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Magazine staff “Experts” Mishaps in Moab

a Few Whoops from our favorite 4x4 event.

As staff of the Four Wheeler Network, we love Moab for Easter Jeep Safari. We flock to it like a hoarder with a pocket full of cash to a Saturday morning swap meet. We also sometimes like to make fun of ourselves, but please be nice; we are after all human. Of course, because we are all experts in some aspect of off-roading, we all think we are amazing drivers—or at lease marginally good drivers. That doesn't always pan out the way we want it to, resulting in Moab Easter Jeep Safari Whoops!

Here are some pictures of various Four Wheeler Network Staff members fooling around on the trails in and around Moab for Easter Jeep Safari. We might even give you some of the details of what's happening in the pictures. that is unless it's obvious what is happening. Generally, you can assume we either did or nearly ran out of talent behind the wheel. Hey, it happens if you are trying things at the edge of your comfort zone.

Hot Tub troubles:

Part 1) Verne Flops in

With hindsight, this seems more than just kind of silly. For one, I am pretty sure I'd driven the 1997 TJ SE from Phoenix, Arizona, to Moab for whatever EJS this was. Still that little Jeep always shocked me and went places it had no business frequently—so why not try Mickey's Hot Tub? Seems like a great idea right!?

At this point, it sure seemed like things are going well. The trick to the obstacle is to stay to the passenger and use some speed to get out of the hole. The problem is that about halfway up, it seems like you should steer driver, and you'll be out; that's wrong. Steering driver, as we were about to find out, causes you to lose traction. That's bad.

If you are good, you drive out of the tub. If you are lucky, you can roll back to the bottom of the hole on your tires. If you're like me, you roll back twice on your tires, and once back on your rear corner and then your side. Bang. Then, the the Jeep sits on its side and oil fills the intake manifold.

This is Christian Hazel's YJ; Christian has the sense not to drive it into Mickey's Hot Tub and is kind enough to help Verne recover his flopped TJ. All the parts next to Christian's Jeep are some of the contents of my TJ. What you can't see is that when we pulled the spark plugs to clear the oil out of the cylinders, a fine mist coated Christian's YJ with used 10w-30. Free rust preventative, you're welcome.

What damage?


Part 2) Fred Williams points Tube Sock towards the moon With Verne egging him on!

Some say Verne is a bad influence, and some would say those people are correct. I'm pretty sure I was riding with Fred for this event. It was dumb and I'm sure it was my fault, but hey Fred, you were driving, not me!


Hells' Gate, The last few feet are the worst

Hell's Gate is an optional hard obstacle on Hell's Revenge Trail. The obstacle can cause people problems, but usually you are safe if you follow the tracks from the previous vehicles. But—and that's a big but—when you get near the top, you tend to want to turn driver before you climb out. Don't do that. When you do that and end up too far toward driver near the top, you might just scare yourself like Sean Holman, the content director at Truck & Off-Road Group and co-creator and co-host ofThe Truck Show Podcast did a few years back. To this day, we are not sure if Sean was doing this intentionally and showing off, or if it was an accident. Either way, the results were spectacular and attention-grabbing!


Escalator wheel stands, but we made it!

I mean if you'd just flopped in Mickey's Hot Tub, why wouldn't you try Escalator? One corner was already boogered up, so why not massage the other corner too. Wheels up!

Being stubborn or being dumb did pay off this time. The little 1997 TJ SE on 32s made it to the top of Escalator.


Christian de-values his prototype flatfender in Moab

This is Christian doing his darndest to duplicate the Chicken Dance using his 53 DJ-3a. In this case, DJ doesn't stand for Door Jeep, but it probably should because most flatties don't have doors or door sills. Christian's '53, near as we can tell, is one of three prototype sporty DJs Jeep built back in the day. He only realized this after converting it into a rock crawler and after forgetting to close both doors when driving down a steep drop—on Golden Spike Trail if memory serves.

Did we mention that those doors are prototypes? This photo is from our magazine corporate run on upper Helldorado in 2006. One of the VPs from a big advertiser flew out and insisted on driving the company tube car on 44-inch tires. He kept digging deep holes for Christian to follow. The result was that Christian dented the rare prototype door on the rock a few obstacles before the waterfall trying to make it through on his little 35-inch tires.

This is Christian in Gravy Bowl on Mashed Potato Trail, right after the flattie's power steering said "I'm outta' here." As a result, it got really hard to reposition the Jeep. Christian couldn't maintain enough rear wheel-speed to make it out on this line, so he moved over a couple feet to the right, sans power steering, where the line was somewhat easier.

Sean's Redemption in the Four Wheeler Long Termer Power Wagon

Redemption is sweet, and at this point Sean had figured out the line at the top of Hells Gate. The truck is a long-term loaner from RAM. Man, those Power Wagons sure are nice.

Did we mention that this truck is a loaner from a RAM, as in part of one of the big three U.S. auto manufacturers. The story is Sean, still at the wheel of the Power Wagon Easter, doing his darndest to leave some RAM red paint on Egg Rock on Flat Iron Mesa Trail. The big fella saving the quarter panel is none other than our pal Jim McGeen from Dynatrac. We would suggest never trying to duplicate this, as Jim is a trained professional on a closed course.

Sean Mangles a Flare on His DD JKU

These pictures are from a time in Moab that the aforementioned Sean Holman found a rather large rock using one of the more advanced rock crawling driving techniques, drive-by-braille, and his very nice and clean daily driver 2012 JKU Sahara. That is apparently despite having what appear to be at least two rather large GPS units in the Jeep at the time. Sad trombone. Maybe Sean was lighting up that illegal Cuban stogie when the incident occurred. Still, the flare went back in place and remained, showing the legit trail scars.

KJ's Excellent Adventure

KJ Jones, Editor-in-Chief, Diesel Power Magazine, has quite the tale from near Moab. His adventure wasn't during EJS, but still it's fun to make light of because everyone survived, and KJ worked on those off-road skills he occasionally claims to lack. The whole story is detailed here: (Particulate Matters: 2017 GMC Sierra 2500HD Denali). The short version is that KJ, along with another media type and a GM engineer, went on a very unplanned run up some half-frozen, half mud-covered forest service road, through a pass, and back to civilization in Southeast Utah—or perhaps Southwest Colorado —in a brand new and completely unprepared GMC Denali 2500HD. The "trip" added hours to their drive, and at one point, the handlers from GMC were pretty freaked out because the truck and three people seemingly disappeared from the face of Utah.

Verne Smokes a bearing in the Gravy Bowl on Mashed Potatoes

More Videos

Well, apparently I will occasionally do some dumb stuff. This is one with greater detail on what happened here: (2018 EASTER JEEP SAFARI: BULL IN A CHINA SHOP #EJS2018). The short version is a 505 cubic-inch Dodge Big Block with a front sump oil-pan will starve the pump when you dry your tires off and then climb out of the Gravy Bowl. Dumb.


Sean Breaks an axle-shaft in his elbow while Mtn. Biking in Moab

Most of us who work at the Four-Wheeler Network genuinely enjoy the outdoors. Whether it's in a 4x4, hiking, mountain biking, camping, skiing, or snowboarding, we've done it. If Moab isn't known for EJS and 4x4ing, it is known for mountain biking, and many of us have pushed pedals around Moab. One day, Sean went out with some other staff and advertisers to ride the red rocks of Moab using people power. It was all fun and games until a rock got in the way and our fearless leader, as Christian Hazel put it so eloquently, "broke an axleshaft in his elbow."