The first trail day of an event is always a little nerve-wracking. There’s a bunch of people around that you’ve just met, you’re usually pretty far away from home, and there’s always that nagging feeling of forgetting to check that one bolt or wishing you’d had a chance to install that last thing before leaving. After a pleasant but cold night in Farmington, our Dirt ‘N Drive participants lines up outside the hotel for a police escort out of town and to the Brown Springs Recreation Area, where member of the Cliffhangers 4x4 Club led our 120 Jeepers to a staging area for the first taste of dirt on the trip, and for many, the first taste of four-wheeling in New Mexico.
Farmington has long been a world-class four-wheeling destination, attracting some of the top rockcrawling competition sanctioning bodies for nearly two decades thanks to easy access to incredible terrain just a few miles outside of town. But Farmington offers much more than just hardcore off-roading, and there are trails to suit every taste and experience level. The area is also very friendly to outdoor recreation of all kinds, from the city of Farmington to the BLM managers that oversee the public land that encompasses the off-roading in the area. JP Dirt ‘N Drive couldn’t have felt more welcome, and everyone got past the jitters fairly quick after locking the hubs and heading to the respective guided trails. The trails themselves lived up to Farmington’s reputation for challenge and scenery. It wasn’t long before the challenging terrain started claiming a few victims. A ring and pinion, a driveshaft, and a few axleshaft breakage reports trickled in, but overall the damage was pretty light for a group this size and the broad range of equipment and experience levels.
After getting just a small taste of Farmington trails, it was time to ai back up and hit the highway. The group ventured through Shiprock, New Mexico before descending on the Four Corners Monument, where the states of Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado all come together. After obligatory photos of being in four states at once, it was on to Cortez, Colorado via the Canyon of the Ancients, a breathtaking beautiful area dotted with picturesque old ranches and amazing vistas. For many it’s going to be an early night, because the 6:30 a.m. drivers meeting comes early and there’s much more adventure in store. Stay tuned to find out where JP Dirt ‘N Drive is headed next!