This was my first Blazer Bash, and it was as much fun as advertised. The little pictures are links to my photo gallery of the various trails, so you can click them to see the action. My wife, son and I left Greeley, CO for Moab Wednesday afternoon. The trip didn’t start off smoothly, which isn’t a good sign when our K5 was our ride to and from Moab. I noticed pretty quickly that the front brakes were squeaking very badly, probably a result of having to run back down Holy Cross trail with no hydroboost. So I picked up a new set of pads and a passenger side caliper (long story) to install when I stopped for the night at my sister’s in Grand Junction. It was perfect timing for fall colors. We saw some awesome foilage along Highway 50. When we arrived in Junction I found that my rear diff cover was leaking badly. Oily residue was all over the back of the blazer, and you know how that smells! My brother-in-law and I replaced the caliper and pads and resealed the diff cover that night. It’s always fun working in a driveway with those little LED lights strapped to our heads. We made it to City Market in Moab okay and just in time for the Friday trail run. The brakes were working great and the diff cover was not leaking. It was my first chance to meet a lot of new members. Several guys I’ve PM’d with on CK5, but never met face-to-face. We rolled out to Hell’s Revenge at about 10:30. A certain person leading the group took a wrong turn which gave us the chance to tour and terrorize the local residential neighborhood, but I won’t name any names *cough* Brandon *cough*. There were K5’s, truggies, and buggies of all types on the trail run and even one full-size Cherokee equipped mostly with Chevy running gear. For those of you who are wondering, there were also basically stock blazers equipped with 33’s and couple of inches of lift. Some guys were open, some had lockers in the rear, and others had lockers front and rear. Once we arrived at the trail, several of the guys played around on the Dump Bump. There was a nice water puddle at the bottom that made it more interesting than usual. Dirk was nice enough to show us how to dig really deep holes in the sand and then smoke the tires on the slickrock. After that we went on up to take on Hell’s Revenge. The trail was difficult, but not extremely so. Actually it was more nerve wracking than anything else. The trail runs along a lot of narrow slickrock ridges. I’ve never heard so many squealing tires. Anytime the locked trucks were turning, there were tires chirping on the slickrock. There were plenty of steep ascents and descents to make your pulse rise, and I was continually thankful that I had decided to install the new brake pads. The buggies and some of the K5s had fun playing in the Hot Tubs and Car Wash. The Escalator was another obstacle that the built rigs played around on. We finished up the trail about 6:30PM and everyone headed over to the BBQ. The food was good, even if it was a little delayed. Unfortunately we rolled in late enough that it was too dark to check out all the rigs parked along the road. The raffle was great and there were a lot of cool prizes. I think there were a couple of guys that made out like bandits - you know who you are. Personal thanks to all the vendors that donated prizes to the raffle, especially ARB since that was the one that I won! Saturday morning everyone rolled into the City Market parking lot at about 9AM. The hardcore group went to Pritchett Canyon. I went with the Sheet Metal Gang to Gold Bar Rim. There is an interesting story behind a couple of trucks that ran with the Sheet Metal Gang on Gold Bar Rim. Both trucks are from Utah and they had only just found CK5 on the internet a week or so prior. They decided to come and check out this Blazer Bash thing. I think they are all hooked now. They were among the 10 trucks that headed out with the Sheet Metal Gang, which was a group ranging from fully locked to completely open with very nice paint and straight sheet metal. I’m afraid I don’t have much to report on the Gold Bar Rim trail. On the second obstacle I got a little over zealous and caused some loud noises to emit from my 12 bolt. I broke my skinny pedal rule, and did a little too much hopping. Luckily I was able to drive off the trail. My good buddies Nick (B_to_C) and Lev followed me all the way back to Moab, a 10 mile journey that took 3.5 hours. We took the truck to Moab 4x4 Outpost who just happened to be pulling into the shop after competing in the rock races. They were really cool, and they put the truck up on the rack, pulled the rear cover off, and found 6 broken ring gear teeth. This is my first major trail damage. Luckily the Detroit and Superior axle shafts are fine. At least now I have an excuse to upgrade to a 4.56 gear ratio. They would have fixed the truck on the spot, but they didn’t stock 12bolt gears. They were helpful and reasonable on the prices. They could have tried to stick it to me, but they didn’t – especially considering it was a Saturday afternoon. Sunday we met at the City Market parking lot around 9AM once again. The family and I were able to arrange a ride with Ed from Farmington, another K5 owner who had just found out about CK5 and the Blazer Bash a couple of weeks before. The Sheet Metal Gang ran a trail called Fins ‘n’ Things. There were about 10 trucks in the group for this trail run. This time the group even included the notorious Steve Fox – as a passenger of course. Fins ‘n’ Things wasn’t a very difficult trail. There were a few fun places for the more built trucks to play on, and a couple of places that gave the more stock trucks some challenges. A couple of really steep, short descents definitely spice up the trail. The scenery was awesome as usual around Moab. A few of the guys went on to run Porcupine Rim while the rest of us drove over to Potato Salad Hill. Ed was the only one to attempt it, and he made it look easy. No fear of a rollover. At least now I can say I’ve ridden to the top, I’ll just leave out the part about whose truck it was. To conclude the saga with my truck, we picked up our truck from Moab 4x4 Outpost on Tuesday. Come to find out an installation error greatly contributed to the ring gear damage. I’m just regurgitating from memory here so I may be talking out my a$$, but I’ll give it a shot. Apparently the shop that installed the Detroit did not set the proper pre-load on the carrier bearings. Joe told me when he pulled the bearing caps the carrier just fell out, which I guess shouldn’t happen. I kept the broken ring gear and pinion – which also has a broken tooth – as a trophy and reminder of my first major trail carnage. At the end of it all everyone escaped uninjured. There were a few damaged and broken pieces that I heard about, aside from my own. Jeff (Stallion85) had to swap out one of his front axle shafts and ended up with a fried alternator and battery. Brandon (Miniwally) ruined one wheel and one of the knuckles on his buggy. Brian (friend of a CK5 member) rolled his trailer and K5 on the highway on his way out of Moab. Luckily no one was badly hurt in the accident. I’ll be back next year with 4.56 gears and something I’ll purchase with my ARB coupon that I won at the raffle. I’m sure it will be even more fun!