Nena's Blog

Moab Summertime Special!

$295 24hr Jeep Rentals All Summer Long!

Explore the amazing 4x4 trails of Moab at a special discounted Summertime rate! 24 hr Jeep rentals are just $295 for a custom equipped, 2 or 4-door Barlow Adventures Jeep. Our Jeeps are top-of-the line Jeep Wrangler Rubicons, professionally modified for Moab's adventurous trails and back roads. Packed with convenient and comfortable features like automatic transmissions, air conditioning and satellite radio, our Jeeps will get you out there and back in style. Our experienced and knowledgeable staff will show you how to properly use the features of your Jeep, as well as give you some driving tips to handle any trail you choose. We speak Jeep, and can also provide service for our experienced wheeling friends.

All Barlow Jeeps in Moab come standard with:

  • 3" suspension lifts
  • 33-35" heavy-duty off road tires
  • Extra undercarraige armor
  • Automatic transmissions
  • Air conditioning/heat
  • Full hard doors for safety and comfort
  • AM-FMRadio/CD/MP3-compatible/XM Satellite Radio

$295 a day rate good at our Moab location only. Regularly $325 a day. Price good through September 4, 2017. 3 and 7 day specials also available!


Book a Jeep: Moab

Overland Expo West 2017

Friday, May 12 - Sunday, May 14

If you are planning to attend Overland Expo in Flagstaff next weekend, catch Nena at one of the following:

Friday, May 12:
11:00 - 11:50 am: Ram Trucks presentation at Ram Trucks display
7:30 PM Ladies Night at the Roundtable Pavilion, hosted by the ladies of Overland Expo.

Saturday, May 13:
11:00 - 11:50 am: How to Rebelle, presented by Nena Barlow and Emily Miller at the Roundtable Pavillion
Discussion on skills for the Rebelle Rally: navigation and driving, teamwork tips, keys to competing effectively, how to get over the helmet thing, and more.

Sunday, May 14:
1:00 - 2:50 pm: Rollover demo and recovery with the Nena Barlow and the Camel Trophy teams at the Recovery 2 area.
See Candy, the yellow 4Runner, do what she does!

Our Moab Location has Moved!

Big News at Barlow's!

Our new store location in downtown Moab at 284 N. Main Street is now open! All of us at Barlow Adventures look forward to serving you at our new, easy to find, easy access location in beautiful downtown Moab, UT. It's been a hectic week for the Moab crew relocating from our old Highway 191 location at Rock Plaza, but the painting is done, the Jeeps are moved, the signs are up, and we are open for business! We are very excited to offer the same great rental Jeeps, 4wd training, and expert guide services our customers have come to expect, and we're looking forward to many happy years as part of the Moab 4x4 community! Same Moab phone number as before:

(435) 259-3195 or toll free: 1-888-928-JEEP

Book your next visit online, or come see us at our new Moab location soon!

Barlow Adventures Moab

284 N. Main St.
Moab, UT 84532
Phone: 435-259-3195

Rubicon Trips FAQ

1. Do I need a lot of 4-wheeling experience to drive the Rubicon?
Even though the Rubicon Trail is one of the most difficult trails in the US - novices will do just fine. Our experienced and knowledgeable guides will show you everything you need to learn to successfully and safely drive the Rubicon Trail.

2. Is it really that difficult?
Yes. Very. Really.

3. How big is the group?
About four vehicles, including the guide Jeep. We keep our groups small to maximize guide time with each guest and minimize trail impact.

4. How far in advance do I need to make reservations?
Rubicon trips are custom designed and priced for the needs of your group. The further ahead reservations are made, the better the trip can be planned and the more likely you will be to get the dates you want. Our guides do a limited number of exclusive trips each year so don't wait too long to contact us.

5. Are there any dangerous wild animals out there?
Not really. Black bears can be a nuisance but are generally not dangerous to humans.

6. How is the weather?
Fantastic! Plenty of sunshine with daytime temperatures in the mid 70s to low 80s, clear, starry nights in the 50s and 60s.

7. Will it rain?
Unlikely, but not impossible. At 6,000' above sea level, brief summer thunderstorms can develop quickly. Best to be prepared with a light rain jacket or poncho.

8. What should I bring?
Not much other than clothes and a few personal items. See our What to Bring post for a general list.

9. Who can participate?
Drivers must be 25 or older with a valid driver's licence and proof of full coverage auto insurance. The Rubicon is a county road and all California state driving laws apply. No underage drivers please! Passengers may be of any age unless otherwise restricted by a specific trip.

10. Are there health restrictions?
Participants should be in good health. No one with heart conditions, previous seizures, or high blood pressure or other potentially life threatening illnesses, please! All events are held outdoors with lots of time both in and out of the Jeep. Some walking over broken, uneven terrain is required. This is the backcountry and medical help is far away.

11. What if we break down or get stuck?
You will get stuck! Learning to get un-stuck is one of the skills you'll aquire from our guides on the trail. Breakdowns are another matter. Even well-maintained vehicles sometimes breakdown and AAA does'nt come out this way. Some light repairs can be done at Rubicon Springs but in most cases we are on our own. We carry the tools and expertise to handle most problems but a serious mechanical issue can cut a trip short. This almost never happens, but refunds cannot be provided for trips cut short due to mechanical issues.

12. What if I damage a Barlow's Jeep?
We all make mistakes from time to time, and occasionally, one of our guests has an unplanned encounter with a rock, resulting in a dented bumper, damaged skid plate or mangled fender. This kind of damage comes with the territory and our Jeeps are insured against it.

Acting recklessly or against the guide's instructions is another matter, however, and guests may be held liable for any damage that results. In such a case, most guests choose to submit a claim to their auto insurance company to cover the cost.

Most importantly, we want everyone to be safe and have fun. Jeeps are replaceable, you and your family are not. We build and maintain our Jeeps for the utmost in safety and capability.

13. Is it cool to smoke and drink on the trail?
No. The Rubicon is a county road and drinking while driving comes with severe penalties. The trail is regularly patrolled by Eldorado County Sheriffs. Due to the extreme summer fire hazard in the Sierras, and as a courtesy to our non-smoking guests, there is no smoking allowed in any Barlow's vehicle. Depending on seasonal fire restrictions, smoking may be allowed at camps outside the vehicle. Moderate and responsible consumption of alcohol at camp is acceptable.

14. What about environmental concerns?
We take every step to conduct our trips in an environmentally sound manner. Barlow Adventures is a member of and advocate for the US Forest Service's Tead Lightly! program and works to educate the public on safe and responsible 4 wheel drive practices.

15. Are there bathrooms along the trail?
In remote areas you may expect bathroom stops to consist of thick patches of trees or shrubs. You may wish to carry toilet paper in a ziplock bag in order to pack out used paper products. Please keep our forests and trails clean—pack out your trash!

What Should I Bring on a Rubicon Trip?

Pack Light

Space is limited in a Jeep so we encourage our guests to pack light, fitting all of your personal gear in one sturdy duffle bag if at all possible. Here's an idea of what should be packed:

  • Shorts and long pants (warm days, cool nights)
  • T-shirts (or other comfortable, breathable shirts you don't mind getting dirty)
  • Sweatshirt or fleece
  • Windbreaker or packable rain jacket
  • Sturdy shoes: hiking boots, Teva-style sport sandals
  • Hat and sunglasses
  • Sunscreen and bug spray (we can also have these available if you cannot carry them on your flight)
  • Tums, Advil, Imodium--basic things to help keep you comfortable
  • Any medication that you take regularly
  • Towel, flashlight, lighter/matches
  • Sense of humor and a smile!

We've Got You Covered

If you book a custom guided Rubicon trip through Barlow Adventures, we provide meals during your time on the trail. Pack your own favorite snacks, and any beverages you want besides water for after each day on the trail. We can also provide clean, quality tents, pads and sleeping bags for our guests, upon request. Restrooms are porta-potties along the trail. There are no showers, though you may find the lakes and rivers suitable for swimming. 
 
Our guide Jeeps carry tools, first aid, a emergency communication and recovery equipment for unexpected breakdowns and sticky situations along the trail. Every Barlow Jeep is outfitted with a fire extinguisher and other emergency equipment. When you book with us, we'll give you a rundown of any other basic safety equipment you might need to carry in your vehicle.

Aside from all of the gear and equipment, our experienced and knowledgeable guides will provide spotting, recovery, 4x4 instruction, and information about the trail and the spectacular country it traverses.

How to Prepare Your Rig for the Rubicon Trail

Can My Rig Handle the Rubicon?

Rock rash, mechanical failures and body damage can and do happen on this trail and any driver intent on bringing their own rig should be aware of the risks. If you think you can get through the whole Rubicon trail without a scratch of any kind anywhere, you should probably NOT go on this trip—scraping and scratches happen with even the most skilled drivers.

Not only should your rig be in top-form maintenance, but if your vehicle doesn’t have the following MINIMUM requirements, we will not even consider it for a Barlow Adventures guided trip. We have developed these minimums for the general capability and comfort for a long trip to be enjoyable by the majority of clients. Can a lesser vehicle make it through? Yes, but it will take considerably more time, with a much higher risk of damage. Even if your vehicle does have these, we may still decline to accommodate your vehicle based on other factors, like gearing ratios versus driver experience, vehicle condition concerns, or safety worthiness.

Read and download our PDF guide below for a full rundown on vehicle requirements for the Rubicon.
How-To-Prepare-Your-Jeep-For-The-Rubicon

Baja Relief Trip

Baja California Sur, Mexico
Hurricane Odile Relief Trip
by Nena Barlow

My trip to Baja was my small way to contribute to the efforts of rebuilding from the damages of Hurricane Odile. We launched the Friends of Harald group to raise funds to go directly and entirely to help those who need a boost to recover in Harald’s neighborhood, like Pedro, who lost his entire house. I chose to contribute by using my resources of time and money to actually deliver some goods and be there to assist physically and with whatever reassurances I could offer. I took my 17-year-old son, PJ, with me for experience for him and just some extra muscle for the rebuild projects. We both saw a lot, learned a lot, and it was a gratifying trip.

We left from Arizona with our 4x4 pickup truck and drove Mexico 5 through San Felipe and Coco’s Corner on our way to Highway 1, the famous Transpeninsular Highway, to Guererro Negro at the border of Baja California Sur. Then we drove the 1, all the way to La Paz. Everyone will tell you to be careful driving in Mexico. But after driving in Phoenix and Los Angeles, I find that driving the Transpeninsular Highway is a refreshingly friendly experience. Yes, the lanes are very narrow much of the way, but the pavement (even after the Hurricane) is much smoother than, say, Sacramento or Santa Monica. The traffic is light, polite and very cooperative about passing and making way for oncoming traffic.

As we passed through coastal areas of Baja California, you see some roofs missing, sand piled against some structures, and a few downed trees, but you are not sure if this is just neglect or hurricane damage. But once you reach Baja California Sur, as you drive through San Ignacio, then Santa Rosalia and Loreto and Mulege, you suddenly realize how violent and recent this all actually was. Water lines on trees and walls above the roofs of homes, trucks and cars half-buried in sand alongside a recently rebuild bridge, wind-whipped trees leaning with just a few scraggly leaves clinging to the branches, and tarps where roofs of homes and businesses used to be.

I have to admire the people’s response to the hurricane. Instead of sitting down in the middle of the devastation, lamenting their losses, and waiting for someone to come help, they take the attitude of “well, that sucked—let’s start sweeping up and do what we need to do to get working again.” The Transpeninsular Highway, the main artery of all of Baja, washed out in many places. Bridges or low water crossings were just gone, and in many places where the highway had been built up to be level, the fill was washed or blown away and the road edges were collapsed. By the first day the water had stopped flowing, locals were clearing go-arounds and bypasses so the trucks could get through. The federal government sent over ferries full of CFE (the power company) trucks to reestablish electricity as soon as possible. Within a week or two after the hurricane knocked down nearly every power pole in the La Paz area, CFE workers had them upright and functioning again. And on an individual level, I like to point to Pedro and his family-- Pedro’s entire house collapsed. They salvaged what they could and put up a tarp for some shelter. He showed up to work the following Monday. Life goes on.

So, our trip was not to bring immediate relief of emergency supplies, but rather to help with the ongoing rebuild of secondary needs (if you consider things like a house secondary, after water, food and electricity are restored…) La Paz has a population of almost one-hundred thousand people. Like many American cities of that size, has a Home Depot and a Walmart, which seems so odd after driving the last 1000 miles through rural Mexican countryside. Having those stores meant that there were many supplies we needed for our projects that did not have to be carried by us from the states. Our load of supplies consisted of odd things that cannot be found in La Paz stores: a cement vibrator, synthetic motor oil, solar panels, and Viva paper towels. Any of you who have traveled with Harald understand the significance of Viva paper towels.

 

This also made for interesting conversations at the military checkpoints. The primary goal of the military checkpoints is to stop guns and drugs, but they found my camping air mattresses, Viva paper towels, and my ARB weather-proof duffels to be the items of most interest. When one thorough soldier insisted on me showing the contents of my duffel, I pulled out the pair of pink panties on top and waved them at him. He quickly decided that we could move on. I might not recommend that as a technique for everyone.

We spent five whirlwind days at Hacienda Las Puertas (Harald’s house), righting leaning trees, cutting up trees that couldn’t be saved, rebuilding hurricane-ravaged roofs, and working on wall and house designs that would be better this time around. We did take evenings off to enjoy local cuisine, cruise El Malecon (the Esplanade), or hang out at the beach. I lived on seafood and tortillas—yum! We held a small party on Saturday afternoon for the Friends of Harald, and presented Pedro with a gift certificate for a house. He was surprised and very happy! On Monday, Harald, Karl, PJ and I visited Pedro’s family. Pedro showed us his property, and gave us radishes from his garden. His mother and father, who also live on the property, showed me where their kitchen had collapsed. Karl came up with a plan to improve the electrical wiring for the whole property as well as hook up the rebuilt house to the sewer for the first time.

We talked a lot about what to do next with Friends of Harald, now that the plan for Pedro’s house is set and work is starting. The challenge is that there are so many that still need basic things, like a roof over their head, that it is hard to choose who gets what little help we can offer. We made some wonderful friends and saw some amazing things. I hope that we made some difference, and through Friends of Harald, can continue to do so. We go on, and we do what we can with what we have. Hasta mañana!

Respect

Easter Jeep Safari 2014 in Moab was bigger than ever. The weather was beautiful and many of the official trail runs were full to maximum capacity, making all the trails busy with both official and unofficial runs. Considering just how busy the trails were, I was impressed by how well most people cooperated and showed respect for both the trails and other users. MOST people.

There was one particular incident which set a poor example of respectful trail use. This incident involved a group of 4-wheelers whose leader insisted that they had the right to run any trail whenever and however they wished. They were attempting to enter a trail from the backside which was not only closed to the public for the day, but also a one-way only trail all week, regardless of Safari runs. There are eight trails that are closed on days during Safari that there is an official Safari run—ONLY eight, out of the 38 listed official Safari trails. When they were informed by the trail official that they would have to run a different trail that day, they waved him off and said “We’ll just follow behind you.” When the official again informed them that this would be illegal during Safari, they told him “We’re locals” (they’re not), as if that made it okay to be rude, disrespectful, and disobey the law. It actually took a phone call to the Sheriff to convince these guys to go elsewhere.

Contrary to the beliefs of some, the laws and etiquette of the trails are not imposed to inconvenience people, but rather to protect the trails so they do not degrade beyond all continued enjoyment. The eight trails closed during Safari run days are closed because they are one way in and one way out, or far too difficult to have groups safely pass each other without widening the trail. Most people would find trails far less enjoyable if they became giant dust bowls because the soil crust is crushed beyond all ability to support trees and shrubs and hold down the sand from billowing away. And we have all been on trails where there are far too many Jeeps and we spend much of our time parked, waiting to move through an obstacle. The rules are pretty simple to follow, and the Red Rock 4-Wheelers clearly post the information on their website and in the paper available for free all over town. In my opinion, if you are too lazy to research what trails are available, OR you just don't care enough about the trails or other users to follow basic etiquette or law, you are not a responsible trail user and you just shouldn't go.

Here’s the part that really bugs me—the offending party in question was a representative of a well-known 4x4 parts manufacturers. These are people whose livelihood depends on the existence of public trails. These are people who should be setting a glowing example of how to properly use a trail, respecting the laws and ethics, and all other users of the trails. There were MANY aftermarket parts companies in town, and I know that the vast majority of them take the time to acquire any required permits, check Safari schedules to plan their routes, and go out of their way to respect the environment and other users on the land. Fortunately, the incident in question seems to be a somewhat isolated occurrence these days.

Promote and support companies who respect the trails and all other users of the trails. Those are the companies who understand that, in order for our recreation AND their business to continue, we must care for what we have. If a company exhibits shameful conduct on the trails, I will choose to not promote or do business with them. I make a point of promoting the businesses which DO practice good trail ethics and etiquette. I encourage all of you to do the same.

Happy Trails!
NB

Woodchute Trail: Secret Gem!

With temperatures doing what they do in June in AZ, many people are seeking out cooler temps at higher elevations. Many people know about the stunning views and fascinating history of Mingus Mountain and Schnebly Hill Road, but a little-known secret gem of a trail is the Woodchute Jeep Trail just above Jerome AZ.

 

The Woodchute Jeep Trail starts at FR 503A just at the bend at mile marker 339 on Hwy 89A. High clearance 4x4 required, and if you have an aversion to brush scratches, this may not be the trail for you, as its status as being "little-known" also means lower traffic and more overgrowth after the wet season.

The trail is short--only about 5 miles and 1-1.5 hours off-pavement, with stops. It loops back down to Hwy 89A and you come out on the highway only 2 miles uphill from Jerome. For a gorgeous full-day of Jeeping, start with the Mingus Mountain trail, which takes off at the bottom of the mountain near the Cottonwood Airport, then loop back through Woodchute for those spectacular afternoon views.

Check it out for yourself!

More maps and info at JeepTrailInfo.com and Funtreks.com

Speaking up on the Trail

A few years ago, I wrote an article about the social dynamics of groups on the trail--how sometimes in a sticky situation there are too many people shouting opposing opinions at the same time, and how at other times no one speaks up when they should. Recent mishaps with weather calls and recovery snafus have brought this topic back to mind.

Here is the link to the whole article I wrote for JPFreek Magazine.

Remember that, in most cases, it pays to take an extra few seconds to think things through, discuss circumstances calmly, clearly, and thoroughly. Unless, for example, someone's rig is on fire, or sliding out of control towards a cliff, there is usually no need for urgent action. Step back and explore all the options.

In a spotting situation, there shouldn't be a bunch of people yelling out all at once. Observers should communicate their concerns through the designated spotter.

Finally, and very importantly, a good trail leader should not be offended by someone in the group asking for clarification on a judgement call or recovery staging, BUT it's better to risk offending that person rather than risk personal safety or vehicle damage. As a professional instructor, I expect to be explaining what I see and the judgements I make all day long as a way to help others develop their own on-trail decision-making skills. Ultimately, you, the driver, are responsible for the "go" or "no-go" call for yourself, so, in my book, it is ALWAYS okay to ask for more information.

Happy trails!