Overland Expo 2015 to Utah Lockhart and more....


2007 Expedition Trophy Champion, Overland Certifie
So time to tell a little tale of a recent trip, adventure, outing or overlandy thing...whatever we are calling car camping these days :)

The fun started at the 2015 S'now-verland Expo...I had to be there to teach Adv GPS Nav and thank goodness that was under cover from the snow/rain/sleet. Good times really and an event we will all talk about for years.
Only see rainbows when conditions were right, so something good comes from all the wet.

And as I was looking out my rig when I awoke Sat am all I could think was THANKS to everyone who complained about dusty, hot conditions in years past....jinx on us :)
But at least with a fake leg I only get one soggy shoe !!

Alas sunny Sunday arrived and after my last class I high tailed it to warm and sunny Utah!
One of my favorite things about rural area travel is all the small towns and what you find when you get OFF Main street.
Always fun rides to find in side lots.
I so wanted to find the owner of this to ask him to come out and play

I could of used this fellow to help with the fun in Flagstaff at OX15

Can you tell I love the old iron as my first thought when I saw this rig is that is would make a great desert traveling water hauler :)
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2007 Expedition Trophy Champion, Overland Certifie
Since the hour was late leaving Flagstaff I went for a hotel in Blanding,Utah no fun pics because...well it was Blanding.
I do have a fun story about the Navajo Cowboy Tim I picked up south of Kayenta. He was one of the funniest people I have ever shared a vehicle with and my detour off 160 to drop him off at his ranch gave me memories that will always put a grin on my mug. We were mixing English, Spanish and his efforts to teach me Navajo and we both could not stop laughing. Once he learned I was an ICU RN in Phx and got plenty of patients off the rez..he figured I should know more than "ya'at'eeh" for hello.

I got to Moab a few hours before the rest of the group I was meeting....Spot tracking is fun for knowing these details.
That meant I had time to kill...so off to run part of Fins & Things. A neat slickrock play trail right above Moab and on a Monday the trail was free and clear,

The trail is not tough, just steep in places on assents and decents, put the narrow "fins" can be interesting when you have a long hooded 70 Burb.

I did get to test my new rear RPM bumper and the skip plate I ask them to add....my ol' blue girl likes to drag her butt and this was the worst spot I found...still not toooo bad.

Finally the rest of the crew showed up in town and we were off to Chicken Corner for an overnight so we could start Lockart Basin in the am...here is our group minus a white dodge 4dr you will see soon enough.
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2007 Expedition Trophy Champion, Overland Certifie
The recent rains had put the desert in bloom and I always enjoy the spots of color that liven up the brown out there in the wild southwest.

In a great spring bloom there are areas of the desert that are carpet of colors that amaze first time visitors, this trek just had a few flowers but they stood out that much more.

It is fun to me to know that there is so much water so close when you travel around the Colorado River, just not always water you can get too.
One of these trips I am going to make an effort to camp on cliff edges just to wave at the rafters going by.

This pic is important for all those marks that show where RAIN WATER washes down the cliff....yeah the cliff we camped next to...especially that section by the white dodge truck hiding behind a bush. We will talk more soon about desert flash flooding very soon in this report.

But before we get to that let's pause for an "End Time Sign" in the clouds...ok maybe not but this strange cloud formation sure go our attention. It changed a ton in the time we watched and we had fun coming up with stories about what caused it...uranium mine tailings infecting hay fed to cows leading to nuclear methane was my guess :)

But even strange clouds could not stop us from getting Wheelchair Bill setup for his famous "Camp Fried Chicken"....simple but nothing beats it on a desert trip. We made sure he was safe from the rain...and it was that rain that would later prove interesting. Please take note of the cliff wall behind him and how water has traveled down it in the past...maybe even right under where his wheelchair is at.

Bill is pretty much able to do anything and everything for himself in the backcountry...but that doesn't keep him from directing the action now and then. Oh and a few hours from now this exact arm pointing will be directed at a waterfall coming down the cliff and right under where his chair is...good times coming.

Lucky for us the water never got more than ankle deep and was more of a fun show than a hazzard. We are all well accomplished desert travelers and where actually on highground so the water just ran between vehicles and down to the lower wash. Everyone was ready to roll if needed though.
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2007 Expedition Trophy Champion, Overland Certifie
The next morning dawned bright and sunny and no washed away Bill...just a happy man ready to hit the trail and off to Lockhart Basin we all went.

Now I would like to pause a moment to say that I am NOT a rockcrawler.....I have built my Burb to handle tough stuff but my wife loves the rig as much as I do and would prefer NO body damage. Lockers front and rear, fuel injection, a nice low first in the 700r4 and she will do anything I ask. Lockhart was the toughest thing I have done yet and while I am glad to know she will do rougher and tougher I would rather NOT. All that said I think my lack of body damage has more to do with the great spotters on this trip than any driving skill I have.

Bill takes his Dodge over all his of stuff with open diffs and using HANDCONTROLS...that is way cool if you ask me.

Got a little cab vs bed flex in your frame...Larry's killer truck does that is for sure :)

The variety of rigs from little Jeeps to long wheel base to long and tall meant that all the spotters had to keep in mind the rig they were helping and not what THEY were driving. Made for a variety of lines and styles.

Don's 80 did great with big squishy Generals which is funny with me running tall skinnies going on the same trail.

Did I mention open diffs and HANDCONTROLS...yeah one hand on the steering and the other has to deal with gas AND brake at the same time...skill friend, skill.
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2007 Expedition Trophy Champion, Overland Certifie
Flex for ya here again......the 8.1L motor makes Larry's truck sound so nice crawling up this stuff...but I admit to having my eyes glued to the cab vs cabover lines :)

Even on the flat there is plenty of eye candy...the way rocks fall from on high and end up in strange positions always gets me. Especially when I notice they could come down RIGHT NOW and join ME on the trail.

And then there is the time perspective the desert gives you....how long much the wind and rain beat on a stone to make this much difference? Longer than I will play in the dirt over my years and I am grateful for the chance to see it all.

We did wave often at the Needles Overlook just in case anyone up there was looking down. And just so they would know NOT to toss any rocks over the edge :)

Time, that is what goes through my mind out here....how much time it takes to tear about stone and mountain to give me this playground.

Lucky for us the weather held and we only got light sprinkles during our travels on dirt. And that kept the dust down nicely. It was near this time in our run that we came across a college age couple out hiking the Hayduke Trail...a few hundred mile jaunt through killer Utah backcountry using some maps printed off a website. We couldn't interest them in water but popsciles from the fridge sure got a big smile :) Sorry no pics of them but don't worry they will reappear in our story soon.

Of course with all my deep musing on a geologic scale it didn't take long for signs of man to flat piss me off.

We came across this trailer that would drug out to the middle of nowhere and then somehow tossed on it's top, torn apart, shot up and left to rot...not cool but at least we had fun making up stories about it's adventures.
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2007 Expedition Trophy Champion, Overland Certifie
I was happy to find that after the boulder driving not fun of Lockhart Basin it was a fast run through the sand of Lockhart CANYON right to the Colorado river....or as close as a mess of Tamarisk will let you get these days.
We found a killer campsite and enjoyed another evening of laughter.

Now imagine if you will, our merry band of travelers sitting around these 3 propane fire pits when we notice some lights in the distance....our wayward hikers! I had looked over their maps and mentioned to the young man that our camp would be not far from their likely spot that night. While we rolled in a 5:45pm (after meeting them about 1pm) they came dragging into this circle about 9:45pm...6 liters of water later (the were a bit parched) we sent them to a nearby sandy flat to sleep with a promise we would refill all the water they could carry in the am.

On the way out the next morning I was light from giving away a bunch of water to our new hiker friends and the fast sandy track let me run the Burb the way she loves. Custom springs, Fox reservoir shocks, hydralic bump stops and my heavy foot make for good times.

I did stop often for pics, but that just gave me an excuse to hop in a blast down the trail since I was leading....that was my story at least.

But never be in too much of a hurry to notice the little things...these tracks were fun to read when I stopped for pics...Trying to figure out who was following who and predator vs prey.
Really I don't know crap but you can make up more fun stories that way.

I know I mentioned slow processed like wind and rain earlier...but some things must happen with a crash and boom and it was be beyond cool to see something like this rock fall happen.

As a matter of scale I could live under that larger stone so maybe I want to see it but not be Suburban crushing close when it does fall.
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2007 Expedition Trophy Champion, Overland Certifie
As much as I love coming out to the desert there are time when I can understand how it gets closed off....just once I would like to meet up with the idiots that do this kind of damage and have a "Get out of Jail Free" card to play so I could teach a life lesson or two.

Now I know I was pissed about the trashy trailer from the day before but funny how an old car/truck becomes cool when lost in the desert. Doesn't make sense I admit but that is just how I am. Anyone know what this ride started out life as????

You know there is a great story to how this rig was built, used and left to rust out in the backcountry. Too bad I will never know but like the animal tracks that just means I have the artistic freedom to make up a better story.
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2007 Expedition Trophy Champion, Overland Certifie
But back to nature and all her wonders....speaking of which this little guy was trying hard to make it on the roadway and I caught myself making sure I didn't smash him...and it was a good excuse for another of those "artsy" shots.

No idea what this man made object was but my baser humor sure was offering up things I didn't want to say over the radio with all our lady traverlers listening....was funny to mubble to myself though.

Oh but the desert does make me wish I was better at that picture taking thing....so often I see something that I can't capture the feeling of no matter how hard I try. Washes like this just make me stop and stare for a while. This is why I love the desert southwest.

And it all makes my pretty blue Burb look good which isn't a bad thing either :)

Soon enough we popped between some rocks on a ridgeline and came upon a place I will be bringing my wife back to see.

Water in the desert just tickles folks like me and we become like little kids. Sure for folks who have water all around them it is no big deal but when you spend years traveling the parched parts of the world you really love the water when you find it. This waterfall was super cool and we all enjoyed a stop and play.

When you are used to driving though this first pic all day you get a big grin when you get to enjoy the second pic.

Looked like some campers even wanted to have a fire near an ample supply of the wet stuff....would have been interesting with all the recent rains.
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2007 Expedition Trophy Champion, Overland Certifie
All in all it was another great desert adventure with some old friends and new ones...
We came from Colorado, Arizona and California and plenty of great memories were made.
For me it was a short jaunt squeezed in after the Overland Expo but worth the long highway miles.
Big thanks to my friends Larry and Bill for the invite and I look forward to next year...just maybe a few less boulders to bang over :)
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Expedition Leader
Awesome. I hope to make it to next years expo and take the long way back home. Your 'burb is looking sweet in its natural habitat.


Fly Fishing & Exploration
Thanks for sharing the trip report. Nicely done. The big metal post is an abandoned O&G well. If you look at the tubing really close, you can normally read the well name, spud date, etc.


Expedition Leader
Great trip report...Looks like you all had an awesome time. I was just out there and the flowers were everywhere. It's crazy and fun to see the desert in full bloom. Thanks for sharing!