Day 0 – Pittsburgh

Nope. I won’t pass him.

The first day is usually the most boring. So here are some boring images and videos

I love Joe Rogan’s podcast, now on Spotify. He had Elon Musk on a week or two ago. If you didn’t listen to it, make the time, you won’t regret it. 🙂 A couple days ago he had Neil DeGrasse Tyson on, and I spent today listening to it.

Imagine your Tesla needing to change lanes, and communicating to other Teslas that its about to change lanes. Imagine your Tesla hitting a rough stretch of road, and communicating with other Tesla cars about it.

Myea, saw this in front of a Toyota dealership

Day 0 – Packing the Jeep

I packed the Jeep. Stuck to my packing list. Yes, I resisted bringing the kitchen sink. Can’t wait until the winch is installed, that’ll give me more room. Haven’t put water into the container yet. Just realized I could have taken the ends of the front steel bumper off. I’ll do that when I’m in Moab. All in all, a HUGE increase in space, AND my approach is much more weight concious.

Packed and ready to go

Stopped for gas, saw a CAT Scale sign, why not get my gross weight while I’m here and the tank is full. 5540, that’s 260 under the GVWR. I’ll save another 100 (?) when I remove the rear seats (ran out of time). The new Jeep already has steel bumpers, and has a 21 gal tank (vs 15), so unlikely I’ll ever go over GVWR with the JLUR.

I noticed Jeep fixed the door leak issue, where you got a waterfall when opening the door on rainy days. I guess it was a good thing that it rained on Saturday, or I probably wouldn’t have noticed. This must be new on the 2021s.

As always my route will avoid states that don’t recognize my Pennsylvania concealed carry permit, hoping to avoid the PITA factor. The blue colored states have a reciprocity agreement with PA, the read ones don’t.

Reciprocity FTW!

That’s fine, I’m concentrating on Arizona, Southern California, Utah, Colorado, and maybe Texas. I plan to do some trails in southern California, around Big Bear. Rubicon Trail is most likely not going to happen since there’s still snow there, and since the new Jeep is all stock (just adding a winch in the coming days).

I was a le to transfer over (from the old Jeep) the Dometic Hard Wire Kit, and the ARB Dual Compressor under the passenger seat. So the fridge is cold, and I’m able to air up/down. Two priority items. 🙂

I left the Murder Spork, Axe, and Hi-Lift, since I didn’t have time to get secure mounts for them. I also left the spot and flood lights behind, since installing them would require more work.

I want to use the AUX switches built in to the new Jeep. Much work left to do, some of it will be done during this trip, some once I’m back.

Snazzberry Happened Today

After driving two door Jeeps for two years or so, I’m finally in a four door Jeep Rubicon. Most of the dealers were sold out of the Rubicon four door model. After making some calls, I found that Videon had one in Nacho color. Not crazy about the idea of being taunted with Nacho jokes. I tried to buy it, but the sales person wasn’t available.

A few more calls, and I found that Jeff D’Ambrosio had one in Snazzberry. WTF is Snazzberry? I went there to look it it. The color made my heart stop. It really is that awesome. 🙂 It had some features I never saw before, like Off-Road Plus mode. That function lets you enable off road features at higher speed. Like locking the rear diff, keeping traction control on, while doing 60 in the desert.

Another unexpected, yet very welcome, feature is Selectable Tire Fill-Alerts (STFA), which should come in very handy when airing up to the desired pressure using my ARB Dual Air Compressor. 🙂

I’m hitting the road on Monday, and there’s so much left to do. I need to remove the rear seats, but I guess that can wait until I get back, since I don’t have a platform for the cargo area. I’d rather be prepared in case I find one during the trip. I’m traveling all over the US, so the likelyhood is slightly greater than zero that I’ll find and install a platform before I get back.

I need to order a winch and mounting plate, so I can have it installed when I’m in Moab. Rustie’s Off Road Products Rusty’s Winch Mount for steel Rubicon for a front bumper. I messaged them through Facebook, hoping to pick it up when I go through Alabama.

4 Wheel Parts (Carlisle, PA) has a few WARN VR EVO 10 winches in stock, will see if I can pay for it today and swing by to pick it up on my way out on Saturday. I love patronizing local shops. A winch should be rated 1.5x your GVWR, so 5800 x 1.5 = 8700 (10000 is the safest bet).

I’m sticking to steel, even though I learned a lesson on a recent Off Road Consulting Crawl Daddy guided ride. I got stuck, and my steel winch cable was not wrapped properly. That made things tougher than necessary…so I got a well deserved lambasting on YouTube.

“Ok, ok, I learned my lesson. I will always re-wrap my steel winch cable.” – SUSUSUCIO #RIP

I don’t think I’ll have time to get the dual storage drawers installed, since, like I mentioned, I won’t have a platform soon enough. That’s OK, since I have a couple Expedition 134 storage boxes, and several Forerunner Cub Pack boxes. That should be enough to store most of my stuff. I’ll need to hit Home Depo or Lowes to get some heavy duty canvas tool bags, to store my recovery tools, and other heavy stuff.

I’m excited, didn’t think things would come together like this.

Propane and Blue Trails with ORC

Four weeks before I head out to Moab>Rubicon. I planned to get my propane tank filled on Saturday, and to join Off Road Consulting on their guided blue trail ride on Sunday.

First thing’s first, fill up my new 5 LB propane tank. Now that I finally got the Powertank mounting bracket, it was time to fill ‘er up. I called the local Lowes, HomeDepo, Walmart, and some gas stations, but they only offered 15 LB tank swaps. Well that sucks. I reached out to some of my overland/camping buddies, they all recommended calling the nearest Camping World. Nice, they do fillups even on 5 LB tanks!

The closest Camping World is in Swedesboro, NJ, about 30 miles out. I got up early on Saturday and headed out. I got there in less than 40 minutes. One of the guys took the tank to get it filled, told me he’d be back in 10 minutes. Perfect, just enough time to look around the place for camping supplies. 🙂

I ended up buying most of the stuff that was on my list, the rest I suppsoed I’ll need to get from REI or Cabela’s. But I digress.

They’ve got half a dozen bays where they do maintenance, repairs, modifications, installs, you name it, they do it. I asked one of the guys if they can mount the propane tank to my Jeep, just to see what they’d say. Apparently they’ve had Jeep owers come in to do just that. They would have to order a bracket, and it would mount over the left brake light, and it would involve drilling. I could probably tackle that myself, but then, I plan to strap my two RotoPax fuel containers and the 5 LB propane tank to the spare using a dual mount strap.

I headed back home, and prepared for Sunday. I planned to join Off Road Consulting on their guided Blue Trail ride. I left the fridge behind this time (overkill for a 6 hour ride), and took my Yeti Day Trip Bag instead. Pre-packed it the night before, with some liquids and sammishes, and stuck it in the fridge.

I got up early on Sunday and got to Rausch 30 min before the group was scheduled to head out. There were so many people there, they had to split us into two groups. I was in the first group of 8 Jeeps, we chose to do the harder blue trails. The second group was probably another 20 Jeeps, doing the easier blue trails. Of course being in the first group, we all raised our hands when asked if we’d like to do Crawler’s ridge.

Of course I took a few panoramic shots.

I took a a number of videos of the group going up the most challenging part of Crawler’s Ridge, guessing nobody got any video of me. #sigh

I managed to knock my right rear fender flare off. I misjudged a trench and slid into the wall of dirt. Luckily it was a minor slip and there was no damage to the fender flare. The plastic clips are designed to break away, and they did. I ordered some replacement clips, and its back on. I decided against using nutserts for the rear fender flares, since they are nice and secure using plastic clips. The front flares required nutserts, mentioned in another blog post.

Off Road Consulting is a group of veterans and ex contractors who train folks like me, as well as military, government, corporate, etc., folks on off road riding. They’ve got a ton of classes, including 101, 201, 301, recovery training, guided tours…if you have a Jeep and want to learn how to wheel, they’re the folks to connect with.