"The Moose" 2012 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X Build Thread and some stories MNCarl

10" Samsung SM-T580 tablet mounted to dash

10" Samsung SM-T580 tablet mounted to dash.
I can split the screen and run navigation and spotify.

South Dakota , Wyoming , Montanna , Morrison Jeep Trail / Goose lake

So back in Feb. 2017 fellow Expo member Wreckdiver (Nissan Frontier PRO-4X) and BijanJames (Nissan Frontier PRO-4X) started a thread in the regional NW forum discussing a trip up the Morrison Jeep trail in Wyoming and a trail to Goose lake in Montana.

These two trails had been on my bucket list ever since I saw the youtube video with the guys from "Expedition Overland" go up the Morrison trail with a trailer and read Blackdogs and Wreckdivers trip report to for Goose Lake.

So I sent Wreckdiver a PM and replied on the thread, I am in !!!

Being a flat lander guy from Minnesota I was super excited to get out west into some mountains and I was excited to meet Wreckdiver and BijanJames (Fellow Nissan Frontier PRO-4X owners) in person as opposed to just commenting on each others vehicle threads here on Expo.

The departure date came quick , last minute preparations had to get a matching 285/75-16 spare tire, got in a fight with my reverse lights blowing fuses , packing , dropping pins on my GPS , it was crazy with last minute to-do's.

I left the Minneapolis area early Wednesday morning Aug 2nd. It was great just me and the road , I just started randomly heading west disobeying my GPS and taking little back/county roads it was nice driving through rural Minnesota where I eventually made it to Pipestone MN and then onto the dreaded interstate Hwy 90, the lollygagging was over time to put on some miles.

I then bee-lined it all the way to Rapid City SD and stopped at the Black Hills Visitor center.
Wanting to avoid Sturgis (the motorcycle rally was starting this weekend) I just started heading into the Black Hills.
Prior to leaving I dropped some pins on my GPS for remote / little to no utilities forest service campsites, so I followed my GPS (not aware I was going up in elevation) through the Black Hills to here:
Hanna campgrounds , I get out of my truck and talk to the forest service camp leader and ask him why it is so cold/chilly , and he gives me an odd look and says we are at 6000 feet elevation.
Well heck it was hot weather the whole way here and now this is like free air conditioning !!!
The fresh cool air felt exhilarating.
Well I have about an hour before is gets dark and I ask the camp leader if there are any forest service roads I can go explore and he says heck ya just go left then right onto Long Draw road.

About 2 miles before arriving at Hanna Camp Grounds:

Hanna Camp grounds:

Forest service road off Long Draw Road:

Well it was starting to get dark and I was solo pretty far off the main road on a forest service road that was getting pretty sketchy so I turned around and headed back to camp.

Woke up (well rested) Thursday morning in the back of my truck.

I sleep in the truck bed (5' short bed) under the topper and I pretty much have it perfected.
My head at one corner of the bed my feet at the opposite corner.
No tent to take down or put up.
Packing up in the morning I just throw my sleeping bag in a storage bag and roll up my therm-o-rest mattress , then grab my bag of recovery gear and some other items that I store in the cab of the truck at night (to make room for me in the bed) and throw these items from the cab to the bed of the pick-up truck.
And just like that I am ready to hit the road again.

From the Hanna Camp grounds, for some unknown reason I drove south, the opposite direction I should have been going north west.
But it was a beautiful morning and I was just kind of going which ever way the roads where taking me, and well I needed to get gas as I was getting low.
I ended up in the very small town of Four Corners Wyoming (the Hanna Camp ground leader said there was gas there), but there was no gas station just a couple of old run down buildings.
From Four Corners I kept going south , the drive was excellent , beautiful views , curvy road , lots and lots of motorcycles.

Stopped here to take it all in:

From the scenic over look I ended up in Newcastle WY where I stopped at the visitor center and then the gas station where I bent a guys ear for about 20 minutes talking to him about his new model adventure bike that I was un-aware of .... Honda has a new VFR1200X and man oh man was it nice. it appeared to be a little more road oriented than dirt , but it looked like you could fly down a dirt road with ease.

From the town of Newcastle I thought I better start heading north west to Billings MT and meet with Wreckdiver at his house.
It was a long drive but the miles went by fairly quick listening to music on Spotify (Mike Watt - Ball-Hog or Tug Boat):

While on my way to Wreckdivers house I was just about to send text message to Rdy2offrd88 and his wife in his super nice beefed 96 Toyota 4-runner, as soon as I picked up my phone , bleep he had just sent me a text, what perfect timing , the stars where aligning I thought to myself.

I made it to Billings MT / Wreckdivers house where I met him and his wife, It was great to to finally meet them in person face to face.
After much truck ogling / talk we both hopped in our trucks to meet Bijanjames at a gas station ...but apparently there was a miscommunication and Bijan was waiting for us at a gas station in a different town a ways south of us.

We found Bijan and gassed up and started heading to Clark WY it was super fun Qty 3 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X's talking truck talk on the CB radios the whole way there.

We arrive at Clark WY at the Edelweiss Haus bar/tavern (campsite?)

Where Rdy2offrd88 and his wife in his super nice beefed 96 Toyota 4-runner where waiting for us with there tent already set up.
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South Dakota , Wyoming , Montanna , Morrison Jeep Trail / Goose lake, (Continued)

Greetings where exchanged between Wreckdiver, Bijanjames, (Rdy2offrd88 & his wife) and myself.
So then Wreckdiver, Bijanjames and myself went into the Edelweiss Haus bar/tavern to see about camping.
Bijanjames payed the nice lady behind the bar for all of our camping fees (Thanks again Bijanjames)
We also asked about pulling our trucks thru the small gate/fenced off area onto the grass where Rdy2offrd88 & his wife had there tent set-up as Bijan has his roof top tent and I was sleeping in the back of my truck (as apposed to having to park/set up our camp in the gravel parking lot). She said yes but to stay away from the under ground sprinkler heads on the grass near the river, So we did we parked right near the gate away from the river.

It was a such a beautiful evening.

Wreckdiver with his fancy Australian tent and 12v refrigerator setting up his stove to cook up what appeared to be some good chili.

While in the Edelweiss Haus bar/tavern prior, I had asked about showers (as in cleaning up) and the bar tender lady stated they have shower in the bars/taverns bathrooms. So about this time I walked back into the Edelweiss Haus bar/tavern with my flip flops , shave cream, razor and towel. And there I was taking a shower and shaving in the taverns bathroom , the whole time I was imagining a rouge 1%'er motorcycle biker gang was going to pull into the tavern and start beating and banging on the men's bathroom door. Fortunately I finished all my showering activities before anyone needed to use the men's bathroom.

The sun was setting... again it was such a beautiful evening , light breeze, little to no bugs.
Wreckdiver was giving Rdy2offrd88 & his wife some really good tips where to go after we all completed the Morrison trail and Goose lake as they where on an extended vacation/delayed honeymoon. I was threatening on tagging along with Rdy2offrd88 & his wife as a third wheel to go horse back riding and relaxing in some hot springs with them but they where having non of it.... LOL
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I thought you mounted a exterra/ frontier roof rack to your truck cap? it looked great
I remember someone on the forum did this (exterra/ frontier roof rack to your truck cap) but it was not me.
I am the red nissan frontier , I have a Leer 100XQ with Leer factory installed Thule tracks , Thule feet and Thule bars on the cap/topper , then I attached a Wilderness/Garvin rack I got off Craigslist for super cheap but it is kinda of small.
South Dakota , Wyoming , Montanna , Morrison Jeep Trail / Goose lake, (Continued)

The Sun was setting.....

Shortly after this I recognized an older gentleman that I had seen behind the bar (when I went in to take my shower) in the Edelweiss Haus walking across the gravel parking lot towards our campsite. Upon approaching the older gentleman was kind of yelling "Hey you cannot park your vehicles there/here".
At this point Bijan, myself and rest of our group all piped up and tried explaining that we had permission from the lady bar tender to park our vehicles back here on the grass.
The older gentleman was very upset and Bijan and myself deflected him away from the rest of our group trying to calm him down and show him we were nowhere near the underground sprinkler heads he was worried about.

I don't re-call exactly what (mostly Bijan) and (a little help from myself) did ..but eventually the older gentleman (Edelweiss Haus bar/tavern owner ?) (he never said who he actually was) walked away.

Well this left a kind of left an odd taste in all of our mouths about camping here so I am not sure I would recommend this place, maybe we just got this guy on a bad day?

The evening wound down and I crawled into the truck bed of my pick-up and slept pretty good even with the traffic from the road so close.

Woke up Friday morning ....YES today is the Morrisson trail !!!

We all made short work of packing up and eating breakfast and were on the road by a little after 8:00 AM

And hit the road

When we hit dirt , we stopped to air down our tires

Then we proceeded down the dirt road along the Clark Forks Yellowstone river.

Obligatory truck group photo

This flat lander guy (myself) from Minnesota was amazed by the scenery.

This is getting good !!!!

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South Dakota , Wyoming , Montanna , Morrison Jeep Trail / Goose lake, (Continued)

Base of the mountain / switchbacks.

Well here we are at the base of the mountain /switchbacks.

27 switchbacks for those of you counting.

Cut and pasted from http://www.dangerousroads.org/north-america/usa/6968-morrison-jeep-trail.html :
Located in Park County, in the U.S. state of Wyoming, the Morrison Jeep Trail is a very rough drive. The route demands 100% concentration. This road has humbled many egos. It's not for the sissies and shouldn't be attempted by novice drivers. It's a challenging ride because of the combination of altitude and terrain. It is not for the timid or people in poor condition.

This road tests the skill, and courage, of any driver. It's definitely not for anyone suffering from vertigo or a fear of landslides. There are lots of single-track trails cutting off from the main route, but make sure you have a map and know where you're going before wandering off too far. Your wheels will be astounded at the wonderful views of the mountains spread out before you! They are terrible for drivers who are prone to vertigo. The trail wanders twenty-some miles across the Beartooth Plateau, one of the most remote places of the state.

Well lets do this !!

Bijan was fired up !!!

High fives all around !!!!

Arm/camera stuck through sunroof pic

There was some rumors and posts about a giant boulder that has fallen on the trail partially blocking or totally blocking the trail , but thanks to fellow Expo member Blackdog who visited the base of the trail the week prior , we had confirmed information that a smaller vehicle could get by the giant boulder.
With some spotting we all got by the giant boulder with no problem.....I forgot to take pics.....little sad face.

Going up....

Well all three of us Nissan Frontier guys found out very quickly (and we kind of knew in the back of our heads) that our turning radius is not the greatest to put it mildly.
Rdy2offrd88 & his wife in their beefed up 4-Runner still struggled on the tight switchbacks but not nearly as much as the longer wheel base Nissan Frontier's.

Here is the one switchback that dented , dinged and bashed body panels on the Nissan Frontiers.
There is a large boulder on the inside of the switchback preventing the longer wheelbase Frontiers from apexing the turn.
Even with spotters there was just no way to get around it with out body damage.

I literally smashed my front Shrockworks bumper into the outside of the turn on the wall of the mountain trying to get me more room for the apex of the turn to get by the rock.

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South Dakota , Wyoming , Montanna , Morrison Jeep Trail / Goose lake, (Continued)

Houston we have a problem.

Well it was bound to happen, somebody was going to break something....and well Wreckdiver drew the short straw today.
Wreckdiver broke his front passenger side half shaft.

It could have been anyone of us, heck it could have even been Rdy2offrd88 & his wife in their beefed up 4-Runner...do Toyota's break ? So far in my short off-roading career I have had to tow/rescue a Jeep and an Isuzu.

With some careful thought , I believe it was Nick/Rdy2offrd88 or possibly one of the guys that was stuck behind us had the idea that the half shaft could be removed with out having to remove the wheel and tire.
Which did indeed work with some minor cussing and wrenching Wreckdiver was able to remove the axle shaft and try to continue on with only rear wheel drive, but at least he had an electronic rear locking diff.
There where several vehicles traffic jammed behind us from having to do the trail fix.....A jeep wrangler , toyota tacoma and various side by side atv's.
But they where all extremely patient , one of the fellow's borrowed us a breaker bar and some other tools.

Traffic jam

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