Hell’s Revenge is a difficult trail in the Sand Flats Recreation Area near Moab, UT. A truck that passes through this trail should have 33″ tires, one locker, some skid plates, and good suspension articulation. Some of the hardest obstacles have bypasses or may be avoided but you should be prepared for a hardcore trail (especially if it has just rained). I opted not to drive my truck on this trail and went for a long hike. It’s a nice perspective and I wanted to walk a little of my 4,000 mile road trip. Enjoy the photos and find the rest of them on the dedicated page!
The Gold Valley area can be reached from the north by taking CA-89 (Graeagle is the closest town of any significance) and heading west towards Graeagle-Johnsville Road. From the south CA-49 can be used to reach Gold Lake Highway. From the Guide to Northern California Backroads and 4-Wheel Drive Trails by Charles A. Wells (Mr. Wells has since converted his separate California books into a single book):
“From Auburn and Grass Valley, take Hwy. 49 north and east past Downieville and on to tiny Bassetts. From Truckee, take Hwy. 89 north to 49 then go west to Bassetts. From Bassetts Station, take Gold Lake Highway west then north about a mile and a half. Turn left over a bridge following signs to Sardine Lake. After 0.2 miles turn right towards Packer Lake. Go another 2.7 miles and turn left. Climb uphill until you reach Packer Saddle at the top of a ridge in another 1.6 miles. You’ll continue straight on a gravel road for Gold Valley Trail. Deer Lake Trail is to the right and Sierra Buttes Lookout is left on the paved road.”
The area around Gold Valley (and the Tahoe National Forest in general) is simply astounding. I went here last September so there were no snow problems but obviously that’s a different case during the winter and early spring months. The trail happens to overlap with the Pacific Crest Trail in some spots so be sure to watch out for hikers and cyclists. As always, be sure to share these photos and videos with your friends. Enjoy!
Location of a campground by Gold Lake:
There are many more videos and photos of the area on the trail-specific page.
EC 119 (also known as Dos Cabezas Road) is one of the many trails winding through Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. I-8 or CA-78 can be used to reach S-2 which is the nearest paved road. The junction between I-8 and S-2 is about four miles to the southeast of where this trail begins. The San Diego and Arizona Eastern Railway runs along this trail and there’s even an abandoned rail station along the route. EC 158 branches off of EC 119 and heads back east to S-2. The views of the desert, mountains, and gorges are simply stunning. Be wary of illegal immigrants and smugglers; do not go hiking along the tracks.
West Mortero Wash
Find the rest of the photos and video footage here. Enjoy!
Note: Sometimes, the truck doesn’t come out unscathed.
One of the reasons I haven’t posted as much lately (aside from laziness) is dealing with the Totally Integrated Power Module (TIPM) that’s installed in my Jeep. In less than two years ownership of my 2012 Wrangler I’ve had to replace this device twice. The first time the TIPM failed was in the desert. My dashboard turned into a Christmas tree, the speedometer went to zero, the engine oil temperature meter pegged, and when I plugged the OBDII reader in I pulled numerous faults that amounted to a loss of communication with numerous components. In vain hope I decided to disconnect the battery. I was also an idiot and shorted the terminals together. The dealer noticed this on the battery terminal and claimed that I “cross-jumpered” the battery; as if some current flowing through just the battery terminals should damage the TIPM (without blowing fuses by the way). I was out for about $650 on the part and $300 on labor. It also took two weeks for the part to show up. This happened about six months ago. Here’s the work order for the first TIPM replacement:
Last month, I received several fault codes from the ABS Module (C1246 & C1082), TCM (U0414), and fuel level instrumentation (P0643). These codes are obviously not related and I thought that the TIPM might have failed again. I dropped the Jeep off at the dealership (Midway in San Diego). I got a call the next day asking to drop the fuel tank to check a couple of test points. After showing up in person to explain that they should troubleshoot indications that don’t involve so much time and effort. I also explained how it made little sense for numerous sensors to all fail at the same time. The dealer tech relented and the next day I received a phone call stating that the TIPM failed again. The new TIPM has still not show up and I bought a new-to-me truck, a 2011 Tacoma. The dealer did not offer a courtesy vehicle. I’ll post up what the work order says for this next replacement as soon as my Jeep is fixed. (Update: The work order is posted below. I got a whole 4761 miles out of the second TIPM.) After dealing with rather long wait times to receive this part I decided to look into that matter some more…
The TIPM might just look like a fuse and relay box, but the positive terminal of the battery is connected directly to it and the TIPM is a power switching and control device that controls many settings and supplies power to all peripheral components and systems. The TIPM has a case on the outside (duh), has fuses and automotive relays near the top, then has seven decks of buswork (wires), has a board with several relays and Integrated Circuits (IC’s) that perform the logic operations, and then some sockets near the bottom. The TIPM even controls pulse width modulation for the headlights. And when overcurrent conditions are detected by the circuitry, the TIPM will often just shut off the offending system with no warning. But hey, this device allows the radio to stay on after pulling the key out of the ignition. Just a few photos to get a better idea of what’s in there:
Interestingly enough I couldn’t find this part on Mopar’s website. I was able to find the part on another website as a slightly newer revision. But if Chrysler hasn’t bought this from a vendor who could properly assemble and/or design the TIPM I really don’t want to try this again. It really doesn’t help that any one of the relays on the board (the white boxes) going bad can cause a loss of functionality with no warning. The only thing that can be done if one of the relays or IC’s fail on the board fail is to replace the whole TIPM.
Complaints about the TIPM that’s been supplied in most Chrysler vehicles since around 2006/7 are nothing new. The 2007 Wrangler and Dodge Nitro had to have the TIPM reporgrammed to prevent the fuel pump from turning off during operation. 2011-2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee’s and Dodge Durango’s had to be recalled due to fuel pump relay failures in the TIPM, affecting almost half a million vehicles. A search of National Highway Transportation Safety Administration complaints show numerous instances of 2006 Dodge Power Wagon’s having failing/failed TIPM’s that sometimes cause loss of functionality such as trailer brake lights going out while towing, or windshield wipers turning off in the rain. There are several instances of Dodge/Ram truck owners going through multiple failed TIPM’s. The Center for Automotive Safety also has plenty of documentation relating to these failures for anyone who’s interested. It really is too easy for the TIPM too fail.
A number of people seem to be getting upset with Chrysler and a class action lawsuit is pending against Fiat-Chrysler. I think that it’s about time I added my name to this lawsuit, especially since Chrysler’s motion to dismiss failed. I ended up buying a 2011 Toyota Tacoma and am thoroughly finished with Chrysler. At least as soon as the part shows up and I can finally sell my Jeep anyway. For anyone who’s interested in a Chrysler vehicle, be very careful.
One of the things that I greatly enjoy is going off-road and hitting the trail in my Jeep. I’ve taken numerous photos and fully intend to take many more. I’ll be posting up shots of my own Jeep, various other trucks and 4×4’s that I see along the trail, and the various trails that I have and will see. Maybe you’ll find some photos that you like or perhaps you’ll even purchase your own truck or 4×4 if you don’t have one. Either way, below are some sample pictures and you can see the Picture Gallery page at the top of the menu bar. Enjoy!