11 days in Moab, Utah for the 50th Easter Jeep Safari, 2016

Be sure to scroll down to see Audrey’s gallery of photos.

Article by Audrey Byrd

LongCanyon FriendsIspent months of planning, preparing, readying my jeep, RV and myself for my now annual pilgrimage to Moab, Utah for this year’s 50th annual Easter Jeep Safari (or EJS for short). It’s nothing short of what it’s like for a child, waiting to see what Santa will bring them on Christmas Day, except we are adults, well most of us.

I got the RV loaded, the Jeeps on the trailer and away I go. I spent a total of 13 vacation days with 11 of them as full days in Moab, the other 2 days were my travel days. It’s approx 450 miles and 8 hours of driving for me to get there. But that’s short compared to the many people that drive or fly in from all across the country and the many others that come from all around the world for this event.

RV & Jeep loaded and headed to MoabI gave myself a nick‐name this year as “The International EJS Hostess”.  You see, I had my very good friends Inge and Valentine Lanckman, that I call family from across the ocean. They actually own and store a 2013 JKU at my home in Henderson/Las Vegas, Nevada. They come to the USA from Belgium which is about 13 hour flight just to visit and go wheeling for 2‐3 weeks. They have been going to Moab for 14 yrs and attending EJS for almost 7 yrs now. They stayed in my RV with me this year and they are also volunteer Trail Gunners a few days during EJS.

 

EJS Episode

Click here to watch the KrawlZone Episode 50th Easter Jeep Safari and Patriot Crawl.

I also met 2 great young men from New Zealand. Cody Allen and Joe Wheeler, thru facebook who had posted that they would love to ride as passengers in a Jeep during EJS and I accepted. We organized it so they would be camped at the same campground and then they would ride with me each day. They made great spotters, camera men and good conversationalists. They loved every minute there and I made out because they filled my gas tank everyday and at the end of the day washed my jeep at the local carwash. After EJS, they continued on their 90 day self tour of the USA, camping and/or staying with other Jeep people they met thru EJS and facebook.

Saturday 19th was opening day for the event and so I starting my trails with one of my favorite and fairly easy trails called “Fins & Things” rated #4. Trails are rated on a scale of 1‐10, with 10 being the hardest. After the trail I then met several friends to go to “The Diner” on Main St. for an ice cream cone and to have our chairs sitting on the sidewalk to watch at the RV’s and Jeeps coming into town. Since we sat in front of my Jeep which was next to the street, many Jeepers honked and waved and several pulled over to come say hello.

Gold Bar Rim
Sunday 20th was the trail “Gold Bar Rim” rated #5. This trail takes you down and then back up a large rock waterfall that for many coming back up have to try more than once to make it up. I was near the front of the group so when I made it up very easily, the trail leader asked if I would leave my Jeep parked near the obstacle so that I could use my strap on the back of my jeep to help several that were having a hard time. Everyone made it up, but by the end of the trail day we had a couple mechanical issues including: a broken driveshaft, broken U‐Joint and a Jeep with engine issues.
Teraflex WipeOutHill LunchOn Monday 21st was “Wipe Out Hill” rated #5. This trail day was by special invite from Teraflex Suspensions with Dennis Wood and Joe Thompson. Our trail leader was Dan Mick of Dan Mick’s Guided Jeep Tours in Moab, Utah. There were 30+ jeeps on this day and all had Teraflex parts on them. Many of the people were from other countries. I tried to understand what language they spoke and so since I’m not shy, at lunch I started chatting with a group of approx 15‐20 people from Germany (only a couple knew English), then I met 2 men from China and another from France. They were distributors of Teraflex products in their countries. During our trails lunch break, Joe Thompson made us all root beer floats. I don’t know the exact recipe but he used an ice chest, put dry ice in with syrup, sugar and water, not sure what else, but it sure was tasty. He even had ice cream to make it a float. We also had a medical emergency on the trail as one of the ladies was trying to find a bush to go potty and she slipped and broke her femur bone in her leg. She was airlifted to the hospital and Teraflex Medical Emergancelast I heard, she had surgery and is recovering. Joe Thompson had an awesome medical/1st aid kit and everyone in the group wanted to help out. That is what the Jeep Family means to me, everyone willing to help in a time of need.

 After the trail, it was rush back to town, hit the carwash, then to the RV for a fast shower, then over to see my good friends Frank Hansen and Bill Craig by 6pm. They are moderators for “JKForum”, which is the largest online JK community on the planet. Bill Craig is also a volunteer for “4 Wheel to Heal”. It is a non‐profit organization that serves wounded and disabled veterans. The mission is to boost morale for veterans by providing them with experiences like off‐road races, rock crawling, mud bogging, camping, and more. They were at the grand opening of GoToMoab.com and D.I.Y. Garage. It’s owned by Joe Riley and Jennifer Johnson, who graciously Hosted the event. Joe is also the guy behind the Teratoy Jeep Build. It’s a shop where anyone and everyone that is mechanically inclined, can rent shop space to work on their jeep. Bill and Frank set up a Meet‐N‐Greet there with several vendors, a catered Mexican dinner, gave away t‐shirts, other goodies and raffled off some great prizes.

 

Diesel Brothers Blue PigThen from 8pm to 11pm that same night I headed over to a restaurant named “The Blue Pig” for another Meet‐N‐Greet hosted by Rock Krawler Suspensions. There were numerous of the off road industries finest there to meet and chat with. It was like a Jeep Show of all sorts, every color, style and year was there. Along with music, they had free cocktails and raffle prizes. Around 10pm the guys from the Hit TV show called “Diesel Brothers” showed up with 2 of their fantastic and huge rigs.

 

BFG Logo 4C

Area BFE Readers RideTuesday 22nd was out to Area BFE for the Crawl Magazine’s “Readers Ride Appreciation Day”. They had guided trail rides from mild to wild. I saw my awesome friends Charlene Bower of Bower Sports Media and Alisha Schultz from BFGoodrich Tires. Charlene was taking pictures and videos of all the Jeeps as they headed out to the trails, so I watched and took pictures too. I then took my New Zealand friends down to an area called “Helldorado”. We watched people play on the obstacle there. We headed back up to the top parking area to walk around and check out the vendors there and get some great BBQ from a vendor there. At 2pm they had a raffle, where many won great prizes. A great day had by all.

Womens MeetNGreetI then took off for the other side of town to go to see one of my idols and good friend, Charlene Bower of Bower Motorsports Media. She was hosting her: “Women in the Off Road Community” – Meet‐N‐Greet. It was sponsored by BFGoodrich tires with the super sweet Alisha Schultz to answer any questions. Charlene gave out super nice lunch bags filled with swag from her “I’m Just Not A Girl” line of clothes. Charlene also made a huge announcement to us and social media that she is putting on a “Ladies Co‐Driver Challenge” ( 99 ladies applied, I made into the top 30, but did not make it to the top 10, oh well, maybe next time. It was a fun and great experience and I wish good luck to the ladies in the top 10). BFGoodrich gave us all t‐shirts. Jesse Combs, the Winner of King of the Hammers – “Everyman Challenge” race was there to sign autographs and get to know all of us ladies. (Yes, she has a continuous smile and if very gracious to everyone). Besides it being freezing this day we had rain and even snow on us, we still had a great time huddled together under the canopy.

ABFE TonyP.DieselBroI then headed to “Grandpa’s Garage”, which was by invite only. Thanks to Tony Pellegrino of Genright Off‐Road for inviting me. Tony, his son Jordan I walked over from where the many RV’s are parked on the property and on the vacant lot across the street. There are many of the industry’s top vendors and friends that park and camp at Grandpa’s Garage. They have catered dinners, bon fires and gatherings there every night. Tonight was no exception. I can’t even name all of the dozen of faces that are well known in the Off‐Road community that were in attendance. But I had a blast and I got to have a glass mug along with a plastic cup, both with the Grandpa’s Garage Logo on them as souvenirs.

Metal Cloak TrailerWednesday 23rd was a day of site seeing, shopping and exploring Moab. I also headed over to the Metal Cloak Flexing Trailer in town. I checked my score of 920. They showed me areas of improvement. There were many waiting to test their jeep and watching everyone take their turn. I had a crowd around my Jeep when it was my turn, all asking about this or that and taking pictures, makes me feel so proud of all the products that I chose for my Jeep.

We then headed over to watch the fun at “Potato Salad Hill”. This is where lots of people go after going on a trail. There’s lots of people watching and others getting up their bravery to try and climb the famous Potato Salad Hill Climb. Yes, there is an easy line, but that’s not the point, they have to keep trying the harder and harder lines to go up it. This place gets so busy that the local police stand guard at both entrances, they count the vehicles coming out and then they let that many vehicles in to watch… There can be a couple hundred vehicles parked on each side of the river, yet there are dozens more waiting to get in.

On the way back into town, I stopped by at Nena Barlow’s – Barlow Adventures, Jeep Rental Shop. I finally got to visit with my good friend Misty Adams as she works there. Misty and her husband David have lived in Moab for many years and are with the “Red Rock 4 Wheelers Club” that puts on the “Easter Jeep Safari Event”. We both had been just missing each other, daily. She stopped by my RV to visit and I had just left and other times, I drove by her work and she was already gone. So while visiting I got to visit a few more friends that stopped by to visit. Johnny Cobia and his parents Mike and Caroline Cobia came in to say hi. Then Jeremy Poole of Teraflex with his wife and kids stopped in too.

From 6pm till 8pm I headed over to “Moab 4×4 Outpost” for their Customer Appreciation night and Meet‐N‐Greet. They had hotdogs, burgers and drinks, a DJ was playing music and they had a pretty good raffle too.

Strike RavineThursday 24th we headed out to do the trail “Strike Ravine” rated #6. This is a beautiful trail that took us near an old mine and ended up inside of Area BFE. After the trail it was back again to the carwash as tomorrow would be spent at the Vendor Fair all day. I also headed back to the Metal Cloak Trailer, as the flexing score changes with your tire pressure. This time my Jeep got a score of 960 points. Big difference with low air pressure (1st time @ 40 psi, 2nd @ 8 psi). Then at 6pm I went to “The Branding Iron” for a nice group of 7 for dinner.


Friday 25th
was the “Vendor Fair & Raffle Day”. On both Thursday and Friday, the EJS event has a huge Vendor Fair at the Arena Complex. I go on Friday so that I can find a good parking spot, spend the day visiting the numerous vendors and all the many friends that I didn’t go on a trail with. I can grab a bite to eat for lunch at one of the several yummy food vendors. Then at 5pm the Boy Scouts have their annual dinner, they sell tickets throughout the week and all day both days of the vendor fair. After dinner, the RaffleNightinside area is cleared of vendors and people line the ground with chairs, the grandstands are filled to capacity. By 6pm the place barely had standing room areas left. See this year’s raffle total was approx  300,000. Worth of prizes and this year “Jeep” created a limited edition Jeep, labeled “The Redrock Edition”, with only 50 for production and the #1 Jeep was going to a winner, which sadly was not me. It did go to a young Utah Fireman, who was stunned and then called his wife and she thought he was lying.

Well I didn’t win anything during the raffle either, but I won a lot more, I met so many new people and got to see so many faces that I’ve met at this awesome event in the past.

Saturday 26th is the “Big Saturday Jeep Parade”. I took the New Zealand guys and my friend Deb Arthur aka; Deb Jeeper on facebook, she’s from Denver, Colorado. She followed us to the center of town to watch the parade. All trails on this day park near the main street/Hwy and at 9am the police stop traffic in all directions and the groups of Jeeps parade out of town. There are many news crews, all types of camera and magazine press and ton’s of spectators watching, taking pictures and video and waving to the jeeps as they pass. It takes approx 20 minutes for them all to leave town.

Grandpa GarageWe then headed out for breakfast where we met another friend “Ozzie” and his friend from Las Vegas, Nevada. Afterwards I took them all down Hwy 279 which follows the Colorado River. There are dozens of spots to stop and watch the extreme Mountain Rock Climbers as there are sheer walls for them to climb all day. We turned and headed up the very easy and scenic trail called “Long Canyon”. We stopped several times to take pictures of the beautiful scenery behind us. Then we headed back into town and went to the “The T‐Shirt Shop” to buy our trail name stickers and other memento’s. Now it was time for lunch so we headed down to get a Burger and Milk Shake at the famous “Milts”. If you’ve never gone here, it’s a Must do on your list of places to go in Moab.

Sunday 27th is the last day of the safari. I did “Hells Revenge” rated #6. It is yet another fantastic trail that I’ve done twice now. The weather this day was fantastic. As the weather here can change in an instant. After the trail, I took the New Zealand boys back to Potato Salad Hill and wow was it crowded. We had to wait about 15 minutes just to get in and find a parking spot.

Monday 28th was a full day of rest. It rained and even snowed this day. It was wonderfully dark and dreary looking outside (well I have really dark window film on the RV windows too, lol). I kicked back on my RV’s couch and bed uploading hundreds of pictures, got some laundry done and had the TV on for ambiance. Oh ya, I had my little heater/fireplace going for warmth. I was in my glory and didn’t want to leave my comfy sanctuary. I was truly, one happy camper.

Me GroupRun EaglesDare

Tuesday 29th, I decided to ride as a passenger in my friend Mike Ehlers Jeep and he’s from Grand Junction, Co. A group of friends decided to go on a trail marathon. There were 7 Jeeps in all. They were from: Texas, Florida, Canada, Arizona and 3 from Colorado, Mike was our trail leader and I called myself the group photographer, but I think everyone had a camera also. We headed into Poison Spider Mesa – rated #6, to Golden Spike – rated #7, to Where Eagles Dare – rated #7, to Rusty Nail – rated #7, then on to Gold Bar Rim – Rated #5. This was a very long but extremely fun day. We ended the day by meeting for dinner at “The Brewery Restaurant”.

MoabDiner Watching trafficWednesday 30th was my pack up, load up and head for home day. I did not want to leave as anyone on a great vacation says. But I will be back for this event next year. I have hundreds of photo’s to remember my time there and remember all the wonderful faces of everyone new and old friendships. So, if you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be in Moab for the annual Easter Jeep Safari Event. This is my version of action packed things to do and see. I have already reserved the same campground at ACT Campground. It’s a new campground in Moab and the owners are super friendly and the bathrooms are exceptionally clean. I plan on staying a full 2 weeks there and that’s not including travel days. I hope to see you all there next year.

-Audrey and my Black‐N‐Blue‐Sexetoy

 

2-2016 KOH Women'sMeetNGreet - Copy

Audrey Byrd is an adventurous Jeeper, who is a huge animal lover and grew up owning, riding, training, showing and boarding horses. She also rode everything from mopeds, mini bikes, dirt bikes, ATC’s (3 wheelers), ATV’s, sand rails, Myers Manx dune buggy, Honda Oddacy’s to still owning a CanAm 800 4×4 ATV. She can be seen in your Black-N-Blue Sexetoy at off-road events across the country. She currently has 4 dogs. Two Female Boxers, a 15 yr old male Miniature Pincher and tiny female Chihuahua.

 

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