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Jeep Safari is always a blast, but Easter Jeep Safari 2016 was the 50th anniversary of the event and seemed to be the best yet! With awesome Jeep concepts running around, hundreds of thousands of participants, a super sized vendor show and trail runs from scenic and mild to hardcore (but being Moab, still scenic), there was something for everyone!
Easter Jeep Safari started in February for JKS, with new JSpec lift kits to unveil and the JKS two door due for a mild refresher, the month leading up to EJS 2016 was hectic! On top of all of that JKS partnered with Colorado distributor Trail Jeeps to put together a JSpec Equipped Trail run! The JKS JK had quite a year in 2015, from the Rockies to the desert Southwest to the Rubicon, the 2 door was ready for a refresh. A new axle front axle and fresh Nemesis armor were on the list, as well as a few other bonus goodies. Stay tuned for an article detailing our 2 door's mini facelift in preparation for EJS 50! The end result worked well, and the new Nemesis Crawler fenders were a fantastic fit for our two door!
The Eastern Truck Accessories Adventure Series JK from SEMA was put on trailer behind Carter from BDS, heading to Moab from Virginia (I know, we generally advocate no trailers, but the 5000 mile round trip would put a pretty big dent in the 37" Falken Stickies tread life), and Pete, JKS Brand Manager, left LA the Saturday before to meet the Sport Truck team at Moab on Sunday.
As soon as everyone arrived it was time to go wheeling. We pulled the BDS Liberty off of the Trailer and pulled the windows out of the JKS JK and it was off to Run Fins N Things with BDS. We made sure everything was in good working order and caught some great scenic photography. After shooting some poser shots, Dave in the BDS liberty and Pete in the JKS JK went to play around on some steep climbs and finish the trail.
On Monday, Pete took new JKS Tech Justin with him to the Northridge 4x4 run of Cameo Cliffs, South of Moab. A first time official Red Rocks EJS Trail Run, Cameo Cliffs meanders around some beautiful desert mesas and cliffs before ended up at an awesome overlook high above US Route 191 in view of Wilson Arch. It was a great to get to hang out with the guys from Northridge and connect with Northridge 4x4 customers.
Tuesday was the Warn run. This year, Warn took their group through the Porcupine Rim Trail. We also had another JSpec Equipped rig on the trail: Offroad Power Products brand new JK! We had never been through this trail and we were blown away by the views. For anyone who hasn't been: Porcupine Rim is a great route, with just enough obstacles to keep your eyes on the trail, which is good, because otherwise you'd probably fall off starting at the beautiful scenery. All of this got us very excited for Wednesday!
It was finally time for our JKS/Trail Jeeps run of Golden Spike! We met at the JCR wagon train in front of Barlow Adventures and headed north on the US 191 for Gemeni Bridges, the trail that leads you to Gold bar rim and finally Golden Spike.
Not only did the Eastern Truck Accessories SEMA Jeep join us, but so did rigs from Trail Jeeps, JCR Offroad, Bestop, JP Freek Adventure Magazine, Trucks N Guns Magazine, BDS Suspension, Direct Offroad, Offroad Power Products and a couple of customer rigs. Unfortunately a few who had signed up had missed the run after getting stuck by a freak snowstorm on the 70, including Dean Shirley of East Coast Overland Adventures who drove all the way from PA to attend the event.
Wednesday was an epic day of awesome offroading and scenery. With no major breakage or delays, everyone had a great time taking the hard lines over the obstacles and getting plenty of pictures. For fun, Pete from JKS ran the entire trail with the Flex Connect hooked up to the sway bar. While it did lead to some pretty epic wheel lifts, the additional stability did allow Pete to take some ridiculous lines for a 90" wheelbase, which goes to show you that there are times when having some sort of sway bar does have benefits.
After our lunch at Golden Crack, it was time to turn around, because JKS had to get both rigs to the Sport Truck BBQ at Moab 4x4 Outpost. Unfortunately a group slipped in behind us from Rusty Nail, then proceeded to roll a JK and break a couple of additional ring an pinions ahead of us, leading to a two hour traffic Jam. The trip ended with a fun high speed blast back to the US 191.
Arriving an hour late to the Sport Truck/Pitbull Tires Customer Appreciation BBQ, JKS still had time to hang out with attendees and we gave away some serious prizes at the raffle, including track bars, Quicker Disconnects and a Flex Connect! After the BBQ it was time for an early bed, as tomorrow was the first day of the vendor show.
The Vendor Show was an exciting time for us, because it was time to unveil the upcoming JSpec JKonnect suspension system for JK Wranglers, and the new, game changing JSpec 3" for TJ/LJ Wranglers! Thousands packed the two days of the show, stopping by to put their hands on the new systems, see the Flex Connect demo'd and take a peak at the rock rashed SEMA Jeep in all of it's glory!
Thursday was also the photo shoot of Nena Barlow's (of Barlow Adventures) brand new Rock Rock Rubicon equipped with the new JKonnect Suspension System! You're sure to see more of this fantastic Jeep in the future!
Time for a life lesson! We had just been discussing the merits of bringing more obscure tools, like a brake line flare tool, to the trail before we headed out to AREA BFE Thursday Night. Knowing that we had another early morning, we decided to take it easy and turn around early when suddenly the JKS JK's brake pedal fell to the floor. It turns out that somehow, we had cracked the factory hard brake line at the fitting making a U Turn around some rocks after this picture was taken. Guess what would have saved the day? You guess it: a brake line flare tool. We crimped the line with some vise grips to give us an emergency stop, then limped the Jeep back to the hotel using the ridiculously tall gears in the 42RLE and the handbrake to stop. Brake line flare tool in hand, we had the Jeep back on the road in 30 minutes the next day in the parking lot.
Special thank to Moab 4x4 Outpost for hooking the Jeep up to a power bleeder Saturday before we hit the road!
Saturday it was time to leave! Easter Jeep Safari 50 was a huge success for JKS, and while it is always though to Moab, the views on the 70 as you head West are a great reminder that there is always next time to look forward to, and there is no better way to experience the drive than in a Jeep. Stay tuned for on the new JSpec kits, the JK two door's facelift, and more exciting news from JKS Manufacturing! Happy Jeeping!