One of the guys I met that first night was a guy named Alex Carvallo from Adventure Trailers. What a great guy! Alex drives a Jeep Unlimited, has a huge lift, 37” Mickey Thompson crawlers, front Warn winch, beadlock rims, snorkel breather, air lockers by ARB, and a lot more. Alex offered me a seat in his rig that morning, and he took my four-wheeling experience to a whole new level. Driving through town at 10am, I noticed the most peculiar thing: Jeeps, rock crawlers, and trucks that were all highly modified to the point of not even being street legal completely ruled the landscape. I saw more off-road vehicles at the gas station and on the road than I had ever seen in my twenty-eight years of breathing. All I could ask myself was, “What the hell is this place? Moab what? Did I die and go to heaven?” I was so shocked and amazed that I just sat there and looked around for twenty minutes, not even talking much to Alex as I sat mesmerized by this four-wheel haven. I finally told Alex, “Wow, there are a lot of Jeeps here”. He looked at me and said, “Well yeah, it’s Easter Jeep Safari and there are over 1,500 Jeeps here and all the off road vendors are here for all the events”. At that point I thought I would jump out of the Jeep doing 50 miles per hour and land on the hard pavement in lieu of pinching myself from this remarkable, heavenly dream. Then I thought, “Have I died, am I in heaven, and is Alex God?” I was still pretty confused yet excited in a way that I had never quite felt before. I could feel the adrenaline picking up in anticipation, and when we finally arrived at Area BFE, an off-road park within Moab, I was stoked!
Once there, I decided that it would be best to talk to as many people about this new sport I was becoming quite passionate about, as well as have fun because I knew I would never get to experience this for the first time again. From that point forward, I spent the next four days (approximately six to eight hours per day) on the trails driving over terrain that I would not attempt to even repel down, including miles of rocky, frame-twisting, axle-popping descents and hill climbs. It also helped that everyone in attendance was super cool and extremely nice, offering advice on vehicle selection and just about everything four-wheelin’ related.
Moab as a whole has it all: Great people, great food, great trails, and of course world-class biking and hiking to be done if wheelin’ just isn’t your thing. I experienced things in Moab I never thought I would ever get to do, and I learned of a place that I dream of going back to.
After my time there was done, I packed up my girlfriend’s Civic, said my goodbyes, and started the long drive home. I couldn’t wait to tell my friends about the fun I had. More importantly though, I saved my poor Tahoe from the destiny she was cursed with from day one – the curse of being a vehicle owned by Mike Tinnell. No vehicle has ever survived me and after that trip to Moab, I realized her potential, or lack thereof, and naturally decided that the only answer would be for me to buy a Jeep. So sure enough, I purchased a 1989 Jeep Cherokee XJ to compliment my Tahoe, all courtesy of a friend’s invitation to visit a piece of investment property in a land I had previously known nothing about, and a land that changed my life during one very awesome week.
Related – Mopar at Easter Jeep Safari
* Published by JPFreek Adventure Magazine – The leader in Jeep and adventure enthusiast publications.