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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So I had never had my shiny new FJ Trail Teams off road until this past weekend. ...well, I did a little tooling around in Gorman OHV, but nothing serious. So I met up with a buddy from work in his Jeep Rubicon Limited, along with his friends Jeff (FJ40), Dion (Hummer H1) and Brian (4 Runner) and together, we headed for Laughlin.

Along the way, we stopped to pick up one of their wheeling buddies, Roger, whose vintage Bronco was in the shop. We gassed up at the Indian reservation, found the trail head, aired down, and were on our way. We did take our time getting to Laughlin, so didn't really begin the Mojave Trail until around 2pm.

Here is my TT prior to the trip. Very, very stock. :)



Here we are airing down near the beginning of the trail, we couldn't find our way to the river for the very beginning, this is a mile or so inland.



And a couple shots of Jeff's SWEET rig:





Video:
FJ Mojave Trail 02 on Vimeo

We were now officially on our way. For the first several miles I was content to sit in the middle of the pack, following my buddy Derek and his Jeep.



Here's a shot of Derek along with his rig ...he is not a small guy! :)



Likewise, here is Dion with his H1, the sides of which are thoroughly pinstriped, a sign of his willingness to really use his Hummer.



Here is Brian and his 4 Runner, the man is fearless, especially considering the very stock nature of his truck.



...and a gratuitous shot of the 2 FJs:



From behind the great width that is the H1, I captured this shot of Dion expertly maneuvering through the Joshua Trees ...he never hit a single tree, often with less than inches to spare on both sides!



And another shot of Derek and his Rubicon in action:



Video:
FJ Mojave Trail 03 on Vimeo

The photos never do the landscape justice, but here is one of many spectacular views from the trail:



I am terrible with remembering names & locations, but we broke for camp at Mid-something campground. It had suffered some fire damage last year, making for some surreal landscape, but it was a great campsite nonetheless.

I didn't know before coming along, but the guys are all avid wine & cheese aficionados, and were happy to share their stash with me. Here is Brian and Roger doling out the goods:



And Jeff preparing the dry rub steaks for the grill. MMmmmmm



As with any camp, there were some great stories, and a good time was had by all.



By morning, it was clear that my FJ was now, officially dirty! ;)



Brian got busy on cooking the 'mess', basically a hobo-skillet of eggs, bacon, onions, potatoes, etc. cooked up in an omelet pan and server in grilled tortillas with cheese and salsa; delicious!!!





Day two began by crossing the valley towards more narrow, fun trails. Here were are gathering ourselves for the day ahead.



And to our left, a view across the valley looking towards the dunes:



...yet another gratuitous shot of the two FJs. ...man I love both of these trucks!!!



Video:
Great Wide Open on Vimeo

...cont.
 

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looks like a great time, man i would love to come back from a ride with just a dusty fj.. glad you enjoyed it..
 

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Discussion Starter #3
We made our way to the Mailbox:



...and explored around a bit. I needed to make sure I captured all the wonderfully quirky items left behind. Like jamming frogs:



As well as sunbathers:



There were gnomes to be photographed as well:



And this little, informative still-life, note the Geo cache that is part of this ensemble:



...apparently it was quite warm out:



At least the desert is still somewhat in bloom:



We pressed on, and what a beautiful day it was for wheeling:



Video:
FJ Mojave Trail 01 on Vimeo

...and of course, another gratuitous shot of the FJs. ;)



We headed across soda lake to deliver our rocks to the rockpile.



Video:
Soda Lake Cruise on Vimeo

A historical site, for those that aren't aware, where...



There are many amusing saying on several of the rocks out there, this was among my favorites:



We pressed on toward Afton Canyon, where we would camp for the night. As it turns out, it is tradition for these guys to camp in the most serene location imaginable here, ...right here:



...did I say serene? ...I meant surreal! ...I always get those two confused. ;) Seriously, if you've never slept beneath a railroad trestle, 14' below a speeding freight train(s) at 1, 3, 5, & 7am ...I highly recommend it! lol It really was pretty cool; yet, somehow, Derek managed to sleep right through it. His snoring could still be heard the moment the trains faded off into the distance.

We struck camp at the crack of 9 or 10am, ready to do a little exploring. Since there was very little trail left for day 3, we knew we had time to screw around a bit;



I shot some flowers with my trusty Sony pocket camera:





Don't be fooled though, you have to keep an eye open for these desert beauties:





Meanwhile, Derek was negotiating his Jeep through a space just slightly narrower than his rig. He managed it without touching a wall, but it was T I G H T !!!





Once through, he just wanted to find a good parking space, so he could walk around and explore:

Bingo!!!



Moving further down the canyon it was time for some fun in the sand wash and splashing through the, soon to be dried up for the season, creek.



And of course, the water crossings :)

Cont...
 

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Discussion Starter #4


Jeff and his FJ40 win this particular contest! lol



Video:
FJ40 Water on Vimeo

The second one, which is always deeper, required a bit more respect,



and it still nearly stole my license plate.

Video:
Water Crossing on Vimeo

Ok, in all fairness, I was going faster than I needed to, I was trying to rinse off my hood!



...this is where Jeff found Kingazteca's autographed Raiders plate, lost during the previous weeks FJ run.



All that remained was a little time to play in the sand drifts.





I should also mention that I felt bad for the other guys. At this point, the weekend was nearly done, as was the trail. Not once in all this time did anyone get a chance to bust out their recover gear, or even hook up a winch. I felt, therefore, that it was the least I could do to high-center the FJ on a small sand dune. Apparently, I judged correctly, because Jeff and Derek nearly fell over each other trying to get their winches hooked up and into position first; Derek won though, so he got to tow me off. ...and yes, I did try using the locker and ATRAC, I was just buried too deep with no traction. :)







Here's me wandering around my FJ while the guys 'rashambo' to see who gets to hook me up. lol



So a towing we went...



Free at last:



And here are the two stock Toyotas on the sand.



Finally, we posed for a group photo:



...only then, after the weekend was finished, did I realize that I had gotten some dirt on my precious new FJ ...I'm pretty sure I can get this spot off though...



...there, all better! ;)



In all, I had a great time. I discovered that while I lack the clearance for the rockier stuff, there was nothing on the trail that couldn't be easily handled with the stock FJ. There were many sections, in fact, where I was let out front and had a blast running at higher speeds. I've decided that when I do suspension on this truck it won't be a crawling setup, but rather something more tuned for faster, pre-running type work. I won't be able to afford a setup like Air2air, but I am leaning toward the Icon / Donohoe kit.

Suspension and real skids are on the agenda before my next outing! The only damage to the FJ was a stripped out hole in the front bumper where the Toyota dealerships attach the license in the most chincy-ass way imaginable, a single rock hit on the guard that protects the cat-converter, and a rock chip in the windshield. The latter didn't even happen on the trail, but rather on the fwy ride home. :( I made sure to get that repaired as soon as I was back in civilization! :)

We all had a great time, and I can't wait to get back out there!

 

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ZenMoto-

Thanks for the great write up, the pictures are awesome.

What a way to break in the new rig! :rocker::cheers:
 

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Great report Zenmoto - Thanks for sharing....
 

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Great pic's and vids man!!! Glad to see that all the frog's and Gnome's that were placed the week before are still there. Looks like everyone had a good time!:bigthumb:
 

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Nice report! Makes me want to go out and do it again...... maybe next spring. It getting hotter every weekend.
 

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I missed the original posting. Just found this today. What a great write up! Terrific humor and pictures. I do have to report you to the officials though. I caught you smuggling weed...





in your skid plate!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Great series of photos and reading :) Thanks for sharing.

I've always been curious to see other rigs in actions besides our FJCs.


Was it really over 100 out there?
Thanks, glad you guys enjoyed the pics & reading ...normally I'm doing these reports for bike trips, so this is a first for me! lol

As for the temp, it was warm, but I don't think it ever got over 92. Maybe the mercury got a little extra hot being wrapped in a metal plate baking on the desert floor? :lol:
 

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That looked like fun!! I look forward to the day that I can get out there.

Great write up!!
 

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Dale, what did you use to take the pictures? The metering was great and the pictures sharp.
 

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Great trip report!!

I have been down in the Mojave area quite a few times...my parents live in Laughlin, however not since I have had the FJ. I am planning on making a trip down there in October and want to take a couple of days out of my trip to do the Mojave road.

Hopefully I can find a few others from the area to join me when I come down :)
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Dale, what did you use to take the pictures? The metering was great and the pictures sharp.
There were two cameras at play there. The bulk of the photos I took with my little pocket Sony DSC-T50. Starting around the water & sand shots I used some of Dion's photos (you can tell his as they are a wider format than mine, all are edited to the same width, so look for the slightly shorter photos). Dion was using a Canon 10D SLR.

Glad you enjoyed the pics. :)

D
 
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