2013-March-April-Southwest-Trip Research Archives

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2013 March/April Trip to The FC-Roundup and the Southwest

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On Monday March 18th Ann and I left Pasco for a trip to and through America’s Southwest. Our initial destination was the 10th Annual FC-Roundup in Phoenix. From there, we drove for another week through Arizona, New Mexico, and back through Arizona, before we began a fun offroad adventure north through Utah. Our total trip was nearly 6000 miles and lasted three weeks.

Here’s a map of our trip.


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Phoenix Az or Bust!


Early Monday morning Ann and I head for Phoenix for 2013 FC-Roundup this coming weekend. We’ll be stopping in Salt Lake Monday Night to have dinner at Rodizio Grill with my kids. Tuesday Night we’ll be stopping in Moab (after a hike to Delicate Arch). We plan to travel south from Moab and go see Canyon De Chelly. We should be pulling into Phoenix late Wednesday night or Thursday (TBD). We are carrying books, t-shirts and posters, so if you arrange to run into us, I’ll make sure you get something.


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We have arrived in Moab. It looks like they are getting all ramped up for Easter Jeep Safari Week. More updates later.


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Meeting Jake at Point of the Mountain, UT

• CATEGORIES: Builds, Features • TAGS: .

On our way out of Salt Lake City near Point of the Mountain, we met up with a reader named Jake. He and his father have refurbished two jeeps, a CJ-2A and a CJ-5. They are now on their third, a CJ-3B. The 2A and 5 will be down in Moab next week for the Easter Jeep Safari. If you see them say Hi! Thanks for taking the time to meet with me Jake!


Jake’s CJ-2a


His father’s CJ-5


Their CJ-3B in process


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March 19th @ Moab

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We were very busy today, from sight seeing, to jeeping in the new jeep, to endless Navajo Reservation driving, to a bad experience at Canyon De Chelly (more on all that in a few hours). Here’s a picture of “Hula Girl” that Ann took overlooking Dead Horse Point State Park in Utah (cool place!)


Here are some photos from our time in Moab:

david-lasalmountains-moab3 henry-lasalmountains-moab1 henry-lasalmountains-moab2 henry-lasalmountains-moab3 henry-lasalmountains-moab4 henry-lasalmountains-moab5 henry-lasalmountains-moab6 henry-lasalmountains-moab7

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Ivan’s Auto Recycling ‘Sign’

• CATEGORIES: CJ-2A, Features • TAGS: .

South of Moab a few miles this jeep has become a permanent fixture, hovering above Ivan’s Auto Recycling Sign. I’ve seen pictures of it, but hadn’t done a closeup inspection.  It turns out to be a CJ-2A with three data plates (though the plates themselves are gone). It might also have had indents, but the driver’s side is so hammered, I can’t positive tell if it did or didn’t.





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Hole N” The Rock South of Moab

We were cruising southward on Hwy 191 when we ran across “Hole N” The Rock“. It’s a very unexpected site!  Though we were curious enough to take photos from the highway, we were too busy hurrying south towards our fateful encounter with Canyon De Chelly. While we took some good photos, we missed getting a photo of the “license plate” jeep sculpture, which sits in the parking lot of the convenience store. I always wondered where that sculpture was. Next time, we will stop and check it out more closely. In the meantime, you can learn more about this tourist trap from these travelers.

This is the view from the north side:

hole-n-rock-north-side1 hole-n-rock-north-side2

From the south side:

hole-n-rock-south-side1 hole-n-rock-south-side2

And here is a nice shot of the License Plate Jeep sculpture:


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Canyon De Chelly National Monument

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Almost to the observation point at Spider Point, Canyon De Chelly, just before we dodged Craig . . .

For more than a decade Canyon De Chelly National Monument has been on my bucket list of places to visit. I’d read about the beautiful canyons and seen pictures of the Puebloan dwellings perched high within the walls. Yet, I had never visited the place, because its location deep within the Navajo Reservation has kept it from being a convenient side trip. In fact, if you do a search of the web, you’ll find a variety of potential visitors asking if it is worth the trip. While many of the responses gush over the place, Ann and I were deeply disappointed.

We arrived at 4pm under a cloudy sky, having driven through hundreds of miles of Navajo Reservation land (an experience in itself). The winds were blowing pretty good, adding to an already cool day. Fortunately we had plenty of warm clothes, so cold temperatures couldn’t stop us. We entered the visitor center to pay our park fee and learned that the park is free. We thought that strange, but took it as a sign of good fortune.

We told the ranger we knew little about the park and asked if he could make some suggestions on what to see. He described a north tour and a south tour, with the coup-de-grace being Spider Point, the farthest vista along the south drive. We chose to save the best for first and began driving along the south drive.

As soon as we entered the park, we saw the jeep tour sign. Then, there was cowboy woman’s coffee shack, and the term shack might be stretching it, for it wasn’t that nice. But, it was local flavor so we just mentioned it and moved on. But, the local flavor never disappeared. As we drove up the park road we’d see view points for the canyon on our left and Navajo homesteads on our right. As we talked about it, we realized we weren’t in a park, but in the Navajo’s back yard.

After twenty minutes of driving we rounded the Spider Point access road when we saw an unwashed filthy old man wearing a dora explorer pink backpack. He popped out of the bushes some distance in front of us, crossed the road, and was walking off into the middle of nowhere. Ann looked at me and said, “Well, that’s not odd . . .”  Several hundred feet later we saw these two young men of Navajo descent digging with a couple shovels on what seemed to be park land. It just seemed odd.


Spider Point Parking Lot Overlook at Canyon De Chelly. I liked the simple tubes for viewing. They really helped.

Ten minutes later we were standing at the parking lot at a fence with a beautiful view of the canyon. There was one other car, so it was very quiet. I particularly liked the low budget pointers used to direct visitor’s eyes to different Puebloan ruins. Just as I was beginning to think this might be a cool place, Craig showed up. Well, I guess he didn’t just show up, rather he jumped out of a plateless mini-van that barely slowed down before it sped off again.

It took all of thirty seconds for Craig to amble over to us and introduce himself. Craig’s high pitched  feminine voice was unexpected; so was the smell that followed him. Craig claimed that his grandmother owned the hogan that just happened to be located at the end of the walking path off of Spider Point. He asked if we like to see that? I said yes, just to see what his response was. He took off excitedly down the path to the observation point. Meanwhile, Ann saw two men of apparently Navajo descent disappear into the bushes nearby. We never did figure out where they went.

Given our location, Ann joked that her Spidey senses were on full alert. I had to agree with her, as something felt completely wrong with the situation. Yet, feeling intrepid, we decided to walk down to the observation point path so we could see the view. We found a cool spot and took some photos, lingering to let Craig disappear.

Eventually we made it to the observation point itself, though I could see Craig lurking at a point beyond the view point. After a few quick photos, neither of us were enjoying the view. It just felled odd. So, we decided to get out of there.


Spider Point at Canyon De Chelly

About a mile passed Spider point was another view point. Parked just to the side of the parking lot was the same van that dropped off Craig. Someone sat inside, waiting for something. So, we sped off to the main road.

At the main road, we began to weave our way back to the park entrance. We saw another spur road that led to another view point. What the heck, we thought. We drove to the parking lot, only to find a peddler of trinkets and necklaces waiting for anyone to appear. We’ve run across similar peddling at Four Corners and Gooseneck State Park in Utah, but never in a national park. That being the last straw, we decided to leave the park.

It turned out we couldn’t leave the park fast enough. The road back to the entrance had a speed limit of 45mph. The road had no shoulders. It bobbed and weaved down a hillside. I was traveling 50mph. A white car behind me was following at a reasonable distance. At one point I looked back at the car and, out of no where, a yellow school bus appeared. It was riding the rear of the white car. The bus was aggressive enough that it caught my attention.

We were halfway down to the park entrance when I saw the white car pull off at a view point. If I were the white car I would have done the same thing. In fact, because the bus was going to be behind me, I sped up to 55mph, figuring that would keep me ahead of the bus. It seems I thought wrong. I watched the bus round two corners behind me, the weight of the bus would cause it to lean. The driver compensated by veering multiple times into the opposing lane. It took several shifts of the steering wheel before the bus driver got control. Once the driver found a straight away, all he/she knew how to do was go fast, because even at 55mph, that driver caught me quickly .

I had two choices, I could remain at 55mph and have some freaking careless driver riding my butt, or I could pull off and let the driver go by. I chose the latter course, because I didn’t need to put our safety risk. Sure enough, that bus roared passed us and we never saw it again.

We thought about stopping at the Visitor’s Center and complaining, but it was closed by the time we arrived, so we bolted. Heck, we wanted our money back, even though we hadn’t paid anything!

As we were about to leave Chinle, the town where Canyon De Chelly is located, Ann noticed the High School had double perimeter fencing, an outside fence consisting of a security fence (barbed wire) and an inner fence. Between the two fences was a security car patroling the area. To enter the school a person had to go through a security booth. Given Chinle is in the middle of nowhere, it was surreal.

That was our image as we left the area. That school bus might as well have followed us out of town, because we weren’t wasting anytime leaving. Besides, there was nothing there that we hadn’t seen at Mesa Verde, Zion, Canyonlands, or other parks in the NPS or Utah State Park system.

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FC-Roundup 2013 Starts Today!

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The Roundup Starts Today!

That’s Ann and I enjoying our first ride in a tour jeep and our first FC Roundup event

Jesse has announced the dates for the 2013 FC Roundup.

He writes, “The last ten years have been great for Andrea and I, we have been Most Fortunate to be able to meet and become very close friends with many of you, that have attended. Over the years we have seen many unfinished almost disposable, yard art become beautiful daily drivers, some FCs have become better than original.

Jeep Motor company displayed a concept FC this year, We have FC-Owner dream trucks that are displayed at the Roundups that actually become real daily drivers. We started out not knowing who would attend, or if it was just me. We have grown to be able to have on display some of the best FCs to show off. When we started out there was no such thing as going out for an FC Cruise. Last year, thanks to Craig B. and Jason M., we had 2 FC Tour Jeeps driving around town full of Roundup people, all day and into the night, imagine daily going to breakfast or dinner, riding in a Tour Jeep with a lot of other FCs out for FC-Only vehicles cruising on the highway.

I was told by some of you after the last event that it was the best event ever. The reason is that this is your event by being here as a participant, I also feel it may have had something to do with those people having brought an FC to the event. Imagine having a Yard Art FC in the garage backyard or even the front yard for 15 years, and after one visit to the Roundup, we see some of you here again now with a truck.

Lately I have seen a lot of posts about diesel Power, 4 speeds, Power Steering and I have seen a lot of new names, the Roundup and the NW FC Get Together in Tacoma, WA in August, allow some of you to go to one place and see a lot of trucks and see a lot of new ideas, you can learn more in a few days about FCs.

If you own a Jeep Cab Over Forward Control or FleetVan, then invite you all to be here. The date of the Roundup is usually the last weekend of March, this year it was moved earlier, to observe Easter week. I hope to see you soon, remember this event is restricted and is for Jeep FCs and FleetVans only.

It is only 5 months away, and it may seem early, but I feel that some people like me, need to have the date on a calendar far enough in advance to know to be here.


Jesse Ybarra

You can see photos and my reports from the 2012 event:



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Yesterday Morning with Joe and Joel in Mesa

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david-joe-joel-at-joes-mesa-azAnn and I dropped by Joe’s house in Mesa yesterday morning. While Joel has been around jeeps much of his life, Joe is newer to them.

Joe’s initial jeep goal was simple: militarize an old CJ-2A. So, he bought a running CJ-2A with a rough body. Then, he found a GPW body with a great body and frame. His plan was to put the body onto the CJ-2A frame, but his plan was thwarted when he discovered the frame and body matched. With Joel preaching “thou shallst not separate a matching body and frame”, Joe decided to focus on building up the GPW to an originalism state and just patch the floor of the CJ-2A.


As Joe began looking for parts, he found a T-84 transmission and transfercase. Though Joe only wanted the tranny and tc, the seller gave him a price on that plus CJ-3B parts that he couldn’t refuse.

So, a story as old as time, Joe’s one project has turned into three 🙂

The GPW has a few interesting items of note. First, the passenger side was cut and replaced with a swinging door. The door is better than bubba quality and looks like, based on paint comparisons, that it has been with the jeep a long time. Joe has decided to keep it as a conversation piece.


Also of interest is a hinge welded to the bottom of the Ford script seat frame. I suspect that’s a mystery which will never be solved.


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Friday @ the 2013 Roundup

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2013-fcroundup-airport-tour3We had plenty of fun yesterday at the 2013 Roundup on Friday. Pictured above was our late night impromptu couples cruise, though why Canadian Dave and Craig partnered up front led to much speculation.  Our night’s cruise goal was to locate and drive through the airport like we did last year. To our credit we only had to ask for directions five or six times!  But, the intrepid explorers we are, we eventually made it (but not without a call from Jesse to make sure we had enough gas!).

We expect to have more fun today.  Here are some additional pics from yesterday.


Boarding the dinner bus with Dan driving. He only hit 1 curb!


A classic FC lineup


Blaine and I chatting. Here I am sitting at a table WITHOUT a computer. That’s a rare event.


Everyone gathered to look at Troy’s FC


Suicide doors expertly installed.


My kitchen plates aren’t this clean. Great work!

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2013 FC-Roundup Saturday

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Just a few updates today (Sunday). Saturday was busy and a lot of fun at Jesse’s house. People were coming and going all day. There was plenty of good food, with hot dogs and beans at lunch and some delicious midday ribs from James in the afternoon. Blue sky and temperatures in the high 70s created perfect temperatures whether you were in the sun or the shade. Below are some of the day’s events.

After a trip to mother’s for dinner, we returned to find this stunning combo:


Colin, George and I spent some time checking out Colin’s Jeepster:

Bob restored this beautiful column shift CJ-2A:

The ladies all jumped into Jesse’s refurbished Tour Jeep for a picture. He’s almost finished with it.

We celebrated Jesse and Andrea’s 50th anniversary and the FC-Roundup’s 10th anniversary.

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Bernie’s Hotrod FCs

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I posted some picture’s of Bernie’s FC from the FC-Roundup a couple days ago. We managed to return for a short time Sunday and got some better pictures. Some of the more interesting details:

1) This uses only aviation fuel
2) The engine’s exhaust is partially vented inside the boxed frame
3) The rear and side windows still need completing
4) The cab and the bed both tilt
5) There is no driveline. The transmission is coupled to the rear pinion using a drag racing coupler





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Jeep Signs in Tucson

After posting the picture from Moab of the CJ-2A mounted on a sign at Ivan’s, Joe pointed me to two similar places in Tucson, AZ. He even included addresses, which saved me time (thanks!). The first place, Willy’s works was a parts store and focuses on civilian and military jeeps. The ‘jeep’ yard held a variety of jeeps. The second place was Jack’s Government Surplus, which naturally focuses on military items. Around Jacks were all kinds of great parts’ yards. I wished I had the time to explore all the different yards!

We did not have time to explore either place. We stopped, took pictures and drove off. So, call or check them out the next time you are there.

Willys Works: 1933 W Gardner Ln,Tucson, AZ (520) 888-5082

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Jack’s Government Surplus5181 E Drexel Rd, Tucson, AZ 85706 (520) 574-0300
Below are my pictures. You can see some ones from 2010 on Flickr. In the pictures you’ll see a M-38A1, a FC, and a M-151. I’m sure there is more.



Inside Jacks were several different jeeps. jacks-government-surplus3


I spotted this poor FC hiding behind the tires. I really like the composition of the shot.jacks-government-surplus4

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McCormick Train Park in Scottsdale, AZ

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I find trains interesting, but never pursued them with any passion. However, even I could appreciate our visit a couple days ago to the McCormick Train Park in Scottsdale, AZ. The park has large trains, train rides, and model trains. I even managed to find a couple tiny jeeps within the train model theme landscapes. If you are ever near this park, stop in and take a look. Cool place for kids of all sizes.  The one thing they were missing were hy-rail jeeps. Below are some pics:


This cool sculpture is located at the entrance of the model train exhibit. I could see doing something similar with jeeps.


Inside of the model train exhibit.


A pair of wagons, but not hy-rails.


Another jeep.

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Visit to Titan Missile Museum

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Just after our stop in Tucson Monday (the 25th) to photograph the jeeps at Willys Works and Jack’s Government Surplus, we headed south to the Titan Missile Museum just south of Tucson. This museum offers a unique look at the interior of a Titan II missile complex. Ann had already seen the museum and recommended it since my new book has a scene inside a missile complex. Cool place to visit if you have the chance.

While there were no jeeps, there was a lonely M-151 sitting out, slowly fading in the sun.


Titan Missile Museum entrance


Inside the control room of the Titan Missile Museum


Me checking out the M-151, which appears in good shape, expect for the fading paint.

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Tombstone, AZ, and a Jeep Winch

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After our stop at the Titan Missile Museum on Monday (see below) our plan was to head east to Tularosa, NM. However, after Ann spotted a sign for Tombstone we figured we had to check out that famous city. The drive off Interstate 10 took about a half hour, so it isn’t too bad of a side jaunt. The city itself is very much a tourist destination with shopping, eating, western history and gun fights galore. The aspect of the town that surprised us the most was it’s position on top of a knoll. From many angles the view from the main street of the surrounding country side was beautiful; it contrasts quite a bit from the hollywood version of a town plunked onto a flat plain.

One item of note. One of the shops sells red dirt (and other) shirts. It’s the same company that started the dirt shirt theme on Kauai. You get 50% off with a military ID. Here are a few pics.




While touring Tombstone, we happened upon this CJ-5 with a hand winch made by Powerwinch.

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NM Museum of Space History & White Sands NM

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I’ve gotten behind on my posts of our trip. We head out early on Thursday and will drive north to Tinkertown, Albuquerque and Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument. So, just a few posts today.

On Wednesday we drove from Tularosa, NM, to Artesia, NM. Karson had been ‘stationed’ in Artesia to get his final training, but left Sunday for Brooklyn, where he will spend two months helping with the clean up from Hurricane Sandy.  So, we just missed him!

From Artesia, we drove south to Carlsbad Caverns National Park. After a couple hours at the park we drove north to tour Roswell, NM. No real space aliens were sighted nor were any jeeps. From Roswell, we drove back to Tularosa. (pics at a later point).

On Tuesday we stopped at a Pistachio Farm and found (possibly) the worlds largest pistachio!  We also found this crazy car.

ann-david-pistachio-farm jalopy-car-near-pistachio-farm

Next we toured the city of Alamogordo and the New Mexico Museum of Space History. At the museum Ann spotted two pictures of jeeps.

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Tent Rocks National Monument Rocks!

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Part of the slot canyon at Tent Rocks National Monument

There is no way you can start off a morning wrong when you have hash browns smothered in green chiles and cheddar cheese. It is so good I plan to find a source for green chiles in Pasco and work on the recipe.

Following our delicious breakfast, we trekked north for a stop at Three Rivers Petroglyph Site run by the BLM. Within a relatively small area 21,700 petroglyphs have been identified. Within five minutes of hiking we were surrounded by petroglyphs of all sizes and shapes. It seemed every rock was marked.


After Three Rivers, we renewed our drive northward. On the way we discovered that Tinkertown wouldn’t open until Friday. Moreover, not too far from Tinkertown is Madrid, the town made famous by the WILD HOGS Movie. After pondering our options, we decided that we would have to save Madrid and Tinkertown for some other time.

Our final destination for the day before we turned westward was supposed to be Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument. However, my darling wife missed the exit, while I was busy preparing posts. When I looked up from my work, I realized we were driving through Santa Fe (meaning we missed our exit). So, since we were already there, I took her to the old town center, which has been around for 400 years. Some of the bead sellers peddling their wares might just had been around since the beginning.


Santa Fe, New Mexico, Old Town Plaza

With a quick trip to Santa Fe completed we headed to Tent Rocks. This time we made the mistake of having SIRI guide us. She was off by about five miles, taking us to the center of Pueblo De Cochiti. When SIRI announced our arrival we were surprised to see a governmental building where a National Monument should have been. Unwilling to allow SIRI’s deficiencies to thwart our efforts, we turned around and discovered some signs that guided us a short distance to the park’s entrance.

By this time it became clear that Tent Rocks and the Cochiti Tribe were intertwined, suggesting shades of our recent visit to Canyon De Chelly. However, the fact that this park wanted to charge us a fee gave us a reason for optimism. And, in complete contrast to CDC, our experience at Tent Rocks was excellent. From good vista views to hearty hiking through slot canyons, we had a great time. I can highly recommend it!  Here are just some of our pics.



Hiking in Sandals and a Sundress . . That’s my wife!


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March 29 — Holbrook Arizona and Route 66

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Just a few updates tonight. There were many jeeps for sale and the connection is slow. Ann downloaded and was playing with the images from our real camera, so below are a few pics I took using my iPhone.

We had a busy day that started in Holbrook, AZ. If you have ever seen the movie CARS then you will recognize many of the sites in Holbrook. It’s a fun place to step back in time and cruise the old Route 66.  Here’s a picture of the Wigwam Motel. The prices on these run around $55. I wish I had known they were in Holbrook, because we would have stayed there. Note the old cars parked out front of some of them.


When we finished with Holbrook, we headed east toward Chino Valley to meet Sam Thomas. However, before we reached Sam, on a lark we stopped in Williams, AZ. We discovered Williams had a very strong route 66 downtown. One particular restaurant that caught our eye was called Cruisers Cafe 66. Pulled in by the decor, we discovered their burgers were fabulous as well, with fresh buns and thick meat. Ann’s sweet potato fries were yummy and my onion rings were crisp and flavorful. Here are a few pics I took with my camera.


When is the last time you saw tailgates act as a bathroom divider?williams-cruisers-bathroom-lores

Just across the street from the restaurant was this sign, so we took our picture.williams-route-66-sign

After Williams, we drove to Chino Valley to meet with Sam (pic and that story to be published later).  After Sam, we made a quick trip down to Prescott to grab some ice cream, where we spotted a couple jeeps (again to be published later).

Tonight we are back in Williams. Tomorrow we will head north to Page. Just beyond Page on highway 89 there is a dirt road called Cottonwood Canyon Road that will connect us with Utah’s Kodachrome State Park. I took the road 15 years ago southward. I remember there being no helpful signs. We’ll see how we do.

We plan to camp somewhere near there, so this might be the last post for a few days. It all depends on connectivity . . .

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Henry Keeps Rolling


Henry at overlook of Moab and La Sal Mountains

Gerald asked about our 2012 Grand Cherokee’s performance during our trip. He also asked if our jeep had a name yet. Yes, the jeep has a name: Henry. It was Ann’s idea, since most of her life she’s owned a Ford. We even traded in her Ford Mustang for the jeep (now there’s a great wife — willing to trade in her car to get a jeep!)

Henry has the basic Laredo GC with the 3.8 with the towing package upgrade. It has fulltime all wheel drive, but doesn’t have low range. We bought it with approx 4k miles for $28,500. Our goal was to have a mildly off-road, a snow, and a camping capable vehicle.

Having put 6,000 miles on Henry in the last five weeks we have found the jeep has exceeded our expectations. Rated at 23mpg we regularly get 25mpg at 75mph without air conditioning (it hasn’t been warm enough to run the air). The jeep handles well enough that I don’t miss touring with my BMW 540i. My BMW has better passing power, but I can live without that.

The jeep is well equipped for working in the passenger seat. Two electrical outlets allow me to keep my computer / phones/ broadband device powered. The windows could use some tinting to help reduce computer screen glare.

Not only are their cup holders in the middle, but the doors have auxiliary cup holders, which work well for bottles of water or empty cans. We really appreciate the door cup holders!

The jeep has the push button starter, which I’d never used, but really like! I keep the key in my pocket and Ann keeps one on her. There is no fumbling with keys to open doors or start the jeep. As long as the electronics and computer work over the long term I will continue to like this feature!

The packing capacity seems good. We’ll know just how good it is when I try to pack 2 terra tires into the back. My wife is convinced they won’t fit. I am convinced I can make them fit!

Here are a few pics of Henry offroad.


Testing Henry out in the sand. We didn’t want to get into sand that was too deep, but it drove through without issue.


To get here I had to drive over rocks and branches. Even without low range there we encountered no problem.



Of course the hill doesn’t look steep in the picture, but it was. We went down and up without any slippage. Now, if it were wet at all, we would have had problems.


Waiting for us at White Sands.

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More updates tuesday


By the time we arrive in Pasco on Wednesday night, Henry will deserve some rest. Besides thousands of roadway miles since the start of the trip, for the past two days he has been fording streams, battling dust, crawling up hills, tip toeing over rocks, and carrying us faithfully through many less-travelled roads in the Capitol Reef National Park/ San Rafael Swell area of Utah.

Even better, we spent the past two days disconnected from the inter web. For 48 hours I didn’t touch my computer, which is certainly a record for 2013. We saw some neat stuff and have hundreds of pics, which I’ll be sorting through tomorrow and sharing over the coming days.

I’ll be doing more updates throughout the afternoon.

– Dave

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Jeeps along the Way


I might have mentioned we were going to camp with my two younger kids, Kasia and Colter, but my daughter was too afraid to drive the four hours to meet us to camp. Regretfully, I told her not to worry and we’d meet them after we camped for a couple days. That led to our three day trip through the middle of Utah on Saturday, Sunday and Monday (to be told on Thursday).

Yesterday, It was my daughter’s birthday, so we spent some time shopping for clothes in Salt Lake City with her. After finding some cute outfits we said our goodbyes and drove to Boise. We have lunch plans for Wednesday and then we’ll head for Pasco Wednesday afternoon.

In lieu of pictures of our Utah trip . . . during our drive through Arizona and New Mexico, we saw a number of jeeps in fields, but couldn’t always stop or get pictures of them. Here are a few we did capture.

In only a short while in Holbrook, AZ,  we saw this poor CJ-5 hiding sadly behind a mixer. It’s a project!

cj5-near-safeway-holbrook2 cj5-near-safeway-holbrookI wished we could have gotten better pics of this truck’s bed it was unusual.


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Sam and The New Motor Pool in Chino Valley, AZ

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This past Friday (March 29th) Ann and I drove to Chino Valley, AZ, to meet with Sam Thomas and his wife Alecia. A former Air Force Pilot and long time gear head, Sam spent many years playing with fast cars and running a speed shop. Several years ago he moved to Arvada, CO, and ran Flatfender Willys, where he focused on repairing flat fenders jeeps and some military vehicles.

A few weeks ago he moved to Chino Valley to open up a new business called Motor Pool, where Sam, his brother and his nephew will buy, sell and repair vintage jeeps and military vehicles. If you are ever traveling through Chino Valley, you won’t miss seeing the Motor Pool’s vehicles. Sam also has begun to offer what he calls new MBs/GPWs. He will build a brand new ‘old’ military jeep for $25,000.

While Sam sold most of his jeeps as part of his move, he still has a former Air Force CJ-2A that was once stationed in Antarctica. The previous owner drove it while stationed there and then pulled some strings to bring it home. One of the interesting aspects of this jeep is that the rack on top was built by the motor pool either before or during its service in Antarctica.





The Motor Pool as seen from Highway 89

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March 30th — From Cottonwood Canyon to Wolverine Loop

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The southern entrance to Cottonwood Canyon Road

After meeting Sam Friday afternoon in Chino Valley, AZ, we planned to drive north to I-40 and then head towards Las Vegas. However, since my kids wouldn’t be coming down to camp, we decided we had more flexibility, so we drove south to Prescott (Ann had never been there), grabbed some ice-cream,  and then back to Williams, AZ (where we had eaten lunch earlier in the day). It was late by the time we arrived, so we snagged a motel room. That night we put together a plan to drive north from Flagstaff on highway 89 and then take a little known dirt road short cut called Cottonwood Canyon Road that links highway 89 with highway 12. I’d driven that road more than a decade ago and wanted to tackle it again.


A partial map of our trip on Saturday, March 30th, through southern Utah.

On Saturday March 30th we took off on an adventure. The first thing we encountered was a road closure. Highway 89 was closed near Page, AZ, due to some gaps in the road caused by moving earth. However, a detour of thirty miles got us around that issue. By noon we were in Page, where we suffered a death (of a bottle).

As I explained to my wife while picking up the glass from the broken wine bottle in the Safeway parking lot, it wasn’t my fault. Really, it wasn’t. Instead, it was the little crazy four-year-old who was riding like a mad-man around the busy parking lot while his father panhandled while riding a skateboard. The kid’s father had just asked us for money when his son crashed about three feet behind Ann. Meanwhile, I was in the process of opening the back door of the jeep. It happened like this:

1. I began to open the rear hatch door.
2. The kid crashed
3. As the door swung slowly upward, Ann yelled “no, no, no”
4. Ann’s attempts to stop me from opening the door bounced off me as if they didn’t exist, because I was wondering if the stupid kid was hurt.
5. I continued to lift the door.
6. Ann continued to yell “no, no, no”
7. I continued to ignore her (she was two feet away right in front of me)
8. I heard a noise of something sliding.
9. I heard the sound of glass breaking.
10. I heard the sound of me saying . . . “it wasn’t my fault, it wasn’t my fault. it was that kiiiddd!”

Well, it went something like that. No matter how it happened, I was soon buying her another bottle of wine. Actually, 2 bottles. Happy wife, happy life.

Once that adventure was over, we were off to Cottonwood Canyon Road, which turns north from highway 89.  I won’t bore you with details. The road is dirt and the terrain varies wildly. Lots of tight turns, hills, and dust. Don’t drive it when wet. It is just under 50 miles. It rocks! Here are some pics.


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