The Excuse: A 4400 Mile, 12 State Adventure

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Part 2: Utah Bound

Las Vegas was a pretty cool place to visit, but after two days the wife and I were ready to hit the trail. We were feeling a little more confident in the truck after dropping it off at Rogue Offroad for a couple days. They retorqued the suspension bolts, did an oil change and completed the cab mount chop I hadn’t had time to finish before leaving for our trip.
Friday morning we packed up, jumped on I-15 and rolled up to Hurricane Utah. Just before getting there we filled up on gas for the truck and our 10 gallons worth of extra gas cans. Nearly $100 later we were ready to traverse southern Utah.

Once turning off the blacktop onto Mojave Desert Joshua Tree Road we were pleased to see the day was starting off easy. Wide gravel roads with gorgeous mountain views. It didn’t take long for us to stop and air down.

As would be a theme on this trip, the wife started driving first. We’ve learned that she get’s car sick a lot less when she’s driving. Plus I get to take more pictures and videos! Or, maybe she just likes driving the truck… 

The trail follows a set of high power lines through the hills. As far as I can remember we never put the truck in 4wd. It’s all pretty easy at this point.

After a bit of driving up and down through the mountains we start to gain some elevation. Almost without warning we cross the top of the mountains and the views opened up. It’s stunning! I believe it was at this point that my wife looked over and thanked me for convincing her to take the two weeks off.

Soon we worked our way back down into the valley and crossed through the town of Bloomington Utah. It was a gorgeous little town with nice houses and a country club. I have no idea what people do for work in Bloomington because we mostly saw houses, but either way we really liked it! We stopped to air up before traveling too far into Bloomington, then aired back down when we reached Warner Valley Road.

For the most part Warner Valley Road was doable in 2wd. There were a few dry creek beds that had the wife a little nervous along with a few small washouts.

Just after crossing back into the edge of Arizona and as the sun was starting to set we came to our first real challenge; Honeymoon Trail.

Looking at the GPS and even on google maps the trail looks extremely simple. Just a few switchbacks and a little elevation climb. Wrong.

The trail starts off with an immediate steep climb on a narrow trail with a few very tight switchbacks. My wife was starting to feel a little nervous with the change in pace on the trail so we kicked it into 4Lo just to make it a little easier for her. She handled it really well right up until we saw 3 side by side (UTVs) taking a bypass around a steep / rocky section. They had at least one person hanging off the side of each UTV to keep it from rolling.

Not wanting to backtrack so early in the trip I hopped out to talk to the UTVs. After looking at the bypass they were using I decided it was actually worse than the trail. Though narrow, off camber, and very rocky the trail would be doable in the Tacoma. As the last UTV made it to the top of the hill, I had Sarah pull the truck forward. I slowly started guiding her over the rocks and making sure she wouldn’t slide off the road. About halfway through the worst of it, a few more UTV’s came down the trail. I helped them around the bypass because there wasn’t enough room on the trail to pass. Once clear we finished getting up the worst parts and onto the more level road at the top of the hill. I wish I had gotten more pictures, but I was more worried about spotting Sarah through. 

After the rocks we were pretty much clear of the difficult sections of trail and back to the gravel. With the sun setting behind us we decided to look for a camping spot.

Less than 20 minutes later we were settling into the first of many great campsites.

With our bellies full from burritos, our little buddy heater glowing and the moon lighting up the night we crawled into bed for a great night’s sleep.

The next morning was crisp and clear and signaled another gorgeous day in Utah.

By the end of the day, we’ll have had our second big challenge. And this one will take a lot longer to figure out…

Stay Tuned for more!

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