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Everything posted by 4x4tographer

  1. I did! Was a pretty nice program. I couldn't believe some of the woods they had in there. Unbelievably exotic materials, some nice live edge slabs, and an amazing array of tools I can't afford (or have space for in my garage - I really want a full-size jointer). 😁 I was getting a lot of ideas for some future home furniture projects. Ain't that the truth!
  2. Just a sign of inflation - I recently visited Woodworkers Source (an amazing place) and paid $116 out the door for a single sheet of 1/2 60x60” Baltic Birch. 🤢 But considering the lower quality 1/2 ply from the big box stores is about $85, it puts it into a bit of perspective. Looking forward to working with some much nicer quality wood for some upcoming projects!
  3. Some photos from our weekend adventure through the Table Mesa rec area on Crapshoot, led by @SonoranWanderer! My personal first time on this trail - it was fun! The 2 obstacles on the trail were interesting and made you pause to think for a minute. The views were very nice with some scenic overlooks and plenty of wildflowers waiting to burst into color. The desert is extremely green right now. We had an interesting mix of vehicles with us, a 50/50 blend of current and "vintage". 😁 3 JLs, a YJ, an XJ, and a sweet Ramcharger.
  4. A favorite from our recent visit to Crapshoot over in Table Mesa.
  5. That's a sick wheel and tire combo! Love the KO2 and those wheels look sharp as heck! You can't go wrong with LOD in my opinion. I'm leaning towards their Signature Series sliders in the future. The steel Destroyers are super nice as well.
  6. Sorry Marty, just thought of something else. 😅 So with Metalcloak’s adjuster design, you’ll need some big-ass wrenches to adjust/tighten the drag link. I have some big adjustable wrenches, but for the extra ummmpf I had to get some crow feet to snap onto my breaker bar when tightening everything up.
  7. Worth noting, Metalcloak has unparalleled customer service. I had initially emailed them to ask about clearance with their tie rod and my stock wheels. They told me up front that I’d have some issues. They recommended putting a few washers onto the steering stops on the knuckles - but said long term that spacers/new wheels were the final answer. All that to say, maybe give them a call/email and see if the same is true for the JK. Dimensionally we’re a little different, but they’re an honest bunch out there. Last note, I knew going into it that I was lifting, wheels/tires, new HD steering… so the domino effect was anticipated in my case :) There may be some aftermarket tie rod options out there that work with OEM wheels, but in generally I found Metalclock to be the most budget-friendly HD option on the market.
  8. With the appropriate-sized pickle fork you can avoid the PITA I went through. Mine was a touch too small. Granted the JL is a little different, I ran the Metalcloak drag link and tie rod on my stock wheels for a few months. The only clearance issue I had was with the new ginormous 1 Ton TREs on the tie rod itself coming into contact with my factory offset wheels at full steering lock. If you get the Metalcloak tie rod too, you’ll probably have the same issue unless you change wheels or add wheel spacers. The TRE on the drag link had plenty of clearance to my recollection. My issue was solely with the tie rod.
  9. 4x4tographer

    Meet Jack

    Ooooooo looking good!
  10. Found a more detailed news story: https://www.sacbee.com/news/nation-world/national/article272717865.html
  11. Well that’s a damn shame. I’ve never made it up that way. I see posts of various social site by “influencers” ALL the time about Grand Falls, so I guess I can’t say I’m surprised.
  12. Interested in hearing how you guys like the upgrade. Ball joints are on my future upgrade list.
  13. Great looking rig you got there @Curly!
  14. Saw that on Facebook. Sucks to see that. In a subsequent post a group of people stepped up and donated above and beyond the loss, which was wonderful. The town was packed with people and UTVs. Lot of opportunities for bad guys, unfortunately. They way outnumber the full size 4x4s these days. They’re taking over.
  15. It’s certainly useful! I have @SonoranWanderer to thank for that knowledge and hands on demonstrations. No worries about the photobombs. I always forget to get the people and not just the rigs!
  16. Another great annual trip on the Back Way to Crown King. One of my all-time favorite trails. We had a great group of people out for the trip, including @theksmith, @J2DXPLR, @K2man56, @Jbjr, and @d3lbort. A great mix of faces and rigs, both old and new! We met up at about 7am just outside of Lake Pleasant on Castle Hot Springs Rd. We were in for a gorgeous day of sun, fun, and challenges. Of course, no trip to CK can be complete without paying our respects to the CK Rock. The trail has seen better days in the past with our recent few years of wild monsoons and wildfires. However, we noticed that a good chunk of the trail had recently been bladed, likely ahead of the Jamboree in a few weeks. The road was still pretty rough though, despite the bulldozing. The trail has multiple optional challenges along the way ranging from mild to wild. The majority of the group did most of the obstacles - with a few attempting every one, including "The Escalator". From my annual snapshot perspective, all of the obstacles were a bit more tame this year than in years past (that or I'm just becoming desensitized!) Here are some snaps from obstacle 1. Obstacle 2 gives you 3 possible challenges - everyone walked right up the most difficult line! I also think this is the most photogenic obstacle on the entire trail. Look at that rig lineup! We trucked on, knocking over challenge by challenge. We only had 1 recovery up to this point where @d3lbort got a little high-centered on some soft dirt. Some repositioning and a tug from @theksmith and they popped free! Here are some more random photos from along the trail. The mine at Humbug Creek and Burro John has changed drastically - again. The operation really seems to have expanded. They had a number of earthmovers running as we drove through the re-re-re-re-redirected trail. We broke for lunch at about 11:15 just past the mine, right along a flowing Humbug Creek - a welcome site. I haven't seen it flowing since 2019. After lunch we started the last 1/3rd of the trail, which typically takes some time as due to the narrow nature of the trail (and SxS traffic) in addition to the ledges at Oro Belle Mine which always require from finesse and recovery. As we progressed deeper into the trail, the road became a nice slushy mess of snow and ice and mud, which I've not seen on the trail before. The Ledges: Some time between 2021 and 2022 someone created a bypass around the first ledge at Oro Belle. The ledge has gotten a lot worse since then. I used to be able to get over it in a stock Rubicon - not today on 2.5" lift and 35's. I was stuck pretty good, with my front passenger LCA bracket stuck on a dip in the ledge. @d3lbort attempted to pull me backwards off the ledge, but no dice. Out came the hi-lift jack and wheel lifter - stacking some rocks - another tug and BOOM - off the ledge. For a sense of scale on how torn up the ledge is now - the biggest member of the group (@theksmith) was defeated and he's on 37's and 5" of lift. Given a lot more time (and without a rabid pack of SXS's on our butts) we probably could have figured it out, but the ledge has become a real challenge. Here's @J2DXPLR from a distance giving it the old college try! The bypass isn't much better, complicated by running water, making for a slippery climb. As the crew was climbing, there was a lot of slippage to the driver-side with the possibility of smacking the boulder pictured below (far right). Once past the bypass, it was time for the 2nd ledge at Oro Belle. 2nd Ledge pictured in front of my Jeep We had to do another bit of recovery when @d3lbort got high-centered on an inconvenient boulder in the center of the ledge. Out popped the hi-lift, rock stacking, and a tug with a strap and she was free! Here's Jacq guiding Jeremy over the ledge. Note the rock face to the left and the 50ft drop to the right. A nerve-wracking spot for sure - and the snow didn't make it much better. @theksmith spanked it though - naturally! The last leg of the trail climbs up and up - with excellent views of where we'd been. We stopped in town for a well earned burger, fried zucchini, and the famous fudge from the CK General Store! Sorry, I didn't take any photos in town. On the way down Crown King Road to the I17, we stopped to "ooo and ahhh" over the views. We were aired up and on the highway by 6:15pm. A full day for sure of fun and challenges! Thanks again for everyone that could join us and make for such an excellent day. It was great seeing/meeting you all.
  17. Had a great time this weekend with some of the crew on the Asbestos Mine trail! No clearance issues with the recent mods - so that's a bonus. On the way home I stopped for a few photos at the end of 288 and 188. Probably one of the prettiest drives in all of Arizona. The bridge on 288 over the Salt River: Roosevelt Bridge on 188 - probably the most aesthetically-pleasing bridges I've ever seen. The afternoon/early evening light is always perfect from this vantage point as it moves through the canyon and shines on the bridge.
  18. Thanks for leading a great day run @theksmith. Even with the "fail" it was a great day out on a gorgeous and fun trail. Always great seeing @gearhead and enjoyed meeting @klaykrusher for the first time! On the way up - the area feels out-of-place for Arizona, with tons of trees of all types. Here's a frozen waterfall on the way up. Beautiful area for a break! Here's Klaykrusher at the point on the trail where we transitioned from dirt to snow and mud. Lots of wheel spin and need for lockers or our "brake-lock differential" in several places. Especially when you combine snow and boulders. The trail starts off lush, green, and gorgeous - but then you slowly transition into the eerie dead ponderosa forest the higher you climb - the result of a wildfire years back. Plenty of dried and downed trees that have been cleared by passers-by - and us. Here's one of several blockages we came across. We noticed that some previous visitor had started to saw at the tree up near where Kris and Dave are standing - however they really only scratched the surface. They must have been SxSs, as we also figured they dug out the side of the hill (note the fresh dirt) to give themselves enough clearance to get under the tree - leaving it for everyone else to deal with. Here's Kris hacking away: We hacked enough of the tree away to be able to snap it with a good pull of a winch. We then needed to get the tree out of the trail. We rigged up a pully on a nearby tree to help swing the log out of the way - but literally every tree around us was dead. The result was Murphy's Law: We eventually got the log off to the side with some creative winching by Kristoffer and were able to roll it out of the way. We ended up needing to clear 2 more trees - but they were moveable by hand - rolling the trunk out of the way. Kristoffer had to jump out several more times to remove some smaller logs from the trail as we pushed through. The views quickly opened up to show the surrounding mountain peaks, helped by the lack of foliage. A good look at the boulders that littered much of the trail. Another good look at the dead forest. Quite a bit of off-camber throughout the day, but nothing terribly sketchy at all. **Note the view of Four Peaks in the background on this shot** Here's where we hit a dead-end. The equation ended up being: (Snow + Ice + Boulders) X Steep Incline = No Traction. Even for a rig in beast-mode like Kristoffer's. We walked up the trail a bit at this point and the snow drifts were as deep as 2ft in some spots, with boulders lurking underneath. Defeated by the mountain - we turned around at this point and headed back down. Thankfully, there was a place wide enough for us all to do an 8pt turn and head back down the mountain.
  19. 4x4tographer

    Meet Jack

    So sorry to hear about Rita - but happy you ended up with Jack! Sounds like you have some big plans in the works! Looking forward to seeing you guys on the trails sometime soon. For what it's worth, I have the Fox 2.0's and I've been happy with them for the last 1-2 years. You're gonna be outflexing all of us with the game changer lift you bought
  20. Wired up the amber backlighting for the Diode Dynamics fog lights tonight. Tapped in to the side marker wiring which is no longer in use on the front fenders. I also dialed in the vertical adjustments on the fogs and fussed around with the Rigid Industries white fogs that are installed on the bumper. The rigid definitely have a "fuzzier" light cutoff than the Diode Dynamics. The new fogs have SHARP cutoffs on the horizontal light plane on both the top and bottom.
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