COOPER DISCOVERER - The Wild West with My 8 Year Old and Friends


India Differently
Some call it manipulation, I call it proper parenting. My eight year old, Davis is quick to tell you that my 80 series Land Cruiser is his and that he lets me drive it until his legs get long enough. He is my adventure buddy and I couldn't be more proud. He was two years old when he spent his first night in a tent. That night it was 25 degrees in the north Georgia mountains. He didn't complain once. He loved it and had no problems sleeping. He has logged close to a hundred nights in a tent since that first trip. The most recent adventure added four nights in the tent and created memories that we will both cherish forever. More on his time out West later as I should probably start from the beginning.

Many years ago I heard a Native American say “the desert changes your soul”. I found this very true as I started immersing myself in the Wild West back in 2012. In September of 2015, I left Atlanta in the 80 Series Cruiser and made my way out to Moab to meet up with "Team Moab" of the CruiserFest event. I brought a buddy, Robert, from my office with me for the journey. Robert had recently purchased a new 4Runner Trail. I wanted to give him a taste of what his new 4Runner wanted out of life. From Moab, Kurt Williams of Cruiser Outfitters led a four day backcountry traverse into Tooele, UT. CruiserFest is a first class event that I look forward to attending each year. There are various locations for attendees to rendezvous with other attendees and then you spend multiple nights “overlanding” into the event. Team Moab is clearly the best team ;) The first day was a quick drive through the Dubinky Well area and into White Sands Sand Dunes where we setup camp for the night. We actually met up with the group that started in Denver and camped as a large group that night. The following morning, we said our goodbyes to the second best group, Denver, and started our trek towards the San Rafael Swell, specifically the Black Dragon Canyon Trail. This was a highly anticipated day for me as I had been trying to make it to the San Rafael Swell for years and it was finally going to happen. It did not disappoint as we were treated to spectacular view of Pictographs and Petroglyphs. I am still fascinated by the art and history of this area.

Following the swell, we began our backcountry trek toward Skyline Drive. This was yet another area that I had heard about over the years and it also did not disappoint. The views here were simply stunning. As we climbed the trail and took in the views, we were rewarded with a great campsite near Pete’s Hole Reservoir. I broke out the Hennessy Hammock for this night as I wanted to take full advantage of the opportunities the alpine setting provided. The following morning we began our decent down the mountain and we had a FJ55 in the group lose a rear tire and shear all of the wheels studs in the process. The team came together and with a parts run through a few towns, some patience and teamwork, we took care of the issue and worked our way toward Desert Mountain and ultimately made camp that night in the Jericho Area. The following morning we picked up the Ericson Pass en route to the Pony Express Road. We stopped and enjoyed our lunch at one of the Pony Express Outposts and I enjoyed my time travel back 150 years as I tried to envision its operation in real time. From there it was a quick jaunt north to the Miller Motorsports Park for the CruiserFest event.

Following the event, I drove down to Las Vegas to leave the 80 at a friend’s house and catch a flight home to Atlanta. Leaving the Cruiser out West was a decision that I knew would be well rewarded.

The first two are from our campsite in thw White Sands Sand Dunes.
The third is a picture of our group while stopped to check out the Petroglyphs on the Black Canyon Trail in the swell.
The final two are of the Petroglyphs that we saw. View attachment 344659 View attachment 344658
Awesome clicks friends............ that will force us also to visit their....... beautiful place......... stolen my heart really