7 Slot Nomads

Get Out

Utah Arizona Traverse

Saturday 9/10

Met Jordan and Stef in Santa Fe. Ran together to Pagosa Springs. Ate a lunch of beer brined eggs (pretty good - tasted a lot like deviled eggs), got goat nachos, and a yak burger. Then ran on to Durango. Stayed at the Strator Hotel.

Sunday 9/11

Picked up a few things for the trip and set a tentative schedule for the trip. Acclimated to vacation mode. Saw a Michael Moore look alike selling Hillary buttons for $3. Ate at a micro brewery in old downtown for breakfast and one of our party had a Bloody Mary with 7 different veggies and a piece of bacon on top.

Monday 9/12

Left on the trip. Rolled through Hovenweep. Jeeped into all the best ruins. Ruins like Cutthroat Castle, Holly, Horseshoe, & Hackberry. We were the only visitors to all these sites. Then ran offroad to Bluff Utah. First time I can recall having to open a barbed wire gate at a state line to cross over, but there it was. Based out of Bluff for a couple days. Ran Butler Wash and set up camp, cooked out for dinner. Girls slept in town and the guys stayed out in Butler Wash.
Tuesday 9/13

Valley of the Gods. Ran west out of Bluff to the turn off onto the dirt road that winds through the valley. Then up a windy road up to the mesa top and crossed over Comb Ridge. Ran back down towards Comb Wash Road and hiked into the House on Fire ruins with nobody else around. Ran Comb Wash back to Sand Island State Park for dinner we cooked out by the river and viewed some petroglyphs.

Wednesday 9/14

Ran out of Bluff to Butler Wash ruins then to Tower House ruins. Hiked down into the canyon to find them. Pretty neat place and once again, we were the only visitors out there. Then ran overland backcountry trails - Posey Trail Road to Elk Mtn Road via the Bears Ears Mountains then into Natural Brides Monument. Hiked down to Sipapoo Bridge and camped out in the Forest Service backcountry near the Bears Ears. Camped out, ate some freeze dried, then sat around a campfire and watched the set set against the red rock mesas.
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Thursday 9/15

Ran into Hanksville, UT in the morning. Resupplied and spent the rest of the day in the Henry Mountains. We ran all over those mountains and came out back near Hanksville. Drove over from there and stayed in Torrey, UT. Did laundry, cleaned up, and planned our foray into Capital Reef NP. Ate really good restaurant food. It was a long day, but beautiful scenery and a crystal clear sky. From the top of the Henrys (over 10,600 at the pass) you could see forever.

Friday 9/16

Capital Reef NP. Hiked out to the goosenecks to see the river. Picked apples from Fruita and met an old timer who had moved to Costa Rica with lots of stories. Looked at some more petroglyphs. Ate home made pie and ice cream at the historic house in Fruita. Drove out to some points of interest on our way to the southernmost point of the park. Ate box lunches at a creek crossing, then ran the backcountry loop trail. Pretty challenging. I think it's been quite awhile since the NP folks have been out to check the trail. Jordan's locker failed. Stayed locked up rest of the day. Finished the day with Mexican food. Best Carne Asada ever. Stayed at Days Inn in Torrey to evaluate the locker situation.

Saturday 9/17
Decided to run the locker locked up since we were looking at running so much offload anyway. Had breakfast at Austin's Chuck Wagon. Took a short highway trip to Bryce Canyon. On the way, I had a bad shimmy that was rectified by swapping out one front tire with my spare. The flat place we wound up changing the tire was at an elevation of about 10,000 feet at a mountain pass with a large nice flat spot and plenty of room fro traffic. Tire swaps at that altitude really suck the air out of you. After the war, we headed on to Bryce Canyon NP. After arriving Bryce, we spent the day looking at all the points of interest. Hiked down into the canyon to the Queen Victoria hoodoo. Had lunch under a tree on a side trail. Ran off road to Mammoth Spring in the National Forest. Camped there by the spring. Awesome, awesome camping area - one of the best all time camp sites. Got really cold that night.

Sunday 9/18

It was 38 degrees when we got up in the morning. Broke camp, put out the campfire, and packed everything up. Had lunch at Duck Creek village at a nice little cafe one our way towards Zion NP. Drove hard off road trail all afternoon - almost 30 miles on a multipurpose land tract - BLM, Elk Conservation, and a rancher all used the land for various purposes. Came to a locked pipe gate near the end and had to detach and re-attach the barbed wire fence gate next to it to get through. Did a quick tour of Zion NP (lots of visitors so we didn't stay long). Drove to Kanab. Only one restaurant in town open on Sundays. They were full, and sent us to Juniper Ridge steakhouse in Fredonia, AZ. Had a good dinner there. Stayed at Hampton Inn in Kanab to get cleaned up.
Monday 9/19

Had breakfast at the hotel. Took the highway to the the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Stopped in at the back country permit office, and we were lucky enough to score a permit for one of the two campsites at Point Sublime. Ate lunch at the lodge with a beautiful view of the canyon out the windows. Drove out to see all the touristy points. Drove 1.5 hours on high clearance road to get to Point Sublime. Very quiet. We were the only ones out there camping. Only 1 other guy was out there when we arrives and he left right after we got there. Enjoyed the views as the sun went down over the Grand Canyon. We felt like it was all ours.

Tuesday 9/20

Woke up to a light rain and packed up fast. Hanging out at 7500' on a finger of rock that offers 350 degree view of the canyon is really nifty until the weather threatens to turn bad. We got packed and then made coffee and sat out in our rain gear drinking it while we watched the weather moving in. We finally took a last look and rolled back into the forest on a different offload route back out. We had to winch a downed aspen tree out of the trail (in the rain of course), but we got around it and drove on out through the National Forest roads back to pavement. Once we got squared away, we made our way over to Page, AZ. Ate some really good Mexican again in Page.

Wednesday 9/21

The next morning we went for a tour of Cathedral Canyon out on the Navajo reservation. Afterwards we hiked out to Horseshoe Bend and looked at the wild Colorado river far below us. That evening, we went for another canyon tour. This time we toured Antelope Canyon (again on the reservation). That night we ate Navajo Tacos made with fry bread and got introduced to some Navajo culture.

Thursday 9/22

After many days of running locked up in the rear, Jordan called in and exercised his warranty options. That morning, they towed his Jeep to Flagstaff and replaced his locker actuator. They went with the Jeep and we bailed out headed east. Long trip home, but we made it okay.

Once last word…overall the Jeeps performed above and beyond expectations. Only two relatively minor failures, but everything went off great. Both Jeeps are American Expedition Vehicles builds and all of the AEV equipment (suspensions, wheels, bumpers, swing outs, fuel caddies, roof rack, pre-filtered snorkels, off road lights, etc.) performed flawlessly. No regrets on running AEV products. The Jeeps were comfortable on the highway and stable under a variety of conditions including off camber, loose rock, steep grades, and extremely rough terrain at times.
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