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Old 10-22-2017, 11:15 AM   #1
jymmiejamz
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Default 5,200 miles in a D90: Honeymoon Edition

Part 1

Back in March I got married. The months leading up to the wedding we were trying to decide what to do for our honeymoon. We (me especially) are not beach people, so Hawaii or the Caribbean were not even considerations. Initially we wanted to do something in South America, but my wife had some concerns about Zika. Being the master manipulator I am, I planted the seed that we should do a cross country road trip in the Defender. Eventually my plan worked and she agreed. I set off from work midday on a Friday and started driving west and my wife was to fly and meet me in Denver to spare her the middle of the country. Other than Chris Snell's house, there isn't much to see between NYC and Denver.

Chris had mentioned to me that I could stay at his house and he could recommend some areas to camp in Utah. Being the procrastinator and generally lazy person that I am, I basically didn't make any plans for Utah. I set aside four days and bet the farm that Chris would pull through. Man, did that pay off. I ended up with a full itinerary with where to drive, eat, sleep, and activities along the way. After a few days of this I arrived at Chris's house.



Stu (stu454) happened to be finishing up a Utah trip and passing by Chris's house around the same time as me. We hung out over there and spent the day watching Chris play Mr. Mom for the most of the day. Eventually Stu had to head back to Georgia, but I stayed the night at Chris's and went for a ride in his awesome 110. It is hard to tell from the pics he posts, but his truck is tall. It really looks great with the 8.25 XZLs. We had a great dinner of homemade enchiladas and I headed out early the next morning for Denver to meet my wife.

The drive from Manhattan, Kansas to Denver, Colorado is pretty boring. The winds were so strong I was in 3rd gear cruising at 55 and couldn't get much faster, even with the 4.6 in my truck. Pretty sure I was getting about 8 mpg for that portion.



Somewhere in either Kansas or Colorado I had my first issue with the truck. My truck was rebuilt at some point (not by me) and the body is poorly aligned. Some shims for the driver's door striker came loose and the door came partially open. Fortunately it was a quick fix.





By around 2 or so I was in Denver and picked up my wife. We made a quick stop at REI for some last minute items and headed to Boulder for some dinner. I noticed in Denver that my truck was idling slightly low, but just chocked that up to the altitude. After dinner we started towards Rocky Mountain National Park where we had a hotel booked. As I was cruising in along a main road in Boulder, the truck shut off. It would crank, but not restart. I unplugged the inertia switch and cranked it with the pedal to the floor and it started for a second. This told me the truck was flooded. Again, thinking zebras, not horses, I figured the timing needed to be adjusted for the altitude. I went to an auto parts store and bought a timing light a plugs. Cranked the timing up to 11 and continued to the hotel. This was a bad idea. It was night time and we were on a single lane curvy mountain road and the truck kept dying. It was not a good situation, but we made it safely to the hotel. The next morning I changed the spark plugs in the parking lot and we nixed our plan to hike and headed towards Utah.





The drive through Colorado was incredible. We hit 11k feet with no issues, so I figured the truck was fixed.





We made it to our next stop which was Grand Junction, CO. We ended up staying at a winery by the highway and went out for a yummy dinner at a Nepali place.

The next morning we started on the route Chris gave us. The easter Jeep Safari was going on in Moab, so we followed the advice of Chris and Stu, and stayed away. Instead of taking I70, we took back roads to Gateway, CO. We made a stop at the Gateway Auto Museum. As I pulled in the parking spot my truck died. I didn't tell my wife and just went into the museum which was pretty cool. It was all American cars which I'm not into, but they are in impeccable condition. Fun Fact: I month or so ago I saw James May wrote a short article about the museum.







The drive from Gateway to south eastern Utah was completely desolate. You could have played a game of chess in the middle of the road. Once we got about an hour from cell service, the truck died again. And it wouldn't restart.



This time I finally decided to bust out my Snap On scanner with the elusive LR-1 adapter that works for 14CUX. After a quick look at live data I found the coolant temp sensor reading -30F which was causing the truck to run full rich. I should have known this all along because it is pretty common. I unplugged the sensor and it defaulted to 95F. After a few cranks with the inertia switch unplugged, the cylinders were cleared of unburnt fuel and we were off again.



When we finally made it to our first planned camp site, it was occupied. Fortunately my wife looked on the made and found what looked like a similar spot a few miles up the road. She was right.









The next morning we slept in and leisurely packed up camp. Chris told us there were some indian ruins that you could hike to, but you needed permission to go. He said to call ahead, but I found online that they only give out 20 passes a day. 12 in advance and 8 for walk-ins. We made the 30 mile off road drive (past the entrance to the ruins) to the ranger station.







We got there and the ranger told us we were in luck. That morning there was a line to get permits, but just before we arrived someone called and cancelled. The ranger looked at the book and it was only one person that cancelled, but she gave us two permits anyway. They didn't really tell us what to expect for the hike to the ruins, other than there is one ledge that is tricky. They had pictures in a book showing some fat people doing it, so we figured we would be fine. We stopped at the trailhead and had lunch, filled up a Nalgene, and we were off. After a short walk to the canyon, we could see the ruins.



There was one slight problem. They were on the opposite side of the canyon and the trail was also not clearly marked. Eventually we found small stacks of rocks marking the trail. We wondered if we should turn back and get more water, but we decided to press on. After about an hour or so we made it to the ruins. You can actually go inside the ruins, but I don't have the pictures. I think they are on my wife's phone.



After this we started towards our next camp site. Chris gave some vague instructions on how to get there and once piece of advice that I should have followed. The camp site was in a canyon and he said you will think you've missed it or are going the wrong way, but just keep going. He speculated that it was about 5 miles. We went through this canyon for about 2 hours if I had to guess with probably 30 creek crossings and no signs of a camp site.



I think I know why EE discontinued these jerry can holders.



Eventually we gave up and headed back to the first nights camp site. It worked out because we ended up doing a long day of driving the next day further west in Utah. This camp site is also super cool because there are ancient engravings on the rocks.



We watched the sun set and made some red curry with tofu for dinner.



The next day we woke up late again and headed west. I didn't take a ton of photos. It is hard in Utah because you just want to take photos of everything. We stopped in Hite for fuel and ice cream. They also had a hose on a small tower so I could fill the water can on the roof without taking it down.

We headed west for our next camp site which was stunning.

Note: we were not the ones who drove over the logs







The wind was pretty strong, so we had a quick dinner of leftovers in the truck.



I set up our tent so we had a sunrise view. This time we didn't sleep in. This is the view from the tent.



Part 2 coming later
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Old 10-22-2017, 03:52 PM   #2
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A great story and pics. It was great to finally meet you.
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Old 10-22-2017, 06:10 PM   #3
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Part 2! Part 2! I want more!
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Old 10-22-2017, 06:51 PM   #4
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What I am in awe of is that skinny jeans Jimmy married a woman who agreed to do this trip for her honeymoon.
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Old 10-22-2017, 07:44 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Douglas View Post
What I am in awe of is that skinny jeans Jimmy married a woman who agreed to do this trip for her honeymoon.
I've been putting in the ground work for this for a few years now. Before she ever went on an off road/camping trip, she wanted to stay in a camp ground with bathrooms. It wasn't until she actually stayed in one of those places that she realised how much they suck. Now her biggest concern if we stay at a paid campground is where to pee that isn't the nasty public bathrooms.

It is also nice that she loves Fj?llr?ven and Snow Peak as much as I do. She always has a Snow Peak spork in her purse.
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Old 10-22-2017, 08:09 PM   #6
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Default 5,200 miles in a D90: Honeymoon Edition

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Originally Posted by jymmiejamz View Post
It is also nice that she loves Fj?llr?ven and Snow Peak as much as I do. She always has a Snow Peak spork in her purse.


Holy shit, I thought it was only my wife that kept her spork with her like that. She loves that damn thing.

Great pics and trip write up. A bit jealous. We are starting the planning for a north rim of the Grand Canyon trip fm DC, but it may be a ways off sadly.
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Old 10-22-2017, 08:30 PM   #7
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Holy shit, I thought it was only my wife that kept her spork with her like that. She loves that damn thing.

Great pics and trip write up. A bit jealous. We are starting the planning for a north rim of the Grand Canyon trip fm DC, but it may be a ways off sadly.
But does she carry a Snow Peak straw too?

We actually were planning on doing the North Rim, but it doesn't open until mid May IIRC. I had actually bought maps and had some camp sites planned out but someone missed that minor detail until mid-trip.
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Old 10-22-2017, 11:57 PM   #8
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They had pictures in a book showing some fat people doing it, so we figured we would be fine.
Haha. Best part.
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Old 10-23-2017, 12:05 AM   #9
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It was great having you here. Evan still talks about you and your truck.

Cross-country board members have an open invite to stay with us. I may not bust out the homemade enchiladas every time but we have a private guest room downstairs and a place to wrench if you need it.
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Old 10-23-2017, 12:10 AM   #10
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Default 5,200 miles in a D90: Honeymoon Edition

I still can't believe you turned around in the canyon. The first time I drove there, we made the same mistake. We entered the canyon at around 2AM. We went all the way up and stopped 100 yards short. If we had kept going, we would have slept in the most epic campsite within 50 miles, but we gave up and camped on the little trail. Rookie mistake. We realized how bad we had fucked up when we walked up the trail a little further the next morning.

My instructions to Jimmy were like this:

Drive a long ass way up the canyon. It's going to seem like forever. Keep going. You're going to tell yourself, "there's no way that this is the right place." Keep going. Your wife will complain. Keep going. You will need to stop to pull a beer from the Engel. Get the beer and keep going. Just keep going.8761507565_5968e4fa6b_o.jpg
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