On this trip we took our families from Southern California to Utah and back during the week of spring break. We drove our Toyotas with the Patriot Campers in tow. We spent nights camping along the trails and seeing the major landmarks of the area.
Our kids had spring break. We picked them up from school and headed out straight from there. They seem to love it when we pick them up with the rig and hit the road.
Our first stop was The Mojave Desert for camp. We arrived a little late, about 11:30pm, due to an unforeseen detour. The next morning, we headed to Bearizona in William, AZ. It is a nature preserve where you can drive through and view the animals in the wild. Later that day we found camp off Shultz Pass near Flagstaff AZ. Sunday morning headed to Valley of the Gods making a side route to Comb Ridge Trail.
On Monday we headed to the top of the La Sal Mountains in Utah. We finished the day by taking Sand Flats Trail down to Moab. We couldn’t find camp there so our back up was to find camp close to Chicken Corners Trail. On Tuesday we took the Moab Jetboat Tour on the Colorado River. After that, we explored Arches National Park and took the only off road trail in the park. Don’t remember the name but its directly across from Balanced Rock. High clearance and 4×4 low is a must for this trail.
On Wednesday we did a zipline with Raven Zipline Tours. After that we packed up base camp and headed to Chicken Corners Trail. We camped at the catacombs which is a beautiful spot! On Thursday we packed up and headed back to Valley of the Gods. We found a new camp spot. On Friday we arrived at the Grand Canyon and found camp at Hull Cabin Road in the Kaibab National Forest. It was an easy logging road with beautiful pine forest and lots of free space for camping. There were a couple of wildlife watering holes along the way. On Saturday we spent one more relaxing night in the Mojave Desert and then went home on Sunday.
Our trip was roughly 1900 miles total. We were on dirt for about 120 miles and on pavement for about 1780 miles. The trip was a total of 9 days in length. La Sal mountains was the highest point. We had about 12,000 ft of total ascent. The temperature range was low 20’s to mid 70’s. We drove our 2018 Tacoma TRD Off Road long bed pulling 2017 Patriot Camper X1 GT. My buddy Armando was in his 2014 4Runner Trail Edition pulling his 2017 Patriot Camper X2.
The highlights of the trip for us was watching the kids have fun ziplining, riding in the jetboat and seeing the wild animals in Bearizona. It is hard to narrow down a specific favorite place of the trip. However, if I had to pick I’d say the La Sal Mountains and Chicken Corners Trail. More specifically the catacombs.
This trip we learned to stay away from the main street in Moab. It is extremely busy and finding a free campsite near the town is very difficult. The Patriot X1 just reminded me how well built and efficient it is. We had to build a base camp for two nights in Moab because we had activities scheduled but other than that we set up and packed every night in a different location. Having that option means a lot to me especially since I travel with my family. On the trail it just goes and it soaks up every bump. We have never had an issue with battery power and we did not need to add water in the tanks until day 6. If the four of us didn’t have to shower it would have lasted the whole trip but I don’t think my wife would have let that happen. When we got home we were beat. We backed the trailer into the garage and dealt with it the next day. I can’t express enough how happy we are with it. We did not have any issues or trail repairs with any of our equipment. Everything functioned as it should and held up great to the trail abuse associated with the off road trails of Moab.
Grub: Our strategy for food and meals is when we are on the go we keep it quick and simple. Sandwiches, hot dogs, and things of that nature. When we had time, we cooked steak and tri tip. However, we are fortunate enough to have a friend who owns Ansaldo Sausage Company and they make some mouth-watering Argentine Sausages.
All of our gear proved useful, but there is one piece of gear in particular that I may need to look into; The Front Runner Water Tank. The Patriot X2 only has one water tank but my partner for this trip had the spare and it made a real difference.
We saw wild animals at Bearizona which had wolves and bears. The one night he stayed in Flagstaff we had a good size cat rubbing up against the tent while we were in bed. Never saw it but noticed the paw prints in the morning.
This was a great trip to be able to take our family’s on while being able to put all our gear to the test. We are already planning our next trip out and cannot wait to hit the trails.
Story and Photos by Al Velasco