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Old May 21st, 2013, 09:42 AM
chris snell chris snell is offline
Christopher Snell
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 1,384
Utah Rovers 2013

The Utah Rovers BBS crew just finished the annual trip to Southern Utah. We covered over 1,000 miles together, most of them offroad.

The trip really started for me four weeks ago when I picked my new truck up at the port in Houston, TX.

I bought this truck from a government liquidator in the UK and imported it myself. Given all of the import-related drama that's been going down in the forums lately, I was taking a risk but my research paid off nicely. I got lucky and scored a great Ex-MOD 110.

Several days after retrieving the truck from the port, I drove it up to Colorado via the backroads. I would only have a couple of weeks to get the truck sorted for Utah and this was my shakedown run. In the end, I only had to fix a leaky clutch MC, a sticky transmission brake linkage, and add a little oil to the motor.

Once home in Colorado, I got busy with a few convenience and reliability modifications. First, I removed a lot of the MOD-specific equipment from the truck, including the FFR battery box, the 24V alternator, and the intercom boxes. I rebuilt the battery box with a JSQ-style setup, just like I had in my old D90. While I had the wiring out, I ran new Ancor leads to the starter and frame ground and a new 4 AWG lead between the alternator and starter.

I added a nice little 12V outlet box behind the passenger seat to power my phone charger and handheld radio, and another in the rear tub to run the Engel. I also added a simple cargo floor with tie-downs and another smaller one for the Engel slide-lock that tied in with the Tithonus tub strengthening trusses.

Though I had already driven my truck 1,200 cross-country miles, I was still not confident with the 2.5 NA motor when I set out for Utah. I decided to leave at night in order to cross Monarch Pass when there was little vehicle traffic. My fears of 2.5 failure were unwarranted and the little motor huffed and puffed its way up to 11,300'. At this altitude, the motor can only produce about 40 HP and I could only manage about 6-8mph on the steepest, highest sections. It took me a full hour to go up and over the Continental Divide, significantly slower than the riders on the Colorado Pro Cycling Challenge. I passed the time by doing power/weight ratio calculations in my head to compare a pro cyclist with a fully-laden Ex-MOD 110. I think the cyclist beats the 110.

Safely over Monarch, I stopped in Gunnison for the night. The next morning, I headed out for Utah. I made it to La Sal, where I met up with Ben and Jason who drove in from Salt Lake.

The three of us headed off to Cedar Mesa bound for one of our favorite little campsites, hidden deep within a canyon. I didn't take any photos of the drive in that night but it was challenging, especially in an unlocked long truck with no power steering. I was learning to wheel the 110 on the fly. We were exhausted from the long day and stayed up only long enough to get a campfire going.

We headed back out of the canyon the next day. As we were leaving, a massive thunderstorm passed over the upper reaches of the canyon behind us. We were driving very quickly in order to make it out before any flash flooding. This canyon is a bad place to be during heavy rain.

The afternoon was quite warm so we decided to head up into the Abajos for one of our favorite little spots.

I call this the Golf Green camp because it's completely flat and covered with a carpet of short, green grass that's perfect for walking around barefoot.

We unloaded our gear and Ben prepared filet for dinner.

Jason broke out the whiskey after dinner and we built a huge fire and drank into the night.

I slept better than I'd ever slept on a camping trip. With the Pelicans cleared out, I unrolled a Thermarest on top of the cargo floor of the 110 and shut the door. The fiberglass top keeps out the rain and it's really quiet and cozy inside.

The next morning, we awoke and discovered that a visitor had snuck into our camp during the night.

This girl was wearing three radio/GPS collars and a standard leather collar. She looked like one of those Burmese women with the stretched necks. She was very friendly but looked skinny and a little lost. Her tags showed her as belonging to a man in Blanding. We were headed in the opposite direction and weren't entirely sure that she was actually lost so we left her with some water, a bowl of oatmeal and a leftover filet.

We had to be in Boulder the following day so we loaded up and headed west for the Waterpocket Fold. The original plan was to take the ferry across Lake Powell but the ferry was closed supposedly because they were waiting for a part that would allow them to operate in the low water conditions. When we got to Hite, we saw how bad the situation really was. Up here, the lake was empty. The Colorado flowed through a channel in the center but the rest of the lake was a massive, hot dust bowl. After fueling up, we pressed on over the Henry Mountains and camped for the night.

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