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Old 04-30-2013, 10:53 AM   #1
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Mountain Trip Prep

Hello everyone

I'm going to be taking a trip from Dallas, TX to Lake City Colorado in about 6 weeks and would like to start prepping my Jeep for the journey and the 4 wheeling i plan to do. I'd love some input from people who have done similar things or live up in the mountains and do trails like this a lot.

My Jeep: 2006 LJ Auto with soft top/hard doors. Bone stock (3.73 gears) except for 31x10.5 BFG A/T and 64,000 miles.

Things I want help on

1) trails in the Lake City area. My only tentative plan at this point is to do Engineer's pass
2) Any input on my combo of engine/trans/gears and the mountain driving
3) Any prep beyond making sure im up to date on all the maintenance, etc
4) I've been shopping for a hard top to use on the trip to make it a little quieter (so my wife enjoys the ride a little more)...but how much quieter is it? 1500 dollars quieter?
5) Is there an iPhone app that works great for tracking trips and has maps of these trails or would i need an actual GPS?
6) things to bring for the jeep

And anything else you guys can think of would be greatly appreciated. I'll post lots of pics (I got a new DSLR mainly because of this and another vacation i'm taking this summer)

Thanks.

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Old 04-30-2013, 11:22 AM   #2
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I doubt Engineer Pass will be open by then, I could be wrong tho. We're getting a good amount of late season snow, but I don't know how much weather is making it's way that far south.

1) lots of trails are on TrailDamage.com
status updates available on Bushducks: Bushducks - Jeep Trail and Backroads Trip Reports<BR>Colorado Jeep Trails and Passes - Opening Dates
-it shows nothing for Engineer right now, so that means it's not open yet.
Imogene is another trail to do in the area, if it's open. You could do Black Bear, but make sure you look over the details online...don't take it lightly.

2) the 3.73 gears will suck in the mountains, even with 31s. you'd be better off with 4.56s for 31s with your 42RLE. i run 4.88s w/ 33s and it still struggles in the mountains. you'll just have to deal with it...don't expect to be able to maintain speed...just crank up the music, and live with whatever speed 2nd or 3rd gives you with the motor around 3000-3500rpms. Don't be surprised if you find the motor wanting to scream at 4000-4500rpms...it's fine for a short period of time, just don't peg it at redline for miles on end.

3) don't wheel alone, and watch the weather.

4) hardtop is definitely indispensable on long trips. $1500 is high, but the going rate in some parts of the country.

5) I use an actual GPS because I don't want to screw with my phone when I'm driving. I prefer real buttons too.

6) contact the county forest service and see if you can get up-to-date trail maps shipped to you, and trail information. while internet sources are usually fairly good, the forest service will know whats open and whats not because they maintain the gates.

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Old 04-30-2013, 11:26 AM   #3
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4) I have a hard top and I love it! it is much quieter BUT! its not as easy to just take the top off on a nice day. If you do the trip with a hard top, know that your not going topless at all.

6) If you plan on doing any off roading at all. even moderate wheeling. You NEED recovery gear.
Hi-Lift jack
winch
tow straps
etc.

Your trip basically an overlanding trip. you can see many sites with recommended gear and persuasions to take!

cant wait to see the pics! good luck!
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Old 04-30-2013, 11:29 AM   #4
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Seeing how I travel down that way to Wichita Falls A LOT from Colorado, be prepared for the possibility of high winds when you get up this way. A hardtop would be great for this over a soft one if possible.

Are you taking 287 N to Amarillo/Dumas, then 87 north to Raton, and finally I-25 north up into Colorado? That is the exact route I always take and the wind usually hits once you cross into Colorado but there is some down near Raton. Takes about 8.5 - 9 hrs. from Wichita Falls to Colorado Springs without really stopping for a meal.
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Old 04-30-2013, 11:35 AM   #5
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A good set of tools and a nice emergency kit is always handy to have.
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Old 04-30-2013, 01:05 PM   #6
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Unlimited-thanks for the links, i was hoping you'd chime in because i knew you were in CO somewhere. By forest service... do you mean the United States Forest Service... or who would be the right folks to call? I feel like real paper maps would be a great thing to have when i get there.

on another note i was mistaken on the dates... its actually the 2nd week of July so hopefully Engineer and everything else will open by then? I was worried you'd say that about the gearing but i'll just deal with it i suppose.

Timberline-that's the route we'll likely take, thanks for the info.


I will have basic off roading necessities, tools and recovery gear minus the winch and i'll be with another car (probably a rented jeep or 4x4 silverado). This is not my first off roading trip, just my first to this part of the country.
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Old 04-30-2013, 01:14 PM   #7
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This site is pretty good and has some free maps you can order

Stay The Trail Colorado - Home

or this

http://www.funtreks.com/colorado-trails/
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Old 04-30-2013, 01:24 PM   #8
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http://www.allthingsjeep.com/jeep-gu...FQgx4AodhzIAcw

This book is awesome, it has all the trails in the lake city/telluride/ouray area. It has guides through all the trails by mileage, difficulty, etc. Went up there last summer and had an absolute blast.

As for the hardtop, well, if you have people in the back seat (2 door) it sucks for them with a hard top on, so we went topless/doorless on our 4 day camping adventure between the three cities. We flat towed the jeep up there and left the doors chained to my buddies' trailer and just left with the bikini top. It did rain quite a bit, but we just threw a tarp over and kept driving through it most of the time. The tarp was secured by para cord through the front door hinges and down through the rear bumper for complete coverage of the tub. Only minimal amounts made it in.

Another thing to check out on your way up/back is the great sand dunes national park in colorado. Theres some really nice wheeling there. I dont believe you can take your jeep on the dunes, but you can walk all over them and sled down them. Plus we made that our stopping point for the first night of the drive, camped and finished the drive to LC in the morning.

Feel free to shoot me a PM if you have any questions!
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Old 04-30-2013, 01:30 PM   #9
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I would consider getting some earplugs plus take your time, stop and have lunch as a picnic to get out of the Jeep and get a break from the noise and wind. Although if you go 87 and 287 in Texas, just not a lot to look at.. miles and miles of miles and miles.. once you hit Raton, NM the scenery greatly improves.
Good luck. I live in Dallas as well and am jealous of your taking this trip, its one I want to take as well.
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Old 04-30-2013, 01:32 PM   #10
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2) the 3.73 gears will suck in the mountains, even with 31s. you'd be better off with 4.56s for 31s with your 42RLE. i run 4.88s w/ 33s and it still struggles in the mountains. you'll just have to deal with it...don't expect to be able to maintain speed..
I respectfully disagree. Normally I consider your advice very sage but...
I have a 2001 4.0L 3spd auto, live at close to 9K and have excellent power with stock 3.07 and 31"s (no lift). 16-18mpg no matter how I drive it.
I travel Berthoud Pass, Eisenhower, Lookout, Kenosha... you know, all the fun mtn passes. I can do 70mph up these all day/any day with ease.
Geez... maybe I have a magic Jeep OR those CAIs actually ARE all they're cracked up to be after all... at least up here where I live anyway.
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Old 04-30-2013, 01:33 PM   #11
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I would consider getting some earplugs plus take your time, stop and have lunch as a picnic to get out of the Jeep and get a break from the noise and wind. Although if you go 87 and 287 in Texas, just not a lot to look at.. miles and miles of miles and miles.. once you hit Raton, NM the scenery greatly improves.
Good luck. I live in Dallas as well and am jealous of your taking this trip, its one I want to take as well.
Dana
So true!! Hope you have lots of CD's or Sirius between Dumas and Raton because eventually you only can get a Christian talk station on the radio and that is all.
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Old 04-30-2013, 02:00 PM   #12
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I respectfully disagree. Normally I consider your advice very sage but...
I have a 2001 4.0L 3spd auto, live at close to 9K and have excellent power with stock 3.07 and 31"s (no lift).
but you have a 32RH...totally different animal. you're comparing apples to oranges. get in a 42RLE Jeep, climb Berthoud or Eisenhower, and you'll start agreeing the tranny is the problem real quick.

this is on I-70 someplace.....pedal is to the floor and I'm losing speed...3.73s & 30s....



It's a tranny problem...early model 42RLE JK's have the same issues...
http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f96/w...-video-964113/
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Old 04-30-2013, 02:08 PM   #13
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this is on I-70 someplace.....pedal is to the floor and I'm losing speed...3.73s & 30s....
My God... that's horrible.
I'm turning fewer than 2500 RPMs at 60 in 3rd. Higher RPMS if kicked down to 2nd obviously but that's crazy. 3.73 with 30"? I'd probably use it for wheelin and keep it off the hwy if it's that bad. Doesn't look like any fun and probably not good for the engine if driven like that daily. Apples to Oranges... ya, I reckon.
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Old 04-30-2013, 02:09 PM   #14
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Kdilly - i generally make it a practice not to take advice from aggies, but thank for the link and suggestions. I think we may make our "detour" of the trip to the four corners...not sure yet

Dana (and others) i have made this trip a lot for skiing in the winter and know the boredom of the panhandle and NE. NM. I think we may leave in the evening so most of that will be after dark anyway... maybe that will help. As far as wanting to do the trip... We should get together and discuss when I'm back in town. Maybe i'll make it out to one of those trail runs in Bridgeport. We could compare our Silver LJ's ( i like yours a lot by the way)

Gold Miner - you have a different transmission(never question Unlimited)

I'm starting to think a hard top is a better investment from what yall are saying. I drive all over DFW with my soft top, often 2-3 hours a day, but that's by myself. I will have one passenger (my wife or someone from the other car when she gets sick of me) the whole time so conversation could be a little difficult.

While we're on the topic does anyone have any good, cheap, good looking suggestions for new face plates that accept iphone/ipod/USB/Aux and play CD's? I normally hate the look of them but I'm thinking it's not worth the investment for one of those things that interfaces with your stock unit since people's stock head units break a lot.
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Old 04-30-2013, 02:10 PM   #15
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My God... that's horrible.
I'm turning fewer than 2500 RPMs at 60 in 3rd. Higher RPMS if kicked down to 2nd obviously but that's crazy. 3.73 with 30"? I'd probably use it for wheelin and keep it off the hwy if it's that bad. Doesn't look like any fun and probably not good for the engine if driven like that daily. Apples to Oranges... ya, I reckon.
I'd love to turn 2500rpms @ 60 in 3rd, and still be able to climb the passes. Be thankful you have a 32RH, and not a 42RLE.

That's why I said with the 42RLE, just hold it at ~3000 rpms and live with whatever speed/gear you end up with.

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Gold Miner - you have a different transmission(never question Unlimited)
bahahahaha i dunno about that...please do question
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Old 04-30-2013, 02:23 PM   #16
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i dunno about that...please do question
Absolutely. I can't learn much without questioning (you or whomever)... and there is always a lot to learn. I knew that the 42RLE was a dawg.... just didn't know it was that bad in the mtns. Figured the extra gear would be of benefit climbing at speed. Obviously not so... thanks for the clarification.
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Old 04-30-2013, 02:35 PM   #17
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Google earth app works perfect for GPS but idk how reception is in Colorado. Best advice is go prepared and get a garmin
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Old 04-30-2013, 02:48 PM   #18
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Best advice is go prepared and get a garmin
Nah... save the dough and just get a good GPS app for the tablet or smarty phone. They run very well up here off satellites... no 4G, 3G, or cell reception required. I use ViewRanger but there are other great GPS apps also available. I've owned two Garmins. One is sold and the other is a dust collector since the app has a better interface, excellent free mapping options, and more features. If your device's battery can handle it... the GPS apps are definitely an intelligent and frugal alternative to a handheld Garmin or similar. I'm using a Moto Droid RAZR MAXX and battery life has never been a concern running elaborate GPS apps.
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Old 04-30-2013, 02:54 PM   #19
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Nah... save the dough and just get a good GPS app for the tablet or smarty phone. They run very well up here off satellites... no 4G, 3G, or cell reception required. I use ViewRanger but there are other great GPS apps also available. I've owned two Garmins. One is sold and the other is a dust collector since the app has a better interface, excellent free mapping options, and more features. If your device's battery can handle it... the GPS apps are definitely an intelligent and frugal alternative to a handheld Garmin or similar. I'm using a Moto Droid RAZR MAXX and battery life has never been a concern running elaborate GPS apps.
If you use your smart phone, MAKE SURE you bring along your car charger when you hit the trails!! Your battery will get sucked dry fast when you get up in the moutains as it tries to pull in signals.
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Old 04-30-2013, 02:56 PM   #20
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By forest service... do you mean the United States Forest Service... or who would be the right folks to call? I feel like real paper maps would be a great thing to have when i get there.
yes, I mean the Forest Service. Call the county forest service office for the trails you're interested in...maybe that's Grand Mesa or Ouray?

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on another note i was mistaken on the dates... its actually the 2nd week of July so hopefully Engineer and everything else will open by then?
that late in July will be fine. The stuff opens whenever the snow melts and the trails becomes clear.



from here:
Full Length HD Helmet Cam of Engineer and Cinnamon Pass - ADVrider
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Old 04-30-2013, 03:03 PM   #21
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If you use your smart phone, MAKE SURE you bring along your car charger when you hit the trails!! Your battery will get sucked dry fast when you get up in the moutains as it tries to pull in signals.
Yup. As I mentioned... battery life can be a concern running any app. If you have a crappy phone or tablet it will suck you dry just like Angry Birds or Words With Friends. The newer batteries (3000 MaH or higher) can definitely handle it. I can run the GPS app all day out of my back pocket with no worries but it can be problematic for batteries with fewer than 3000 MaH. Either way... ya I agree, don't leave your car charger at home (whether you're running apps or not).
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Old 04-30-2013, 04:02 PM   #22
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The area is fairly well marked, but I would still use a GPS. Bring extra fuel, water, tools and cold weather gear just in case you break down. You will be running in 4L for the most part, so power shouldn't be that much of an issue; however, you will have much less power than you are used to at elevation. I would imagine the higher altitude passes are closed, but HIGHLY recommend you check with the regional ranger stations regarding closures and weather. Passes that seem clear can have deep snow on the North face, especially in the canyons. I use Gaia GPS, an iPhone app, which works great for plotting out my course through the forest. It works offline and is very easy to use. Gas stations are far and few between, so stop and fill up anytime you see one regardless of how full your tank is. There are lots of fun trails to check out, but really enjoyed Imogene, Corkscrew and Poughkeepsie Gulch. Poughkeepsie Gulch has a decent climb about halfway through that is best handled with lockers, but they have a lot of winch points to help you pass if needed.
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Old 04-30-2013, 04:16 PM   #23
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awesome. thanks for all the replies.

I had though about the gas... Maybe i can figure out a jerry can set up for my stock bumpers. I'd rather not just put it in the jeep itself. maybe if the Silverado goes we can put some gas in his bed.
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Old 05-01-2013, 03:26 PM   #24
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There's a hard top for sale locally without a rear window... for $700. I can't decide if i want to mess with that. Any thoughts?
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Old 05-01-2013, 04:49 PM   #25
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LJ's are a bit more rare than TJ hard tops. You should expect to pay around $1,300-$1,500 for a good one, because they are not as common.
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Old 05-01-2013, 05:19 PM   #26
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I wouldn't bother with the hardtop unless you just really want it. They're no more quiet than a good soft top IMO. Even though it's an LJ top 700 seems a little strong for a damaged top. You'd be surprised how quickly $$$ will add up for replacement glass & hardware.
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Old 05-01-2013, 08:17 PM   #27
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LJ's are a bit more rare than TJ hard tops. You should expect to pay around $1,300-$1,500 for a good one, because they are not as common.
+1 I had a guy from Austin approach me at the Jeep Jamboree to try to sell his..it was about this price or more.. they aint cheap and neither are the aftermarket ones either. Its a day up and a day back, I would suck it up and go soft top because once you are there, you are going to want to go topless as much as you can, IMHO.
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Old 05-01-2013, 09:19 PM   #28
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Yeah i can definitely handle the soft top... but im worried about my passengers, ha.

Have any of yall had any experience or have any thoughts on carrying fuel on either the stock spare tire carrier or stock bumper? I have seen a few racks available that mount on or to the spare but that weight seems like it could be a little much for the tailgate.
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Old 05-02-2013, 09:46 AM   #29
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Gas has not been a problem for us. Start each day with a full tank. I carried a 5 gal. can on our CJ5 when we attended the 1998 0uray Jeep Jamboree. That Jeep has a 10.5 gal. tank. Never got the can off the rack. We have been back to the area several times with our '01 Tj Sport and never was concerned about running out of gas. At home in Wyoming we fill the tank as we leave town.
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Old 05-04-2013, 04:53 AM   #30
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A different approach

I have had some time to think this one through a bit more and here is my suggested plan for you.

With the money you would use for the hard top,

1) buy wife a tablet pc (iPad, etc)
2) buy wife some Dr. Dre headphones to go with the tablet (download both of your favorite tunes, games and apps
3) load up Jeep day of trip
4) take wife to favorite Italian food restaraunt the evening you are to leave (Macaroni Grill, Olive Garden, etc)
5) make sure wife orders LOTS of carbs (bread and pasta), you go light with fish, chicken and very easy on the carbs
6) leave for Colorado after dinner and head out as the sun is setting
7) make sure wife is strapped in with her favorite pillow and leaning on roll bar for support as she passes out when her blood sugar drops like a rock when the pancreas kicks in to offset the jump in blood sugar from the carbs
8) drive all night through N Tx and into Colorado before she wakes up
9) your all night drive is enhanced by the new lighting you added to the Jeep from what was left over in funds ( the difference between the cost of a hardtop and the iPad)
10) you arrive the next morning, check into the hotel after breakfast and hit the rack for a few hours
11) go out drop the top and head to the mountains and take on the trails
12) you now have a new iPad for hitting all the trail sights and directions at your fingertips
12) there are still $$ left over for other mods that will make the trip more enjoyable, SiriusXM radio; binoculars, definitely a BL, winch; new bumpers, wheels, tires, etc..
13) repeat the high carb meal for the drive home, if not, at least she has an iPad and some noise cancelling earphones to make the trip bearable.

Dana

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