I had just returned from a local four wheel drive trip - which I didn't even write-up - and my truck was all packed and ready to go. I procrastinated unloading, cleaning, and putting my gear away, as it seemed like "wait until tomorrow" was the right thing to do.
That evening, I was relaxing on the patio, when my buddy Robert called and told me about a four wheel drive evening, in Hurricane, UT. named The Trail Hero and invited me to ride along with him. I had never heard of the event, so I "googled" their web site, and after looking at their web site, I knew this was an event that I wanted to attend. After talking it over with my wife, I replied with a resounding YES!! to Robert's great offer...
Photo: Friday, October 02, 2020, my friend Robert and I drove from his place, outside of Sparks, NV to Chris's place in Roy, UT, which is a full-day's drive, even when traveling 80 mph through eastern Nevada and western Utah. We met Chris' dad, Steve at Chris's place, and, thanks to Chris enjoyed an amazing dinner of grilled hamburgers.
The next day, we drove Robert's 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee into Chris's well-equipped shop/garage and the four of us began working on the Jeep, in an ongoing project to make it more trail worthy.
Robert is under his Jeep, and with the help of Chris, they're working on the Pitman arm, on the steering gearbox.
Photo: The front brake lines have been replaced, and Robert fills the master cylinder, as Chris and his dad Steve look on. Steve, Chris and Robert were the "brains" and "tech support," as my auto skills are quite lacking, but my extra set of hands came in very handy during the 3-1/4 days we spent getting Robert's Jeep ready for the trail.
Photo: Robert is under his Jeep, grinding down the old exhaust pipe hanger, which had snapped under hard use on the last trail outing. We'd purchased a new exhaust pipe hanger, and after Robert finishes grinding down the old one, Chris will weld the new one on.
Note that Robert is wearing safety glasses, as in Chris' shop, safety is paramount.
Photo: Steve sprays a new coat of metallic silver on the right side of the Jeep. When it comes to using a "rattle can," Steve is an expert, as he used long, slow passes, and by the time the paint dried, it looked 95% as good as a custom paint job.
Photo: Robert has just finished replacing the tranny pan, along with the filter, and is refilling the tranny. It's Monday, October 5, 2020, and we're leaving for The Trail Hero 2020 event tomorrow.
Photo: The Jeep is loaded on the trailer as Robert puts the final torque to the ratchet tie-downs.
It's Tuesday, October 06, 2020, and today is the "maiden voyage" of Robert's new trailer, as he'd just purchased it this Saturday from Big Bubba's Trailer Sales, located in Ogden, UT. At $3,000, the trailer isn't cheap, but it's a well-built, quality trailer and will server Robert's Jeep well.
From Chris' place in Roy - a suburb of Salt Lake City - to Hurricane is a nearly 6-hour drive, and unfortunately due to other members of our party arriving in late morning, after driving all night from Spokane, WA. we weren't able to leave Chris' place until early afternoon.
Photo: Wednesday morning, October 07, 2020, Robert airs down the tires of his Jeep to 15 pounds, to get ready for today's trail run, the "Dinosaur Tracks/Rock House" trail run, which promises to be a scenic, fun and easy trail ride, which is a great way to begin the event.
We pulled into Hurricane, UT the previous evening, around 06:30 in the afternoon, and drove directly to the Sand Hollow Resort Club House, where registration was being conducted. Robert had pre-registered and paid the trail and registration fees, but that didn't stop the long lines, and 2-hour wait to arrive at the registration table, as everybody was trying to register at the same time.
The club house was packed with jeepers, noisy, and super crowded. Despite the long lines, the agonizing wait, the registration process was as efficient as it could be, considering the circumstances, and once we received our registration, it all went well.
It was pitch dark by the time we were finished with the registration process. Robert and I had chosen to camp out, as the event web site advertised "free camping" adjacent to Sand Hollow State Park, while the rest of our group had made reservations at a local motel.
It took us a while to fine the "free campgound" in the dark, and by the time we found it... let's say I've camped at many better places. My advice to anyone who considers the "free camping" the web site offers is to check out the camping during the light of day, as there are some decent places to camp, albeit with NO services of any kind.
We had to go to the local WalMart to get a few supplies, so after purchasing our supplies, we chose to camp in the store's parking lot. Robert slept in the back of his truck, and I pitched my sleeping ban under the Jeep, on the trailer.
The next day, we checked into the Day's Inn motel, where the rest of our group was staying.
Photo: On the "Dinosaur Tracks" trail, the run was limited to 25 vehicles, which not surprisingly, mostly consisted of Jeeps of various models, but like on all runs, modified "Rubicons" proved to be the most popular.
We parked at the parking lot and took a short hike to the "Dinosaur Tracks" display, set up by the B.L.M., which showcases the dinosaurs who used to inhabit this beautiful area in southwester Utah.
Like all the trail runs on The Trail Hero 2020 event, "Dinosaur Tracks" is on B.L.M. land, east of Sand Hollow State Park.
Photo: After checking out the dinosaur display, our group made the way to the runs of "Fort Pearce," a former army fort built in the 1860's whose mission was to protect L.D.S. pioneers from the local Navajo Native Americans during the Black Hawk wars.
I'm standing by some petroglyphs, which are quite interesting. The scenery in this part of Utah is breathtaking!
Photo: After leaving the runis of "Fort Pearce," out group drove out to a high point, with a great view of rugged canyons, and took a break for lunch. Robert relaxes in his Jeep, with his little dog, Buddy, beside him.
"Dinosaur Tracks/Rock House" is an easy trail; it's so easy that we actually encountered a couple of passenger cars, but I can't recommend taking a passenger car on this trail. The trail committee rated this trail a "3," and 95% of the trail would be suitable for any 2wd rig with suitable clearance, except for a mile-long optional section - with a bypass - that makes the trail a "3," due to a short, fairly steep clime, loose rocks/sand, and a 18-degree off-camber section.
Photo: Near the end of the trail, we parked on a high bluff and checked out the beautiful canyon below. The sky was rather hazy, thanks to the wildfires that were burning all over the west during the time of our visit.
Photo: At the end of the trail, I pose with the Lite Brite Nation crew, and I just can't help putting my arm around Brittney, who busied herself during today's trail ride taking video for her YouTube channel.
Photo: The vendor area, located at "Sand Mountain Parking and OHV" staging area, featured 62 vendors, selling a wide array of 4wd accessories, and offered lots of "candy" to drool over. Robert and I couldn't resist the urge, and each of us dropped several hundred dollars on much-need accessories for our rigs.
Photo: A day on the trail makes any four wheel enthusiast hungry, and Lonny Boy's Barbecue had a catering trailer set up in the vendor area, and was offering smoke pulled pork or smoked brisket sandwiches, along with some of best fries that I've ever enjoyed for the reasonable price of $10.00. Robert and I were hungry, so we couldn't resist the urge to order a brisket sandwich.
Lonny Boy's Barbecue, located in nearby Hurricane, operated the catering trailer in the vendor area, and also offered free breakfast burritos to veterans on the "Veteran's Run," - see next photo - and a free catered dinner to veterans after the run. Talk about a patriotic spirit! We proudly salute the American flag, and we profoundly thank Lonny for his generosity, along with his patriotism. Click on THIS LINK to savor the brisket sandwich, and to read about the amazing meals that we, as veterans, enjoyed, thanks to Lonny's generosity.
Photo: Thursday morning, October 08, 2020, we signed up for the free "Veterans Run," and thanks to Lonny Boy's Barbecue, we were treated to a delicious free breakfast burrito, in the parking lot of Lonny's store. Friendly Olivia smiles, as she poses with my breakfast burrito. Thanks, Lonny!
Photo: After enjoying our free breakfast burrito, several event personnel, local civic leaders, and the lady that runs the Veteran's Administration in nearby Las Vegas, NV gave speeches, and thanked us for our service.
The Trail Hero Event 2020 certainly honors veterans, as the run was free to veterans, along with breakfast, lunch and dinner. Thank you, Trail Hero!
Photo: The "Veterans Run" trail was rated a quite gnarly "4," and there were several difficult spots, including loose hill climbs, narrow canyons and stair steps. Like all the runs, the "Veteran's Run" was staged east of Sand Hollow State Park. This fine "Rubicon" has no difficulty climbing this obstacle, that included several steps.
Photo: Steve and Chris' Jeep Comanche make this loose hill climb look easy.
Photo: Near the end of the trail, our group parked on a high bluff overlooking a beautiful canyon, several hundred feet below. The timing was perfect for a free trail lunch, again, thanks to Lonny Boy.
Photo: I pose on a small "diving board" with the beautiful canyon in the background.
Photo: Back at the vendor area, Robert, Dave, Rod and Jeff discuss today's trail ride. The CA4WDC Jeep, up for raffle, is in the background of the photo, behind Rod.
Photo: Lonny himself smiles, as he passes out an amazing free dinner for all attending veterans. If you're a lover of amazing southwestern/Texas style barbecue, check out Lonny Boy's Barbecue in Hurricane, UT.
Photo: Friday, October 09, 2020, we were scheduled to go on "Milt's Mile," which is rated a "5" on a 1 to 10 scale of difficulty. Lucky for Robert, early in the morning he did an underside check of his Jeep and found a broken bolt. A quick trip to the local hardware store for a grade-8 bolt to replace the broken stock bolt, and a 15-minute "wrenching session" in the motel parking lot took care of the problem.
Photo: After we'd aired down the 35" tires, I pose beside Robert's Jeep, as we get ready to run "Milt's Mile."
Photo: After climbing up a nearly vertical, 6-foot rock wall, Robert's right rear wheel got wedged into the tire well, so the trail hand decided to have the Jeep behind Robert lend a hand, and pull him off the rock, and the deep sand.
Photo: This was probably the most difficult obstacle on "Milt's Mile," a 50-foot section of trail that featured tight turns, a six-foot vertical climb, and lots of rough stair steps. This Jeep couldn't quite make it, and after several tries, was "strapped" up the final few feet by one of the trail guides.
Note the beautiful Utah scenery and the inviting "Sand Hollow Lake" in the background, which would have been refreshing, on this 92-degree afternoon
Photo: This "V-Notch" section of the trail was optional, and had bypasses, but this Cherokee and other Jeeps chose to give it a "go," without any problems.
Photo: Chris and Steve chose to attempt to drive a narrow canyon, just to see if they could do it. Chris did the driving, as Steve attempts to add weight to the right side of the Comanche for more traction. Ultimately, the canyon got the better of them, and they had to be winched out, without incident.
Both Chris, and his dad, Steve, are talented mechanics and can fix anything that the trail dishes out to them. As Steve told me, "Chris and I will go on any trail, as long as we can fix any damage that happens." These guys have talent and a well-equipped shop, so I really wonder if there is any trail in Utah to gnarly for them?
Photo: After today's trail run, Steve, Chris and Robert check out the underside of Robert's Jeep. Unfortunately, during today's run, Robert suffered broken shocks, cracked suspension, and a broken front locker. Things happen of gnarly trail runs...
Photo: After today's trail run, we chose to go back to vendor area, kick back for a couple hours, and check out the vehicles, vendors, and the local female scenery.
Photo: Saturday, October 10, 2020, we decided to relax, enjoy lunch at Lonny Boy's Barbecue, and just kick back at the vendor area, at "Sand Mountain Parking and OHV Staging" area, at Sand Hollow State Park. We love looking at all well-built four wheel drive vehicles, and we love Jeeps in particular. The lake looks inviting on this warm, Saturday afternoon.
Photo: The closing event Saturday evening, sponsored by the Utah 4 Wheel Drive Association - U4WDA - featured live country music from a local band. Such a festive way to end an amazing event!
You pay for the guided trail rides, but all afternoon and evening events, including the country music concert, are free to event participants, and visitors alike.
Photo: Besides every variety of Jeep imaginable, there were trucks, quads, side-by-sides, and buggies of all types enjoying this fun event. It didn't surprise us at all to see Trump flags and banners flying on vehicles, as the vast majority of 4-wheelers agree with Mr. Trumps core values.
Like every large 4wd event, The Trail Hero 2020 had it's pro's and con's...
* Amazing scenery
* Large event
The year 2020 is the fifth year for the The Trail Hero, and already it has become a GIGANTIC four wheel drive event! As this event continues to evolve and grow, it wouldn't surprise me if it will rival Moab Easter Jeep Safari in a few years.
Great four wheeling for every skill level and every vehicle type, amazing southwestern scenery, fun attractions, friendly staff, huge vendor show, live country music, and everything in between. If you love four wheeling in beautiful Utah, you'll love The Trail Hero!
The Trail Hero
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