Shakedown Cruise – “Drive By Vacation”

Entering Rockport State Park, UT

A shakedown cruise is what it sounds like…shaking until stuff breaks. We took our first shakedown cruise in August 2019 (hello Sharon, Nathan, Tim, Dirck, and Jill). The nomenclature IS correct.

This trip was also what we call a “drive-by” vacation. That means you’re going SO FAR that you basically drive by anything of interest to get where you’re going, then turn around and drive back. This was our first trip with the Jeep re-geared to 4.56, pulling the fully loaded trailer up and down mountain passes in Utah, Wyoming, and Colorado. No major issues, unless you were behind us on our way UP a steep mountain pass. If that was you, we apologize. Jeeps don’t haul buns (or trailers) up steep grades with any speed.

We were headed to Denver to get our Gobi rack factory installed (to save the brother & brother-in-law from involvement), take care of some business, and visit family. One educational experience happened at Seminoe State Park in Wyoming. There’s a reason why folks there don’t tent camp in the open by the water. Everything was wonderful until about 11 PM the first night, when the “wind came sweeping down the plain.” At about 40 MPH. Remember, this is a roof-top tent. We survived. Some slept through it, some laughed, and one of us panicked. Like totally panicked. No name, no shame … but thanks CVT – great product, and passed the wind tunnel evaluation!

In Denver, we rain-tested everything. Seriously, like MONSOON tested. We recommend learning how to deploy and stake down your Rhino Rack 270° Batwing Awning before the big storm hits. The wind can pick that thing up like a SAIL. And if one little old lady is holding on when it flies, the other little old lady is screaming. Good times! Rhino Rack expects this learning curve and sells replacement parts. Now we have many.

Driving back to California from Denver was uneventful, except for the temperatures. Can anything live in 120° heat? At what temp does asphalt soften and require 4-LO? We slept during the day and traveled at night. Jeep ran great. Big shout-out to Jeff and team at Arabia’s Overkill in Campbell CA for all their work making this long-term travel plan reality! And yes, it IS interesting that the lug wrench for the Jeep is a DIFFERENT size than the trailer. Always good to travel 2,837 miles with no issues to discover these details later.  Remember, “Shakedown.”