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Thread: General Info for First Time National Rally'ers

  1. #1
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    General Info for First Time National Rally'ers

    Info for newbies to the Land Rover National Rally

    I have been attended the past two Rally’s, and have been to Moab a few times now. I don’t know anything about the harder trails, but I will share what I know to help those who will be attending their first Rally or their first trip to Moab. If you have specific questions, post them to this thread and between myself and others in this fourm, we should be able to come up with some answers.

    How does the Rally work?
    In the past, you visit the staging area and check in, where you receive a goodie bag and t-shirt, and there are maps posted of all the trail runs and so forth. The staging area is at the Old Spanish Trail Arena, just outside of town to the south, on the east side of the road. There are typically a lot of Solihul Society trail leaders hanging around (distinctively dressed) that you can ask for trail opinions & recommendations based on your rig. This is a good chance to meet others as well, and solicit their opinions regarding trails.

    You do not “sign up” for a trail. You line up behind the trail leader, who are organized in a long line by the trail name they are leading. The first morning of the Rally you really want to get to the staging area early, around 7am. This is to line up in the trail you want to go on. If you are unsure, it’s another opportunity to get opinions about the trails before you line up and commit. Many of the trail groups depart the staging area around 7:30, so you have to be early. Don’t forget the time difference between SoCal time and Moab time. It will feel really early.

    There is a mixer/cocktail party scheduled for Thursday night. this is a lot of fun. You get a few free drinks with your entry, and just about everybody is going to be there. Highly recommended. Wear your club t-shirt so folks know who you are!

    The Friday night vendor show is worth attending. All the sponsors bring their toys for display. There is usually a few activities, like watching built up Rovers drive over a beat up old Jeep or something similar. There is an RTI ramp contest, and you can check out your flex. There is an outdoor BBQ put on by the trail leaders, and it's generally a good burger/hot dog, and the beer is cold and there are lots of people from all over the country to talk to. It's a good time.

    The Saturday night banquet is usually at the Moab Valley Inn, and it's a long line for average food, but a great raffle. The raffle has TONS of stuff, a lot of it pretty darn good stuff, but it takes hours to give it all way. There are typically awards for events that occur during the Rally (like best rollover, etc...). If you are still in town, go. If not, you didn't miss much other than a good raffle.

    About Moab:
    There are Land Rovers everywhere during the Rally. It’s pretty cool. The Townspeople really seem to enjoy it and are very welcoming. I get my lunch materials, drinks, etc…at the City Market grocery store right downtown. It’s also where I get my gas, which seems to be a bit cheaper there than elsewhere. There is not a lot of things in Moab, it’s a very small town that literally closes in the winter. There are plenty of ATM’s, and there is a BofA. There is a McDonalds, but not a lot else. Everyone walks around the down town area at night. It’s quite lively and a lot of fun. Plenty of bars and restaurants. Moab Brewery is popular, but I could never figure out why, it offers mediocre food and closes early. If you have deep pockets, the only “fine dining” that I’m aware of is outside of town at Sorrel River Ranch, which is 5 star and first rate, and at least $800/night to stay there! There is a decent restaurant up hill on the cliff called Sunset Café or Grill or something like that. It’s not bad, but you might be better off hanging out at a local steakhouse/bar with all the lively atmosphere.

    There is a iconic t-shirt shop right downtown that sells “dirty t-shirts” that have been stained Moab Red literally in the dirt. Lots of cool t-shirts for off roaders in there.
    There are a TON of outdoor gear shops, but they are all really pricey, however, selection of quality items tends to be better than what you will find at REI, and they are very much PRO off roading and biking/hiking/climbing, so it’s way better than REI in that regards.

    Where does everybody hang out? Just look at any parking lot. There’s bound to be a bunch of Rovers there, many of them being worked on late into the evening :-)

    Trail Run Etiquette
    All your normal stuff that SCLR practices. TreadLightly, stay ON the trail, keep your spacing, don’t slow down the pack. More here.

    Trail Requirements & Communications
    Solihul Society requires a fire extinguisher and a CB radio. Many SCLR runs are all FRS, but you will want a CB radio for the National Rally. Plan ahead, install it and test it before you get there. There is a Radio Shack in town if you need a last minute item. You also NEED a full size matching spare tire.

    Airing down: Most people air down at the beginning of the first trail, and just stay aired down all week long, on the trail and around town.

    What can I expect to happen to my vehicle?
    Moab HATES bumpers. Expect to trash your rear bumper, and expect to rub a lot of fresh love on the front bumper too. Tires are almost irrelevant. The bigger the better of course, but street slicks will work nearly as good as the newest KM2’s. Slickrock sandstone offers phenomenal, gravity defying grip. Between the slickrock sections, you will encounter broken shale, or deep sand. Don’t even think about showing up with running boards on. Moab offers STEEP approach and departure angles, with SHARP breakover angles on sheer ledges. These ledges and steep angles are what will wreak havoc on your bumpers, but its so much fun, you really won’t care. Some trails are very rocky, such as Top of the World, which is not difficult, but offers a few ledges and some good larger than basketball sized rocks to scrape over. The traction is there, but you will rub things, I guarantee it. Having good underbody protection and steel bumpers is recommended.

    What to do outside of the Rally?
    I highly recommend the Tower Arch trail at Arches national park. There are also trails to the south such as Elephant Hill, and an overlook that looks over the confluence of the three major rivers that have created all those magnificent canyons. This is the south end of Canyonlands National Park.

    Another activity that is very popular is floating down the Colorado river in a kyak or rubber hulled boat. There are organized trips nearly every hour it seems like. There is also an interesting night show. It’s a flat bottomed barge that floats down the river, and they have set up colored lights down the canyons and you are told about the history of the region and the cliffs really come to life. That’s pretty cool.

    The mountain biking is world class. They have an entire off road park just for mtn biking, but all the vehicle trails are open to bikes also, and you will see mtn bikers all over the place. They are in amazing shape!

    Dinosaur hunting. There are several places where you can view dinosaur foot prints in the sand stone. The trail to Klondike Bluffs has quite a few. There are others. Not too many cliff paintings in the immediate Moab area, but two hours south there are TONS of fascinating Anasazi ruins aplenty. Hotel Rock is one of the more famous ones.

    Getting There
    The Drive to Moab is beautiful. Starting with the amazing Virgin River gorge you ascend just east of Las Vegas towards St. George, then the spectacularly beautiful Fish Lake National Forest, then the stark and powerful Storybook Cliffs as you drop down in the Fremont junction/ Green River area. The final push to Moab is rather dry and flat, but as soon as you cross the Colorado, it’s spectacular again, and you are there! If you are driving straight through from SoCal, budget about 11 hours to get there. Many people opt to stay overnight in Cedar City. It’s another 5 hours or so to Moab once you hit Cedar City. If you are stopping in St. George instead, there are tons of major chain restaurants on the south side of the freeway. There is also a neat dinosaur museum on the northeast side of town that the kids might enjoy. It’s called “Dinosaur Discovery at Johnson Farm”.

    On the way to Moab, you can stop by Zion and/or Bryce national park. Zion is a little bit like grand Canyon, except that you are on the bottom of the canyon, and can wade up the Narrows literally walking in the Virgin River as far as you want to go. There are lots of great, short, but strenuous hikes in Zion. Bryce is not a very “active” park, but it is beautiful, and Ruby’s Inn (at the entrance to the park) has some of the best “home style” cooking on the planet. Seriously good food.

    One of the prettiest drives in the world is on the 12 highway. This will add a full day or more to your arrival in Moab, but it is so amazingly worth it. If you can add another day, exploring the slot canyons and Hole in the Rock trail in Escalante is epic. Best to be in good shape for this. I am 6’-7” and 300 lbs and it worked me good.

    Okay, moment of truth: MOAB TRAIL RECOMMENDATIONS
    I drive an LR3, and wheel with Classics and DII’s regularly. I am an able spotter, and know the abilities of these rigs very well. I feel comfortable making recommendations on Disco II’s, LR3’s and RRC’s. D90’s very widely in ability, primarily in tire size and locker config.

    Solihull changed their trail rating system this year, and have posted descriptions of what ratings 1 – 10 mean here.

    These ratings are notably inaccurate for Modern Rovers (LR3/RRS/MkIII RR). I have found the trail rating system to be very difficult to use to judge actual trail difficulty. One of the best trails in Moab is the iconic Fins N Things. This trail is not very difficult, but it is 4. Hells Revenge is very similar, but slightly steeper, and has a few more entertaining, but optional obstacles, and gets a 6. If you liked Fins and Things, you will love Hells Revenge. Don’t sweat the 6 rating. However, Steelbender by all accounts, lives up to it’s name and is a very difficult 6, so traveler beware.

    There are 31 trails this year, (there are far more in the area that are possible), I have driven on only 5 of them, and some of them only part way. I have heard about many of them, and have read the Charles Wells books so have some additional familiarity with them. I’ll provide a brief opinion where possible:

    • 3-D "3” – No knowledge
    • Behind the Rocks "7" – No knowledge
    • Black Flag "9" – No knowledge
    • Chicken Corners "2" – No knowledge
    • Cliffhanger "6" – Not for those with fear of heights. Very tippy and off camber, very mentally difficult. A couple of big ledges. Not recommend for Modern Rovers
    • Copper Ridge "3” – No knowledge
    • Dome Plateau "4" – No knowledge
    • Fins 'n Things "4" – One of the best runs in Moab if you’ve never done it. HIGHLY recommended for every build of truck, from stock to locked.
    • Flat Iron Mesa "5" – I head it’s a good trail, it’s on my list of things to try this year
    • Gold Bar Rim "5" – No knowledge
    • Golden Spike "7" – iconic Moab trail. Doable in any lifted rover, but you will trash your bumpers. This is the trail with the big crack in the rock that you cross at an angle. It’s been photo’d a zillon times.
    • Greenday "6" – No knowledge
    • Helldorado "10" – No knowledge
    • Hell's Revenge "6” – One of the best runs in Moab if you’ve never done it. HIGHLY recommended for every build of truck, from stock to locked. A bit more mentally challenging than Fins, but not any more technically difficult. A very fun trail. One of the more famous runs.
    • Hellroaring Rim "3” – No knowledge
    • Hey Joe Canyon "3"– No knowledge
    • Kane Creek Canyon "6" – Numerous challenging river crossings (not deep, but steep wet banks as you climb out). Some years heavy brush growth will trash you paint, ask about current conditions. Fun trail if not too overgrown.
    • Metal Masher "6" – No knowledge
    • Minor Threat "10" – No knowledge
    • Moab Rim "7" – this is a very long trail, and is supposed to be amazing. Not sure about the difficulty level or what it means.
    • Poison Spider Mesa "5" – Another iconic run, has some interesting bits, but almost all slick rock and lots of fun. Can be done in a well driven Modern Rover
    • Porcupine Rim "5" – No knowledge
    • Pritchett Canyon "8" – Widely known around the world as one of the more difficult runs. Pretty much destined to roll over at least once on this trail. Jeep guys love it. Short wheel required.
    • Rose Garden Hill "5" – No knowledge
    • Secret Spire "2” – No knowledge
    • Seven Mile Rim "4" – well known for scenic beauty. I’ve never done it, but it’s on my To Do list this year.
    • Steelbender "6" – from what I’ve heard, it lives up to it’s name. lots of ledges.
    • Strike Ravine "5" – No knowledge
    • Tiptoe Behind the Rocks "5" – No first hand knowledge. Sounds interesting, I might try this one this year. From what I’ve read, a bit more expedition like trail instead of rock hound trail.
    • Top of the World "4” – Okay for any Modern Rover, or any 2” lifted Disco/Classic. Physically punishing trail. Very rocky, jarring trail, with not much to look at until you get to the top, then WOW, it really is the top of the world. The view is AMAZING, but the ride back is equally grueling. Plan on a long day. Trail head is an hour or more outside of town.
    • Wipe-Out Hill "5" – Trail is doable in an LR3, even the one alternate downhill obstacle, but most will chicken out, even the built up rigs.


    For my photos of some of these trails, please check out these two links:
    - http://blog.nextstepdesigns.com/?cat=22
    - http://nwoods.smugmug.com/gallery/33...91480632_7Wpu4

    There you have it. Veterans, please post up any corrections are alternate recommendations/opinions you may have.

    LR3 related tips and misc info: http://lr3tips.wordpress.com/.
    Off road and family adventure photography: www.nwoods.smugmug.com

  2. #2
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    Sorry Nathan, but what's a 'Modern Rover?' You refer to it several times and I'm just not sure what you mean by that.

    Thanks for the information though, decent little write up. Sounds like the Rally is going to be a blast.

    1964 SIIA 109 | 1973 SIII 88 | 2000 Disco II


    Series Restoration
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    Rover Alley

  3. #3
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    Modern Rover is an IFS suspension version, such as the LR3, Range Rover Sport, or MkIII Range Rover. I do not include Freelanders or LR2's because they do not have Low Range transfer cases nor adjustable suspension (off road height).

    I call them Modern Rovers because their origin is with BMW and Ford, unlike the drivetrain from the Disco II and Disco 1, which are directly carried over from the Classic, and before that, the precursor to the Classic, which I can't recall the name of...starts with a V?

    I single out Modern Rovers because their electrowizardry turns ordinary trail rating system into mush. Traditional trail ratings are all about lockers and tire size. An LR3 for example, can out climb any locked vehicle on the planet through it's phenomenal traction control, it's amazing 13" long travel suspension, and incredibly tight turning radius. However, it has very limited clearance. Which means obstacles that challenge even the stoutest of traditional solid axle rigs are a piece of cake for a Modern Rover, but if the rocks get too big, the Modern Rover will never have a chance due to limited clearance.

    It makes picking trails that you are not familiar with very difficult when you own a Modern Rover. You really need to know why a trail has earned a given rating. If it's big rocks, bad news and don't bother. If it's anything else beside big rocks, pretty much no problem for a Modern Rover.
    Last edited by nwoods; 08-24-2008 at 11:01 PM.
    LR3 related tips and misc info: http://lr3tips.wordpress.com/.
    Off road and family adventure photography: www.nwoods.smugmug.com

  4. #4
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    Copy all ... and I think you're thinking of the Velar? They only made those a few short years though, I want to say late sixties for a few years before the Range Rover debuted.

    1964 SIIA 109 | 1973 SIII 88 | 2000 Disco II


    Series Restoration
    Buchanan Family Home
    Rover Alley

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by nwoods View Post
    An LR3 for example, can out climb any locked vehicle on the planet through it's phenomenal traction control, it's amazing 13" long travel suspension, and incredibly tight turning radius.
    Wow.

    So basically anybody with a drivers license could do Moab in an LR3? Not for nothing, but that's a pretty big statement to make while speaking in absolute terms.

    1964 SIIA 109 | 1973 SIII 88 | 2000 Disco II


    Series Restoration
    Buchanan Family Home
    Rover Alley

  6. #6
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    Good write up, thanks!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by superpowerdave View Post
    Wow.

    So basically anybody with a drivers license could do Moab in an LR3? Not for nothing, but that's a pretty big statement to make while speaking in absolute terms.
    My point is not that the Modern Rover is "better", it's that their capabilities are very different, making the trail rating system almost useless. The nature of the obstacle is the deciding factor, not the difficulty level. In the past two years, the LR3's have dominated trails that participants thought the LR3 would never make it through.

    However, I think there are dozens of trails you will never see an LR3 on, because of the size of rocks and ledges. Pritchard Canyon is one good example. An LR3 will fail big time there.
    LR3 related tips and misc info: http://lr3tips.wordpress.com/.
    Off road and family adventure photography: www.nwoods.smugmug.com

  8. #8
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    excellant write up.

    although ive been to Moab 30+ times its was still very informative.

    I plan on running golden spike and kane creek....see you there

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by derrickalda View Post
    excellant write up.

    although ive been to Moab 30+ times its was still very informative.

    I plan on running golden spike and kane creek....see you there
    Wow, 30 times!
    Derrick, can you expand on the trail descriptions?
    LR3 related tips and misc info: http://lr3tips.wordpress.com/.
    Off road and family adventure photography: www.nwoods.smugmug.com

  10. #10
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    My trail amendments to Nathan´s original list. I´ve omitted trails where I agree with Nathan or that I have no knowledge about...

    Behind the Rocks ´10" – No knowledge
    Black Flag "10" – Recommended for Rock Buggy types
    Chicken Corners "1" – Easy
    Cliffhanger "6-7" – Not for those with fear of heights. Very tippy and off camber, very mentally difficult. A couple of big ledges. Not recommend for Modern Rovers
    Greenday "6" – With side trail options to make it an 8-10
    Helldorado "10" – Not recommended for other than rock buggy types
    Minor Threat "6" –With options to make it 8-9
    Moab Rim "7-8" – It´s not that long, can be an a^^ pucker.
    Pritchett Canyon "8-10" – Widely known around the world as one of the more difficult runs.
    Strike Ravine "4-5" – a couple of spots that you have to think but mainly scenic and worth the 2 hours to do it.

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