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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-21-2018, 05:06 PM Thread Starter
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Adventures of the Travl'n Mahhgsta

And so begins the tale of the Travl’n Mahhgsta. Well, not exactly the beginning, THAT started three years ago, and spans many countries and workshops, and a LOT of headaches along the way. So, this trip is the first of hopefully many rewards. Be advised, the Mahhgsta is a work in progress. The ultimate goal is a presumably self-constructed expedition body, but for now this is a Camping Vehicle. The need to get out and DO things is too great to wait around forever for me to finish a build.

I have done (or had done) quite a bit of work on the truck itself to get to this point. Much of my knowledge base came from reading the Forum extensively, and for that reason, I will eventually get up the gumption to do a “sort of” build thread, as I think that it might contain some information that could be useful to others that follow. Will be kind of a George Lucas type prequel, if you will, except it will be entirely contained on this planet.

Back to the tale at hand. Packed and ready, I took off from my Colorado Front Range domicile Friday morning, October 19.
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First portal check on the west end of the Eisenhower Tunnels on I-70, elevation 11,767 feet. Everything is cool, so to speak. I have installed a Kysor rooftop AC, and it did what I expected. Sun’s warmth meant I ran it on low/ medium fan for the entire day’s driving (including all the way over this and Vail Pass). Not only was I cool and comfortable, but noise level was way more tolerable than on the drive from the Port of Galveston to my home in Colorado (started at 90F and 90%RH), due to the windows now being rolled up. Gotta love it.
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First long (lunch) stop and portal check at Glenwood Canyon rest area. We’re still cool, man (4 ½hours in). FWIW, I am running Amsoil Severe Gear 75W-90 in all portals.
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Took the back road to Moab, along the Colorado river. Slower, but not really, for me; and definitely more scenic. Turned out to be Utah school holiday, and all river campgrounds were full (never saw that before). Ended up all the way to Moab, after dark and really tired, 366 miles covered, so I got a tent site in a commercial campground. Let the shame be upon me!! The Mahhgsta refused to pose for photo, understandable, given the circumstances. Next morning heavy fog and dew. Filled the tanks, and added another 10 lbs ice. Lunch time today found me here:
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View from 25 yds away: The valley road runs parallel to the road I am on, without connecting (connections are a tad rough).
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County (!) Road 109 (yes, it REALLY is a County Road), that I am on:
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And later that day, the Werner A50 gets to show its stuff. These kids got up in the mud around the bend, stopped to re-consider, and decided to bail. Two wheel drive, couldn’t control the backwards slide, and when I came along, the front wheel had slid off the road and they were STUCK, about 15 miles from pavement and a LOT further from cell service. Tugged them out, barely registered on the hydraulic pressure gauge.
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For those that are not familiar with Utah clays, when wet they are virtually un-drivable: it is like being on a really thick layer of heavy, sticky grease. Usually, you just slide off the road camber or side slope. Years back, I ventured about 50 yds up a such a wet mess with my 4x4 F250 before panic/realization set in. Never forgot that blooper, and count myself very lucky to not have slid off the hillside sideways, before making it back to “dry land”.

That was then, this is now. Walked some ways up the route, a very long moderate upgrade and curves, all covered with snow slush and greasy clay. Well, in for a penny, in for a pound. Shifted into low range and locked the diffs, fractional steam ahead! Turned out to be about a half mile of the mess, best I can determine I never slid or spun. Quite a testament to Mogs, plus it saved the trip. Dry and hard after that patch: well, sort of, as we shall see. No photos, I am solo this trip, and it was a bit dicey driving, even in the Mog.

My goal was a dead end “road” that left the County “Road” and wandered (for about 14 miles) over to what seemed to be a good vantage point above the Colorado River and the lower canyon. The route was heavily infested by cedars and junipers, which attacked my mirrors repeatedly. Also tore off the snorkel cap (which I did not realize until later that night). Tough going, getting late, and I stopped well short of my goal. Sunrise came with heavy cloud cover, no color. This photo taken standing on the roof of the Mahhgsta, a bit later in the morning. The sunlit ground is the Maze District of Canyonlands NP (my usual stomping grounds), and is on the opposite side of the river and canyon from me and the dark foreground trees. The red-brown formations in the sunlight in the middle ground are what gives this area the name “Land of Standing Rocks”.
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Later I walked about ¼ mile from where I spent the night, to a high rock outcropping. More or less the same view, with more of this side of the river showing, and now in full sun.
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Besides trees, I had a run-in with this deep water-carved rut in an open sandy section on the road, on the drive in. I cut around the channel too closely, the edge gave way, and suddenly the rear end went down and sideways. I felt tipsy. Instant reaction was to steer into it, hit the throttle and the diff lock. Just trundled on out, no problem. Don’t think any wheel slippage here either. Actually think the Mahhgsta outperformed my heart on this one, based on the truck not needing a jump start after the episode. Shot taken on the way out next morning. Gave it a much wider berth on the return (!).
Adventures of the Travl'n Mahhgsta-pa210794.jpeg


To be continued……..
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-22-2018, 07:25 AM
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...we have the same kind of road surfaces here as in Moab - I'm 55 miles from the Utah border and can see the clouds that form over the La Sal's.

It is pretty amazing what kind of grade I can climb in that clay snot, although I try to stay off the more well used trails since the ruts I generate when hoggin' down to a harder surface can be epic. I'm pretty sure my neighbors quad fell in one this spring and he or it hasn't been seen since

Oh. . did you drive down the Moki Dugway ?

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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-22-2018, 10:08 AM
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Thanks for the write-up. It makes me look forward to when our truck is ready for adventures.

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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-23-2018, 08:54 AM Thread Starter
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I try to stay off the more well used trails since the ruts I generate when hoggin' down to a harder surface can be epic. I'm pretty sure my neighbors quad fell in one this spring and he or it hasn't been seen since

Oh. . did you drive down the Moki Dugway ?
Just consider the guy the contemporary equivalent of an insect in amber. In a few million years, the anthropologists will have a field day with that one. Intermediate species exhibiting 4 limbs, and 4 wheels. One step on the path that seems to have culminated in autonomous vehicles.

Had to look up Moki Dugway. Short answer is "No". Longer answer will unfold, as I re-discover the ambition and literary imperative. Real briefly, I was focused on the Needles/ Elephant Hill, and had to come in via the southern approach and through Bobby's Hole.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-25-2019, 06:04 PM Thread Starter
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Chapter Two

And so the saga of the Travl’n Mahhgsta continues. I have been a solo hiker for many decades, always lugging a camera along, always looking for great subjects, and great light. These jaunts are typically 5 to 8 days, and often extensively off-trail. My one concession to an encroaching geriatric condition was to acquire (and always use) a SPOT.

One of the last things I did before hitting the road this trip was to make a bracket to hold my SPOT centered on the dash, where it could get a good look at the sky. Ms. Mahhg and other interested parties can check the web page and watch my track, reported at 10-minute intervals. I also use the “I’m Okay” messaging regularly.

In the previous episode, we left the intrepid Mahhgsta returning to the main "road", after a night in the bush. I had tried to follow a marked route to the canyon rim, but 14 miles of this sort of terrain was way harder than I imagined, and things did not seem right. When I quit driving for the night, I somehow got a poor cell phone call back to home, and Ms. Mahhg read off my decimal SPOT coordinates from the webpage. When plotted on Trails Illus, it had me ½ mile perpendicularly off the mapped route. More concern; never before detected anywhere near that much error in SPOT location.

Next morning, I watched diligently for my missing snorkel cap, to no avail. Did attain the known road/ location, did do some sightseeing in the 800 year old Native American ruins.

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Then proceeded to backtrack south, and do a loop road that tended towards the canyon and an inviting trailhead. Did a bunch of map reading and calculating, and checked off mileages from the positive ID’d intersect, back to where I’d turned off the night before. Odometer said I had been on the right track (!) I thought I was on. Fancy that, a talking odometer! The 14-mile side track to the canyon was a series of more or less straight segments, with bends between. I plotted the route dead-reckoning, range and bearing per segment, and went back in; everything gibed. And, hooray, found the snorkel cap in a cedar tree, one that slapped me hard this time in, as it had before (moral: watch for clues). Hit last night’s camp spot, right on the track & map as it should be. No idea what was up with the SPOT data, but I suspect it was read or heard wrong. Oh well. Feeling entirely overconfident, I decided to forage on, as I was less than half of the way to the canyon edge/ overlook/ photo ops. Slow going, clouds thickening, and then hit a really knarly drop-off. Okay, go for it. Heart in mouth, remember, I have only driven a Mog on the highway, up to this point. Then, a worse drop-off/ switchback. God hates a coward……..

Get down on a fairly level basin, and stop to reconnoiter. Looks promising beyond, so start off again. Down more and around, I hit a really ugly patch, going up, narrow and boulders. Hit it without proper consideration, too fast, too high a gear, bounced, scraped, hit and threw a really big boulder. Did get through, but a bit freaked. Went on about another mile, as the thunderheads closed in and it started to rain. Nothing to do but stop and setup inside, sheltered at least, and hot food. Overactive imagination had me awake for the majority of the night, thinking about all the water on the nasty stretches I had to climb back out of. Thinking how I would rig my ground stakes and 200’ of winch rope to try and pull me up after I spin out in the mess, alone, no less. Thinking of the 25-mile walk just to get in cell range.

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In the morning, it was really wet and cloud ceiling about 150’. Did breakfast, and then used the Lug-All to winch the passenger side lower step back forward to its position. The crunch yesterday was a hard sideswipe on the step edge. Winching broke one of the three attachment bolts, and so wired the whole thing to the battery box. In my infinite wisdom a few months previously, I had welded an arm to the step bracket (above the step) to hold the new water separator, more outboard and behind the fender, away from the line of mud-fire from the front tire. Wouldn’t do to tear off the step and my fuel supply, all in one fell swoop. Cleared up only a bit by 10 am, and finally decided no use fretting any longer.

Got to the scene of the boulder-rolling, got out and rolled it completely out of the way, and tootled on through, no sweat. One down. About the time I had crested the first nasty up-slope, it dawned on me that this was what I had being fearing last night. The other big nasty was more sand and loose crud on a steep and twisting set of ledge-y stuff. Shifted down, low 5th, I think, and cruised on up and out. No wheel spin, no fuss, no muss. Oh my, this is why one takes a Mog on this kind of adventure. A revelation.

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After all that, getting back to the main track was uneventful. Turned north, and moseyed on up to a good camp spot above the top of Bobby’s Hole.

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No cares, decent photo op, eat and sleep well.

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Next morning, headed down Bobby’s Hole, going north to Canyonlands NP boundary, and in to Elephant Hill. The maps mark this as “Frequently impassable for 4 wheel drive vehicles”. There are some neat YouTube videos, which I studied before planning the route. This is a County Road (!), and does get some maintenance.

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The nasty stretch is very steep, very loose, some ledges, and all on a narrow track cut into the rock face. If all the loose stuff washes, it is about impossible, so the County has put in some erosion mats (black fabric in photo). Still being new to the Mog-game, I put it in 3rd low, and drove on down, no clutching, only (occasional) touch on the exhaust brake. Now I’m really sold on the Mog-concept.

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Rest of the drive to Horsehoof campsite was quite mundane.

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Pictures that evening were somewhat less mundane.

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And the view from the kitchen window the next, very leisurely, morning. Permit was for two nights here, so no rushing about.

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To Be Continued........


Ed. Note: Did not intend to be such a laggard in continuance of this tale, but have been pretty well overwhelmed with a project since I returned. That project has required a huge amount of writing, and well, it took the edge off writing for fun.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-29-2019, 04:59 PM Thread Starter
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Size Matters

This is a Special Edition of the Saga, prepared with all would-be expedition body builders in mind. This trip took a route that I have always wanted to do, but did not feel confident in attempting with my trusty F250. There is more to going remote places than simple mobility, and the volume you drag along with could have a big impact along the way.

Simply had to throw in the photo of Bobby’s Hole that didn’t make the cut in Chapter Two. The view out the windshield in the last post looks like this, after one gets down and turns around. The road is circled: note the erosion control fabric in the middle circled area. Might have seen that somewhere before.

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Jumping back up to where we left off in Chapter Two, this is the Zee-Turn on the route from Horsehoof campsite north to the Elephant Hill Loop and other campsites. The preferred technique is to drive in, cut hard left, and crawl backward over the ledges while lining up to back through the notch. In this, I have come in from out of the photo on the right side, and have successfully backed through the tightest spot. I had my driver’s side tires rubbing, and about 4-6” clearance on the passenger side mirrors (no spotter, so I needed to keep them swung out. It actually took three tries to get the line correct, because it is too tight to alter course once the rear wheels are into the notch. Working gears are awfully nice in times like this; the ability to control motion on really exacting terrain is awesome.

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From the cab, looking at what I just backed through. After backing some more up into the sand banking, you cut hard right, pull forward and away; all is good. Smaller, shorter jeeps with a real tight turn radius can sometimes drive straight through this, but that seems to be the exception, rather than the rule. I watched one video of a full-size pickup going through. He had a tricked out suspension and did not have an excess of room, but did fine, so in route planning I figured I’d make it okay. Worst case, turn and retrace steps back to civilization. The top bulge of the rock on the passenger side was the choke point, but I cleared. This speaks to the issue of plenty of fuel on board; one wants to get out no matter how round-about the way may become.

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Continuing on with the stated theme ”Size Matters”, about ½ mile beyond the Zee, I had another encounter with an obstreperous cedar, further clogging the route already severely constrained by a huge boulder on the left and a much larger one on the right. Tagged the right rear wheel with rock rash, and being attuned to all the other racket, I stopped 30’ beyond, and picked up my snorkel cap (now for the fourth time; beyond charming, at this point) which I had shed (not by intent) and then run over. Too warped to sit back on, to boot. Finally dawned on me that the bail should be oriented F/B and NOT L/R. Yes Inspector Clouseau, it does appear that an MPT went through here recently, I believe a 365.

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And further down the track, we came to what is euphemistically called a “tight squeeze”. Notch between two enormous, left leaning rock outcrops required some course alteration to negotiate. With the left wheels rubbing rock, the right top edge of the firebody made contact as I steered through and to the right. Now you may perceive that shiny stuff to be aluminum diamond plate, but the cognoscente will recognize it as an embedded sandstone file, mill bastard pattern. In all seriousness (I do this sometimes), if the rock had been granite, I might not have been able to grind my way through. As it was, my backup (not literally) plan was to deflate the left tires and or inflate the right tires, to tilt the truck away from the rock overhang. I do have the inflator connection for prompt remediation afterwards. One might also remark on the disappearance of the red plastic rub strips in the shutter track extrusions. Couldn’t take it, went into hiding. Not shown: the clearance lamp on the top edge, at the very back of the firebody. It sacrificed everything in the good fight, but was torn asunder. Its mate, and opposite number, leapt grief-stricken from the vehicle moments later.

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Also tagged (not with its name, although I did think of giving it one) the passenger side lower step, again. Not getting pushed up, it is getting sideswiped when I cut hard right around a low obstacle (remember, no spotter). This effectively leaves the step projecting way out past the outer plane of the wheel/ tire as one makes the cut. Note to self: need to start paying more attention to the down-mirror over the passenger side window.

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This close-up shows why whacking the step is not such a great idea. The bracket is also the mount for the diesel water separator. Brilliant engineering. Or, you can never do just one thing……..

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At camp a day later, our erstwhile panelbeater sprung into action, having fortunately thought to bring along his sand-dolly. Forgot the torch and lead bar, otherwise would have finished it off nicely.

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The aforementioned camp, the New Bates Wilson site. Technically this is past (north) of the actual Needles, and on the dead-end route out to the Confluence Overlook (Green River into the Colorado). I have spent many nights on the Maze District side of the Confluence, and it is a fabulous place to hang. This will be my first foray to the east side. Keep this campsite in mind when perusing the Next Chapter: it figures prominently.

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Parting shot (so to speak) is one from sunrise the next morning, from the Overlook, or a bit beyond, truth be told.

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The final word, soon to be trampled and forgotten: I have been noticing a lot of posts of late on the subject of expedition/ camper bodies. I altered my intended writeup, not at all to provide any answer for those posters, but to give a real-world-use perspective on the complex issue of size vs. mobility. I knew in searching for a Mog some of the specific places and routes I wanted to access, this being a key one. What I did not fully account for is the width and height of an SBU, and how that could limit my access to the very places I wanted the extreme mobility to access, all while carrying a substantial gear and liquids load. I think that a camper body smaller than originally envisioned may be the end point, but I also think that I will also ultimately have to concede that I have denied myself access to some places I'd really like to go. Compromise becomes the operant word here, and my suggestion to others is to evaluate their own situation and be aware of, and decisive about, the compromises required, before getting in too deep. Could become awfully expensive to jump in on the basis of wishful thinking.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-30-2019, 06:07 PM
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I say; "well done sir".

You're on your own which adds a great deal of uncertainty and self reliance, and as you note, no spotter.

Also, pictures, as good as yours are, rarely show the real situation and technical issues. I appreciate that.

Thank you for the write up and I hope it continues.

My mog is not suitable for such adventures (its all work and little play) but having an older LandCruiser now, and having spent many a trip into the deep woods of Maine and Quebec with an older F150 and even older Land Rover, I appreciate the travel style and plans.

Keep it coming and enjoy the adventures.

I will, even if vicariously.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-01-2019, 08:54 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Britbike2001 View Post
I say; "well done sir".

You're on your own which adds a great deal of uncertainty and self reliance, and as you note, no spotter.

Also, pictures, as good as yours are, rarely show the real situation and technical issues. I appreciate that.

Thank you for the write up and I hope it continues.

My mog is not suitable for such adventures (its all work and little play) but having an older LandCruiser now, and having spent many a trip into the deep woods of Maine and Quebec with an older F150 and even older Land Rover, I appreciate the travel style and plans.

Keep it coming and enjoy the adventures.

I will, even if vicariously.
And I appreciate the positive response/ review.

On one hand, a Mog makes no sense at all, as about 90% of my miles to date are on the Interstate. But, and a big but, most of my time is off and away. I got to where the range of my F250 was limiting, but more importantly, I wanted to do stuff with a bigger load AND a bigger safety margin. By that, I mean not pushing the envelope of vehicle capabilities, and with a Mog, I expected to get that. It took a bit for me to even begin to realize how much of a margin I really had with this truck, but it quickly became a super confidence builder.

The whole process of deciding on a Mog and then securing one was an ordeal (about 2 years worth), and then doing even the basic set-up that I have done to date was somewhat epical. And there have been some anxious moments once launched, but a whole bunch of smiles as well (and definitely on the increase in that category). Hopefully the tale brings a few smiles to others, as well.

And the adventure is not over; more will follow.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-02-2019, 10:01 AM Thread Starter
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This may be a B-W Forum, but it is NOT all about the Mahhgsta. Actually, the Mahhgsta is merely the vehicle (!?!) for photo adventures. Covers more ground and allows for more luxurious living along the way, than does backpacking. Camera and lenses get heavier with each decade (mine, not the world’s).

From Horsehoof campsite, in the morning. Looking generally west, across the Colorado River into the Maze District and the Orange Cliffs beyond. This trip was marked by an unusual amount of unsettled weather, and humidity/ moisture/ fog / cloud. I love the golden hours (really usually just minutes), but the atmosphere does not always accommodate. Still interesting, though.

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From the same spot, but facing northerly, into the Needles formation.

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That night I tried for the day-after-full moon rising, but it came up way too late, because of the height of the rocks around me. Settled for this shot. Sunrise the next morning, facing east from near the same spot.

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For the evening shot, I moved my vantage point somewhat, and pulled out the telephoto. The Colorado River canyon is just beyond the sunlit, banded formations in the middle ground. The two rock spires are Chimney Rock and Standing Rock, in the Maze District on the west side of the river. They are the darker orange-brown slender pinnacles in the middle of the sunlit band and more or less in the center of the photo. Elaterite Butte is just to the right if them, and sticks into the skyline beyond, floating above the foreground rock pile. This is why one goes and simply hangs out. Weather and light is a constantly changing dynamic, and there is no predicting the where and when of the really awesome moments.

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Moved on north to the New Bates Wilson campsite. Color not so dramatic, but pretty. Looking north, Upheaval Dome on the left skyline, and Junction Butte the big mass in the middle ground/ skyline. The White Rim Road is along the white rim (fancy that, creativity in the naming process) in the chocolate rock, just above the foreground formations. The white sandstone is much harder than the reds/ browns, so it holds back the erosion of the layers below, giving the step effect to the landscape.

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Tighter shot, a bit later. Color not spectacular, but you take what is offered. These pictures are taken from one of the big rounded lumps directly next to the Mahhgsta. Quick walk to work; best part is that supper follows quickly, also.

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What a difference one’s point of view makes. This shot taken from same spot, minutes later. Now rotated and aiming south, into the Needles formation that I have driven through to get here. The Elephant Hill loop road comes out of the wall of the Needles from just out of this picture on the right hand side.

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An about face, and now looking north east, to sunset on the Canyon Rims Rec Area, and the Manti la Sal mountains in the far distance, mostly obscured by the clouds.

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Don’t get excited, this is not an attack by a horde of English longbow men. Those are star tracks, and this is a time exposure under moonlight, two nights after full. Post-dinner boredom set in, and the rock dome vantage point was only 25 yards away: go for it.

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Next morning; what the prior (back two) shot looks like when you can see afar. Still perched on the same dome of rock. Color not too dramatic, but good travelogue shot nonetheless.

Adventures of the Travl'n Mahhgsta-6j5a6153.jpeg

As is typical, a final word. There was a party at Horsehoof each night I was photographing, albeit just hanging out at their vehicles. I was actually camped at the Bobby Jo site, about 1/2 mile south and east, with limited views. No problem, easy trot up the track to primetime. There were some day use groundhuggers (they call themselves Jeeps) that went by New Bates Wilson, and checked out the Confluence Overlook, but no one in sight before 11 am or after 4 pm. The last 7 photos, I was the only observer. Amazing what one misses in the rush to see "everything".

Last edited by photobldr; 06-02-2019 at 10:04 AM. Reason: Clarified desciption
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-08-2019, 04:01 PM Thread Starter
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Date registered: Aug 2016
Vehicle: 1988 U1300L RW1 Working gears Mogauspuf Dual Tanks Other Goodies 91 F250 HD 4x4
Location: Front Range CO
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All Downhill (NOT) from Here

Now if I had a reedy voice and a good ole country twang, I’d be warbling “On the Road Again”. Be grateful that I do not.

But it is time to head down off Elephant Hill. Coming up, one leaves the pavement and makes a fairly tough ascent to an intersection. Here, the road becomes a one-way loop up to the heart of the Needles, the campsites, and the road out of the south end to Bobby’s Hole. Once on this, you figure out why the one-way. It is steep, rugged and often very narrow, with lots of blind spots and little opportunity to pass an oncoming vehicle. Don’t have photos, but the reason I came in the south route and not in by way of the upside of the loop is twofold. Just above the intersection, there is a very low overhang on the uphill track. Jeeps, and unencumbered pickups (no campers) can squeeze under, but NOT 10’ 8” of Mog-body. Just before topping out on the loop at the Devil’s Kitchen campsites, there is a passage between rock formations. Sandy bottom, but its rock sides are left-leaning and only 90” apart. My firebody is 94” wide. And it is about 50 yards long. Don’t think so, No Mahhg.

Upper stretch of the down-loop is pretty rugged, lot of slickrock. Love 4-wheel parking brakes, set and jump out for photo-ops. No stop-start of the diesel.

Adventures of the Travl'n Mahhgsta-pa270981.jpeg

As I got used to Mog-abilities, I started to look for the hardest line, just for amusement. Only thing that matters is to pick your gear beforehand, and then its just drive’er on down, maybe a bit of exhaust brake.

Adventures of the Travl'n Mahhgsta-pa270985.jpeg

Dad-gum it, ANOTHER pothole. Now if only Moab would put some of that cappuccino revenue into road maintenance, this wouldn’t be happening.

Adventures of the Travl'n Mahhgsta-pa271003.jpeg

Stuff that would have had me heart-in-mouth in the F250, well it barely registers in the Mahhgsta. Won't be able to go back to a ground-hugger after this.

Adventures of the Travl'n Mahhgsta-pa271014.jpeg

From the “movie trailer”, this is where the loop converges for the remaining descent.

Adventures of the Travl'n Mahhgsta-pa271025.jpeg

Except it is not all descent. One first drops into a big draw, then must climb out, before the final long steep descent. This is the most hairball section, for me. There is one place where one does an extreme climb on a side hill, topping out on a small ledge, only to back up the next steep traverse (REALLY narrow) into a tight corner, the one cuts sharply left, forward and up the next steep traverse to easier ground. Far as I know, even the jeeps have to back this one. Did not have to K-turn either end; very disappointing not to multi-invoke the shuttle transmission.

This photo is actually from the next really sketchy bit (I do have my limits as to what I will vacate the cab for), that one traverses in forward gear the WHOLE time. Notice the cement in the rockwork. This part is bad enough that it had to have some augmentation (!?!)

Adventures of the Travl'n Mahhgsta-pa271033.jpeg


More concessions to the laity. That is actually a bit of concrete appearing to the left of the front bumper in the photo. It has been undercut by rushing water, but presumably helps somewhat. The Mahhgsta just turned into it and crawled over the ledginess, almost unnoticed by me inside. No diff lock, no detectable wheel spin. Oh, rapture.......

Adventures of the Travl'n Mahhgsta-pa271040.jpeg

Next beyond the previous, one turns hard left and climbs out through a steep, narrow channel in the rock, about 4’ deep. Fortunately it was a tad bit wider than my track. Mirrors would have scraped if they were half as high off the ground. Once up on easy ground, I took this shot of the group of bikers/ hikers, now just above the deep channel. The road (easy finish) is the track from bottom left corner of photo down to the people.

Adventures of the Travl'n Mahhgsta-pa271043.jpeg

Time for a snack and retrospective, before dropping down the east side of the route to pavement well below.

Adventures of the Travl'n Mahhgsta-pa271048.jpeg

The first bit of drop-down. Rather scenic. The route cuts left and down, then does a hard right around and below the brush in the center of the photo.

Adventures of the Travl'n Mahhgsta-pa271056.jpeg

Exit Interview: Size does matter. Elephant Hill gets a lot of day use, and lesser overnight traffic. I did not see any conventional pickups on this trip, but I think they can make it, if driven carefully. Most of the vehicles were tricked out jeeps; rentals, tours, or private. Mog capability is not an absolute requirement here, and this is reputed to be the worst "road" in Utah. And it is a legal road, with severe penalties for anyone caught off-track. One interesting observation is that the Mahhgsta's turning radius never obviously restricted me. I was able to corner on-track at all times, with no back and forth jockeying, except for the tight switchbacks and Zee-turns that virtually every vehicle has to make.

What this speaks to is the dilemma of compromise. The longer one wants to stay out and the bigger the vehicle to accommodate that, the more the possible routes of travel become restricted. Given that an SBU already cuts a wide (and HIGH) swath, it is worth considering very carefully the actual places one wants to go, before investing in something too big to go there.
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