Summer 2011 – Update #1

No grass for the animals so we buy hay and feed

After a rough winter with very cold weather, we are now suffering with a drought – only four inches of rain have fallen at our place since the first of the year, so we have to buy hay and feed.  We bought a 2,000 pound capacity tube feeder to supplement the hay for the antelope.  So far it looks like they are eating about 1,000 – 1,500 pounds of feed a month (we’ve only had the feeder about two months.)  The drought has been good business for the feed stores, so at least somebody is doing well.

We had visions of maybe making a little money on the herd this fall when we have more animals trapped and sold, but that’s not going to happen.  Ranchers all over the state and the Southwest are having a hard time and many can’t afford to feed their cattle.  Please Lord, we badly need rain!

We are getting more serious about off-roading which is why we bought a 2006 Jeep Rubicon Unlimited last fall and spent quite a bit of time and money into making it more capable for off-roading.  For those curious about the modifications, we have a 4″ suspension lift, 1.5″ body lift, motor mount lift,

Great axle articulation after our many modifications

Our 2006 Rubicon on the trail in Moab, Utah

33″ tires, 4.88 gears, special bumpers, 10,500 pound capacity hydraulic winch, a tummy tuck with special skid plates, rock sliders, and extra reinforcements to the roll cage.  The tummy tuck pushes the driveline further up into the body which adds a couple of inches of ground clearance.  We have an air compressor because we air the tires down to about 10-12 psi when we run the trails.

The first test of our Rubi was the Chili Challenge off-road event held near Las Cruces, NM in February.  After running a couple of moderate rated trails, we realized more needed to be done to the Jeep, so more tweaking (and money spent) was done afterwards.

The second test of the Rubicon (and us) was the Texas Spur Jeep Jamboree held on the Inks Ranch near Llano in late April.  The Rubicon did great and all of the modifications and hard work (John did almost all of the work) paid off with us being able to complete all of the trails and obstacles with no difficulties.  Here’s a YouTube video we made of one of the more tricky obstacles.  There are several  more videos on YouTube, so look for the “JohnHillCountry” channel.

After lots of hard work, we hit the road for the summer May 16 and our first event and activity was the Palo Duro Jeep Jamboree where Jeeps run a bunch of off road trails (here’s a bunch of pictures.)  We had a lot of fun and continued to gain experience in driving the Rubicon on different trails.

As this is written, we are in Moab, Utah which is the absolute mecca for off-road trails (and beautiful scenery.)  We are (guess what?) running more trails and have done Top of the World, Sevenmile Rim, and Elephant Hill trails.  There are trails from mild to wild and crazy here, so you get to pick your level of terror and vehicle damage 😉

We’re going to hang around Utah for maybe the month of June (unless it gets too hot) and then head to Colorado for all of July and some of August.  Then we’re off to northern Wyoming for yet another Jeep Jamboree in the Big Horn mountains and then slowly work our way back to the Texas hill country and home.

Thanks for keeping up with us!

Blessings from Jane and John