Trip Report Observations and questions after 2 days at Trail Hero

Subarudude54

New Member
Location
Sandy, UT
I went on Sliplock Gulch on Wednesday, then Plan B on Thursday, had a blast. Rather new to this sport, have been on a few RR4W Trail of the Month, and broke a locker on the first obstacle at EJS this last spring, not much experience. Sorry no pictures, just some description of my observations and a question or two.

My understanding was that these trails were limited to 25 vehicles, there were about 30 on Sliplock. First obstacle brought a tipover for a TJ, getting it pulled back up took maybe a half an hour. So a lot of waiting. With my lack of confidence, I took most of the bypasses for the difficult obstacles. However on some obstacles where some JK's struggled, my old ZJ didn't struggle. I never engaged my front locker. Wasn't sure what to think of Sand Hollow at this point.

Gathering for the lineup on Thursday were 40 or 41 rigs. The leader seemed baffled (way over the 25 limit) but resigned to it being a long day. To get to the trail everyone had to go up the sand dunes, The leader's rig got stuck in the sand, and had to make a second effort to get to the top, many other rigs also got stuck going up the sand dunes. This was my first experience on sand dunes. I could not climb the route where everyone else was. Eventually I found a gentler slope to the top of the dunes and rejoined the group. For the sand, I was in 4-hi in low gear at WOT, only could get the 4.0L to 2500 rpm. At the gathering at the top, I only counted 20 rigs, what happened to the other 20? All stuck in the sand? The tail and mid gunner went back to look for more rigs as this group headed to the entrance of Plan B. Things got clogged on the first obstacle, and eventually the gunner's showed up with only a couple more rigs. I wondered if the dunes stopped nearly half of the group?

With many rigs struggling on the first obstacle, I dreaded my turn. But I had no trouble to my own surprise. Throughout the trail, I had this same experience, it was a great confidence builder for me. One obstacle I engaged my front locker (only time I used it both days), there is one hill climb that the leader could not climb and eventually took the less difficult line. I took the less difficult line. Exiting the trail, there was a very steep climb and an alternate that was only slightly less nasty. Climbing the nasty hill successfully was a greatly modified JL from Dixie Off Road. The next highly modified JK was not successful and broke a rear drive shaft u-joint on it. The only other attempt that succeeded was a purpose built buggy.

Then we had to climb back up the sand dunes to get out, again I struggled in the sand but eventually found a gentle path to the top at the east end of the dunes and rode a ridge to join the group on the way down. Several rigs were stuck in the sand, and the group going down was only 10 (cut in half again). On the trail rides I've been on, it seems the ethic is to keep the group together. This certainly was not the case on this trail ride. Is the ethic different on sand dunes? Because my ZJ struggled in the sand, I felt lucky just to make it on my own and was grateful I wasn't a burden to anyone else.

The other question, would I have done better in the sand if I had been in 4-low? I have 4.88 gears with my 35 inch tires, I was at 12 psi. Checking my air pressure when unloading of my trailer when I got home, all were at 4 psi. Does temperature change the psi that much. Maybe after spinning the tires in the sand, with the heat, they might have been higher than 12 psi and that's why I had struggled?

Bottom line, I had a blast, and plan to go next year, and also the Winter 4X4 in January.
 

Hickey

Rusty Girdle
Supporting Member
I like where your head is at, so don't be discouraged. Your logic is sound even though you say you lack experience.

For sand I personally do better in 4 low. I have a 4 to 1 ratio t-case and an auto trans and 4.88 gears on 37's. The low range keeps me under 25 mph max, but each shift of the transmission doesn't lose so much inertia as it would if I were in high range. I use this same method in deeper snow wheeling situations..

Don't stop moving on an uphill climb, you won't get going again even if it's a slight incline.

Tire pressure can change a lot with air temp and tire temp. In Moab last week I aired down to 11 psi at 2 pm after the tires were all warmed up. The next morning they were all at 5 psi. So if you air down when the tires are warm, that pressure will drop some more after they cool off completely.
 

Gravy

Ant Anstead of Dirtbikes
Supporting Member
Yeah 2.72:1 does way better in sand than hi or 4:1

That's why I like my doubler and manual trans for sand and snow. Double low doesn't have enough wheel spin and high range not enough torque. My last rig with an auto sucked in sand. The torque converter didn't allow full lock up at low rpm so no wheel speed.
 

SAMI

Formerly Beardy McGee
Supporting Member
Location
SLC, UT
On the trail rides I've been on, it seems the ethic is to keep the group together. This certainly was not the case on this trail ride. Is the ethic different on sand dunes? Because my ZJ struggled in the sand, I felt lucky just to make it on my own and was grateful I wasn't a burden to anyone else.

Bottom line, I had a blast, and plan to go next year, and also the Winter 4X4 in January.
Good observations and questions on proper leading. Proper leading/gunning would make sure that everyone is accounted for, including if someone or multiple are stuck/broken. Proper leading protocol would be that the leader was in communication with mid/tail gunners who had talked to/checked on those that were stuck/broken to make sure everyone was OK and had a plan out. I'd assume that it is likely that those stuck also did not want to burden the large group and opted to recover their vehicles and catch up if possible.

Large groups absolutely suck to lead. In my experience anything over 30 rigs is a monumental headache despite mid & tail gunners. The larger the group, the more that will slow down forward progress - especially when crawling. They were right to have the initial cut-off at 25, which is still a big group. I'd be curious to know how that ended up at 40+. I think that if I were lead/mid/tail and faced with that many add-ons i'd likely make the unpopular call to cut-off the group to keep it to 25-30 in the name of safety and proper cat-herding numbers.

I still need to get down to Sand Hollow... I have yet to explore that park.
 

LJTim

Active Member
Location
Herriman, UT
I lead trails at Trail Hero and Jamboree, and I always make sure the whole crew makes it. I use a HAM radio with the mid and tail gunners so I know if people are struggling through the sand. However, I have never had anyone struggle as you are describing - with the exception of our Friday night Plan B run. Plan B is WAY out there and heading there from the dunes is not my favorite route with a large group. It is great when yo have a smaller group experienced in driving through the dunes, but that isn't usually the case for an event run like this. Friday night we had 2 jeeps struggling. I ended up the tail gunner for this run. I took it as my responsibility to make sure the stragglers knew how to get there. I sent one back to the beach as he had destroyed his front axle spider gears, and kept driving on it. The other stragglers were fine, just timid. But to answer your question, that is NOT the proper "ethic" of guiding trails. For a long trek like Plan B, I prefer to go slow, and make sure everyone stays together the entire trek, but I was not leading this time, so I couldn't control how fast our lead went.

Glad you had a decent experience overall. There is much more fun to be had, so I hope you continue to visit, including the great events held there.

PS, 4high, aired down works best for me. You will also get used to that main stretch of sand above the tunnel you took. There is usually a smooth packed path as you described on the east side of the hills, but some of them wander out into the rocks, so they wind back to the west side of the hills every once in a while.
 

smfulle

Active Member
Location
Plain City, UT
isn't the fastest way to Plan B straight up the Water Tower road past Top of The World and down to the Trail head? I've been to Sand Hollow a few times, but still trying to get my bearings on stuff.
 

LJTim

Active Member
Location
Herriman, UT
isn't the fastest way to Plan B straight up the Water Tower road past Top of The World and down to the Trail head? I've been to Sand Hollow a few times, but still trying to get my bearings on stuff.
That's debatable. That is normally the way we go though. If you are fast on the dunes, they are much faster, and more importantly, more enjoyable. I HATE the water tanks road. It just depends on who I'm with and what they're driving. Trail Hero had Plan B staging at the beach though, so we really didn't have a choice in the matter.
 
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Bart

Registered User
Supporting Member
Location
Arm Utah
Trail Hero uses the dunes for all of those runs plus the Maze, which is on Water Tower road. There are just too many other trails that use the road, so there's better distribution. I lead trails Friday and Saturday and leaving the staging area was a pain both days, and we lost rigs both days. We did stop to regroup once up on the dunes. I was surprised how many rigs were allowed on trails each day. BTW, I'm with Hickey on the dunes. I like low range in the sand so I can keep my rpms up.

I had Bryce from Dixie 4x4 show up to both of my runs, and despite his knowledge of the area, he creates a lot of chaos. I would prefer that he actually pick trails to lead if he want's to spot everyone.
 

kmboren

Well-Known Member
Location
Southern Utah
Sounds like Winter 4x4 Jamboree is a lot better organized. Never been a fan of someone that takes the popularity of one event designed to fight for our lands and turns it into a for Profit event.
 

LJTim

Active Member
Location
Herriman, UT
Sounds like Winter 4x4 Jamboree is a lot better organized. Never been a fan of someone that takes the popularity of one event designed to fight for our lands and turns it into a for Profit event.
Jamboree is much more organized. Always has been. I still maintain that Trail Hero is the funner event. I wouldn't say to pick one over the other, because I think the cause behind Jamboree is the most important event to attend. However, I have no problem with Trail Hero being a for profit event. You can tell as soon as you get on the hill for one of the competitions, this event is a big deal. With everything going on, I think people should be getting paid. There is so much going on at Trail Hero, I would have no problem paying to attend - even though spectating the comps is a free activity I know a lot of people don't agree with that, and many people have a big problem with Rich because of it. I'm not one of them. I think despite that profits are made from Trail Hero, it does good things for Sand Mountain, Hurricane and the surrounding areas.
 
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