Epic overland trip that started with the AZ Run

I'm going to try to tell the story of our awesome trip in this thread. It will take a few days (or weeks) for me to go through all the pictures and videos and get them all up here, but I want to document the trip for your enjoyment.

We started out the trip with our newly finished and packed trailer driving 307 miles from Chandler to Page via Payson. We hit a pretty major storm on the way, but when we got to page we were nice and clean and feeling good. I reset my trip odometer here:

Things started out pretty rocky, when we were in page I noticed a power steering leak at the low pressure fitting on the steering servo. I tightened it up, hit a car wash to clean up the oil and headed to the trailhead. As I was pulling off the freeway onto the dirt, the pump started screaming. The return line AN fitting had cracked, luckily I had fluid and a replacement fitting. Our friend Dennis showed up while we were repairing the truck and joined us for the long trail in to Alstrom Point, the first campsite for the AZ Run. The storm that hit us, also hit Northern AZ and Southern UT making a ton of mud. The truck lost it's shiny clean look pretty quickly:

One of the many little jobs I didn't get a chance to take care of prior to the start of the run was the broken passenger side mud flap (oops)...:

Here we are a few miles from camp at the first overlook:

Slick is checking out the cliff edge, he's braver than we are:

Here's campsite #1 of many on the first night of our trip:

This is all I'm going to get for today, hopefully I'll have time to go through some more stuff tomorrow, but I have a work event so I'm not sure I will.

 

Original Post

Here's a drone shot of the sunset from the first night (picture). It didn't come out very well, but I thought I'd include it:

Sunrise pictures from the next morning came out fantastic though:

Here's the trailer all packed up and ready to hit the trail again:

We headed out from Alstrom Point and into Kanab to fuel up and pick up anyone that skipped the first night. Here's a few shots of scenery along the way:

From Kanab we headed back across the border into AZ onto the beginning of the Arizona Trail. We cruised up the Kaibab Monocline and through some forests in Northern AZ heading towards Jacob Lake. Here's a drone shot with us all lined up waiting for a straggler at an intersection:

We topped off at Jacob Lake and headed to the campsite for the second night, elevation 7720 feet:

An aerial shot of the second campsite:

We really didn't take many pictures on the second day, we were finally starting to wind down from the hectic buildup of the truck and trailer prepping for this trip. I do have some drone footage I need to process, hopefully I can get that up later tonight or tomorrow.

 

It's been a couple days, but I finally got some time to upload some more video and pictures. I'll start with the video from the first day of the AZ run, it shows the drone crashing it the beginning (not sure why it decided it needed to land). That was the first time it has ever done that and it did it two other times on the trip. I'm glad that didn't happen over Alstrom Point...

 

The second day of the AZ Run had us running out to Toroweap, the narrowest point in the Grand Canyon and the first overlook for the run. We stopped off in Fredonia for fuel and headed out to Toroweap. You can see the stucco look covers the body damage on the S-10 pretty well:

There was beautiful scenery everywhere you looked, even if we were just parked on the side of the road waiting for people to catch up:

They made us drop our trailers at the ranger station, something about 20 foot max length.  We wouldn't have had any issues, but the guy with the badge makes the rules...  I wish I would have known they were going to do that, I would have left it in Fredonia instead of dragging it 95% of the way to Toroweap.

After lunch and taking a boatload of pictures, we headed back through Fredonia through Lookout Canyon to our night 2 campsite in the pines at 7200 feet.  We watched a movie that night so I had the screen up.

I flew the drone in this canyon and it did the crash landing thing on me 2 more times.  I chalked it up to loss of GPS signal, but that shouldn't have happened the first time.  It never happened again after getting out of this canyon:

I still need to edit the video from the drone, maybe I'll get it up later today or tomorrow.

More pictures!  I was a little gun shy after crashing my drone for the 3rd time, so no drone flights for this day.  Day 3 of the Arizona run.  We're now heading straight back to the Canyon on the north rim, we're going to hit numerous lookouts here, but first we had to get down the very muddy Lookout Canyon and met back up with someone that had to head back to town for the night:

Then we were into the Kaibab National Forest going to various points on the Rainbow Rim Trail:

The S-10 and trailer were fully stuccoed by this point, hardly any white paint showing:

The first point we hit was Parissawampitts Point, then on to Fence Point, Locust Point, North Timp Point, Stine Point, Fire Point and Dog Point.  I honestly don't remember which was which so just enjoy the pictures:

We all split up and just hit whatever points we wanted to, some went straight to camp, some just hit a few points, but we hit all of them.  The plan was to camp on Fire Point, but we decided to camp on Dog Point instead.  We had a nice spot in the pines with a good overlook.  Movies were watched, beer was drank, wood was burned, but no pictures were taken until the next day (by us anyways)...  Here's some shots from a nice little field we stopped in on the way to camp though:

One more day of pictures for this weekend and a drone video. I'll get more up later this week but I need to get away from the computer for a bit.

Day 4 of the AZ Run, today we hit the aptly named Point Sublime and Swamp Point (not so aptly named thankfully). We never got a shot with camp setup, but here we are packed and ready to head out. You can see we've scraped some of the stucco off so we didn't get completely filthy just using the trailer:

On the way to Point Sublime we ran across a wild buffalo herd, that's a first for me:

Then we moved on to Point Sublime.  We spent quite a bit of time here just looking in awe, this is a must see spot, if there is any way you can get here you should add it to your bucket list for sure:

We took quite a few panorama pictures, but this is the only one that turned out halfway decent.  180° doesn't even come close to capturing the whole view from the point:

Drone shot to give shape to the point:

This is probably the best subject matter my drone will ever capture.  I was a bit nervous flying it as it was fairly windy and it crashed twice the last time I flew it, but the video came out pretty good:

After we hit point sublime we headed out to Swamp Point, it was incredibly green out there:

After hitting Swamp Point we headed back to camp near Fire Point.  I'll continue from there next time.

On day 5 of the AZ Run we actually cruised into the main part of the North Rim National Park (the back way of course). We hit Point Imperial and Cape Royal, but more importantly some of us managed to grab a shower at the campsite in the park, it was glorious!

On with the pictures (I think this is Cape Royal):

It was pretty humorous driving around the park with a big group of muddy trucks (we all split up and hit all the spots we wanted to hit and regrouped later).  Everywhere you went people were pointing, taking pictures and coming over to ask were we had all been.

Lunch with a view:

I think this is Point Imperial:

(Pre shower pictures):

Then we headed just outside the main entrance of the park for our night 5 campsite.  There was another herd of buffalo grazing in the fields just outside the park, but it didn't seem as cool as the one we ran into in the forest.  It poured on us for about an hour then let up so we could set up camp.  Some of the mud got washed off anyways:

We headed out in the morning for the last campsite through some beautiful canyons and woods:

We made a stop for lunch before we dropped off of the Kaibab Plateau:


Then we dropped down out of the pines and into the high desert:


Marble Canyon in the distance:

When we arrived at our final campsite, right on the edge of Marble Canyon, a storm blew through so we all hid in our trucks for an hour or so till it blew over:


Once it dried out enough we set up camp in the best campsite ever:


Awesome views out all 3 windows on the tent. We just laid in there and enjoyed the view for a couple hours:

We had a friend guarding our camp for us:

Double rainbow!

A couple drone shots for perspective:

We had different trucks come and leave throughout the week and you can see our group was pretty small by this point, those that left early missed the best campsite.

I uploaded another drone video, but they cut the music track off so I'm going to find a different track and re-upload it. I'll post it later.

We woke up Saturday and opened the window so we could take some nice sunrise shots. We didn't even have to get out of bed:

We packed up camp and said goodbye to our friends we had spent the last 7 days with and headed into Page. We had made reservations at the newly renovated Motel 6 in Page with the plan of resupplying, doing laundry and heading out again in the morning into the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. After talking with the wife, we decided that our tent bed was way more comfortable than a motel bed and we'd clean up, shower, wash clothes, resupply and head back out into the wilderness.

Our original plans were to cruise through the Grand Staircase, meet up with Stephen Watson and family then cruise through parts of the national monument then into Canyonlands. Amber had actually made reservations for all of us at the Dollhouse campgrounds. When she got the permit she read through it and realized that we weren't allowed to take dogs, since we had two and the Watson's had 1 we had to change our plans. All of this happened in the last days prior to leaving when we were in a rush to finish the trailer, shopping and packing so we made tentative plans to just meet somewhere near Escalante on Sunday afternoon and figure it out then. While we were in Page we grabbed a copy of the Utah Gazatteer and a National Monument park map so we could try to figure something out.

While waiting for Laundry and showers, we texted back and forth with Stephen and decided we'd meet up with them at the intersection of Hole in the Rock Road and Left Hand Collet in the "late afternoon" on Sunday. Prior to this point, our trip had been planned out for us, now we were on our own. We flipped through our various maps and decided we'd head out to the Grand Bench to camp. We mistakenly estimated it to be about 20 miles further than the turnoff for Alstrom Point... We were off by quite a bit.

Once we got everything re-packed we headed out towards Big Water again. We swung through the ranger station to check for road closures and snapped some pictures of road conditions in the park so we had a better idea of where we could and couldn't go:

We got to the crossing for Wahweap Creek that we had crossed twice the previous week and were greeted with quite a bit more water than before thanks to the storm that rolled through earlier that morning. There was a JK stopped on the opposite side of the "creek" asking us how deep it was on our side so I decided I'd drive in and find out. It was pretty shallow (less than hub deep) all the way across until we were about 5 feet from the far bank where the main channel was. We were already committed at that point so we splashed through and out the other side to check for damage.

The main channel was about 3 feet deep, but thankfully the only damage was that we tripped the GFC on the inverter and the fridge in our trailer shut off. We dried everything off with an air hose and reset the circuit and were back on our way. We came across Warm Creek and I had Amber wade across this time so we didn't get any surprises. This creek was barely a trickle when we came through before:

Thankfully once we got past that crossing the roads dried out, no more mud or water crossings.

We kept driving and driving as the time ticked on. The road conditions past the Alstrom Point turnoff were significantly worse than prior to the turnoff so our progress was slowed, the fact that we were on our own and in the dark certainly didn't make me drive any faster either. We finally got to the part where the road turned South letting us know exactly where we were and kept trudging on hoping the road would get better. It didn't, so finally at a little after 9PM we found a spot that looked flat enough to set up camp and stopped for the night.

 

We got up the next morning to a landscape that looked like we were on another planet.  The Glen Canyon Recreation area has quite a variety of terrain, and it's like nothing else I've seen.

We had heard coyotes a few times through the night, but were surprised in the morning when one of the packs sent a puppy in to try to lure our dogs out.  In bounded in to about 10-15 yards from our campsite bouncing in a very playful way until my big dog Slick took notice and started walking out to greet him.  We called the dogs back and the puppy just waited there, hoping we'd stop watching long enough to get our dogs back to his pack.  I fired off a .45 round to scare him off so we could finish packing in peace.  After the coyote was gone it's spotter (a big black crow) started circling us calling for about 10 minutes.  Then it landed on a hill and kept calling trying to get the coyotes to come back for our dogs.  It was a very weird way to start the day...

We decided that since we had the whole day we should continue on our mission to get onto the Grand Bench.  On the way we found out there was a canyon crossing just past this little corral:

There were a couple people there in a truck and they said they had gone out in a side by side earlier so I figured we would be fine (I was wrong...).  We dropped into the canyon and started up the other side:

Nothing like doing a little rock crawling while your 50 miles from pavement, on your own, towing a trailer  ...

We quickly ran out of traction and jackknifed the trailer so we couldn't back up.  The only way out was up at this point:

We had to winch one more time to finish the climb out of the canyon.  Now that we made it through that, we were determined to get up onto the bench.  We continued on through terrain that reminded me of going through Golden Spike in Moab, lots of slick rock, and no way to go fast.  We continued climbing until we got up onto the bench:

The views were spectacular, but we weren't anywhere near the Lake Powell overlook.  We decided it would be a bad idea to try to drag the trailer the rest of the way to the overlook alone and that we shouldn't have even come as far as we did, so we turned around and headed back towards Escalante.  We crossed back through the canyon relatively uneventfully (scratched up the fender on the trailer a bit) and headed back into the national monument.  We took Little Valley Road back to the intersection with Crotan Road and took that North up onto the Kaiparowits Plateau.

There were some spectacular views as we made the climb:

We managed to find a shady spot to stop for lunch off a side road (Reese Canyon Rd):

In the 70-100 miles we'd driven offroad from Big Water, we'd only seen the two rigs.  This was Labor Day weekend so you'd think someone else would be out there, but you'd be wrong.  This place was desolate and empty, and we were on our own.  After lunch we finished the climb, it was amazing that as soon as we crested the plateau the landscape changed:

We got to the intersection of Crotan Rd and Left Hand Collet Rd at about 2PM.  We were feeling pretty good, we only had to go about 10 miles to meet up with the Watsons and had a few hours to figure it out.  We had scoped out a few nice campsites up on top of the plateau surrounded by shaggy juniper with tons of wood laying around for campfires then we headed down the trail to meet our friends.

Left Hand Collet Rd turned out to be a very neat canyon road, 4 wheel drive was required, but it wasn't bad.  I started hearing my trailer chains dragging and figured one of my d-rings fell off or something so when we stopped at a cool balanced rock for pictures we got out to check it out:

Apparently the offshoot rock crawling adventure put a bit too much strain on some of the bolts holding my bumper on and they sheered off:

Thankfully I had my Ready Welder with us and with a little work we were back on the road.  We got to the intersection with Hole in the Rock road at about 5 and headed towards Escalante until we got cell service.

Bonus tired dad and dog picture (I was just happy he wasn't coyote food):

After getting in contact with Stephen, we decided we had time to head into Escalante for Dinner since they were running late.  We ate, refueled, did some shopping and destroyed a car wash with about 250 lbs of mud. The roads coming down through Boulder UT and down into Escalante turned out to be a lot slower than Stephen anticipated, combine that with a late start and it was a little after 9PM by the time we met up with them at the intersection of HWY 12 and Hole in the Rock Rd.  It was too late to get to the campsites we had scoped out, so we just headed back into the park and stopped at the first spot we could find that would fit us all.  We traded stories and beers for a couple hours and crashed after a long day for all of us.

 

When we got up we were surprised to find that we actually had quite a scenic campsite:

We talked for a bit, packed up and down the road to Hole in the Rock. We stopped at a plaque on the side of the road with a boy scout emblem and decided to see what it was about:

It was about a bunch of kids dying in a wreck... I guess we shouldn't have been surprised since we were crossing Cadaver Creek...

The next plaque was less depressing:

We couldn't actually find the arch when we stopped here, we spotted it on the way back out, it was tiny and a long ways away:

They sure love gluing plaques to rocks in Utah:

I tried to fly the drone, but it was so windy I was worried a big gust would take it out of the sky:

The video footage I got was boring, so no video. We ate lunch, hiked down a little ways then headed back up the trail. We decided it would be neat to take a side trail up on top of 50 mile bench on the way back out with the plan of hitting the campsites I had spotted the day before for that night. The views up on the bench were awesome:

Stephen's rig was sporting his brand new SAS kit that was pretty much finished the day they left to meet up with us. He stopped a few times to take some marketing pictures:

It makes me want to SAS my DirtyMax:

When we got back down to Hole in the Rock Road, we bumped into some Toyota guys we had seen earlier. They informed me that I left my drone remote back at the end of the trail ... I attempted to drop my trailer prior to heading 25 miles down the trail to retrieve my remote, but it wouldn't cooperate. The hitch pin had ovaled out the hole and created a bur that wouldn't let it slide out... I ran back up the trail while Stephen and Family went to check out Dance Hall Rock and another side trail.

By the time we got back together and back up to Left Hand Collet Road, it was dark again... We took a turn off onto Right Hand Collet Road and found what appeared to be a decent spot and crashed for the night. This was the longest I drove in a single day other than the day driving to Page from home and the day driving home from Moab. I burned 20+ gallons of fuel and we must have done about 200 miles offroad (I had an extra 50).

 

Yep, we just decided to do it while we were down at Hole in the Rock.  It turned out to be a good decision.

Sorry for the delay in posting updates, I've been busy.

We got up the next morning and realized we had found another cool campsite in the dark. I wandered around and took pictures and flew the drone around a bit after we were mostly packed up and while Amber was cooking:

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Just up on the rocks that surrounded our campsite were petrified dinosaur tracks:


The views from up on the rocks were pretty nice:

When we finished packing, we headed back out to Left Hand Collet Road and headed towards Smokey Mountain Road.  We had heard from some other wheelers that this route to Escalante was closed a couple days before, but we decided to see if it had dried out enough to cross.  There was some cool erosion on the canyon sides on Left Hand Collet:

We got up to Smokey Mountain Road and headed towards Escalante. About 3/4 of the way there we bumped into a dozer and a grader that were repairing the road, so we new we were good from there on. Unfortunately we didn't seem to take any other pictures for a while. We stopped in Escalante for food and fuel then headed to Boulder, UT.

From Boulder we took the Burr Trail towards the Henry Mountains. The 75 miles of pavement we were on was the most scenic awesome stretch of road I've ever been on. The last 25 miles of the trail were unpaved, which is the only place we stopped to take pictures (sorry). You can see the Henry Mountains in the distance:

We continued on the Burr Trail South to get down to the South end of the Henry Mountains.  The landscape went from desert scrub to a bizzare landscape similar to what we saw in Glen Canyon:

This was one of the numerous crossings that would not have been passable had we been there a few days earlier:

As we were picking trails to get us up into the mountains for a cooler camping location, we came across a washout we weren't willing to cross.  It was right at the beginning of the trail and there was another route so we decided to head back and look for a better way.  We were hoping to get into camp before dark for once:

We ended up finding a decent spot on the East side of the mountain after cruising around one of the peaks and over a pass. It was a great drive, but once again we covered a ton of miles and we were all ready to stop for the night. I broke out the projector and we watched a movie before calling it a night.

Unfortunately we didn't stop and take a lot of pictures on this day, but here's another drone video from our campsite that morning:

We got up and packed up to get an earlier start than we'd been doing.  Today we were going to Moab for Blazer Bash.  The one campsite we picked while it was light out was probably the worst one of the trip.  Because there had been a fire a number of years ago, there were very few trees, it was windy and none of us got much sleep:

We continued our trek through the Henry Mountains and headed towards Hanksville:

We stopped at a really cool campsite for lunch, there was a spring, running water, trees, a toilet and all kinds of cool stuff. Too bad we didn't take any pictures :doah:.

We headed out of the mountains and into Hanksville where we fueled up. From there we needed to get to Green River, but wanted to do this while staying off the pavement as much as possible. We mapped out a route that looked good and headed into the desert again:

If you've noticed in the pictures I've been posting, the gap between my cab and bed gets bigger as the story progresses. I made a mistake when I mounted my shocks (which have a small bump stop built in to them). The coil springs bind before I ever hit the bump stop, so every time I bottom out it's a solid hit. The weight of all the stuff in the bed and the trailer were slowly taking a toll on the S-10 and when we were on the last leg of our journey to Moab we bottomed out bad. We were following what appeared to be "major" roads in the gazeteer but one of them wasn't very major. We twisted around in a small canyon, crossed a small creek and were cruising slowly along a rutted out trail when I managed to hit a washout that was "invisible" due to lighting. It was about 2 feet deep. The front bounced through with no problem as I was slamming on the brakes the rear dropped in and came to a stop with the trailer solidly bottoming out the rear axle.

We looked at the damage and just continued on in to Moab since there wasn't anything we could do about it at that point. We pulled into our campsite at Moab Rim and ordered pizza from Paradox, set up our beds, unloaded the trailer and crashed for the night. We decided we'd deal with the bent truck in the morning:

We got up in the morning and made a plan, we'd have breakfast at Moab Diner, put Amber in a rental car and I'd hit Moab 4x4 Outpost to see if they could help straighten my frame. After further inspection you could see that the frame had bent right at the coil spring bucket on either side of the frame, this is also when we noticed (Stephen did anyways) that the coils were binding. I tried to convince people that I had a dump bed with bad hydraulics, but nobody would buy it:

You can see the drivers side is bent worse than the passenger side:

Good thing the dogs are dead tired after 12 days of camping and were content to just be left in the cabin to sleep on the bed:

While Amber was doing laundry and shopping, I went to M4O. They couldn't help me, but sent me to Jimmy Foy Collision Repair. I met Jimmy and he told me to come back at 2 and he'd help me out.

I showed up at 2 and Jimmy pretty much let me have free reign in his shop with his crew. He had some concrete anchors in the slab that we chained to my rock sliders, then we put some jack stands under the front of the frame and used a 20 ton air over hydraulic jack under the bumper. We went side to side and pushed the frame up until the cab pretty much touched the bed:

Since the bed was bent to match the frame at this point, we ended up popping the welds on the front bed mounts on both sides of the frame. With the frame somewhat straight I headed back to camp to weld the bed mounts back onto the frame.

With everything back together, all the tools put away, shopping and laundry done we decided to hit the trail. We went out with a few of the Blazer Bash crew (Fred, OGB, and Chris H) we headed down to hit Moab Rim.

Unfortunately, the fun ended quickly... About 500 feet into Moab Rim on the first real obstacle, I popped a chromoly Superior 14 bolt shaft... The break was not what you'd expect. I've broken a stock 14 bolt shaft before and it was quite an event, the shock exploded my Detroit Locker, my ear was ringing and the whole truck jumped (I was on 42s in the old Blazer) when this one snapped it was nothing, I thought the Magnum box just popped out of gear. I put it back in gear and tried to move again only to get yelled at that my rear left wasn't spinning.

We limped off the trail and headed back to camp to figure out what happened. It was getting dark when we got to camp, but I just needed to swap a shaft so I didn't think it would take much time to get back on the trail. We acquired a spare set of stock shafts (thanks Jack!), borrowed a Jack and impact (thanks Chris P!) and borrowed a jack stand (thanks Caitlyn!). The shaft snapped inside the spindle, we pulled out the stub and found out why it broke so easily. At some point for some reason, the shaft rubbed inside the spindle, this wore a grove in the shaft (several) and created a big weld booger inside the spindle. The heat caused by this killed the temper in the shaft which is why it broke so easily. Now the inner half of the shaft was stuck behind the weld booger with no way to remove it. I have an ARB so there is a cross pin and no way to push the shaft out the other side without removing the carrier, which you can't remove because the broken axle can't be pulled out to allow it.

About this time Jimmy stopped by camp to say hi and found us working on the S-10 again. The entire Blazer Bash group kicked in along with multiple trips to Jimmys shop we all worked on finding a way to get the broken part out. The best solution we came up with was to use a hacksaw blade to slide between the shaft and the spindle to slowly cut at the booger. The cheap hacksaw we ended up with wasn't making any progress and the brittle blade broke so it was barely long enough to use at all. At about 11PM or so we called it a night. The S-10 wasn't by my campsite, so we had to put the broken flange back on to hold in the oil and drove it back to our cabin so we could work on it in the morning.

We got up in the morning and got to work.  We went to the hardware store and bough some supplies.  Jimmy had left us with some slide hammers and we had a small hole drilled into the end of the shaft from the night before.  We picked up a tap and die set from Jimmy and the drill bits required from the hardware store, along with more hacksaw blades.  

While everyone else was out wheeling on Friday, Amber and I took turns with the hacksaw blades, cutting away at the weld boogers.  Sometimes we'd take a break and attempt to pull the shaft out with the slide hammer, but we weren't making much progress.  It was hard to put pressure on the saw blade without it binding so we just slowly cut away at it as the day wore on.  We broke the small slide hammer, so I welded up an adapter to allow us to attach the broken part of the small hammer to the big hammer.  With the big hammer, we managed to break one of the bigger boogers loose, Amber worked at it with the saw for a while and managed to get it free and out of the spindle.  Stephen Watson showed up just as we re-attached the slide hammer and attempted to pull the shaft, it slid all the way out, right up to the point the splines hit the remaining boogers...  

This was the Friday of Blazer Bash so it was getting close to time for the BBQ, we decided we wanted to make it to that with the truck and trailer and since the shaft wouldn't come out, it would have to go with us.  To prevent further damage, we cut the stub off the broken end of the shaft so we could leave the stuck end of the shaft in the axle tube without it engaging the splines on the diff.  The flange was then glued and bolted back in place, we grabbed a shower and headed to the BBQ (late).  At this point I was exhausted, my arms, hands and shoulders were sore from the hours and hours of sawing away (I'd estimate 8-10 hours between Amber and myself) and I just wanted to drink and talk with friends for a while.  We headed back to the cabin after the BBQ and crashed fairly early so we could go back at it in the morning.

Saturday morning we got right to work, we pulled the shaft out as far as it would go, pulled the shaft from the other side, then pulled the diff cover and dropped out the carrier.  At this point we were able to slide the broken piece of shaft out the opposite side and finally see what we had left to clean up.  We headed to the hardware store for the umpteenth time and picked up a Dremel with an extension so we could clean it up.  We cleaned until we melted the generic sanding drum spindle and decided that was good enough.  We test fit a stock shaft, bolted it to the hub and spun it to make sure we weren't getting any contact and everything looked good.  Just for fun, we test fit the Superior shaft and discovered that the splines are a bit deeper on it and it wouldn't clear the damaged section of the spindle...

After carefully cleaning out the axle housing, we glued a nice big magnet inside the diff cover, reassembled everything and topped off with oil.  We grabbed a quick shower and hit up Milt's for a late lunch on our way to Hell's Revenge.  Finally we were back on the trail after what seemed to be an eternity of working on the S-10, we had been in Moab for almost 3 days and had only done about 500 feet of trail...

We stopped up at the Colorado Overlook to snap a couple pictures:

We cruised through the trail up to the crossover point (just before Escalator) and then cut back across to the entrance so we didn't have to take the bumpy exit road.  Someone had told us about the dino tracks near the entrance to Hells (right at the overlook for Moab) so we stopped to check them out:

We went ahead and cruised up Potato Salad Hill on our way back to town just because we were so happy to be back on the trail.  Then we headed back to camp to find some of the other Blazer Bash attendees to make plans.

I had volunteered to lead a night run on CK5 prior to coming out, that was supposed to be Thursday night, but sh*t happened...  A few people wanted to do a night run so I lead a small group up Moab Rim in the dark.  It's a cool trail, and honestly it's less scary at night because you don't see that you're 2 feet from a 50' cliff...  Here's a shot of the Moab lights from the top:

We had been told about the "endless cave" up at the corner of the cliff on top of Moab Rim closest to the Colorado so I went on a hike looking for it.  After doing some research the next day, I think I was really close to it, but I didn't want to get that close to the edge at night.  We'll have to go searching for it again next year in the daylight.

There was much celebrating and drinking after we got back from the night run. It was the last night of Blazer Bash and we had finally gotten out on the trail, so everything was going great.

Amber had volunteered to be the trail boss for the Powder Puff run on Poison Spider Mesa for Sunday so that would be the only official Blazer Bash trail that we made it on. Luckily we had a relatively late start, so we weren't suffering too bad, I made sure to pack plenty of beer (since I wasn't driving) and we headed out to meet the rest of our group. We talked about the repairs with the other groups that were meeting in the same place and then made our way to the trail head. The doggies were excited to be getting back out on the trail after a few days of resting in the cabin:

We cruised out onto the trail and enjoyed a great day of hanging out with friends and enjoying the awesome Moab weather and scenery:

Brent 3 has been dying to see some pictures of his rig on a trail, so here he is screwing around in the v-notch on Poison Spider:

He got lost and had to back up to get back on the trail...


We stopped at Little Arch for lunch and a couple of us took our drones out:

I uploaded a short video from there.  If you look on the other side of the Colorado from where we're at, you can see the Moab Rim trail.  You start at the small parking lot (visible towards the end of the video) and cruise up right along the cliff to the top of the plateau.  It's a cool trail, but seeing it from the other side of the Colorado gives you some perspective of what you're driving on.

That was the last day of Blazer Bash and the last day of our vacation.  Now all we had to do was drive 500 miles home...
 
We got back to the cabin after the trail run and started packing.  We hooked up the trailer, loaded the majority of our stuff (we still had to sleep in the cabin) and said our goodbyes to the people that were still there.  We crashed for the night so we could get up early and head home.
 
We got up early, finished our packing and headed out.  It was a long drive and we knew we'd have to stop frequently (17 gallon tank and ~10mpg on the highway).  We stopped in Bluff to grab some caffeine and fuel, that's when we realized that wheeling on the already weakened frame caused it to twist again.  The tailgate had popped open and my drone case was sitting on the tailgate inches from falling off onto the highway with memory cards and everything....
 
After fueling up we put everything back in the bed of the truck and threw a ratchet strap on to hold the tailgate shut and headed out again.  We certainly lucked out on that one...
 
We stopped again in Kayenta for fuel and food and continued on our way.  We decided to power through Bluff and continue on to Flagstaff (I had 10 gallons of fuel in the trailer if we miscalculated fuel mileage).  About 20 minutes outside of Tuba City, I pushed in the clutch and tried to shift...  It wouldn't go into gear, I pumped the clutch and tried again, nothing...  another pump and I felt a "pop" and the clutch went to the floor, at least at this point I new I just had a hydraulic issue.  I didn't even stop, I just matched revs and popped it in gear without disengaging the clutch.  I told Amber what was going on and that we'd deal with it in Flag.
 
We stopped in Flag for fuel, I popped the hood and saw the lack of brake fluid so I sent Amber in to get more (and more caffeine).  Unfortunately, they were out of brake fluid, but fortunately there was caffeine.  I made the decision to power on to Payson (where we planned to stop for food anyways).  At this point most people have asked me how I managed to drive without being able to disengage the clutch...  If you don't know click here: http://bfy.tw/7xU5 
 
We pulled into Payson and stopped for fuel again, when we pulled in I heard some screaming coming from the truck.  We had heard it prior to this on the trail and I just figured it was an idler pully that was pissed off about all the mud and water, however it was much louder now.  I decided I'd deal with it if it seized up on the now short journey home, but otherwise I was just going to keep on truckin'.  We swung through the Autozone to pick up brake fluid since I was hoping it would be an easy fix so I could use the clutch tho help deal with rush hour traffic in Phoenix.  Unfortunately after I added fluid and pumped the clutch, it just spit the fluid out the bellhousing...
 
We stopped for a late lunch at our favorite restaurant in Payson (Macky's Grill) and headed for home.  Somehow, even dealing with rush hour on the 101, I managed to drive from Payson to my driveway while only shutting the truck off twice.

If you read my build threads, you know that the trailer was finished the day before we left on this trip and that the S-10 1 ton swap was completed not too long before that. It's not usually my thing to take an untested rig and trailer on a 2000 mile trip, but it was either that or call the trip off. That being said, everything worked out pretty well I think.

Here are the stats for the trip:
Total mileage ~2000 miles with over half of that being offroad

Truck issues:
-leaky steering hydraulic fitting which was replaced at the trail head.
-leaky engine oil cooler which was bypassed.
-bent frame which was straightened and re-bent.
-broken axle shaft which was replaced after the spindle was cleared out.
-screaming throwout bearing (it wasn't the idler pullys...) which somehow caused me to lose hydraulics as well. Still hasn't been repaired so I'm not sure the extent of the damage. I hate mud.
-Broken bumper bolts which ended up mangling the rear of the frame when the bumper rotated down. It's welded on now, but I'll have to figure something else out when I back half the truck to fix the frame.

Trailer issues:
-the solenoid valves I used suck, they leaked by if I didn't have pressure on the inlet side and the bags would deflate. There was a small air leak at the shutoff valve for the connection to the trucks air system so that meant my air compressor would run every 10 minutes for the entire week while we were moving. I want to get better valves and move them up inside the electronics panel to keep them cleaner. Everything under the trailer is covered with mud. The leaky valve caused a couple issues, I forgot to re-connect the trailer air line after airing up a couple times, that resulted in a nice groove being worn into the passenger side tire after dragging it down the freeway...
-the big fridge in the trailer had an issue where it stopped working on 12 volts about the 3rd day in. Luckily someone had a 110v cable that worked and I just plugged it into the inverter that was mounted right there anyways. Unfortunatey this meant the inverter had to stay on all the time, but it's not really that big of a deal. I still need to figure out what's wrong with the fridge but haven't taken it apart yet.
-One of the welds on the water tank cracked. I had ground it down for cosmetic reasons and didn't leave enough metal there. Luckily enough people had empty tanks that we could dump the water into so we could pull the tank and weld it up. Unfortunately that means I used regular steel to fix it so now it's going to rust. I'll either have to make a whole new tank or cut out the repaired area and replace it with stainless.
-the charging system was insufficient. I used a big solenoid relay with a 50 amp breaker on it to charge from the truck while we were moving. Unfortunately with the load from the fridge and the small gauge wiring going through the trailer plug it just didn't seem to get the voltage up on the trailer batteries unless it was charging for 8+ hours. This meant I had to get the jumper cables out a few times to quick charge the batteries enough to raise and lower the tent or to finish the movie we were watching. I'll probably get a 150+ amp battery isolator and run some 4 gauge cables back to the trailer to get the batteries charged properly.

That was pretty much it, if I had better bumpstops on the S-10 I don't think I would have bent the frame and that may have prevented the axle issue as well. The trailer worked out really and if I had time to do some shakedown runs with it prior to the trip I don't think I would have found and addressed all the problems we ran into on the run.

I worked on the truck finally this weekend. I forgot about another issue we had. On the last day of wheeling we got a small tear in the brake booster diaphragm which tore more as we drove home. We never really had any braking issues while driving, just a high idle. You did lose vacuum as soon as the truck shut off so Amber was having some trouble keeping the truck from rolling when starting it.

When we dropped the tranny, we got to see what happened to the slave cylinder/throwout bearing. Apparently the mud/water/etc. killed the bearing, this caused it to overheat on the highway and melt the plastic which allowed the piston to push through the middle of the bearing (bad design, cheapo autozone part, lesson learned, AC Delco part was put in as a replacement):

The truck is back on the road and we'll be taking it an the trailer out for a 3 day weekend/camping trip this weekend.

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