Bumper and Winch

I got stuck a couple times at Moab and needed to be winched. Lucky for me I was with a small group most of the time, so I was able to take some calculated risks. When I was on my own I didn’t dare do anything risky, lest the vultures feast on me.

When I got back from Moab I had a list compiled, and the two things at the top of my list was to get a stubby bumper and a good winch. There’s a bunch of other stuff on my list that I’ll get to after this, but I knew I needed to get those two things done ASAP.

After researching winches and collaborating with the awesome Cumberland Crawlerz wheeler group, I knew I needed a which that’s 1.5 times the GVWR of my Jeep (1.5 x 5,000 = 7,500LBS). I decided on WARN since they’ve been around the longest, they have great support (very responsive on Twitter), and are known to be reliable.

I narrowed it down to two models, between $400-650. But then something unexpected happened. I went to Cabela to get some camping gear and noticed they had some 2nd generation WARN winches on the shelf, heavily discounted, like 50% off! Turned out they’re trying to clear their stock, so they had the last of each of the 2nd generation model on the shelf.

They had the 2nd generation WARN VR8 marked down to $289 (marked down from $599, and then from $499, and then from $399). Seems like these 2nd generation models got kicked to the curb by customers once the ZEON models came out. I’m a fan of buying last year’s discontinued models.

The WARN VR8 box was open, but according to the “comes in box” list, all the stuff was there. A store rep told me these winches were just put on the shelves the day before, so word hadn’t got out about it yet. I knew I had to act fast. I ran (ok so I wobbled) to the front of the store to get a cart.

Ok, so Weebles *sometime* fall down…lets not open that can of worms. 😉

Got back to the winch area, and after some careful analysis, I was able to get the winch into the cart. Wow that sucker was heavy! Ok, I was ready to head to the counter!

Must avoid grevious bodily harm.
There ya go

I got to the counter and was able to get a Veterans discount. After tax I paid $266! The lady at the counter called someone over, thinking I might need help getting the box into the Jeep. What, me need help? Um, SURE!

A week before, I found both ends of my bumper were heavily scraped up. Most of the damage was from Hell’s Revenge trail at Moab. I remember going up some extremely steep smooth rocks and hearing a sandpaper sound. Guess I didn’t hear or notice the damage at the time. Nonetheless, I knew I needed a stubby bumper.

I spent days sifting through videos, articles, and catalog options, and finally decided on the ARB USA. Its stubby, and has a sunken winch plate, but more importantly I love how the bullhorn leans back towards the grill. Not sure yet if I’ll take the ARB sticker off, maybe I’ll leave it there.

Some wheeling buddies helped with the install. Ok, as Batman would say, “full transparency”…really they did all the work, I just held the flashlight and hauled the rubbish. #hangsHeadInShame

I’m extremely happy with the bumper and the winch. Looks great, and after I buy some recovery gear, I’ll be able to get myself (or someone else) unstuck.

More mods to come soon…

Moab Aug 12th thru 16th

After the local Jeep dealer “fixed” the problem mentioned in my last post, off I went to Moab. I did:

Hell’s Revenge twice. Once with a Gladiator rider. Didn’t know about Hell’s Gate then. Then on the second trip I was prepared to do Hell’s Gate! But the spotter didn’t think it was a good idea since I didn’t have 35″ tires, and I didn’t have at least a rear locking differential. Hell’s Gate is optional on this trail. #nextYearDagnabbit

Fins And Things twice. Once with a group, with some difficult parts bypassed. Then I went on my own and did the whole trail. I stopped at the difficult parts to pick my lines.

Poison Spider once. I was solo, so there were a couple (ok a few!) spots listed as optional, so I bypassed. Next year it’ll be on my list.

Gemini Bridge once. It was listed as easy or moderate, depending on the source. I found it to be in between, mostly easy, but a couple spots that might be considered moderate. Jeep doesn’t offer a badge for this trail, since its not difficult enough. #fineFineFine

I learned a few things on this trip:

  • Most air compressors suck, unless its at least an ARB dual compressor with a tank.
  • The trick to disconnecting/reconnecting your sway bar links is finding a flat place to park.
  • Garmin DashCams beat GoPro for wheeling. 🙂 #sorryGoProNotSorry
  • Hotels.com savings tip…pay for additional nights after 12 noon. #halfPrice
  • 35″ is a must for the harder trails, though I held my own with 285s.
  • I no longer have to Google for “Petroglyph”.

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First day at Moab.Went on Hell’s Revenge with a Gladiator wheeler. Bypassed Hell’s Gate (which I didn’t know existed.

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Went on Hell’s Revenge again, this time determined to do Hell’s Gate, however our spotter told me he wouldn’t recommend it unless I had 35″ tires and at least one locking differential.

Regarding locking differentials, I think that’s a very old mindset, from before limited slip differentials became a thing. #whatever

Some guy with a JLU full of kids.

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I decided to do Fins And Things on my own, so I could stop to take pictures.

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Bambi!

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On the way bac, home I jumped onto Route 66 a few times. But it was mostly deserted due to COVID, though gas stations were mostly open.

At one gas station I asked a truck driver about the tires he was hauling:
“Will those tires fit on my jeep?” – Me
“Yes, but the lift might set you back a pretty penny.” – Truck driver

On the way home I *finally* found an off road store (Desert Rats in Albuquerque, NM), that had the kit I wanted. I got it at a substantial discount (veteran, club memberships).

Sturgis Aug 6th thru 8th

As is the case every year, when I go to Sturgis, I don’t go to Sturgis. I mean, I never go to the town. I’m there for the beautiful rides like Needles Highway, Devil’s Tower, Mount Rushmore, Crazyhorse Memorial, Devil’s Tower, Million Dollar Highway, Custer Park (bisons), etc.

As I mentioned earlier, this year I’m going by Jeep since my left hand isn’t 100%. I don’t trust myself on my Harley-Davidson Road Glide just yet. Can’t modulate your clutch if your hand is sore and stiff.

Here are some pictures…

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Prep for Sturgis and Moab

When it comes to Sturgis, you’ve got to plan in advance. Way in advance. Like a year in advance. Like I need to start planning Sturgis 2021 now. 🙂 So here I am, preparing for Sturgis 2020, while planning Sturgis 2021. If that’s not ironic, who would’a thunk that I’d be going to Sturgis 2020 in a Jeep. #damnedCager

My left hand isn’t 100% from my May car accident. I gave all my motorcycle buddies a heads up that I’m caging this year. A couple invited me to drive behind their group as sort of a Support and Gear (SAG) vehicle. It would actually be more of a “watch our backs” vehicle, since I can’t put much more into my two door Jeep.

Cobra 29 LTD Classic

Thanks to Quadratec’s excellent mount, the CB Radio is finally installed. The Teraflex antenna mount is very rugged. I put a spring at the antenna’s base. Running the coax cable turned out to be easier than I thought it would be. I ran it through the tailgate grommet, then hid it under panels and carpet. Took about two hours. Jeep makes it very easy to run wires, I’m impressed.

When I have a chance I’ll replace the CB Radio’s accessory power adapter with the wire that runs to the fuse box. I hate anything that sticks out of an accessory power socket, and hate exposed wiring even more. I ended up hanging the the RoadKing RK564P noise cancelling mic on a GearKeeper CB Mic Keeper. I was worried it would swing around bouncing off stuff, but it was quite steady.

The Jeep is all packed. Camping gear, wicking t-shirts, undies, socks, severs east to wash vented shirts and a couple pairs of cargo shorts. Some rescue gear, some weather gear, and of course my Yeti packed with ice, fluids, and some snacks. I don’t cook on the road, too much of a hassle for this small Jeep. If I had a four door, I definitely would go all out and cook on the road.

Regarding capturing video, I learned my lesson last year. I had high hopes for some great GoPro footage, but never got the hang of how to set it up so it was on when I wanted it to be on. This year I’ll rely more on my Garmin 46 Dashcam, since it always comes on when the Jeep is on, and turns off when the Jeep is off. It has fairly decent resolution and quality. I’ll use the GoPro when I get to areas that make it worth the trouble.

I had a long list of sights last year, but I kept running into old friends, so missed half of them. This year I’m not going to stress the need to see the sights. This vacation will be to relax and enjoy the drive. I’ll be taking some pictures and video, but that won’t be my goal.

I cleared out the fridge, took the garbage out, pretty much set for an early morning departure. Not exactly sure what route I’m taking to Sturgis, but now that I live in PA, there are fewer reciprocity friendly states, so I’ll be avoiding states that don’t honor my CHL. With that said, I have the two requisite lock boxes in the rear of the Jeep in case I have to travel through a non reciprocity state.

Reciprocity Map

After a few days at Sturgis I’m going to Moab…more to come. 🙂