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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I am currently on the tail end of a trip that all started from Houston, TX on Saturday, June 26. To date we have visited the following locations

1. Ouray, CO (Imogene, Ophir, Engineer)
2. Moab, UT (Top of the World, Fins and Things, Bartlett Overlook, Seven Mile Rim)
3. Santa Fe, NM
4. Las Cruces, NM (Dona Ana)


The original plan was for my Stepfather to fly into town on June 25 and we'd head out for Ouray, Moab, Bryce, and the Grand Canyon and return to Houston by July 3. It was supposed to be a quick trip to a variety of locations to see which we liked most.

As some of you may noticed from my other thread I was hoping to have a storage system with a Tembo Tuck Load Spotter (drop down fridge slide) finished in time for the Journey. When my stepfather flew in on Friday June 25 we spent the afternoon trying to finish up the majority of the storage system, but as the afternoon turned into night I realized that it would take at least another day or two to finish up.

Rather than delay our trip any longer I decided to pack up the FJ and head out on Saturday morning for our first destination - Ouray, CO.



Ouray, CO (6/27-6/28)
We left Houston, TX around 10am and drove through the night arriving at Ouray, CO around 3am Mountain Time. We pulled off main street on one of the side roads to grab a few hours of sleep before the rest of the town woke up. We grabbed some breakfast at the Beaumont Hotel (Tundra Bistro) before heading out to the trails on Sunday (I highly recommend the breakfast burrito for those who might stop by the hotel during the summit).


Imogene Pass

The first trail we tackeled Sunday was Imogene which takes you from Ouray, CO to Telluride, CO. My Stepfather had always wanted to visit Telluride so I thought this trip offered the perfect opportunity and it was the driving reason behind inviting him on the trip.

We took the longest route possible, rather than taking the shortcut across camp bird mine. However, we did swing down by the mine to take some pictures of the view. When we went through there happened to be a local 4x4 club out of Montrose who was putting up fencing which appeared to be torn down. We spoke with them and later one of the individuals who was responsible for opening the shortcut. Apparently the homes had been vandalized and the windows were all broken. Also the rear portion on one of the houses caved in due to snow. All in all it sounded quite likely that the shortcut would get shut down due to the damage that had been done. Hopefully they will be able to keep it open none the less.


As far as the trail goes - the first portion (if you don't take the shortcut) was still pretty wet, but fun to drive none the less. As you travel to the top you will go between snow banks taller than the FJ. There is only really one location I'd call somewhat technical - a fairly steep hill which allows you to get a wheel off the ground before reaching the top. There is an easier approach to the hill for those who'd like a more straight forward path. You don't have to do the exact route I did.


The view from the top is amazing. For those attending the summit and planning to do this trail you will love it. As you descend onto the other side of the mountain you'll will pass through a couple of mining areas. You could also see an area where people would drop in and ski from (at least I think thats what it was).

























After the mining areas you will drop into the town of Telluride. It was an cool area, but much more commercialized than Ouray appeared to be. Quite an interesting transformation when you look at the history of Telluride.


To return to Ouray you had two offroad options. Last Dollar Road or Ophir Pass. We decided on Ophir.



Ophir Pass

Ophir was a interesting trail as the terrain was substantially different from Imogene. Mainly it appeared to be made up of more loose rock than anything. It made for a bit bumpier (sp?) ride than Imogene, but offered some great scenery. We tried to find a nice location to camp on one of the offshoots of this trail, but after following one road for quite some time I couldn't determine where it would bring us out and we hadn't seen a suitable camping spot. Thus we decided to move forward and try do a portion of Engineer to find a nice camping spot.




Engineer Pass

Once back in Ouray we started the first portion of Alpine Loop which is Engineer Pass. It was probably the most difficult out of the three trails but still something that a stock FJ could probably due without much help. There were a few 12" steps along the route. I really enjoyed the trail overall and it led us to a great camping spot where it meets up with Poughkeepsie Gulch. I highly recommend anyone who is camping to try and capitalize on this location. There is a nice little wallfall/creek in the area and probably 3 camping spots. It had been reported that Poughkeepsie Gulch was closed, but I the trail appeared to be open from the end we were at. It is recommend to exit into Engineers, but we debated about trying the trail from our location. However, we decided to head back down Engineer the following day since Poughkeepsie would take us further away from our next point of interest and make for a longer day trip.






Next up was Moab

(Also - I do have a DeLorme GPS log of most of the trails, noted throughout this thread should any want it)
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Moab (6/28-6/30)

We took the short trip from Ouray, CO over to Moab, UT. Before I get into the specifics on the trails - I just wanted to recommend that anyone who can tie a trip to Moab into their FJ Summit/Ouray excursion definitely do so. It is amazing to see how the terrain changes before your eyes moving between Ouray and Moab.

We left Ouray mid day on the 28th and arrived in the late afternoon in Moab. This gave us time to swing by the visitors center to gather some additional information on the trails. For anyone who has not done any of the trails in Moab I recommend picking up the "Guid to Moab, UT Backroads & 4-Wheel Drive Trails" by Chrarles Wells. If you don't pick it up before hand you can grab it at the visitors center. This guide is an excellent tool for helping you find and stay on the appropriate trail. I was surprised at how many trails crossed one way or another and without this book (or a guide who had done the trail before) each trail would have taken at least an hour longer if not more. I also recommend a solid GPS with Lat/Long readouts. For this trip I used a DeLorme PN-40 coupled with Topo USA run a Fujitsu Multi-Touch Convertible Notebook. This allowed me to easily keep track of where we were on the trail with respect to where we had been. It also allowed me to verify our location via GPS waypoints provided on the Moab Guide Book.


Before heading to find a primitive camping spot, we swung by the Moab Brewery. Great food and great beer - it is definitely worth a stop - the locals recommended it over the place in town - McStiffs or something I believe?


For our camping spot that night we tried to find something up in the mountains which was fairly cool vs. the heat we were seeing in Moab. We went up La Sal road and took Brumley trail/rd until we found a potential site. The trail follow what I believe was Brumley creek. It eventually necks down to the point which makes it difficult for the FJ to fit through, but there is a nice camping spot off to the right where it necks down. Unfortunately we soon learned that this camping spot was filled with some type of aggressive ant. Those little buggers would nip away at you and crawl all over the FJ & get inside even if you were no where near their mound. This resulted in us back tracking towards the main road. We ended up camping maybe 5 minutes off the main road where there was a nice open section on Brumley Trail. Anyone camping in the area this time of year I'd highly recommend heading for the mountains. The following night we camped along the Colorado in a camp ground - it was the worst camping experience we had on the trip. Hot - noisy (right along the road and next to other campers) and the RTT continuously would fill with smoke from someones camp fire. Even though you were along the beautiful Colorado River it really took away from the experience.




Top of World




Top the World is quite aways out of town, but well worth the drive when you see the view from the top. All in all it takes about 3 hours or so to do the trail from the trail head. Probably closer to 4.5 hours between travel from and back to Moab. From what I had heard this trail was supposed to be fairly easy and straight forward. This is true for the most part in that there is an easy path/route up most of the trail. However, there are some 12"-24" shelfs with somewhat steep rock climbs if you decide on the most difficult path. The trail splits in two as you approach the top. I took the route to the right. If you go left you will have a few more steep shelves to go up. Once at the top it was a great opportunity to see the view and take a few photos with the FJ. We returned down the opposite trail (basically made a loop) and dropped down the shelves on the other path.

We had a few rented jeeps bomb by us on our way back down. I wonder how often they had to be repaired as the guys were probably doing close to 15mph down a fairly rocky trail. Obviously no need to risk breaking anything on our way back down, so we took it nice and slow droping down any of the ledges.























Fins and Things



After Top of the World we went back towards Moab and then up to Fins and Things. This trail was probably one of my favorites on the trip (this and Seven Mile Rim). It is an intersting trail with lots of ups and downs offering quite a few off camber and tippy areas. I definitely recommend airing down for this trail to get a bit more traction. The trail starts off with a few inclines and then your option of 3 different +35 degree drops. Pick your poison. The book said the first drop is the easiest, but you could have fooled me - they all looked like a pretty nice decline. We went down the middle of the three.

Eventually on the first portion you will come up to "The Wall" which is a fairly technical and steep climb in which you have to pick the right route to make it up. When I approached it there had been a Jeep that had been trying for several minutes to make it up. He backed off to air down, so I gave it a shot. On the first try I had the right line, but didn't give it enough gas to get up and over the rocks. I gave it another run and instead of depending on lefty to crawl right up I gave it a bit more pedal on the portion I got stuck the first time. The Jeep took the same path and ended up making it up as well - Another jeep had also joined by that point and made it up the lft side as well. Seemed like everyone had quite a bit of success traversing the left side of this obstacle.

It was nice to see a heavily weighted FJ (RTT, Full Skids, Fridge, all the camping gear and expedition equipment) keeping up with some of the Jeeps who had larger tiers and more clearance. Made me real happy with my build since I was aiming for a fusion of an expedition rig & offroad crawler.

The trail then dumps you out by some camp grounds and you have to cross the main road and catch the trail again on the opposite side. You'll go down a nice size decline and go through a variety of terrain - sand, rocks, fins etc. You'll continue through various inclines, steps, and declines with a few tippy areas here and there.

Overall an excellent trail to take the FJ on.



















Bartlett Overlook





Bartlett Overlook was more a scenery trip than technical offroading. It leads to a great overllok of the canyon and there is really only one portion of this trail which would offer any 4X4 a challenge - which was one decent size step. The view was awesome, but I don't know that I'd really care to do this trail a second time.










Seven Mile Rim​




This trail ranked right up there with Fins and Things for me. I should note again that I highly recommend a GPS for any of these trails. Even with the guide book it was difficult to find the correct turns/trails to take without reverting to GPS coordinates. Some of the trail is marked well, but other portions are not.

This trail again takes you across all types of terrain from sand to slick rock. off camber to ledges to various tippy spots - it was exciting and enjoyable from start to finish. Definitely swing by Uranium Arch and follow the trail out to more slick rock. Eventually you'll go through some sand dunes and come upon Determination Towers which are a great site. The trail was one of the more complete trails I've ever been on as far as terrain and different obstacles. A great trip all around and one that most FJs should be able to make without any issue. There were only one or two difficult ledges where it would help to have 33" tires, but I think there were bypass for both. I would have loved to have done wipeout hill, but I didn't want to risk it since there wasn't anyone else around should I get into trouble - nor was there anything other than boulders to winch to.

I highly recommend trying this trail if you are in Moab at any point.














(To Be Continued - Santa Fe and Las Cruces)
 

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That is Awesome! Cant wait to hit Moab...thanks for the update.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Santa Fe, NM

After Moab we had hoped to go to Bryce & Zion and then down to the Grand Canyon. We'd head back to Houston after our stop at the Grand Canyon in AZ. Before leaving Moab we evaluated our plans vs. going back through Durango, CO and to Santa Fe, NM and onto Las Cruces.

Since Bryce & the Grand Canyon would take us another couple of days to get through and require a longer drive back to Houston we decided to do the New Mexico option instead.

We mostly saw sights and swung by REI in Santa Fe. I'll have to look on one of the other cameras to find pictures of Santa Fe.


Las Cruces, NM

We stayed in Santa Fe for about a half day and then set out for Las Cruces to do the Dona Ana trail. We got to the area late that night and camped in Radium Springs State Park. Not a bad little camp ground - showers, bathrooms, etc. Had I known that there was camping on the trail we probably would have ventured out and done more primative camping.


We set out in search of the Dona Ana trail the next morning.



Dona Ana




First - I was amazed at the amount of trails in what appeared to be a fairly small area. I knew there were a few trails in the location we were going to, but I was surprised by how many different trails shot off all around us.

Second - The multitude of trails made it extremely difficult to find the right turnoffs which makeup the Dona Ana trail. There are no signs on any of these trails and all I had were GPS coordinates for various waypoints/turns. Even with a solid mapping program it proved difficult to identify the right turnoffs and we more or less just meandered through various trails - but in the end we did end up on Dona Ana.

It was a really cool trail which takes you through various sandy washouts in the desert up in the hills which provide a nice tippy aspect to the trail. The hills reminded me a bit of our last stop in Moab. There were quite a few of steep climbs and also a few off camber situations as well. A really nice trail if you are able to find it. Unfortunately I didn't take many pictures once we actually ended up on the trail - most are from the washouts we were driving through.














 

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Thanks for posting your trip report. I really enjoyed reading it.

We did a similar route a couple of days behind you and took our stock 2010 FJ on Fins N Things and Hell's Revenge without even airing down. I've driving most of the trails in Moab several times in my modified Land Rover over the past 10 years, but taking a stock FJ on the trails was so much fun! I only suffered some scratches on the front bumper and rear tow hitch. Amazing vehicle!
 

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[B said:
Engineer Pass[/B]

Once back in Ouray we started the first portion of Alpine Loop which is Engineer Pass. It was probably the most difficult out of the three trails but still something that a stock FJ could probably due without much help. There were a few 12" steps along the route. I really enjoyed the trail overall and it led us to a great camping spot where it meets up with Poughkeepsie Gulch. I highly recommend anyone who is camping to try and capitalize on this location. There is a nice little wallfall/creek in the area and probably 3 camping spots. It had been reported that Poughkeepsie Gulch was closed, but I the trail appeared to be open from the end we were at. It is recommend to exit into Engineers, but we debated about trying the trail from our location. However, we decided to head back down Engineer the following day since Poughkeepsie would take us further away from our next point of interest and make for a longer day trip.






Next up was Moab

(Also - I do have a DeLorme GPS log of most of the trails, noted throughout this thread should any want it)
How do you like the ARB Simpson tent with the Gobi rack - anything you'd do over or change?

I've got the Gobi and I'm looking at the ARB Simpson 3 but I've also contemplated selling the Gobi and going with the Maggiolina and Baja like Corey's rig.

How is it setting up and using - any issues?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Good question. Corey's new baja rack setup is pretty cool and baja rack does make a great product.


The ARB tent is definitely nice and easy to setup. I'm sure the magnollia is nicer, but the cost also reflects that. I paid under $900 for the ARB III tent. It can be setup in about 5 minutes and is simple enough to do on your own and even faster with a second person. There is plenty of room inside for at least 2 people and you could probably fit a kid in there as well. The pad inside is definitely comfortable. There are plenty of storage pockets inside and we pretty much left our sleeping bags blankets and what not inside.

The only real knock I have is that the metal hooks which create the openings/awnings for the windows can sometimes be a pain to put in. The one of the front required me to get up on the hood a couple times as they two metal hooks just didn't want to stay in.

We used it in some very windy situations on our trip and the tent held strong. I can still use the rear portion of the roof rack if I need to. I also like the astetics and robustness of the gobi when compared to the baja rack as well, but thats just my opinion.


Overall I am very happy with the Gobi & ARB setup. If you camp a considerable amount then its a great option. I should also mention that I take my tent off after each trip as well and its easy to do with two people.


The only reason I'd switch over to something like Coownry's cool setup would be if the FJ were lifited +6" to try and keep the CG low or if I planned on leaving the RTT on all the time so that I could still fit in most parking garages.
 

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Great post! I love the trail reviews and your photographs. I need to plan another trip back to that area. You are so correct about the changes in terrain between Moab and Ouray. You just don't get those dramatic environmental differences or the feeling of vastness, here in the east. There is something about the geology that comes alive out there. Thanks again for the great reminder.
 

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Good question. Corey's new baja rack setup is pretty cool and baja rack does make a great product.


The ARB tent is definitely nice and easy to setup. I'm sure the magnollia is nicer, but the cost also reflects that. I paid under $900 for the ARB III tent. It can be setup in about 5 minutes and is simple enough to do on your own and even faster with a second person. There is plenty of room inside for at least 2 people and you could probably fit a kid in there as well. The pad inside is definitely comfortable. There are plenty of storage pockets inside and we pretty much left our sleeping bags blankets and what not inside.

The only real knock I have is that the metal hooks which create the openings/awnings for the windows can sometimes be a pain to put in. The one of the front required me to get up on the hood a couple times as they two metal hooks just didn't want to stay in.

We used it in some very windy situations on our trip and the tent held strong. I can still use the rear portion of the roof rack if I need to. I also like the astetics and robustness of the gobi when compared to the baja rack as well, but thats just my opinion.


Overall I am very happy with the Gobi & ARB setup. If you camp a considerable amount then its a great option. I should also mention that I take my tent off after each trip as well and its easy to do with two people.


The only reason I'd switch over to something like Coownry's cool setup would be if the FJ were lifited +6" to try and keep the CG low or if I planned on leaving the RTT on all the time so that I could still fit in most parking garages.
Thanks for the response - it is much appreciated!

A few more questions for you...

Is it possible to setup the tent so that the flooring opens up over the hood and the ladder sits directly in front of the bumper? From the pics, I cannot tell if it's long enough.

Also, is the ladder the primary support for the floor? Just thinking what might happen if the ladder slipped and the whole thing came crashing down. :mecry:

I'm going to go this route because I don't want to leave it on all the time and like the idea of having a little rack space left over for a few items not including the cost of the Maggiolina - just more than I'd like to spend.

Oh, what length Fiamma did you go with and where did you purchase - your setup looks perfect. My rig is going to end up looking like yours. :cheers:
 

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Beautiful pics Amigo, and some nice runs! Well Done. Thanks for posting all of the details.
 
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