TLCA Cruise Moab & U4WDA Kanab Runs
May 2nd - 6th, 2007
(Text by Kurt Williams, photos by Kurt Williams and Eric Edwards)

Day 1: Wednesday

With an ironed out agenda and the Tacoma packed, Andre and I were on our way to the Toyota Landcruiser Association and Rising Sun 4x4’s annual Cruise Moab event. Cruise Moab is the larges Toyota event to hit Moab each year, with 300+ Toyotas in town for the event. This would be my ninth year straight attending the event, some years as an official participant, some years as a renegade, and this year as a vendor in the campground. I would have loved to participate in the entire event, but each year the dates collide with the Utah 4 Wheel Drive Associations annual spring ride, and this year was in a much coveted location, Kanab. So I was dead set on attending both events, despite the fact the commute between Moab and Kanab is just over 5 hours, and that was assuming that we stayed on the pavement, something far from our goal.

Andre and I arrived at our Slickrock Campground campsite (headquarters of the TLCA) in the late afternoon, giving us plenty of time to set up camp, wander around the campground. I ended up taking Andre to look at a camper conversion van he had found in the classifieds earlier in the week. It was love at first sight and Andre brought the $300 Ford van back to our campsite. While Andre admired his new acquisition, I set up a small display of goods on a couple of tables in preparation or the night’s vendor show. Before long Cruiserheads from all over the globe were stopping by to say hello and check out the latest and greatest products. The show was an absolute success, when things slowed down I coaxed Andre into manning my booth (thanks again Dre!), and I was able to stop by some of the other booths and say hello, lots of hardcore Cruiserheads out there.

The show ended as the sun went down, and we quickly repacked the display goods and hit the town in search of dinner. After dinner we meandered around the campground, catching up with old friends and meeting new ones alike. Andre and I finally retired into his new van; all things considered it was a comfortable night.

Day 2: Thursday

Thursday was a pretty loose schedule for the most part. I had to meet my wife Candace and brother in law Thomas in town later that evening, where we planned to head further south before sundown. I had a good chance to chat with a couple other Cruiserheads, one of which is planning a year long Utah based expedition, whom wanted to brainstorm his ideas with me. I’m excited he invited me to hear his plans, which are noble and exciting alike. We grabbed some lunch and I finished off the prepping the truck for the remainder of our trip.

Candace, Tom and Jada (our German Shepherd puppy) arrived as planned, they grabbed a bite to eat and we were set to hit the road, our next stop Blanding. Our itinerary had us in Blanding in time to eat at The Patio, my new favorite hamburger joint in the southern portion of the state. As planned we had a quick meal and returned to the road, only a half hour more until we reached our planned campsite. I wanted to camp somewhere familiar to me, as I had friends (Spunky, Sully, and Sully’s dog Vern) coming down later in the evening and Spunky had camped there with us several weeks earlier. We had the Comb Wash campsite to ourselves, which made it even easier for Sully and Spunky to find us in the dark.

Our group enjoyed the usual campfire chat that dragged into the late night, but with an early start time planned for the morning we all packed it in and called it a night.

Day 3: Friday

We surprisingly were able to make a pretty early start, a must as we had to catch the ferry in Halls Crossing by 10am, the next one wouldn’t leave Halls for two more hours, which would leave us with a lot of ground to cover if we planned to get to Kanab before sundown. We made it with a few minutes to spare, so we patronized the small store in Halls Crossing, purchased some sodas and drinks and pushed on to the ferry loading dock a few minutes further along. The ferry crew directed to our spots on the boat, we paid our passage and we walked about the deck as it crossed the lake.

I must make an important note, use the restrooms before you board the ferry, it has no public services. Sully had to learn this the hard way, though showing his true hobo personality he was able to overcome the situation using a discarded soda bottle. I will let your imagination fill in the details.

From the unloading zone on the Bullfrog side of the lake, we didn’t have far to drive. The Burr Trail starts ~5 miles north of Bullfrog proper, it’s a well marked paved route for the first 20 or so miles, and there it goes to a well maintained gravel road that climbs up the Burr Trail Switchbacks to the top of the Waterpocket Fold. We had noted a short spur at the top of the switchbacks called Upper Muley Twist. The road is a mild 4x4 trail that extends north just less than 3 miles each way, ending at the parking lot for a hike to the overlook. The short hike to the overlook offers some extraordinary views into the valley below, well worth the effort.

We finished out the Butt Trail to its intersection with State Route 12 just in time to grab a late lunch in Boulder, Utah. After lunch we traveled Hells Backbone, an amazingly scenic portion of SR12 between Boulder and Escalante. We continued through Escalante towards Cannonville, where we filled up on gas, checked our food rations and moved along. This time we were heading south on the surface streets towards the trailhead of the Cottonwood Canyon Road.

The 38 mile long Cottonwood Canyon Road (dirt road) connects the SR12 area with Highway 89, approximately 20 miles northwest of Page, AZ. The majority of the trail is high speed gravel, with some sections of intense washboard that rattle you down to the bones at any appreciable speeds. We stayed to the main course of the road, with the exception of a short detour to look at Grosvenor Arch, about a mile off of the main road. As we past the southern half of the trail, it joins the Paria River, just downstream from the Paria town site. There it continues along the river with until it finally sways towards the east and joins HWY89.

From there we continued towards our night’s destination, Kanab, some 45 miles away. Once in Kanab it didn’t take long to find a suitable campsite, along Kanab Creek across the street from the morning meeting spot at the mouth of Hog Canyon. Here we would meet the rest of the U4WDA group and head out to local trails with members of the Canyon Country 4x4 Club as out guides. If you ever get a chance to go out on trails with those local to the area, take them up on it, there is no better way to see the best an area has to offer than behind the expertise of a local. Books can’t even begin to keep up with the changes to a trail, new things to see, and the folklore an area has to offer. Food for though.

We set up camp and made the 5 minute trip back into Kanab proper to find some grub for the evening. We settled on a small Mexican restaurant, it did the trick and we all went away satisfied. Back at camp we spent some time around the campfire, and then ended the long day back in our tents.

Day 4: Saturday

Our day started out up short jaunt up Hog Canyon where we would meet the other U4WDA Spring Ride participants. Our trail was the Savage Point trail, a mild 3.5 rated trail leading to a scenic overlook above the town of Kanab. Our day went just as planned, a few minor vehicle issues amongst the group of ~20, but for the most part we had a splendid day. The trail is a mix of Slickrock climbs and drops, as well as jaunts in the sand and tight turn amongst the sagebrush and juniper (one of which smashed my passenger fender).

After a great day on the trail, we hadn’t had quite enough and we collectively decided that we would get some miles towards him behind us before we called it a night. We found ourselves huddled around a map, deciding which route north would be the best option, Skutumpah Road took the prize. We packed up camp, loaded the rigs and hit Highway 89 towards Glendale, Utah where. There we hit the dirt on the Glendale Bench Road, which intersects the Skutumpah Road in Johnson Canyon.

Both roads are pretty tame, we cruised along at 60-70 miles per hour until our leader at the time Tom, jumped his 80 Series up the hillside. After the dust settled and we made sure both man and machine were ok, we tried to figure out how he ended up where he was. Our best guess is he slid sideways into a 2 foot burm which sent him airborne to his landing spot 15 or so feet further up the hill. The lack of tire tracks in between the two spots was both eerie and awesome at the same time… the only evidence of his flight was a path of trees knocked laying on the ground and branches covering his Cruiser.

We hit the road, this time with Tom in the back of the pack and driving a bit more conservatively than his earlier style, a prudent decision based on his luck. As we neared the end of the Skutumpah Road we search the spur trails for a decent camping spot. Nothing caught our attention so I suggested we camp in Kodachrome Basin State Park, where I knew we could find a nice camping spot and warm showers for the morning. We pulled into the campground well after dark and he an ample options as the campground only had a couple other visitors that night. We found a nice spot and settled in for the evening.

Day 5: Sunday

The days plans were pretty loose, just get back to SLC by a decent time, this left us plenty of space to fit in some extra exploring. We stopped again in Cannonville, to once again top off the tanks and move along. From there we moseyed along State Route 12. We took a slight detour to stop by Rubys Inn, a small resort town north of Bryce Canyon National Park. In town we were surprised to see a very expedition built 70 Series Landcruiser troopy, with a very custom camper conversion. The work was performed in Germany, and shipped over to the United States where the German owners had been touring the western for the previous 8 months. They were planning to visit the Burr Trail, we advised them of some of the trail conditions in the area, as well as recommended some other things & places to see along the way, at that we said goodbye, they headed south, we traveled north.

Rather than stick to the well beaten highway, we spotted a smaller highway that would take us through Osiris, pseudo ghost town with a lot of history surrounding the small town. State Route 22 is paved throughout most of its length, with a short 7 mile stretch along the Sevier River, as it passes through Osiris. The town of Osiris was basically an experimental farm community, founded and funded by E.F. Holt, a wealth developer whom gained his wealth in the Imperial Valley, California area. In the 1920’s Holt built a large creamery powered by a water turbine along the Sevier River. The building (now owned by the State of Utah) is still standing nearly its entirety today. We spent a few minutes letting the dogs stretch their legs and taking pictures of the building, and then continued along SR22 towards Otter Creek Reservoir.

Along the way we stopped for a snack in the small town of Antimony, Utah. The quaint general store had a little bit of everything, we settled on some ice cream and did some sightseeing along Main Street as we enjoyed the ice cream. We made out way to Otter Creek Reservoir, there we once again took the unlikely route and chose to head north along SR62 that would land us on the major highways near Salina. We gassed up again in Centerfield, and hopped on SR28 to its intersection with Interstate 15 near Nephi. Another hour on the interstate and we were home, just as night started to fall. Another one bites the dust!



Comb Wash Camp, Utah

Halls Crossing, Utah

Halls Crossing, Utah

Halls Crossing, Utah

Halls Crossing, Utah

Halls Crossing, Utah

Halls Crossing, Utah


Halls Crossing, Utah


Halls Crossing, Utah


Halls Crossing, Utah


Halls Crossing, Utah


Halls Crossing, Utah

Burr Trail, Utah

Burr Trail, Utah

Burr Trail, Utah

Burr Trail, Utah

Burr Trail, Utah


Burr Trail, Utah

Burr Trail, Utah

Burr Trail, Utah

Burr Trail, Utah

Burr Trail, Utah


Burr Trail, Utah


Burr Trail, Utah


Burr Trail, Utah



Burr Trail, Utah


Burr Trail, Utah


Burr Trail, Utah


Cottonwood Canyon Road, Utah

Cottonwood Canyon Road, Utah

Cottonwood Canyon Road, Utah

Cottonwood Canyon Road, Utah

Cottonwood Canyon Road, Utah

Cottonwood Canyon Road, Utah

Cottonwood Canyon Road, Utah


Cottonwood Canyon Road, Utah


Cottonwood Canyon Road, Utah


Cottonwood Canyon Road, Utah


Cottonwood Canyon Road, Utah


Kanab, Utah


Kanab, Utah


Kanab, Utah

Kanab, Utah

Kanab, Utah

Kanab, Utah

Kanab, Utah

Kanab, Utah


Kanab, Utah

Kanab, Utah


Kanab, Utah


Kanab, Utah


Kanab, Utah


Kanab, Utah

Kanab, Utah

Kanab, Utah

Kanab, Utah

Kanab, Utah

Skutumpah Road, Utah


Skutumpah Road, Utah

Kodachrome Basin, Utah

Osiris, Utah


Osiris, Utah


Osiris, Utah


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