DREAM WHEELING By Brian Gardner ROADTRIP My wife and I have only been wheeling since 2011. I had always heard about Moab, Utah, and then I saw videos of some of the obstacles out there. I knew at some point I wanted to try my hand at driving the Mecca of four-wheelin’ but figured that it would be further down the road. Last year I happened to join up with a group of similar-minded people and we started the North Star Jeep Club, based in the Twin Cities area. Our president, Ben Mahin, had been out to Moab a couple of times and was talking to me about it last fall. We decided that we would go to the annual Easter Jeep Safari 2015, hosted by the Red Rock 4-Wheelers in Moab. Our group included my wife, Lori; my daughter, Jessica; another club founding member Tim Schulze; his son, Nick; and the Ian Hunter family. The weeks leading up to departure were extremely hectic as we ran into many issues. Ben’s rig was at Iron Rock Off-Road having a Ford 9-inch setup prototyped into it. Tim was doing a Ford 8.8 swap, as was I. A week and a half prior to leaving, Tim hit a deer with his Jeep. Luckily, the biggest damage was the busted radiator. We drove in a caravan and arrived into town on a Saturday and got setup in our condo. After everything was unloaded we ran out to get some wheeling in on the first day. We did Fins ‘n’ Things as a warmup for the week. Nice trail to get used the slick rock of Moab. This was the first real run for my daughter’s TJ, with IRO long arms, 4-inch lift on 35s. It rode spectacularly. We found that Ben’s power steering pump was going so he and I spent Sunday driving two hours to Grand Junction, Colo., to get a replacement. The rest of the group explored Moab individually, hitting Arches National Park, some shopping establishments in town, or helping Iron Rock Off-Road’s Jason Brakemeier get his front differential re-built. We got back, made repairs and prepared for the next day. JUNE/JULY 2015 17