the official Cruise Moab event. I was signed up for Elephant Hill and was very excited about it. To be honest, when I signed up for Elephant Hill, I thought I was signing up for a trail that ran the Lion’s Back. That is how much I knew about Moab! After talking to Jeff Zepp, a Rising Sun member and trail guide, I realized my mistake, yet Jeff convinced me to keep the trail on my list. Thanks Jeff for talking me into Elephant Hill!
Elephant Hill is a 2-3 rated trail located in the middle of Canyonland National Park. That’s right, we wheeled in a National Park! After rallying south of Moab
We were entertained along the way by our fearless trail boss, Greg “Cheeseman” Luer, and a soon-to-be Moab local, Karl Spielman. We were all surprised by how much Karl and Greg knew about the area. They kept a running commentary on the CB radio, making the 70 mile trip seem 10 minutes long. We were told about the 1000’s of Indian ruins in the area, the petroglyphs, and even some Billy the Kid lore.
The entrance to Elephant Hill is, you guessed it, Elephant Hill. It is a large hill with a trail cut over the top. We were convinced it gained its name after some cowboy had one too many whiskeys. We saw no rendition of an Elephant on any of the rocks nearby. For what it’s worth, it really did not matter. The hill was fun!
For a modified rig, Elephant Hill did not pose much of a challenge, yet there was plenty of action to be had by the stock rigs. This being said, it was really fun watching Nick pilot my FZJ-80 up and down the mountain. There are definitely some instances that give a new-to-the-rocks driver a major pucker factor! At one point on the downside, you must pull up a trail and back down the remainder of the trail! It was a riot to see some rigs going forward and some going backwards at the same time as we slowly progressed over the first obstacle of the day (in the rain.)
As we made our way to the next stop, we heard from the “tail gunner”, Jeff Zepp, that we had locker problems with one of the FJ-60’s. Seems Ben Seyda’s Canadian cruiser had a problem in the Detroit Locker and he and Jeff stopped to inspect the damage while Cheesehead Greg pressed our group on to the next stop.
While we were away, Steve Syzdek put a fuel regulator on Troy’s FJ-40. Troy had just done a V8 conversion and had not worked out the bugs with his carburetor. Steve loaned him his regulator and we were off to the races again.
I say off to the races, because any time he found flat terrain, Greg would drop the hammer on his 4Runner and we would make up for lost time. It was so much fun blasting down the sand trails at 40-45 mph at times.
After a reverse negotiation of S.O.B. Hill, we scooped up Jeff Zepp and Ben and headed for the Confluence. The mechanic that had installed Ben’s Detroit had inadvertently left some critical bolts loose and his locker had all but come apart inside his differential. Those of you that know Jeff Zepp, realize Ben was in good hands. All was well and good and we were a whole group again.
With a final stop at the Ranger Station, I ran around with my CO2 Powertank and helped air up 10 of 13 rigs. There is no substitute for 125psi with a mobile source to expedite air-ups!
On the way home, we drove through a small blizzard. The radio crackled with comments about wheeling in the snow, the beautiful sights and friends that were made. I must say, if you are going to Moab, do yourself a favor and take the time to run Elephant Hill. Yes, it is a little out of the way and yes, it is an easy trail; however, excellent guides like Greg Luer, Karl Spielman and Jeff Zepp make Elephant Hill totally worth while!
P.S. This is a link to my page from Saturday at a place in Dallas called 360. It is an Outlaw place. No one really knows who owns it but let me tell you, it is some of the most hard core stuff I have ever wheeled!
It is really amazing stuff out there! Click and enjoy more Shots.