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97 Jeep TJ 2.5L to 5.9L Magnum... to MOAB!

Dan_Goodwin

Birmingham, AL
Joined
Sep 5, 2012
Messages
55
I am gearing up to do a Magnum swap in my 97 TJ this winter (build thread will come) and my wife and I decided we need to take it somewhere fun after all the bugs are worked out, so why not go out west? The trip would be September or October of 2022 and last 10 (ish) days.

The general route would be Birmingham to St Louis to Moab on the trip out and the return trip might go through Dallas (Waco specifically). A few questions for the collective knowledge here:

  1. Between St Louis and Moab, what are the routes / things to do OR absolutely NOT do?
  2. What scenic trails / roads are there to take in Colorado that are reasonably close to our route?
  3. The Moab part of this trip is a bucket list item for me, the wife not as much. What EASY trails / restaurants / local shops are a must do? I'd have about a day, possibly 2 here.
The proposed route:
Map.jpg


The Jeep:

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Bronco Mike

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 21, 2019
Messages
45
Did this a few years back. Backwoods offroad a big help
 

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felipecj

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 24, 2010
Messages
270
Location
Auburn, AL
Damn good looking TJ. Hard to believe that thing is 24 years old. Going to a V8 will be a big difference in how it drives.
 

j-mox

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 5, 2009
Messages
833
Location
Missouri
STL to Denver there is NOTHING to see!! So just don’t fall asleep. Kansas is super boring. Take some small change with you because if I remember right there are several toll roads on that route. Time you are planning is good for weather. We had gone to EJS both times and ran into heavy snow but you are good there. Scenery is really good from Denver to Grand Junction.

Trails out there are really easy due to superior traction. I understand the “easy” trail comment since you are driving and not trailering but you could have a great time on most 6 or lower rated trails and still come out unscathed. Hells Revenge is what I would say is a must do. It has many of the more well known obstacles that you see in pictures and videos, but it is a mild trail if you pick your comfort level. Its rating comes from several places that you can run or bypass. Fins and Things is another easy on equipment trail but has some nice steep climbs just to get a feel of what kind of traction you have. Poison Spider is another I like that really well.

There are plenty of harder trails there but those are my recommendations. I drove mine out and back, 1350 miles each way, so I know the mindset of “it has to get me home” driving.

Moab Diner is a must also for breakfast. Zaks is a good place in evenings. Moab Brewery is a popular spot also on the food side.

Arches Park is a spot I have not been to but plan to next time I go. I was more about the trails but from what I hear I really missed out by not taking a day to go explore the park. Next time it is a must do on my list.
 

ToledoDan

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 8, 2017
Messages
233
For what this sport has become Moab is not too challenging, stay off Pritchett Canyon and be sensible and you should be fine to run any other trail there.
I have never met anyone that has said, "We drove more than 20hrs to Moab and is was not worth it", so you will have a great time with any of the trails you run. x2 on Hells Revenge and Poison Spider. After that hit Moab Rim. If you were in a RZR or dirt bike, I would say hit Chicken Corners to the wind caves, but in a Jeep its going to take some time to get out there and if you don't know where they are they are tough to find.

....wait you're talking about driving over 1500 miles out to Moab and only spending a day, possibly 2 there?
 

98TJ

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2012
Messages
533
Dito on moab dinner.

If you are looking for easy scenic colorado trails, spend a few days in silverton.
 

tkinze

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 6, 2012
Messages
86
Location
Cumming, Ga.
When dragging a trailer most do the route out i40 west to ABQ then Moab and then east via i70 due to the steep grades west of Denver. Either way suggest taking route 128 heading into Moab along the Colorado river, its gorgeous. FYI - We took a big rig through there

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21 Road!!!, must do 21 Road near Grand Junction! That said, DO NOT do 21 rd. alone, if you have a major issue you are screwed.

The trail itself is only about 1.5-2 miles long but to get back to the beginning is 39 miles of gravel rd. back through Fruita and GJ.

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Bateman

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2021
Messages
58
Location
Woodville, AL
I40 was a hoot for me. I was in a TJ on 40’s that I bought in Reno and drove home to Alabama. I would like to do it again and take I70. Have a great trip!
 

j-mox

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 5, 2009
Messages
833
Location
Missouri
Wonder if that is around Glenwood Canyon? In 2010 there was a rock slide that took out I-70 before we went thru. Got it going before we went but it was clear where it happened due to construction and road damage still.
 

Dan_Goodwin

Birmingham, AL
Joined
Sep 5, 2012
Messages
55
Damn good looking TJ. Hard to believe that thing is 24 years old. Going to a V8 will be a big difference in how it drives.
Thanks. This is ibrokeit's FIL's old TJ - you probably saw it in its past life. It will be nice to not have to turn off the AC to merge in traffic!

....wait you're talking about driving over 1500 miles out to Moab and only spending a day, possibly 2 there?
This is a sight seeing trip for my wife and I. The Moab part is really just for me since we'll be so close.

Thanks for all the feedback!
 

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