Prep for Easter Jeep Safari 2023

Trails List

I dropped the ball on Golden Spike. It was one of the most fun trails last year. I didn’t reserve a spot quickly enough this year. Oh well, who doesn’t want to do Fins and Things twice on one EJS? 🙂 Not sure if I’ll do Hell’s Gate again, got it out of my system. Though if the same spotter is there, I’ll absolutely do it!


EJS uses CB as their communication standard. I’m not fan of CB radio, because of all the truckers running peaked/tuned radios blasting way more than the four watt limit (47 C.F.R. Part 95.) onto the CB frequencies, making it unusable if you have a legal radio. It’s not as much of an issue when you’re out on the trail. It’s the right choice for EJS…at least until everyone has a HAM radio. Myea, that ain’t happening.

I was lucky enough to find a Cobra WX ST radio on eBay. The body is mounted under the driver’s seat, along with the bodies for my HAM and GMRS. I like the mic design, with all the controls in the expected places. Though the volume dial goes in the wrong direction. #justsayin Of course the geniuses at Cobra just released their Cobra 75 All Road, which gives is rated IP66, offers AM/FM, and DSP for some pretty amazing sound quality. Myea, I won’t be getting it. CB is dead other than on trips like EJS. But I still want one. 🙂

I recently got my HAM Technician’s license, and have use a Yeasu FTM-400DXR as my primary radio when I’m on the road. I monitor 146.520MHz (2m) and 446.000MHz (70cm) frequencies. . It’s amazing how polite folks are on HAM frequencies. I made contact with a dozen or so people on the 2m frequency, but have yet to get a response on the 70cm frequency. Once I get my HAM General license, I’ll move up to an all-mode HAM radio. Like the ICOM IC-7100, if I can ever find one that won’t cost me an arm and a leg (for used!).


In past years I’ve always worn an Apple Watch. I’m finally understanding how horrible it is for Easter Jeep Safari. Battery life, sketchy performance away from cell towers, etc. This year I’m bringing my Garmin Fēnix 6x Pro Solar watch. With 20-80 days of battery life (depending on what functions you enable or disable), it’s a better watch for off roading. I made sure the system software and map is up to date, and I tested to make sure it’s able to lock on to satellites (a recent bug limited the number of satellites it could connect to).


I’ll be bringing my MacBook Pro again, but I don’t plan to bring the iPad. I hope to download and edit my BlackVUE DR900X-2ch dash cam footage to upload to this blog. Though I’m not sure how annoyed I’ll get having to stitch together one minute clips using proprietary software. That said, I don’t plan to bring the GoPro. Too much trouble, too many issues, not worth the effort. I mean, it was worth it last year when I got to do Hell’s Gate (after two years of missed opportunities). But other than that short stint, as one of my colleagues at work says, the juice isn’t worth the squeeze.


I’ll be using my Garmin Overlander for navigation to/from Moab and on the trails. I updated the system and maps (lifetime) before I left. I really wanted to try my Jeep’s Uconnect 8.4 navigation system, but it only has 2019 maps, and I’m not paying FCA $150 for an update. I took it the Jeep in to have the system updated, since it didn’t seem to be downloading the system update (40.1) over the air.

They tried a manual update, but it didn’t work. The unit works, it wasn’t bricked. The dealer ordered a new head unit, hopefully they’ll have it at 40.1. There’s a bug affecting turn by turn that I really wanted to get fixed. Once the system is updated, I’ll see if I can finagle a free map update. Not going to hold my breath.

Apple Maps and Google Maps use location services, which ties it to cell towers and WiFi, and have a dependency on map data streaming. Ok, so Google Maps lets you download area maps. More tedious work for the consumer. No thanks, besides, even though Apple brags that they have a “true” GPS chip, it’s tied to cell towers and WiFi. So it’s A-GPS at best. Nice try, Apple, but I wish your marketing department would come clean on this stuff.

I’ve had a Bad Elf GPS Pro (GPS device that allows multiple devices to share a true GPS that doesn’t have A-GPS dependencies. So as a backup I downloaded Moab area offline maps in Google Maps. So at least I’ll have area maps and true GPS. See Apple? Why not step up and give the iPhone the ability to cache the entire US map?


I’m leaving my heavy duty impact wrench and driver behind, since I didn’t use them last year. Instead I’m bringing a baby impact wrench with a spare M12 battery, and the charger. That should be more than enough. I’m bringing my usual took bag, which fits nicely in the Goose Gear front passenger side cubby hole. I think I did a good job of leaving the tools that I never needed, but that I know I never will need.

I have the axe and murder spork (shovel) and a HiLift, but I decided not to bring that stuff. There’ll be thousands of Jeeps and leads and spotters at EJS. They’re needed for overlanding or solo trips. I think I’ll bring that stuff in the Summer/Fall when I go on my next trip to the Colorado Rockies. Gotta get those Jeep BOH badges!


With my iKamper out of commission (it lost a fight with a shopping mall parking lot entrance), I decided to rent a cabin at the Moab KOA. Koda would have made pitching a tent a horrible experience. The cabin has electricity but no water, so I’ll have to put Koda in his kennel while I run to the shower in the mornings. Luckily they’re dog friendly, so Koda can look forward to getting cozy on a real bed.


I bolted in the Partners Steel Camp Partner 22″ stove, and today I replaced the 3′ gas hose with a 12′ since the stove won’t be on the tailgate. The 5LB propane tank will still be mounted on the spare tire near the hinge, but I stopped using the RotopaX fuel cells since they don’t have a proper pressure valve to prevent bloating on hot days. Also the caps don’t last, no fun having 2x2Gal of gas and not be able to pour it into your tank I’ll find a Nato fuel solution at some point.

This year I decided to go with a 2.5 gallon Spector water container, instead of the 5 gallon that I used in the past. I never used more than half of the water on any one trail ride, so this frees up space and recoups weight. I finally bought a cheap 8.5″ cast iron skillet at Walmart. I finally believe the hype. I’ll be picking up a cast iron pot at my favorite Moab store, GearHeads. Their business model is amazing. They’re so packed they’ve got stuff hanging from the ceilings. They also have a free well water fill up station for your Specter containers.

After my hypoglycemia meltdown at a group Overlanding trip in the Fall, I decided I need to do a couple dry runs, so I can make sure I know what to bring for those kinds of trips. For Moab, I bought an assortment of freeze dried survival food at REI. I only have to boil water to make my breakfast and dinner meals on each trail day. For lunch on the trail, I’ll pick up sammishes at the Farm & City Feed store in Moab. I’ll be getting my five pound propane tank filled y too.

Between GearHeads and Farm & City Feed, you might have everything you’ll ever need for trail riding!


He is a black and white Catahoula mix that I rescued from the SPCA back in November, before I moved to Texas. He was born April 22, 2022. He’ll be a year old a week after we return from Moab. I hope he behaves at Moab. I mean, he loves kids and other dogs. If a dog snaps at him, he can get defensive. We’ll see how this goes. 🙂

He’ll be in a strapped down Ruff Land intermediate dog kennel, so he’ll be safe and comfy on the trails. I’d love to give him a chance to ride shotgun, but at his age he is way too squirrelly to trust him there. Maybe next year. He’ll have a toy and a bone to nibble on if he gets bored.

Since I’m renting a cabin at the Moab KOA, he’ll be able to run around inside without fear of him clawing his way out of my tent. Since my iKamper roof top tent is offline for repair (it lost a fight with a mall parking lot ceiling), I won’t have to worry about him nose diving out of it in the middle of the night.

I bought a seven pound bag of his dog food, that’ll be more than enough for this trip. I also brought some dry snacks that he’s used to, so I can give him treats in between his morning and evening meals. I plan to walk him during our trail breaks. It won’t take long for him to make friends with any other dogs on the trail.


The Gross Vehicle Weight Recommendation (GVWR) for my Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon is 5800 pounds. After visiting a Cat Scale I discovered I’m 200 pounds over the recommendation. I called the dealer and they tole me that’s reasonable given the recommendation allows a bit of wiggle room. Once I get the Moab KOA cabin I’ll be offloading 200 pounds or more. So a tad bit over on the highway, but will be well within the limit on the trails.