Easter Jeep Safari Moab Utah Editorial - Limited ArticulationPosted in Features on July 1, 2008
We've been heading to Moab to cover Easter Jeep Week for some 20 years now, and while a lot has changed over the years-with more trails to ride, and a lot more rigs than in olden times-some things about this beautiful place never seem to change much: Start with a sunrise on Moab Rim, with the waters of the Colorado glistening in morning light; then wheel up Pritchett Canyon, and marvel at those giant boulders perched along the steep canyon walls (and hope they stay there); crawl up to the top of Hell's Revenge for views of slickrock mesas and the snowcapped La Sals in the distance; or ride through vertigoinducing Kane Creek Canyon, and wonder how that Crown Vic ended up at the bottom. No matter where you go, Moab's a unique experience.
This year's edition of Jeep Week seemed a bit more subdued than usual, most likely due to a number of factors: Easter sneaked up on us awful early this year, a lot of folks weren't out on Spring Break yet, the weather was chilly for half of the week, and $4.29 diesel probably deterred some people from towing to Utah this year. On the plus side, fewer vehicles resulted in less congestion on the trails (and shorter waiting lines for grub at Moab Brewery), so if you're one of those wheelers (like us) who's never particularly enjoyed being stuck in gridlock on Kane Creek, this might well have been your year to come out.
Besides being a four-wheeling family reunion, Easter Jeep Week has increasingly become a corporate showcase (surprise, surprise) for manufacturers' parts and project rigs. The folks at Chrysler have a huge presence in Moab now (as well they should), commandeering the parking lot at Walker's Drugstore each year to showcase their newest production and concept vehicles which they trailer out from frosty Michigan. Better yet, every year they invite a bunch of us scribes to spend a day test-driving the concepts at their top-secret Utah proving grounds (OK, the dune complex west of Behind the Rocks). We drove at least a half dozen one-offs this time around, but two really stuck out in our minds: a 2.8L diesel Wrangler JK (awesome torque) and a 6.7L Cummins Power Wagon running a mild lift and 40s (too much tire, but otherwise perfect). Guys, we need these engines in these vehicles, especially the Wrangler-please, build 'em! And about that lifted Liberty on 33s . . . sorry, we didn't mean to jump it. Really, it just happened.
The Spanish Trail Arena, a few miles south of town, has also become one of the most popular destinations for the four-by faithful, even though there's no wheeling to be found. On the other hand, the vendors' showcase has become enormous, spilling out from the Arena grounds and across two parking lots-and if you wanna see some of the hottest new products from nearly all of the major manufacturers, and to meet the folks behind the companies, Spanish Trail's a gotta-go place. And if you show up early, before the weekend, you'd likely run into your favorite magazine staffers as well. (And no, we don't mean the guys at Jp.)
We'll have more on Moab- including some cool photos and profiles of those future Jeeps-in next month's issue.