JKU ~8000mile Cross Country Road Trip - JKowners.com : Jeep Wrangler JK Forum
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post #1 of 25 Old 06-09-2019, 07:41 PM Thread Starter
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Question JKU ~8000mile Cross Country Road Trip

{tl;dr}
(First time jeep owner, cross country road trip, 8k miles in 23 days, looking for help)

Hello fellow Jeep owners,

Let me start off by saying Im sorry if this post doesn't belong on this board, this is my first time ever posting on a forum and also first time owning a Jeep. With that being said, I have a 2017 JKU Sahara that I bought used with 14k miles last August. It now has ~27k miles and I've taken it mudding a few times but luckily all has been well and it seems to be in great shape. As the title mentions I am taking a ~8000k mile road trip in ~23 days, with 1 (at times 2-3) other driver(s). I will include a rough, completely maxed out itinerary below. I like to be very adventurous and wing a lot of things which do not require planning. But I love my Jeep and it will be pretty stupid to take a road trip of this magnitude without hearing from those with more experience/wisdom and are willing to spare advice, tips, stories on anything ranging from Jeep pre-trip preparation, itinerary, overland traveling, road maintenance, camping, etc. I've read a bunch of forums and watched a ton of youtube videos, but nothing really suits my situation more than a custom forum post. Me and my buddies are only 24-25 and this will be the first time any of us take a road trip longer than a few days. Thank you for your responses in advance, and I look forward to hearing about your adventures.


Florida
26h 23m ó 1735 miles to ó

White Sands National Monument, New Mexico
9h 27m ó 564 miles to ó

The Grand Canyon National Park
6h 41m -- 390miles -- to

Los Angeles, California
5h 42m ó 310 miles to ó

Yosemite National Park, California
4h 09m ó 192 miles to ó

San Francisco, California
7h 43m ó 419 miles to ó

Crater Lake, Oregon,
13h 32m ó 771 miles to ó

Glacier National Park, Montana
8h 15mó 433 miles to ó

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
9h 45m ó 551 miles to ó

Denver, Colorado
5h 39m -- 355miles to
Moab, Utah

2h 55m -- 174miles to
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

30h 57m ó 1992 miles to ó
Florida


PS. I just got my oil changed and am looking into getting new tires. Trip is in 6 weeks.
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post #2 of 25 Old 06-10-2019, 12:16 PM
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Hi and welcome,

A detail that will help us help you: are you planning on wheeling at any of your destinations? I see Moab, so I think yes, but I see L.A. and I think no. If it's just a road trip with camping, no big deal. If you're planning on wheeling Moab after 4,700 miles of road trip and 2,000 more to go, that's an entirely different trip.

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post #3 of 25 Old 06-10-2019, 08:57 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpartanToJo View Post
Hi and welcome,

A detail that will help us help you: are you planning on wheeling at any of your destinations? I see Moab, so I think yes, but I see L.A. and I think no. If it's just a road trip with camping, no big deal. If you're planning on wheeling Moab after 4,700 miles of road trip and 2,000 more to go, that's an entirely different trip.

SpartanToJo
Hey thanks for the response,

The plan/goal isnt to go wheeling throughout the entire trip, but definitely do want to wheel at a few places like Moab and other great spots I learn about. Also hope to take dirt/trail roads to some of my destinations, when applicable. Forsure don't want to go to hard on the wheeling as I don't want to end up 4000 miles from home with a broken Jeep lol
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post #4 of 25 Old 06-11-2019, 11:07 AM
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Get an OBD2 scan tool so you can check and clear error codes. I like the Kiwi 3 that connects via Bluetooth to my iPhone. I use it with the OBD Fusion app. Hopefully you donít need it but have it just in case a check engine light or something else comes on.

Get a road atlas so you have maps of all the states and arenít relying entirely on electronics for mapping.

Buy Charles Wellís offroad trail books for anyplace youíll be like Colorado and Moab. You or your friends can plan trails while bored on the road and youíll know the difficulty ratings. Also get the FunTreks app to follow GPS on your phone or ipad and know where you are in the book.

Carry a gallon jug of window washing fluid because youíll go through a lot of it with bugs on the windshield. Consider getting a bug deflector for the front of the hood. I think mine makes the bug issue far more tolerable.

Use the Waze app for routing and traffic avoidance. Google Maps is also good and you can download maps to your phone or ipad for use without cell coverage. Consider getting a GPS antenna too because when you are in areas without cell coverage your phones location can be off since it uses cell towers to locate you. Dual makes a good one that sits on your dash.

Watch your gas gage especially in remote stretches so you never come close to running out between towns.

If you have Jeep issues thereís probably an AutoZone nearby. They are great for checking error codes and might have the parts you need. My son and his wife and daughter were recently on a road trip when their alternator went out. Not in a Jeep but AutoZone had the parts and they called somebody who came in on a holiday weekend Sunday and installed it for them.

Call your credit card company to let them know youíll be traveling so they donít freeze your account when their computers notice strange activity with charges far from your home. Thatís happened to me more than once.
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post #5 of 25 Old 06-11-2019, 11:52 AM
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Good stuff listed above.

Here are some things I would bring:

Tools:
Full set of metric sockets and open end wrenches
Breaker bar
Hammer
Screwdrivers
Air compressor or CO2 tank
Pressure gauge
Good jumper cables
Jack base
Tree saver
Tow straps
Mechanics gloves
Strong, long zip ties


Parts:
Spare serpentine belt
Transfer case linkage clip
Extra oil/fluids for tcase, axles
Coolant
Spare lug nuts
Spare fuses

Other:
Hitch mounted rack for cooler, spare fuel can, etc.
Comprehensive first aid kit
Plenty of potable water
Backup communication device
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post #6 of 25 Old 06-11-2019, 07:32 PM Thread Starter
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Great advice guys thank you, sometimes of this stuff I've already prepared but I will definitely look into your suggestions. Although I do have a question specifically to what SpartanToJo replied.

1. Did some quick research on replacing a serpentine belt for a 17' JK and doesn't seem like something a "rookie" should be doing, am I mistaken or only suggesting to have the spare parts incase I need them at a mechanic shop?

And another question for the forum, I have HID's for my headlights and fog lights; and also 2 HELLA Black Magic lamps mounted on my bull bar. Do you guys think that'll be enough lighting for the more remote parts of the country?
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post #7 of 25 Old 06-11-2019, 07:55 PM
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Think really hard about who your travel companions are going to be.
Any where you are going off road research and get a list of towing and repair companies. Keep the contacts in a binder along with your maps. 20 minutes at home on the internet could save you hours on the road.
Doesn't AAA have a off road option?

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post #8 of 25 Old 06-11-2019, 08:28 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by rlee View Post
Think really hard about who your travel companions are going to be.
Any where you are going off road research and get a list of towing and repair companies. Keep the contacts in a binder along with your maps. 20 minutes at home on the internet could save you hours on the road.
Doesn't AAA have a off road option?
haha they're close friends but trust me I hear ya. But I think AAA only provides off road service when you're off road within a certain distance; which wasn't much if I remember correctly.
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post #9 of 25 Old 06-14-2019, 08:13 AM
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Serpentine belt replacement is certainly more complicated on the 3.6, but you should be able to change it in less than an hour with basic hand tools.
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post #10 of 25 Old 06-14-2019, 11:41 AM
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Carrying an extra serpentine belt for a 2017 seems a bit extreme to me. I’ve never had any belt break on any vehicle and I replace them when the owners manual recommends it. I’ve been driving for 44 years. Have I just been lucky?
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post #11 of 25 Old 06-16-2019, 06:06 PM
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Carrying an extra serpentine belt for a 2017 seems a bit extreme to me. Iíve never had any belt break on any vehicle and I replace them when the owners manual recommends it. Iíve been driving for 44 years. Have I just been lucky?
Yup. You should play the lottery. And I don't say that lightly. I'm a math guy, and understand the odds. You should play.

I've seen belts fail for several different reasons, including weird things like branches getting kicked up on a trail and getting wedged between the belt and a pulley. A belt (and idler pulley) are cheap and easy to store. I'd feel pretty sad if I was stranded because a $25 wear item that I could have easily had with me.
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post #12 of 25 Old 06-17-2019, 05:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 5th4x View Post
Carrying an extra serpentine belt for a 2017 seems a bit extreme to me. Iíve never had any belt break on any vehicle and I replace them when the owners manual recommends it. Iíve been driving for 44 years. Have I just been lucky?





Nothing that aids you in need is ever considered "extreme" or "excessive" when you're self sufficient.
I, too, have millions of miles accrued behind the wheels of many vehicles in almost 40yrs of driving . My '11 JKU, 95 XJ , '94 YJ as well as my Ram 1500 ( '17) all have an extra belt stored somewhere within them, as has every vehicle I've owned. Cheap insurance, no different than jump box or jumper cables.






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post #13 of 25 Old 06-17-2019, 11:28 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah I'm gonna take SpartanToJo's advice and take an extra serpentine belt with me, hopefully I won't need it but if I do, I hope I can still access youtube lol. I feel pretty prepared as I've gotten quite a few recovery tools, extra parts, and emergency gear for the trip. But I still can't manage loading extra fuel for the trip. I can't stow it on a tow hitch rack as SpartanToJo suggested because I will be mounting a bike mount on the spare tire. I also don't want to spend lots of money on a Rotopax or mount system as I most likely wont use it that often. I do have a roof rack cargo basket, so I was thinking of mounting a pelican case up top and stowing a regular plastic gas container (along with other outdoor stuff) inside the pelican case. Maybe even buy and use a real metal jerry can if that helps. Any advice for this dilemma?
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post #14 of 25 Old 06-18-2019, 03:42 AM
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JKU ~8000mile Cross Country Road Trip

Theres another thread or two about bike racks, just a word of caution using a spare mounted bike rack. People seem to loose sight of the spare/tailgate hinge weight limits and add a rack and a couple bikes on the spare.

Last edited by 5th4x; 06-18-2019 at 03:48 AM.
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post #15 of 25 Old 06-18-2019, 03:50 AM
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Looks like an awesome road trip.

I would carry extra fuel in some kind of low profile gas can that is securely strapped down. Make sure you have good jumper cables or a battery box with you since JK batteries can fail suddenly - had it happen on a trip home from Moab once. A kit to fix windshield stone chips or a small tube of superglue will keep any stone chips that you get on the road from spreading. A package of Bars Leak Stop Leak radiator tablets (or GM conditioning tablets - same thing) will stop any small coolant leaks that may develop on the trip. Make sure you have the right type of coolant for your year of Jeep with you. I agree with taking the extra belt.

Other small stuff:
Roll of bailing wire.
Roll of rubberized tape that sticks to itself.
Assorted sizes of zip ties.
Ratchet straps.

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post #16 of 25 Old 06-19-2019, 08:03 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chipewa View Post
Looks like an awesome road trip.

I would carry extra fuel in some kind of low profile gas can that is securely strapped down. Make sure you have good jumper cables or a battery box with you since JK batteries can fail suddenly - had it happen on a trip home from Moab once. A kit to fix windshield stone chips or a small tube of superglue will keep any stone chips that you get on the road from spreading. A package of Bars Leak Stop Leak radiator tablets (or GM conditioning tablets - same thing) will stop any small coolant leaks that may develop on the trip. Make sure you have the right type of coolant for your year of Jeep with you. I agree with taking the extra belt.

Other small stuff:
Roll of bailing wire.
Roll of rubberized tape that sticks to itself.
Assorted sizes of zip ties.
Ratchet straps.


Thanks man, its coming up real soon and i cannot wait :excited: I'm planning to take a regular plastic 5 gal. jerry can and strapping it down on my roof rack (when filled), but I've read some forums which advise against loading fuel cans on the roof. Any thoughts?
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post #17 of 25 Old 06-20-2019, 05:48 AM
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Montana and Wyoming are completely different beasts than most people are used to. Don't expect to find services like fuel/food/lodging just on every corner like many other places. this is especially true of fuel on Sunday afternoons. If you're just going from city to city you'll not notice, but if you plan on getting off the beaten path at all (and I have some suggestions depending on the route you are taking) Make sure you know where you can by fuel. Other wise you'll be depending on a helpful but probably scary looking native to help you out (and they will).

My first routing advice would be to get off of I-90 when you can. You can hop off at Idaho exit 43 near Kingston, and snake your way up Coeur D'Alene River Road, then cut over through Murray, ID, and up over Thompson Pass into Montana. Coming down the backside it will drop you into beautiful Thompson Falls, MT, where you can pick up Montana highway 200 and either head east over towards Flathead Lake, or take the long way back west, then turning north through Libby, dropping you the back way into Kalispell.

There are also some great dirt alternatives, taking Burke Canyon Creek road out of Wallace, ID will drop you onto Prospect Creek Road a few miles outside of Thompson Falls, and it's a dirt mostly single-lane up and over the mountain.

Heading out of TFalls there are a couple of decent dirt options, not challenging at all, but also not paved highway. Just east of town you can take Thompson River Road that cuts 23 miles or so through the timberlands along the Thompson River.

West of town you can take Blue Slide Road out to Graves Creek road. Head into the mountains, stop halfway up to have a look at the falls, then proceed further in. Lots of lakes, and places to camp up in there. You could spend a week and never see it all. but if you have a day or so to kill, this is not a bad place to cut through and find some adventure. Make sure you have a map, and fuel before you head out. TFalls should have everything you need. Stop in at Minnies to eat. I recommend the "Greg's Kitchen Sink" and the HUGE cinnamon rolls.

Have fun and hit me up if you want other ideas for wheeling in Montana (Independence Mine or Iron Mountain over by Yellowstone or Northern Wyoming (Morrison Jeep Trail is EPIC! But not for the faint of heart, but the ride up Clark Canyon to the base of the switchbacks and back is easy, and awesome). There's also a path up and through the Pryor Mountains.
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post #18 of 25 Old 06-20-2019, 09:40 AM
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Between Moab & Black Canyon of the Gunnison, consider the RimRocker Trail, RimRockerTrail.Org. 160 miles of mostly dirt between Montrose, CO & Moab. Rated easy. Best part is described in Charles Wells Fourth Edition Guide to Colorado Backroads & 4 Wheel Drive Trails. Map & info available at the Montrose Visitor Center. Don't know if any available on the Moab end.
Happy Trails & Stay Safe out there!
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post #19 of 25 Old 06-20-2019, 12:49 PM
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Thanks man, its coming up real soon and i cannot wait :excited: I'm planning to take a regular plastic 5 gal. jerry can and strapping it down on my roof rack (when filled), but I've read some forums which advise against loading fuel cans on the roof. Any thoughts?
You shouldn't load a lot of heavy stuff on the roof because it can make the Jeep top heavy and prone to roll-over in an emergency. I don't think 1 gas can would affect it much, but it depends on how heavy all the other stuff is too. I prefer to carry my Gerry Can off the back of my spare tire.

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post #20 of 25 Old 06-20-2019, 07:59 PM Thread Starter
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Montana and Wyoming are completely different beasts than most people are used to. Don't expect to find services like fuel/food/lodging just on every corner like many other places. this is especially true of fuel on Sunday afternoons. If you're just going from city to city you'll not notice, but if you plan on getting off the beaten path at all (and I have some suggestions depending on the route you are taking) Make sure you know where you can by fuel. Other wise you'll be depending on a helpful but probably scary looking native to help you out (and they will).

My first routing advice would be to get off of I-90 when you can. You can hop off at Idaho exit 43 near Kingston, and snake your way up Coeur D'Alene River Road, then cut over through Murray, ID, and up over Thompson Pass into Montana. Coming down the backside it will drop you into beautiful Thompson Falls, MT, where you can pick up Montana highway 200 and either head east over towards Flathead Lake, or take the long way back west, then turning north through Libby, dropping you the back way into Kalispell.

There are also some great dirt alternatives, taking Burke Canyon Creek road out of Wallace, ID will drop you onto Prospect Creek Road a few miles outside of Thompson Falls, and it's a dirt mostly single-lane up and over the mountain.

Heading out of TFalls there are a couple of decent dirt options, not challenging at all, but also not paved highway. Just east of town you can take Thompson River Road that cuts 23 miles or so through the timberlands along the Thompson River.

West of town you can take Blue Slide Road out to Graves Creek road. Head into the mountains, stop halfway up to have a look at the falls, then proceed further in. Lots of lakes, and places to camp up in there. You could spend a week and never see it all. but if you have a day or so to kill, this is not a bad place to cut through and find some adventure. Make sure you have a map, and fuel before you head out. TFalls should have everything you need. Stop in at Minnies to eat. I recommend the "Greg's Kitchen Sink" and the HUGE cinnamon rolls.

Have fun and hit me up if you want other ideas for wheeling in Montana (Independence Mine or Iron Mountain over by Yellowstone or Northern Wyoming (Morrison Jeep Trail is EPIC! But not for the faint of heart, but the ride up Clark Canyon to the base of the switchbacks and back is easy, and awesome). There's also a path up and through the Pryor Mountains.

Amazing advice man, I honestly want to do all of this lol Montana and Wyoming are definitely top on my list so I'm okay with spending more time in those parts, but as of now I would have 6-7 days max to go Spokane, WA -> Glacier National Park -> Yellowstone National Park -> Denver. I am definitely going to use some of your suggestions on the way to Glacier NP, but you seem like the right person to ask about the ride from Glacier to Yellowstone too cus that is the highlight of my trip. So I'll take anything you got and please keep the food suggestions coming! haha

Also how much extra fuel is enough? I planned on taking a 5.2 gal, do you think I need more? And I have never been off roading in the mountains only in Florida which is mainly mudding and forest trails. Anything special I should know or be prepared for when going off the beaten path in the mountains?

Thanks dude
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post #21 of 25 Old 06-20-2019, 08:06 PM Thread Starter
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You shouldn't load a lot of heavy stuff on the roof because it can make the Jeep top heavy and prone to roll-over in an emergency. I don't think 1 gas can would affect it much, but it depends on how heavy all the other stuff is too. I prefer to carry my Gerry Can off the back of my spare tire.
Yeah I see your point, the roof rack would hold about 70-90lbs including the filled jerry can, but I've decided to buy a NATO jerry can so if I need to unload weight I can still store it inside the jeep.
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post #22 of 25 Old 06-21-2019, 06:42 AM
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Amazing advice man, I honestly want to do all of this lol Montana and Wyoming are definitely top on my list so I'm okay with spending more time in those parts, but as of now I would have 6-7 days max to go Spokane, WA -> Glacier National Park -> Yellowstone National Park -> Denver. I am definitely going to use some of your suggestions on the way to Glacier NP, but you seem like the right person to ask about the ride from Glacier to Yellowstone too cus that is the highlight of my trip. So I'll take anything you got and please keep the food suggestions coming! haha

Also how much extra fuel is enough? I planned on taking a 5.2 gal, do you think I need more? And I have never been off roading in the mountains only in Florida which is mainly mudding and forest trails. Anything special I should know or be prepared for when going off the beaten path in the mountains?

Thanks dude
How much extra fuel is enough? That depends on how lost you get. ;-)

I wheeled all over Montana and Wyoming, and never needed to use my spare fuel. Except for the ride home one Sunday afternoon when all of the gas stations along the path less traveled were closed.

The important thing would to be to know where you are going, let someone know where that is and when to call search and rescue if you don't check in.

There will be zero cell coverage, do not depend on cell navigation. My Jeep has the factory navigation system, and most of the forest service roads are in there, but stop at the ranger station and buy a paper map. It's not uncommon to get 40 or 50 miles from the pavement, and that's a long way to walk out if something goes wrong. You might also consider an emergency beacon since you're likely to be traveling alone.

Downed trees can ruin your day. Bring a good saw and an axe. There's nothing worse than being 30 miles into a 40 mile cut through the mountains and finding a tree across the road. You either need to be able to clear the path, or turn around. Turning around is likely to add many, many hours to your journey.

Also high on the list would to be prepared to deal with dangerous animals in the backcountry. Even in "town" you are not at the top of the food chain. Surprising a sow grizzly in the middle of a few million acres of nothing but forest is a good way to get dead. Likewise with mountain lions, wolves, moose, elk and the odd bit of gravity. There are not many guard rails and warning signs in Montana. Take bear spray at the least, and a hand cannon if you can.

There's a decent campground at Fishtrap Lake. And the jaunt from there up to Stony Lake is worthwhile. I once left my office at 3 in the afternoon, made the hour long drive up to Stony Lake, and caught over 70 trout from my small boat before it got dark. It's hard to get to, and getting a boat in there is even harder, but the payout was gold.

Unfortunately, I don't think I'll be out there at that time or I'd show you around personally. I'll PM you my number in case you get there and want to discuss a route or location.

If you want further ideas, or maybe some support for a group ride hit up these guys:

In Billings:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/1020...f=group_browse

In Western Montana:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/1693...f=group_browse

There's also a great guide book called "4x4 Routes of Western Montana" by Willie and Jeanne Worthy that list lots of trails and gives detailed descriptions and ratings. They are active in the Western Montana FB group.

As for Glacier and Yellowstone:

Oh boy, what a can of worms we have here.

On GNP:

The big attraction here is Going to the Sun Road. It'll be busy, but incredible. Not incredible like most people say about something, but incredible... like you'll wonder how this place can possibly exist.

Not much wheeling to be had, but just outside the park on the west side is a small, remote town of Polebridge. There's a Mercantile there that sells home-made pastries. People from all over the world trek to there to get one. they're not really that great, but the drive is pretty cool, plus you can get into the park from there at that remote gateway.

Hands-down, #1 on my GNP list is to watch the sunset from the porch of the Many-Glacier lodge. It's on the east side, and kind of a pain to get to, but it will NOT disappoint.

Lots of hiking to be had is the altitude doesn't get to you.

On Yellowstone:

I've been to Yellowstone probably over 50 times. I still have barely scratched the surface of what there is to see in there. It's HUGE. People who have never been are taken back by the sheer size. Plan on 4 or 5 hours just to drive straight through.

If you want to try staying in the park, the "Rough Rider" cabins near tower junction were my choice. I didn't care for the hotels much. they were pricey, and not that nice and no air conditioning.

Take the chance to soak in the river North of Mammoth, you're not likely to get another chance ever, to do so.

Absolutely take the route through Cooke City and over the Beartooth Pass DO NOT MISS IT. It's unbelievable, like GNP, but more open. Lots of side trails and lakes at the top to explore, and places to camp. On the Red Lodge side of Beartooth Pass, just before the heavy climbing, on the opposite side of the valley is a dirt road up to Hellroaring Plateau. That's 100% worth the trip to the top. Once up there it turns into wilderness area, and you can hike in further if you want.

From the top of Beartooth Pass is the St. Joseph Scenic highway that leads back towards Cody, Wyoming. It dumps you out not far from Clark Canyon and the beginning of the Morrision Jeep Trail. The Morrision trail is a brutal climb up a series of very, VERY narrow switchbacks. I prefer to go up rather than down. You might check with the Magic City guys about the status of the Morrison, it's subject to seasonal closures to protect wildlife, and the winters have been known to destroy the switchbacks which take a while to get repaired. At the bottom in the valley is a great place to try your hand at fly fishing. Also, at the bottom take time to notice the geology of the valley and whatever cataclysmic action took place there to form that. it's truly humbling.

If you want even better fishing, try hiring a guide at the Northfork Angler in Cody, WY. That's a great fly shop ran by some nice folks.

Also, speaking of Cody, WY. Unless you're vegetarian, DO plan to eat dinner at the Erma Hotel one evening. They have an all-you-can eat prime rib buffet that will give you the meat sweats. If you're tired of roughing it in that area, I recommend "The Cody" hotel.

On your way to Denver, it might be worth diverting through the Wind River Canyon. It's pretty scenic, and a geological oddity, if you're into that sort of thing. Also, east of Cody, is the Pryor Mountains, which has some decent interesting trails, and a couple of ice caves that are worth a visit. these caves trap cold air, and remain frozen year round. It's a nice treat on a hot day.

_
'76 CJ-7, '43 CJ-2a, '78 Bronco,'78 CJ-7, '75 CJ-5, '78 CJ-7, '80 CJ-7, '78 SJ, '79 SJ, '78 and a '76 FJ-40 , '90 XJ, '91 XJ, '86 CJ-7, '95 ZJ, '68 CJ-101 Commando, '00 TJ, '68 M-715, 2 '86 Military Blazers, '96 LR Discovery, '86 CJ-7, '91 YJ, '99 TJ, 07' JKU Rubi, 1988 YJ, 1973 Commando, 3 Diesel Excursions....
Now back to a 2013 JKU Rubicon with "stuff", planning 37's with minimal lift.

I've tried them all... Jeeps are still the best. (0||||0)
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post #23 of 25 Old 06-21-2019, 07:43 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Guruman View Post
How much extra fuel is enough? That depends on how lost you get. ;-)

I wheeled all over Montana and Wyoming, and never needed to use my spare fuel. Except for the ride home one Sunday afternoon when all of the gas stations along the path less traveled were closed.

The important thing would to be to know where you are going, let someone know where that is and when to call search and rescue if you don't check in.

There will be zero cell coverage, do not depend on cell navigation. My Jeep has the factory navigation system, and most of the forest service roads are in there, but stop at the ranger station and buy a paper map. It's not uncommon to get 40 or 50 miles from the pavement, and that's a long way to walk out if something goes wrong. You might also consider an emergency beacon since you're likely to be traveling alone.

Downed trees can ruin your day. Bring a good saw and an axe. There's nothing worse than being 30 miles into a 40 mile cut through the mountains and finding a tree across the road. You either need to be able to clear the path, or turn around. Turning around is likely to add many, many hours to your journey.

Also high on the list would to be prepared to deal with dangerous animals in the backcountry. Even in "town" you are not at the top of the food chain. Surprising a sow grizzly in the middle of a few million acres of nothing but forest is a good way to get dead. Likewise with mountain lions, wolves, moose, elk and the odd bit of gravity. There are not many guard rails and warning signs in Montana. Take bear spray at the least, and a hand cannon if you can.

There's a decent campground at Fishtrap Lake. And the jaunt from there up to Stony Lake is worthwhile. I once left my office at 3 in the afternoon, made the hour long drive up to Stony Lake, and caught over 70 trout from my small boat before it got dark. It's hard to get to, and getting a boat in there is even harder, but the payout was gold.

Unfortunately, I don't think I'll be out there at that time or I'd show you around personally. I'll PM you my number in case you get there and want to discuss a route or location.

If you want further ideas, or maybe some support for a group ride hit up these guys:

In Billings:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/1020...f=group_browse

In Western Montana:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/1693...f=group_browse

There's also a great guide book called "4x4 Routes of Western Montana" by Willie and Jeanne Worthy that list lots of trails and gives detailed descriptions and ratings. They are active in the Western Montana FB group.

As for Glacier and Yellowstone:

Oh boy, what a can of worms we have here.

On GNP:

The big attraction here is Going to the Sun Road. It'll be busy, but incredible. Not incredible like most people say about something, but incredible... like you'll wonder how this place can possibly exist.

Not much wheeling to be had, but just outside the park on the west side is a small, remote town of Polebridge. There's a Mercantile there that sells home-made pastries. People from all over the world trek to there to get one. they're not really that great, but the drive is pretty cool, plus you can get into the park from there at that remote gateway.

Hands-down, #1 on my GNP list is to watch the sunset from the porch of the Many-Glacier lodge. It's on the east side, and kind of a pain to get to, but it will NOT disappoint.

Lots of hiking to be had is the altitude doesn't get to you.

On Yellowstone:

I've been to Yellowstone probably over 50 times. I still have barely scratched the surface of what there is to see in there. It's HUGE. People who have never been are taken back by the sheer size. Plan on 4 or 5 hours just to drive straight through.

If you want to try staying in the park, the "Rough Rider" cabins near tower junction were my choice. I didn't care for the hotels much. they were pricey, and not that nice and no air conditioning.

Take the chance to soak in the river North of Mammoth, you're not likely to get another chance ever, to do so.

Absolutely take the route through Cooke City and over the Beartooth Pass DO NOT MISS IT. It's unbelievable, like GNP, but more open. Lots of side trails and lakes at the top to explore, and places to camp. On the Red Lodge side of Beartooth Pass, just before the heavy climbing, on the opposite side of the valley is a dirt road up to Hellroaring Plateau. That's 100% worth the trip to the top. Once up there it turns into wilderness area, and you can hike in further if you want.

From the top of Beartooth Pass is the St. Joseph Scenic highway that leads back towards Cody, Wyoming. It dumps you out not far from Clark Canyon and the beginning of the Morrision Jeep Trail. The Morrision trail is a brutal climb up a series of very, VERY narrow switchbacks. I prefer to go up rather than down. You might check with the Magic City guys about the status of the Morrison, it's subject to seasonal closures to protect wildlife, and the winters have been known to destroy the switchbacks which take a while to get repaired. At the bottom in the valley is a great place to try your hand at fly fishing. Also, at the bottom take time to notice the geology of the valley and whatever cataclysmic action took place there to form that. it's truly humbling.

If you want even better fishing, try hiring a guide at the Northfork Angler in Cody, WY. That's a great fly shop ran by some nice folks.

Also, speaking of Cody, WY. Unless you're vegetarian, DO plan to eat dinner at the Erma Hotel one evening. They have an all-you-can eat prime rib buffet that will give you the meat sweats. If you're tired of roughing it in that area, I recommend "The Cody" hotel.

On your way to Denver, it might be worth diverting through the Wind River Canyon. It's pretty scenic, and a geological oddity, if you're into that sort of thing. Also, east of Cody, is the Pryor Mountains, which has some decent interesting trails, and a couple of ice caves that are worth a visit. these caves trap cold air, and remain frozen year round. It's a nice treat on a hot day.

It goes without saying that you really nailed your response to my questions. It safes to say you've got me feeling 10x more excited for my trip but also 10x less prepared lol. Looks like I have some more researching n planning to do

One last question for you though, without considering intentional obstacles/off-roading, how well do you think a JK with stock suspension and no winch handle in the mountains forest roads or trails?

Thanks again for the advice I will definitely be hitting you up over PM
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post #24 of 25 Old 06-22-2019, 07:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pakattack View Post
It goes without saying that you really nailed your response to my questions. It safes to say you've got me feeling 10x more excited for my trip but also 10x less prepared lol. Looks like I have some more researching n planning to do

One last question for you though, without considering intentional obstacles/off-roading, how well do you think a JK with stock suspension and no winch handle in the mountains forest roads or trails?

Thanks again for the advice I will definitely be hitting you up over PM
I wouldn't try Morrison or Independence by myself without a winch, just in case, but if you did you'd probably make it. 100% of the stuff I've described around Thompson Falls, is doable in a Subaru station wagon.

_
'76 CJ-7, '43 CJ-2a, '78 Bronco,'78 CJ-7, '75 CJ-5, '78 CJ-7, '80 CJ-7, '78 SJ, '79 SJ, '78 and a '76 FJ-40 , '90 XJ, '91 XJ, '86 CJ-7, '95 ZJ, '68 CJ-101 Commando, '00 TJ, '68 M-715, 2 '86 Military Blazers, '96 LR Discovery, '86 CJ-7, '91 YJ, '99 TJ, 07' JKU Rubi, 1988 YJ, 1973 Commando, 3 Diesel Excursions....
Now back to a 2013 JKU Rubicon with "stuff", planning 37's with minimal lift.

I've tried them all... Jeeps are still the best. (0||||0)
Guruman is online now  
post #25 of 25 Old 06-24-2019, 08:00 PM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Jun 2019
Location: florida, us
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guruman View Post
I wouldn't try Morrison or Independence by myself without a winch, just in case, but if you did you'd probably make it. 100% of the stuff I've described around Thompson Falls, is doable in a Subaru station wagon.

Good to know man thank you! I was worried about needing new tires for the trip but seems like I'll be fine
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