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Old 02-18-2014, 05:30 PM   #1
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Drooartz’s Efficient Exploration Jeep

The Concept: Building the efficient exploration Jeep

I find that the older I get -- 41 as of this post -- the less interested I am in compromise with something I am passionate about. There is a small group of things I use for my passions: musical instruments, hiking and camping gear, vehicles. These need to be made by people who take pride in what they do. They need to be precisely complete as well -- everything needed, nothing extra. That's my definition of efficient.

So when I decided to get a Jeep for myself there was no question in my mind that I would need to order it. So last Wednesday (Feb 12, 2014) I put in the order for a Jeep done my way. Here’s what I’m getting:
  • 2014 Jeep Wrangler Sport S 2-dr
  • Anvil
  • 6-sp manual
  • Hardtop
  • 3.73 gears
  • Trac-Lok anti-spin rear differential
  • Trailer tow group
  • Connectivity group
  • Satellite radio
This is not going to be a normal build thread, as there will be no major mechanical modifications. No lift, no larger tires. What I will do is document why I chose the options I did, how those choices pan out, and what other little things I do here and there to make the Jeep just right for me.

Hopefully this will be interesting to y’all and maybe even helpful to folks who are not going full-mod on their Jeeps. Besides, this gives me something to do while I wait for my Jeep to be built.

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Old 02-18-2014, 05:44 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drooartz View Post
The Concept: Building the efficient exploration Jeep

I find that the older I get -- 41 as of this post -- the less interested I am in compromise with something I am passionate about. There is a small group of things I use for my passions: musical instruments, hiking and camping gear, vehicles. These need to be made by people who take pride in what they do. They need to be precisely complete as well -- everything needed, nothing extra. That's my definition of efficient.

So when I decided to get a Jeep for myself there was no question in my mind that I would need to order it. So last Wednesday (Feb 12, 2014) I put in the order for a Jeep done my way. Here’s what I’m getting:
  • 2014 Jeep Wrangler Sport S 2-dr
  • Anvil
  • 6-sp manual
  • Hardtop
  • 3.73 gears
  • Trac-Lok anti-spin rear differential
  • Trailer tow group
  • Connectivity group
  • Satellite radio
This is not going to be a normal build thread, as there will be no major mechanical modifications. No lift, no larger tires. What I will do is document why I chose the options I did, how those choices pan out, and what other little things I do here and there to make the Jeep just right for me.

Hopefully this will be interesting to y’all and maybe even helpful to folks who are not going full-mod on their Jeeps. Besides, this gives me something to do while I wait for my Jeep to be built.
hate to burst your bubble but from one "passionate about my hobbies" person to you I will say I thought the same thing but once you get your wrangler you will find a new height of passion and first comes bigger tires and then lift then bigger tires then bigger lift and on and on.

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Old 02-18-2014, 06:09 PM   #3
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hate to burst your bubble but from one "passionate about my hobbies" person to you I will say I thought the same thing but once you get your wrangler you will find a new height of passion and first comes bigger tires and then lift then bigger tires then bigger lift and on and on.
I am certainly not so naive that I don't realize that I'll be tempted.

Still, I'm not a rock crawler -- more of an explorer. My perfect long weekend escape is wandering around the southern Utah desert checking out all the old roads and getting in some great hikes. Reasonably Jeep handles that just fine.

I never say never, though...
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Old 02-18-2014, 06:14 PM   #4
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I am certainly not so naive that I don't realize that I'll be tempted.

Still, I'm not a rock crawler -- more of an explorer. My perfect long weekend escape is wandering around the southern Utah desert checking out all the old roads and getting in some great hikes. Reasonably Jeep handles that just fine.

I never say never, though...
yup I was too once just like you lol. trust me if you live in Utah you will get bit harder then most because you have such good off roading close by. You have about as much of a chance of a not going bigger tires and a lift living in Utah as a crack head has of turning a baggie of crack into the local lost and found at the police station.
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Old 02-19-2014, 12:19 AM   #5
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My wife wanted a daily driver jeep...
Since she got the Freedom edition and she had everything she needed on that model we didn't need all the "crap" on that Rubicon or Moab version setting on the show room floor. That was six months ago.....

HHHHAAAAAAAA!!!!! Now we have a map in the living room with every jeep jamboree trail on it in the country, and she says we should be able to make at least one of the trails per quarter with some less famous ones in between.

Now Im trying to pick out the right set of 4.56 gears to add to all the other mods.....Probably a Eaton with the rear install. Would have added a locker to the front but will have to wait till we get the dough to install a TF Dana 44 to the front.

Welcome to our world...good luck with staying "just an Explorer" HA HA HA
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Old 02-19-2014, 10:32 AM   #6
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I certainly reserve the right to change my mind and my plans.

That's the advantage of a Jeep, easy enough to make modifications later on if the bug bites. I'm safe for at least a couple years as I'm currently doing a ground-up restoration on my Bugeye Sprite -- and that will suck up pretty much all my time and money.
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Old 02-19-2014, 11:51 AM   #7
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I certainly reserve the right to change my mind and my plans.

That's the advantage of a Jeep, easy enough to make modifications later on if the bug bites. I'm safe for at least a couple years as I'm currently doing a ground-up restoration on my Bugeye Sprite -- and that will suck up pretty much all my time and money.
resistance is futile, you will have that Bugeye Sprite covered in the corner never to see light of day, until someone answer your for sale ad. I will say no more and won't even say I told you so lol.
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Old 02-19-2014, 12:03 PM   #8
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resistance is futile, you will have that Bugeye Sprite covered in the corner never to see light of day, until someone answer your for sale ad. I will say no more and won't even say I told you so lol.
I think I'm pretty safe on that one. The little Bugeye is a very special car for me, not going anywhere..
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Old 02-19-2014, 12:05 PM   #9
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I just recently watched a overhaul of a bugeye spryte on wheeler dealers or one of those shows. Pretty cool.
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Old 02-19-2014, 12:54 PM   #10
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I just recently watched a overhaul of a bugeye spryte on wheeler dealers or one of those shows. Pretty cool.
They're fun little cars. Silly things, really, but my favorite old car and the one I have is particularly special for me -- it's RHD (originally sold in Cornwall, UK) and will get a full restore and some key mods to make it a bit quicker.

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Old 02-19-2014, 01:22 PM   #11
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The Need: What my Jeep will be doing

The Need: What my Jeep will be doing

Any successful project starts with a clear understanding of the end goal. I thought quite a bit about what I do and don't want to do with my Jeep, and this guided the choice I made to buy what I did.

My Jeep needs to be a multi-purpose tool. It will be my daily driver for a number of years; it needs to be able to carry my gear to gigs (including an upright bass); it needs to be able to get me to camping and hiking spots off the beaten path; it needs to make me smile.

In the spring of 2013 I took a 4-day solo camping trip down in southern Utah that was one of the best trips I've ever been on. I took the Isuzu Rodeo Sport we owned at the time and spent four days exploring the desert, looking for camping spots for future trips. Was so nice to be able to unplug and just wander around. This is the capability I wanted in my Jeep. Rough enough roads to need the clearance and 4x4 in places, but nothing too technical.

While I think serious rock crawling is very cool, it's not where my interest is. My off road driving is more about exploring around and finding great hiking areas than it is about the driving itself. That Rodeo Sport was bone stock on pretty mild tires and got me everywhere I wanted to get to. The Jeep should be even more capable out of the box. I also tend to do this alone, so I shy away from the more challenging terrain.
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Old 02-19-2014, 01:42 PM   #12
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Im interested in watching how this thread pans out.
Enjoy the Jeep the way you want to.

Have fun

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The Need: What my Jeep will be doing

Any successful project starts with a clear understanding of the end goal. I thought quite a bit about what I do and don't want to do with my Jeep, and this guided the choice I made to buy what I did.

My Jeep needs to be a multi-purpose tool. It will be my daily driver for a number of years; it needs to be able to carry my gear to gigs (including an upright bass); it needs to be able to get me to camping and hiking spots off the beaten path; it needs to make me smile.

In the spring of 2013 I took a 4-day solo camping trip down in southern Utah that was one of the best trips I've ever been on. I took the Isuzu Rodeo Sport we owned at the time and spent four days exploring the desert, looking for camping spots for future trips. Was so nice to be able to unplug and just wander around. This is the capability I wanted in my Jeep. Rough enough roads to need the clearance and 4x4 in places, but nothing too technical.

While I think serious rock crawling is very cool, it's not where my interest is. My off road driving is more about exploring around and finding great hiking areas than it is about the driving itself. That Rodeo Sport was bone stock on pretty mild tires and got me everywhere I wanted to get to. The Jeep should be even more capable out of the box. I also tend to do this alone, so I shy away from the more challenging terrain.
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Old 02-19-2014, 01:45 PM   #13
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This thread might be of use.

Congrats on the jeep!!
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Old 02-19-2014, 08:42 PM   #14
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Congrats on the Jeep. I am doing a similar thing with my Rubicon. I will be adding to and modifying mine as an expedition rig. As you, I do not see any major lift or large tires in the future, but who knows. Good luck with your build. Enjoy it as you want!!
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Old 02-19-2014, 08:56 PM   #15
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Im interested in watching how this thread pans out.
Enjoy the Jeep the way you want to.
Thanks, I'm sure I will!

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This thread might be of use.

Congrats on the jeep!!
Thanks for that link. Very interesting thread; I'll be watching it for ideas.

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Congrats on the Jeep. I am doing a similar thing with my Rubicon. I will be adding to and modifying mine as an expedition rig. As you, I do not see any major lift or large tires in the future, but who knows. Good luck with your build. Enjoy it as you want!!
Thanks, and good luck with your Jeep as well. For now I just need to get more practice with the waiting game.
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Old 02-22-2014, 01:05 PM   #16
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The Jeep: Choosing the unchangeable

One of the things that make a Jeep purchase a bit easier on the nerves is that just about everything can be changed afterwards. Gears, lift, tires, wheels, tops, bumpers, axles, and more all can be swapped if your needs or wants go in a different direction later on. There are, however, two things that you must choose up front and live with: the number of doors and the type of transmission.

My choice was a 2-door with a manual transmission.

I knew the 2-door was the one for me the first time I tried to load my upright bass in our current 2-door JK and it fit. Just fit, to be honest, but that's good enough for me. With no kids or dogs to schlep I just don't need the extra space (and cost) of the 4-door. I still camp in a tent with pretty minimal gear, and there's plenty of space in the back once the seat is pulled. Besides, the 2-door reminds me of much that I used to love about my old FJ40 Land Cruiser with enough modern improvements to be more liveable day to day.

As for the transmission, the whole reason I bought my own Jeep was to be able to drive a manual transmission every day. Every time I drive my wife's auto JK I find myself wishing for the engagement you get with a manual. The auto works just fine, it's just not fun at all for me -- and my Jeep is all about enjoying driving on a daily basis.

Okay, there is a third unchangeable. I chose the Anvil color because I liked it.
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Old 03-11-2014, 02:23 PM   #17
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The Jeep: The greasy bits

Time to continue exploring why I bought what I did -- not much else to write about until my Jeep is built and delivered anyways. I put a bunch of thought into the specs of the Jeep I bought, trying to set it up to be ready for how I'll use it without needing to do any further modifications (which is not the same as WANTING more mods ).

My choices for mechanical bits were a Sport S with 3.73 gears, factory anti-spin (limited slip or LSD) rear differential, and the factory tow package.

I never really considered anything other than the Sport S. The S package gives wheels I can live with and a decent sized tire and is necessary in order to get some other options (such as the factory LSD). While the Rubicon is a very cool factory setup, it's overkill for my usage and would be worse for me on a daily basis. My Jeep will be a daily driver so gas mileage does matter to me -- the Rubi's lower gearing and heavier tires, while great off road, are no benefit driving to work every day. Sport S over Rubicon saved me about $5000 as well, which buys a lot of gas for getting out and adventuring.

I debated the gearing long and hard, way longer than necessary (obsess much, me?). We currently have a stock '13 JK auto with 3.21 gears and it is just fine even here in the Utah mountains. The manual transmission has higher (and lower) gears than the auto, and the more I though about it, the more I decided that the slightly lower 3.73 gears would be a good compromise for me. A bit lower crawl speeds off road, bit better for towing, all hopefully at a small MPG penalty. Time will tell.

The factory rear limited slip was a no-brainer for me. Yes, lockers can do more. Yes, there are far better LSD options out there. However, the factory LSD is cheap and should provide some more traction than an open diff -- and it's included in the purchase price, nothing else to do. Given I've only ever had open diffs before it'll be an improvement.

The nice thing with these choices is that they are all changeable (even if not cheaply). Axles, gears, traction devices, wheels, tires, all can be upgraded later if there is a need. I really don't expect to upgrade any of these choices given how I'll be using the Jeep, but it is nice to know it could be done.
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Old 03-24-2014, 02:07 PM   #18
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The clean bits

I'll wrap up my notes on my Jeep's spec with a brief look at the non-greasy bits. I specified my Jeep with a hardtop, connectivity group, and the base radio with satellite radio.

This Jeep is my daily driver, and needs to be able to do everything I do with my current car -- which means the obvious of getting to work in any weather, as well as hauling my gear to gigs in the evenings (I'm a musician too). Never even considered the soft top, as I need at least some level of security when I have my instruments in the Jeep. If at some point the Jeep gets retired to fun-only duty I can swap to a soft top. Don't expect that to be for a number of years, and the Freedom panels work pretty well if I really want a top-off experience.

Our current Jeep has the same radio/satellite/bluetooth setup, and it really works well. The EVIC only comes with the connectivity group, and I do like having the individual tire pressures and the other little bits you get -- and the 2014 will have a few additional gauges available in the menus too, which is nice. Had my first satellite radio on my current car -- came with a short trial. Didn't figure I'd keep it, but I've grown really used to the nice range of tunes that are available.

So that's my Jeep. Set up from the factory just the way I want it. As I type this (Monday, March 24, 2014) my Jeep is sitting at the rail yard in Utah waiting a truck to take it to my dealer. If I can bring it home this week it will have been a 6-week order period, not too bad.
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Old 03-24-2014, 07:27 PM   #19
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It's your Jeep, it's your money, enjoy it..............and welcome to the addiction
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Old 03-24-2014, 07:50 PM   #20
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It's your Jeep, it's your money, enjoy it..............and welcome to the addiction
Thanks. I certainly don't mean to sound defensive -- just thought it might be interesting for someone to see how I arrived at the decisions I did.

Besides, it helped to pass the time while I've been waiting for the Jeep to arrive!
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Old 03-24-2014, 09:38 PM   #21
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Thanks. I certainly don't mean to sound defensive -- just thought it might be interesting for someone to see how I arrived at the decisions I did. Besides, it helped to pass the time while I've been waiting for the Jeep to arrive!
Congratulations on living in Utah. What an awesome place for wheeling and camping. I like your choices for ordering your Jeep. I think you will be very happy and it will serve you well for all of the specific purposes and reasonings you've outlined. Jeeps are truly awesome sport utility vehicles with all the available options for customization. I went round and round with the dealer (and discussed all the options till I was blue in the face) trying to make the same decisions for all of my reasons to special order my perfect Jeep. When I sat down to fill out the order sheet, the sales guys said it would be 8-10 weeks till ready. I responded to that with, "find me a billet silver Jeep with every single possible factory option and I'll buy it". One week later he found a loaded Rubicon in Denver and shipped it to Fort Worth. Two days later I'm driving my Jeep and couldn't be happier. Just couldn't wait.

Welcome to the addiction.
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Old 03-24-2014, 09:49 PM   #22
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Whereabouts in southern Utah? I live in Houston now, but have a place and a little acreage near Kanab. I look forward to moving out there full time within the next five years (fingers crossed)!
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Old 03-24-2014, 10:18 PM   #23
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Congratulations on living in Utah. What an awesome place for wheeling and camping. I like your choices for ordering your Jeep. I think you will be very happy and it will serve you well for all of the specific purposes and reasonings you've outlined.
Thanks! Utah is an odd place sometimes, but the outdoor access is incredible. Should be able to make my first foray south in late April if all goes well. Spend a few days exploring the old mining roads and camping.

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Whereabouts in southern Utah?
I live up near Salt Lake City, but get down into southern and central Utah whenever I get a chance. Most of my time is spend on the San Raphael Swell and Capitol Reef -- amazing places to wander and explore, and only a couple hours from my home. Will eventually do more exploring down near your area in Kanab/Zion, lots of great terrain to hike and check out.
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Old 03-24-2014, 10:20 PM   #24
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I do have my first (and for now only) mod ready to go... SickSpeed shift knobs. Now I just need the Jeep to go under them. If I'm honest, they were ordered before I even ordered the Jeep...

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Old 03-24-2014, 10:51 PM   #25
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I have the same Sick Speed shift knobs on my Jeep and love them.
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Old 03-25-2014, 08:16 AM   #26
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I have the same Sick Speed shift knobs on my Jeep and love them.
When I saw that they were available I just had to. Much more my style -- I'm not a huge fan of the stock ones on my wife's '13 JK.
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Old 03-25-2014, 07:45 PM   #27
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I live up near Salt Lake City, but get down into southern and central Utah whenever I get a chance. Most of my time is spend on the San Raphael Swell and Capitol Reef -- amazing places to wander and explore, and only a couple hours from my home. Will eventually do more exploring down near your area in Kanab/Zion, lots of great terrain to hike and check out.
Cool cool I live in Richfield in central UT not far from Capitol Reef.
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Old 03-25-2014, 09:23 PM   #28
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Cool cool I live in Richfield in central UT not far from Capitol Reef.
Very nice part of the world, been through there a number of times.
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Old 03-25-2014, 10:21 PM   #29
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Congrats on your new wrangler. Wranglers are pretty capable out of the box. A good A/T tire goes a long way.
I actually like to do a little of both expedition and some rock crawling. Expedition is nice because you're not beating the crap out of your jeep, but you're out on the trails with maybe a few challenges and great Utah scenery.
My wife and I love to backpack and jeep camp.
PM me if you ever want another jeep to tag along. We're up in Eden (up by Ogden).
There's a guy on JeepForum planning a 3 day jeeping/camping trip to castle country area and goblin valley the weekend May 16, 17, 18 if that would interest you, you'd be more than welcome to come along. We did a 2 day trip with him to white rocks and had a great time.
We did a San Raphael swell trip in Sept with the Ogden wheelers club and what a great place to explore. Some easy and some pretty challenging rocky trails. Definitely heading back down there in the future.
Here's a pic from that trip.
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Old 03-27-2014, 09:41 AM   #30
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Congrats on your new wrangler. Wranglers are pretty capable out of the box. A good A/T tire goes a long way.
I actually like to do a little of both expedition and some rock crawling. Expedition is nice because you're not beating the crap out of your jeep, but you're out on the trails with maybe a few challenges and great Utah scenery.
My wife and I love to backpack and jeep camp.
PM me if you ever want another jeep to tag along. We're up in Eden (up by Ogden).
Thanks, and thanks for the trip info. That's a great part of Utah. Won't be able to make that trip, but I'll be in touch if I'm looking for some folks to travel with.

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