The Mecca-Dates Nov. 5 - 7

     In attendance: Bruce & Barb Miller (3 dog) and their son Ross, Dave and Gail Brown (Red Fox) and their daughter Kim, Bruce Westlund (Jethro), Steve Rudy, Marc Blandon, Dan & Debbie Dilley and their daughter Denise, Greg Luer (Cheeseman) and his sons Joseph and Jared.
     Wasatch Cruisers - Royal Rose (Pres.) and family, Darrin Webster (V.Pres.) and family, Trent Traylor (Treas.) rode with Royal.
     The purpose of this trip was to learn trails and become better trail leaders. We knew we needed to combine work with play and did a lot of trail riding in a short time. The Rising Sun Club needs better trail leaders for our TLCA event. I feel those people who were able to come will make this possible. I hope we can organize a similar expedition in March.
     We had 3 awesome sunny days to ourselves and most everybody finished arriving by noon on Friday. There were trails to be tamed and dust to be eaten. Four vehicles, Dilley, 3dog, Marc and myself, headed out to the beginning of Cliff Hanger, rated a 4. We went down the first two obstacles and crossed the creek. After the obstacle on the other side, we proceeded a little further and turned around. On the way out we only ran into problems resulting from the shadows cast on obstacles by the afternoon sun and Marc's Carter carburetor on his 327 Chevy. Not only did the carb not keep the engine running, his rear ARB line fell next to his muffler and melted it. Therefore he now was open and needed my recovery strap to negotiate the ascent out. At this point, Marc went to town and found a guy with a screwdriver and a good ear for $5 bucks. Not bad.
     After investigating the beginning of Cliffhanger, Dilley, 3-dog, and myself headed for Steelbender, rated a 3. We ran the trail from South to North which is opposite of the normal run. Sut for set up vehicles it is much more challenging. We ran it in about 2 hrs. Like I said we were all set up and ready to roll.
     We had one more visitor when we got back to Slickrock. Brian Price from Page, AZ. He made a quick run to Moab with the Miller's red & white F J55.. Brian has his own paint and body shop where he completely restored the 'Cruiser. As Bruce said " It looks just like the one in his original Toyota brochure." The rest of us suggested Ross could drive it the next day if it had a full tank of gas. Bruce and Barb vetoed the group decision.
     Saturday morning we met and talked with the Wasatch Club representatives. They are great folks and it was great wheelin' with another 'Cruiser club, Bruce Westlund and Steve Rudy joined us. The trail for the morning would be Kane Creek, rated a 3. This is a beautiful trail through the canyon. It has some good side hills, lots of creek crossings, and a good rock climb to get out. Royal offered to be our leader for the day.
     During the lunch stop, in the bottom of the canyon, Darrin's FJ60 hood went up. There was no spark from the coil and no one had a spare. Birfields yes, coil no. Dilley said he would tow him as far as he could and was doing fine with that 60 right on his butt until we carne to that rock climb out of the creek bottom. Darrin asked if Dan could get out of his way. Dilley's V-8 with the Warn front axle conversion was hopping pretty good on the loose rock and could not pull him any further, Now Dan's fuel pump quit working. Jiggling wires fixed it then and every time it stopped pumping after that.
     With that in mind the wise Red Fox told them to get the coil out of Royal's 60 which was on top. We all went "great idea". And down came the coil and up went the 60. Of course they switched the coil hack and towing resumed. The rest of us made our way out to the highway where Red Fox headed to town for a new coil before the stores closed. Steve Rudy took the coil out of his 4-runner and we Baja'd back to the ailing 60 in my 4runner. With all 60's running we headed for the highway,
     Dave Brown was waiting with Darrin's new coil at the highway and once installed we headed for the beginning of Strike Ravine, rated a 4. We went as far as the first obstacle because of the time consumed with mechanical problems earlier. The sun was gettin' mighty low on the horizon so we headed back to camp. Sounds cowboy, eh? In the process of returning to camp, we filled 3-dogs request for more firewood on the way out,
     After stopping to wash some of the dust out of our ears we then went to the best camping restaurant I know this side of the Mississippi River, The Miller Camp. With all the wood we found on Strike Ravine we were set for another great dutch oven dinner. One oven was full of chicken, one with a cherry cobbler, two with biscuits, one with macaroni and cheese, and a huge tin foil packet with veggies. It's becoming a tradition on these big outings for Barb to put on a big feast, I will help Bruce work the coals anytime he wants for a feast like that. She did the same thing down in Ouray back in Sept. It also had the same effect on my waistline.
     On Sunday morning we figured we had about 3 - 4 hours of discovery wheeling. The original plan was to learn the end of the Golden Spike trail. That was scrapped under much discussion and we went to Metal Masher instead, rated a 4. I guess we'll have to learn the Spike some other time. Oh well.
     The obstacles like Mirror Gulch, make it a nice challenging ride. It is so awesome to look down on the highway from the rim and over to Arches National Park. On the return trip, some of us went back to the trailhead on the highway north of town and Marc and I went back the way we carne in. It was about a good sliding turn and 50 yards difference between the winners and losers. Oh well the 4 cyl didn't win that one.
     We said goodbye to the Wasatch Cruisers and went back to finish closing camp. Every one else was gone by this time. Steve and I put our tops back on the 4-runners, gassed up, washed a layer of Moab off, got lunch and headed back to Denver. The Mecca (as James Bingham calls it) was conquered and thoroughly enjoyed once again. We will be back.

Greg Luer