The Place Where Poison Spyders Go to Play
Editor's note: We won't tell you where this trail ride took place for fear of it becoming the next big playground in Moab's already fragile assortment of OHV areas. We wouldn't want to feel responsible for causing scores of wannabe Red Rockers to converge on the area that is challenging, scenic, and unspoiled. However, we will say this: Nowhere else in Moab have we found more sand dunes, open slickrock, or dry washes to explore and enjoy than in this remote region.
The moment we crested the first large sand dune some 60 miles from downtown Moab, I stopped the Jeep to slip into my Tevas and get a good look around. The only real problem we faced was locating our group of 'wheelers led by Clifton Slay of Poison Spyder Customs. The area was unfamiliar to us and with a seemingly endless expanse of sand and rock in front of us, we thought our luck was diminishing. Just then, from the top of an adjacent dune, a recognizable rumble filled the air. I was astonished to see five Poison Spyder Customs (PSC) Bruiser rock buggies driving in perfect formation down a steep sandy slope towards a marbled slickrock slab. The scene was surreal, sharing similarities with synchronized swimming, or perhaps the Blue Angels showing off at an air show. Minutes later we realized the exhibit was happening for a good reason. Clifton Slay, the owner of PSC, had a professional film crew on hand to capture footage for a promotional video he was putting together for his company's Web site. We were grateful that our chariot for the day was Hemi-powered too; something less, and we might not have been able to keep up. After greeting our group we spent the whole day exploring the area Clifton said was undiscovered by Moab's standard mob of Easter Jeepers. And he was right too--we'd never heard of this place before, either. With its large sand dunes sweeping across giant Estrada sandstone bluffs, dotted by large groupings of cottonwood trees, it was like a giant sandbox playground. The whole place was obscured by red cliffs to the east and loose eroded cordillera to the north and west. The surrounding ranges provide a dramatic backdrop quite unlike anything else in the vicinity of Moab proper. All this open space--we were in heaven.
Greg Cochran of Alma, Arkansas, takes his 'wheeling very seriously. That's why he's always smiling as he pins the skinny pedal of his 5.3L Vortech V-8 in this Bruiser Eight chassis buggy. This rig also sports a stout pair of Unimog portal axles, an Atlas transfer case, and four-wheel hydraulic steering.
Clifton Slay let close industry friend Tom Boyd take his newest creation for a quick jaunt. Dubbed "Suicide Sally," this immaculate five-seater Bruiser is powered by a GM RamJet 502 big-block V-8 and is equipped with Dynatrac-built Dana 80 axles, a 200hp shot of NOS, and 46-inch Claws. Can you say "fun"?
Greg's son Logan is one of the luckiest 15-year-olds we've ever met. His dad had a custom Bruiser II built especially for him to drive. This way, the father-son duo could both go out and play together. This rig also sports a GM V-8 and Unimog axles. Logan had no problem piloting his Bruiser up and over the steepest of dunes.
The owner of this clean CJ-7 was putting on a show for curious dirt bikers and other onlookers. Sporting a V-8, 1-ton running gear, and 40-inch Iroks mounted to Walker Evans bead-locked wheels, who wouldn't stop to drool as it raced up a sandy slope?
This single-seat buggy is one of PSC's new Rock Race chassis built for the XRRA's rock racing series. It's driver, Joey Archuleta, added a set of 40-inch Baja Claws on 20-inch KMC Wheels, Dana 60s, Crane knuckles, and a 4.3 Vortech engine hooked to a 700R4 and Atlas II 'case.