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Discussion Starter #1
I went up to Spring Creek this weekend with my brother and my boss, both with ZJ's. There was some snow and ice up higher on the trail that turned us around. We were looking for a half-day ride and decided one wrong move could cost us a bunch of time. Part of the trail is a shelf road where miners stacked rocks to make the road probably a century ago. Not much room for wrong moves. Another hard core group went on up but I don't suppose they made it to the Rock Garden.

On the way up the first rock field.



Sitting by a mine to the left and the drop off the tailings pile to the right. I-70 is below and we're about 5 miles west of Idaho springs. The Continental Divide is in the distance.



My brother's ZJ doing things a Commander can't.



Or can they?



With the stabilizer bar disconnected, the QDII didn't work as hard all day. The ride was greatly improved and I rarely lifted a wheel. Unfortunately, I think I wasted my driver side upper ball joint. The Jeep is going in Thursday to find out. The better upper control arms are in the future.



The way back down. Two GC's taking two different lines, both guaranteed by gravity. You can get an idea of the steepness of this hill by looking at I-70 below. The snow certianly made this section different than I'm used to.

 

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Awesome pics, looks like fun. We need to get a CO XK owners outing now that wheeling season is here.
 

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Great looking country, can't wait to get out there myself.
 

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Love the pics. Thanks for sharing.
 

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Yeah those pics are awesome...never been to CO but I'm itching to go...
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Thanks guys -

Andyd00d - the trail is so rocky that all the clearance you can get is helpful. I still tagged both my a-arms, the rear diff and the rear lower control arm mounts in the rock field. A slightly lifted XK with 265's (that's all I have) can get up to the Rock Garden entrance. There is only one obstacle that gives low clearance rigs a hard time, but once past it, it's just unimproved old mining road to the Rock Garden entrance. (Using a strap, we got a stock XTerra over it two years ago.) The Rock Garden is a different story. I've done it once with my '91 wrangler, but I was open in both diffs and had to take the bypasses. I only had 33's on that so even locked up, I doubt I could have gotten through it without smacking stuff. A couple years ago, I read where the trail is rated a 10 out of 10 if you go through the Rock Garden, and an 8 out of 10 if you take the bypasses. Once the snow melts we intend to finish the trail but I am certain my route will be through the Rock Garden bypasses.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Update on what I thought was a wasted ball joint - it's not.

The metal-to-metal noise the jeep was making was one of the new Bilstein struts I had them install – the nut at the top of the shaft was bottomed against the threads, but under the weight of the jeep, the nut came up from the strut top plate just a bit. When the wheel dropped into a hole, the nut would come down a fraction of an inch and contact the top plate, making the noise. Ball joints are apparently ok. Now I'll wait for the other side to do it. :)
 

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Yeah those pics are awesome...never been to CO but I'm itching to go...
You better join the jeepcommander.com summer outing in Colorado! I cannot wait to go! I do agree with you, those pics are awesome and his XK looks sweet!
 
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