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Old 03-08-2013, 08:06 PM   #1
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Realistic About Needs For a Mega Trip with my Jeep - AZ/UT/NV/CA Chime In Pls

About a month ago I got the idea that I wanted to try to take a 6 weekish "Griswold" cross country trip this summer with my family. I've been laying a bit low about it as it is a ton of logistics and I'm not 100% sure at this moment I can pull it all off. I hate saying I'm going to do something and then not being able to follow through on it so I've not really been discussing it with a ton of people.

Being on the road for 6 weeks, dealing with work, being on the road for 6 weeks with the kids and not going crazy, lodging/camping, the expense, trying to stay fit (its important to me), meals, and the list goes on and on.

In spite of all of the details after looking/planning for a month I'm feeling 85% sure I can pull it off and I'm getting to the point of thinking about the details around my Jeep for the trip which why I'm posting this up here.

As a very quick background on my 4wd history. I've primarily been driving 4wd vehicles since I've been old enough to drive. My general view of them has been a better way to get from point A to B than a car offers. Being able to go when and where I want with more freedom is a big plus. Mostly to date that means going to the beach and driving to some nice spot, needing to go to do something with 12" of snow on the ground, or simply wanting to get back into to my favorite hunting spot. If there is some obstacle between me and my destination and I can go around it I usually will. If I can't I will do my best to go over or through it. I've never been rock crawling and very rarely drive over or through something just because for fun (although sometimes I get a wild hair). Hanging around here is starting to change my view of wanting to do that sort of stuff but I'm still more of the point A to B mindset.

Anyway....the plan for the trip is to drive from VA out to AZ, see a few things, head up into UT, see a few more things, see Moab (and drive some of the trails), head over into NV/CA to do the Rubicon Trail (more on this later), see more of CA, head back into AZ, see a few more things, and finally head home.

I will be flat towing my Jeep behind my Raptor between destinations. As much as I love my Jeep I can't practically see me driving it 7000 miles loaded down with everything we'd need for 6 weeks on the road for 5 people. Plus with that much time on the road it may come in handy having two vehicles as we stay in the same location for a few days at a time.

So getting to the point of what I wanted to ask. I have a Sport JKU. I've done bumpers, a winch, rock rails, tire carrier, OBA, 3" lift, shocks, 35's and a few other small things. Otherwise I'm about to take it in and have the gearing swapped out to 4.88. This is the point I'm having heart burn and thinking about my trip.

In addition to exploring at our different destinations in the Jeep I plan on connecting with either a club or a paid guided tour at Moab and the Rubicon Trail. Partly I want to see the areas and partly I'd like to try my hand at some rock crawling for fun. Never having been to either Moab or the Rubicon trail I don't really know what to expect. If I take my Jeep as is, can I have some fun "rock crawling", and still "complete" (point a to b) the trails by going around the stuff I'm not set up to do?

Based on reading I've been doing the answer seems to be more yes than no with Moab and not really sure with the Rubicon Trail. I'm thinking at a minimum I'm going to have to add skid plates to my Jeep before we take the trip.

I don't have lockers. I'm about to do gearing and I know this is the time to add them but honestly I really would rather not absorb the expense if I can get away with not doing them as prep for my trip. I also feel like lockers opens another whole can of worms including axles. But I'm still very new to this and learning so I could be wrong.

Those of you who actually wheel at these places and know the area well. Can I reasonable expect to do what I want to do set up as is (with the 4.88 gearing) or do I absolutely have to take the step of skid plates and lockers? I'd really like to not break my Jeep 3000 miles from home so that is a consideration also.

One other side note is we will likely start the trek in early July. I expecting it to be hot hot in some of the areas we will be visiting. Anything I'm not thinking about in terms of the weather and my Jeep? I have AC and a Spider Web shade.

Thanks a ton in advance for any feedback!




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Old 03-08-2013, 09:20 PM   #2
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I like these kinds of hypotheticals in the virtual universe.

1) for myself, such a distance is feasible;
2) with "Being on the road for 6 weeks, dealing with work, being on the road for 6 weeks with the kids and not going crazy, lodging/camping, the expense, trying to stay fit (its important to me), meals, and the list goes on and on" I'd be stark raving road-rash-loonie.

Having barely survived 3 or 4 DAY trips with my own family while growing up, was something I wouldn't want to replicate.

A few years ago I drove NW Oregon to Tampa & back (different route) with just ONE (adult) son. Each way took about 5-6 days of 12-14 hours driving time despite what we had planned.

That was pushing my own ability to socialize, travel, manage various necessary pit stops, endure the suspension/handling/traffic etc characteristics, with 2 in a 3/4 ton 4x4 pick up....and that doesn't include the blizzard through Kansas/Colo/Wy/most of eastern Idaho.

Your ability to adapt willingly to the abnormal family stresses that will be generated, apart from the other issues you identify, are yours alone to evaluate.

Great route, good luck.

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Old 03-08-2013, 09:53 PM   #3
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I like these kinds of hypotheticals in the virtual universe.

1) for myself, such a distance is feasible;
2) with "Being on the road for 6 weeks, dealing with work, being on the road for 6 weeks with the kids and not going crazy, lodging/camping, the expense, trying to stay fit (its important to me), meals, and the list goes on and on" I'd be stark raving road-rash-loonie.

Having barely survived 3 or 4 DAY trips with my own family while growing up, was something I wouldn't want to replicate.

A few years ago I drove NW Oregon to Tampa & back (different route) with just ONE (adult) son. Each way took about 5-6 days of 12-14 hours driving time despite what we had planned.

That was pushing my own ability to socialize, travel, manage various necessary pit stops, endure the suspension/handling/traffic etc characteristics, with 2 in a 3/4 ton 4x4 pick up....and that doesn't include the blizzard through Kansas/Colo/Wy/most of eastern Idaho.

Your ability to adapt willingly to the abnormal family stresses that will be generated, apart from the other issues you identify, are yours alone to evaluate.

Great route, good luck.
Ha. Oregon to Tampa is a long trip. We've done VA to FL as a family several times and we seem to manage it okay. But this is 100 levels above something like that trip. One option I'm weighing is my wife and kids flying out to AZ and meeting me once I get there. Or one of the grand parents flying them out to drop them off and then picking them up and flying them back when we loop back through AZ the second time 4 weeks later.

If I went the flying route that would be about 2200 miles over 4 weeks with them and then an additional 4500 solo or just the wife and I.
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Old 03-09-2013, 04:03 AM   #4
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I would ask if the trip is something the rest of the family wants to do. Makes a big difference in what they will put up with, thus the fun vs torture factor.

I have taken a few long trips with at least one kid, but each time it was something they looked forward to, and in fact, a place like Moab, was beyond their expectations. But they were participating in the adventure, not being dragged along. Works better for older kids.
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Old 03-09-2013, 07:34 AM   #5
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I would ask if the trip is something the rest of the family wants to do. Makes a big difference in what they will put up with, thus the fun vs torture factor.

I have taken a few long trips with at least one kid, but each time it was something they looked forward to, and in fact, a place like Moab, was beyond their expectations. But they were participating in the adventure, not being dragged along. Works better for older kids.
Thanks and good point. We had asked them to come up with a list of things they would like to see before I planned the route. We will end up seeing 90% of what was on their lists. As a matter of fact the only reason we are going to LA is to see the Hollywood sign for them. They were very excited about seeing it. I've never seen the sign but I have been in LA a few times for work and didn't really feel the need to see more of it. But like you said if it gets them excited. They also want to "drive through a big tree". "Arches" (Moab) was also something they came up with.

They love the Jeeps and are saying they think it will be fun exploring in one of them.


....anyone have any input on my technical Jeep questions for seeing some of the famous wheeling spots?
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Old 03-09-2013, 07:56 AM   #6
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Moab has a wide variety of trails and quite a few can be done in a stock Jeep
see
Red Rock 4-Wheelers, Inc. -

There are some good guide books, and most likely you can hook up with some other Jeeps as it is best to not go out by yourself.
A lot of great hiking, mountain and road biking, river activities here too.

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Old 03-09-2013, 08:25 AM   #7
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Old 03-09-2013, 09:02 AM   #8
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Moab has a wide variety of trails and quite a few can be done in a stock Jeep
see
Red Rock 4-Wheelers, Inc. -

There are some good guide books, and most likely you can hook up with some other Jeeps as it is best to not go out by yourself.
A lot of great hiking, mountain and road biking, river activities here too.

Pete
Thanks Pete! I have no plans of trying to go out by myself. Great to know on the cycling as well. I do plan on bringing a bike. Just not sure if my road or mountain yet. Also good to know that there are stock trails meaning I will have options on difficultly.

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Thanks. I've seen this but it kind of goes back to my main question. Rubicons have lockers and additional skids my Sport didn't come with. If I don't install lockers when I do the regear and then a good skid system am I SOL in my chances of doing the Rubicon trail? Or are there opportunities to drive around some of the sections I'm not equipped for by not having lockers?
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Old 03-09-2013, 09:15 AM   #9
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Absolutely. Brand new stock any wrangler can do it using the bypasses. But you're ahead of the rubicons in that vid with your lift and bigger tires already. Are you re-gearing solely to do this? If so throw a locker in the rear and basic skid plates (even the OEM rubicons if they fit). As you can see in the vid, rock rails would be critical and first and foremost. Otherwise as a Sunday drive using the bypasses as is should be fine.
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Old 03-09-2013, 09:37 AM   #10
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Absolutely. Brand new stock any wrangler can do it using the bypasses. But you're ahead of the rubicons in that vid with your lift and bigger tires already. Are you re-gearing solely to do this? If so throw a locker in the rear and basic skid plates (even the OEM rubicons if they fit). As you can see in the vid, rock rails would be critical and first and foremost. Otherwise as a Sunday drive using the bypasses as is should be fine.
Awesome...so it sounds like there are bypasses to the more extreme sections. I was having trouble understanding that as I've seen some info that says you can't be more than xx feet off the trail in sections.

Regear was going to happen regardless of the trip. I've added so much weight that my 3.73's aren't really cutting it even for the lighter off road use I'm currently doing. The thought of just doing a rear locker had crossed my mind and maybe that would be a good compromise on expense.

Thanks for the info!
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Old 03-09-2013, 09:48 AM   #11
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As a matter of fact the only reason we are going to LA is to see the Hollywood sign for them. They were very excited about seeing it. I've never seen the sign but I have been in LA a few times for work and didn't really feel the need to see more of it. But like you said if it gets them excited.
If you do that, you might as well do the Universal Studios back lot tour and the celebrity sidewalk at Grauman's Chinese Theatre if you're movie buffs as you can do all three in one day. You're big key phrase here is "if it gets them excited" and for a trip that long you'd best have at least one or two exciting stops each day.
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Old 03-10-2013, 03:40 AM   #12
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Interesting they listed Arches NP. Most younger kids I know yawn at nature scapes. Arches highlights can be done in 3-4 hours if need be to keep their attention, and there are several short and some longer optional hikes. I found the Arches visitor center to be very informative about the regional geology, adds a lot of context to viewing all that is to be seen out in the Moab area, which is quite a lot.

There is a ton to see without rock crawling. Will have to watch your time budget and prioritize. Places like Onion Creek, Top of the World and the switchback climbs in Canyonlands NP are all impressive to first timers - all so different. I dirt bike the area each year for several years now and the last 2 I took a jeep out there.

If you pick your path right you can get to Moab via some SW Colorado passes in 2 days, perhaps spare a few hours for a Silver mine tour east of Silverton (Old Hundred Mine) and pan for copper/gold/silver in the troughs while waiting for the next train into the mine. Just east of Silverton, near Howardsville.

Engineer Pass California Gulch, Hurricane, Red Mtn, Ophir, and several others nearby. You can get several in on one day with the right route planning. Alta Lakes near Telluride was a nice lakeside primitive and quiet camp area.
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Old 03-10-2013, 08:01 AM   #13
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Interesting they listed Arches NP. Most younger kids I know yawn at nature scapes. Arches highlights can be done in 3-4 hours if need be to keep their attention, and there are several short and some longer optional hikes. I found the Arches visitor center to be very informative about the regional geology, adds a lot of context to viewing all that is to be seen out in the Moab area, which is quite a lot.

There is a ton to see without rock crawling. Will have to watch your time budget and prioritize. Places like Onion Creek, Top of the World and the switchback climbs in Canyonlands NP are all impressive to first timers - all so different. I dirt bike the area each year for several years now and the last 2 I took a jeep out there.

If you pick your path right you can get to Moab via some SW Colorado passes in 2 days, perhaps spare a few hours for a Silver mine tour east of Silverton (Old Hundred Mine) and pan for copper/gold/silver in the troughs while waiting for the next train into the mine. Just east of Silverton, near Howardsville.

Engineer Pass California Gulch, Hurricane, Red Mtn, Ophir, and several others nearby. You can get several in on one day with the right route planning. Alta Lakes near Telluride was a nice lakeside primitive and quiet camp area.
Mike you are the man when it comes to info like this,
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Old 03-10-2013, 08:50 AM   #14
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rubicon trail looks so awesome.
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Old 03-10-2013, 08:53 AM   #15
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I'll throw out a vote for at least a rear locker. There's a lot to be said for traction enhancement they offer. I've seen souped up rigs have a hell of a time negotiating obstacles that a seemingly much plainer rig with lockers just crawled over because they had consistent, constant traction.

For perspective, lockers are important enough that even those evil folks at Toyota include a rear locker with the 4Runner.

Just wait, in a perfect universe Jeep will start offering three styles of locker (Air, electric and automatic) on all models with the option to do front, rear or both. They'll also offer wheels in 15, 16, 17, 18 inch diameters with 7, 8, 9 inch widths already setup with enough backspacing to clear 12.5 inch wide tires. Dream on...
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Old 03-10-2013, 09:05 AM   #16
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Sounds like an awesome trip. Depending on the age of the kids, flying them out could be a good option. Maybe take one with you and have the wife and other 2 fly out.

I've been to Moab a few times and always rented jeeps from the adventure center. I've done chicken corners, fin n things, la sal pass loop, and Kane creek canyon. The first 3 are super easy and a stocker can easily do them. The kids will especially love fins n things - best way for me to describe it was a roller coaster. Kane creek is much tougher but should be easy for your jeep with those mods - plan on a good 5 or 6 hours though, my guide book only said 3 and that was total BS. Actually chicken corners and la sal may be more fun in the Raptor.

I've only been on the rubicon for a few miles on the Tahoe side. If it was me, I'd want to go with another jeep in case of problems. But this is just based off pictures and videos, not experience. With that said, I hear it can be busy in the summer and their should be plenty of others traveling through that could help you or you could partner with. Maybe research some clubs that may be going on a run around the same time as your trip.
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Old 03-10-2013, 10:22 AM   #17
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If you do that, you might as well do the Universal Studios back lot tour and the celebrity sidewalk at Grauman's Chinese Theatre if you're movie buffs as you can do all three in one day. You're big key phrase here is "if it gets them excited" and for a trip that long you'd best have at least one or two exciting stops each day.
We've done the back lot tour at Universal Studios FL. Don't know how it compares to the one in Ca but we might check it out. I haven't planned to the point of knowing exactly how long we will stay in each general area but if time allows we'd love to do as much as we can.

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Interesting they listed Arches NP. Most younger kids I know yawn at nature scapes. Arches highlights can be done in 3-4 hours if need be to keep their attention, and there are several short and some longer optional hikes. I found the Arches visitor center to be very informative about the regional geology, adds a lot of context to viewing all that is to be seen out in the Moab area, which is quite a lot.

There is a ton to see without rock crawling. Will have to watch your time budget and prioritize. Places like Onion Creek, Top of the World and the switchback climbs in Canyonlands NP are all impressive to first timers - all so different. I dirt bike the area each year for several years now and the last 2 I took a jeep out there.

If you pick your path right you can get to Moab via some SW Colorado passes in 2 days, perhaps spare a few hours for a Silver mine tour east of Silverton (Old Hundred Mine) and pan for copper/gold/silver in the troughs while waiting for the next train into the mine. Just east of Silverton, near Howardsville.

Engineer Pass California Gulch, Hurricane, Red Mtn, Ophir, and several others nearby. You can get several in on one day with the right route planning. Alta Lakes near Telluride was a nice lakeside primitive and quiet camp area.
Thanks, lots of good info here. Our route isn't currently taking us through Co. The first stop on the list is four corners. They kids (and the wife) wanted to see it. The most direct route from VA takes us right by Co. Once I get to point of a better idea on how long we can spend at each location I will take a look to see if we an manage a pass through Co as well.

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I'll throw out a vote for at least a rear locker. There's a lot to be said for traction enhancement they offer. I've seen souped up rigs have a hell of a time negotiating obstacles that a seemingly much plainer rig with lockers just crawled over because they had consistent, constant traction.

For perspective, lockers are important enough that even those evil folks at Toyota include a rear locker with the 4Runner.

Just wait, in a perfect universe Jeep will start offering three styles of locker (Air, electric and automatic) on all models with the option to do front, rear or both. They'll also offer wheels in 15, 16, 17, 18 inch diameters with 7, 8, 9 inch widths already setup with enough backspacing to clear 12.5 inch wide tires. Dream on...
Yeah, I'm going to talk to my shop doing the gear install tomorrow to find out more info on doing at least the rear. My Raptor came with a rear locker. This being a Jeep forum I haven't talked a lot about the Raptor but I'm hoping to also find some time to do some desert runs in it while out that way. I've had it a year and not had much opportunity to enjoy it as an off road vehicle. It is fun to "hot rod" around town in, but it is just too large (wide) for any of the normal off road situations I encounter here in Va so I always end up using my Jeep. I've seen them running Moab on YouTube and may also check out driving it and the Jeep while we are there.

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Sounds like an awesome trip. Depending on the age of the kids, flying them out could be a good option. Maybe take one with you and have the wife and other 2 fly out.

I've been to Moab a few times and always rented jeeps from the adventure center. I've done chicken corners, fin n things, la sal pass loop, and Kane creek canyon. The first 3 are super easy and a stocker can easily do them. The kids will especially love fins n things - best way for me to describe it was a roller coaster. Kane creek is much tougher but should be easy for your jeep with those mods - plan on a good 5 or 6 hours though, my guide book only said 3 and that was total BS. Actually chicken corners and la sal may be more fun in the Raptor.

I've only been on the rubicon for a few miles on the Tahoe side. If it was me, I'd want to go with another jeep in case of problems. But this is just based off pictures and videos, not experience. With that said, I hear it can be busy in the summer and their should be plenty of others traveling through that could help you or you could partner with. Maybe research some clubs that may be going on a run around the same time as your trip.
Yeah I was reading some info about how crowed the Rubicon can be at certain times. Reminds me of the stories of traffic jams on Everest because of so many people attempting to summit. I also read that they close the Rubicon for the larger Jeep Jamboree and Jeepers events. Meaning if you aren't officially with the event you can't be out there. Even with everything on the Internet being true I would like confirmation that is the case. The Jeep Jamboree will be happening in the general time frame we are planning on being out there. If it can work out timing wise we may try to join them.

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