richard310's 04 Xterra Build and Adventures


I figured I'd finally put a build thread here on AAV. :)

2004 Xterra XE (D22)
4x4 Automatic
KY2 Pewter Metallic

- Nismo SS Catback Exhaust
- Nismo K&N Cone Filter (removed and swapped for OEM air box)
- NGK Spark Plug Wires
- Mean Green 180A Alternator
- Supercharged Xterra Radiator

Major Maintenance:
- Timing, A/C, Alternator, Waterpump, Power Steering Belt (11/2013)
- Spark Plugs/Distributor Cap (11/2013)
- Water Pump, Thermostat (11/2013)
- Crankshaft/Camshaft Seals (11/2013)
- Replaced Leaking High Side A/C Line (6/2014)
- Replaced Driverside Axle (8/2014)
- Replaced Starter with Ultima Remanufactured Starter (8/2014)
- Replaced alternator with rebuilt OEM 100A unit (12/2014)
- Rebuilt Alternator took a dump, modified pulley and installed Mean Green 180A Alternator (2/2015)
- Condenser to Compressor line replaced (2/2015)
- Front and rear diff fluid drain & fill (2/2015)
- Induction Service (TB Clean, Manifold clean, everything pre-engine was taken apart and cleaned) (2/2015)
- Replaced LCA balljoints, steering tie rod ends and balljoints: PRICEY! (3/2015)
- Replaced Calmini UCA balljoints (3/2015)
- Replaced leaking radiator with Supercharged version (6/2015)
- Replaced tensioner pulley
- Re-attached and welded sheared lower shock mounts on both LCA's
- Reajdusted and repacked front wheel bearings (06/2017)
- Replaced brake master cylinder (06/2017)
- Replaced all u-joints on the drive shafts (06/2017)
- Replaced driver side front sway bar end link (08/2017)
- Replaced passenger side shackle bushing (10/2017)
- Flush and Fill front and rear diffs, and transfer case (12/2017)
- Replace rear brake drums and shoes (12/2017)
- Replace Tie Rods (12/2017)
- Replaced both valve cover gaskets (12/2017)


- Cooper ST Maxx Load Range E, 265/75-16 (32")

- (REMOVED) BFG AT KO's Load Range E, 265-75-16
- (REMOVED) General Grabber stock spare


- Bilstein 5125 shocks
- 4x4Parts Front Sway Bar Polyurethane Bushings
- 4x4Parts Front Sway Bar Polyurethane Endlink Bushings
- 4x4Parts Rear 3-leaf AAL
- Calmini Extended U-Bolts and Hardware
- Calmini HD Upper Control Arms and Ball Joints
- Calmini Idler Arm Brace
- Firestone Lifetime Alignment
- Powerstop Slotted and Crossdrilled Rotors
- Powerstop Scorched Evolution Pads
- Raybestos Rear Drum kit

- (REMOVED) Pro Comp ES9000 Shocks
- (REMOVED) Bilstein HD 4600 for 3inch lift


- CVT Mt St Helens RTT
- Thule Crossroads 45050
- Thule 50" crossbars
- Calmini modified rear dual swing out tire carrier
- AT NATO can holders
- Deustcheoptik NATO 5gal/20L jerry cans
- Hi-Lift 48" Jack
- ARB 1250mm Awning
- ARB 1250 Awning Front Wind Dam
- White Knuckle Sliders
- Xoskel Light Cage
- BlitzPro 6LZ 6" Roof Rack Lighting
- Generic 32.5" 180W Combo LED Bar
- Generic 6.8" 30W Combo LED Bar

- (REMOVED) Rugged Ridge 6" lights with 3000k HIDs
- (REMOVED) Tuff Stuff 4.5" HID 6000k
- (REMOVED) Hella Rallye 1000 Black Magic 55W Lights mounted on stock bumper reinforcement with Nokya Yellow H2 Bulbs
- (REMOVED) 32" LED Light Bar 18,800 Lumens mounted on Xoskel Cage
- (REMOVED) Nokya Arctic Yellow 9007 Headlight bulbs
- (REMOVED) Trekking OASIS II Cot Tent mounted on OEM roof rack


- Midland 1001LWX with NOAA CB Radio
- Firestik SS204A Mount
- Firestik II 3' CB Antenna
- Kenwood TM-281A 65W 2m Radio
- Diamond K400S Mount
- Diamond NR770HB Antenna
- Lowrance GlobalMap Baja 480c GPS
- Red LED Dome and interior lights
- DepHep Rear Window MOLLE Panels

When I first picked up the rig:

Powerstop Brake Kit with Raybestos Shoe Kit

- - - Updated - - -

Joshua Tree NP
December 2013

So last minute, I went to Joshua Tree NP this weekend with my girlfriend, left Friday night and stayed til Sunday afternoon. I took Berdoo Canyon in at 11:30pm -ish which was quite fun, a cautious entrance and drive through BLM. No worries, I had protection and plenty of it. An interesting experience for a first timer especially at night. Had trouble navigating around Berdoo in the park to find the main paved road. Ended up doing the loop twice and driving through a mud pit. Finally found the road after backtracking and heading back up. Couldn't find an open campsite after checking out Jumbo Rocks, Belle, and White Tank. So we slept uncomfortably in the X right outside the entrance to Jumbo Rocks at about 3am since Belle and White Tank were full except Jumbo Rocks. Once the sun rose, we headed into Jumbo and drove around again to find open campsites. And low and behold we find #58/#57. We traded spots with the former campers at 57 and setup then crashed.

The following morning/afternoon, we cooked, ate then decided to drive Berdoo again to see what we missed. The loop had a little muddy section with water still in it that we went through the previous night. So we went through it again this time during the day. Quite fun and getting the Xterra muddy. Drove around and checked out some "jumbo rocks" and climbed a few. Headed back to relax then on Sunday we packed up and drove the main road to Cottonwood Visitor Center. We were going to check out the Old Dale Mines but decided against it considering I only had less than half a tank left and no spare gas cans. We then checked out the visitor center then headed onto Pinkham Canyon back to the 10. Took us about 3 hours to get to the entrance. The little roadblock on the riverbed near the exit was interesting. Thought we had to turn around but found a way around and found the entrance to Pinkham and headed home. Traffic was great lol but we had shabu shabu in Rowland Heights after a little detour.

And finally the pics:

Daytime after finding our campsite:

Breakfast as always whenever we headout.

After going through the mudpit...

A beautiful sunset:

On the way out and a final pic of the site:

Pinkham Canyon Trail:

At the otherside of the trailhead:

- - - Updated - - -

Xoskel LoPro Light Cage with 4" 6000K HIDs and Rugged Ridge 6" Housings with PIAA Plasma Yellow 2500k Bulbs

Painted OEM Wheels

Last edited:


Bisltein 4600s

The Bilstein 4600 and the ProComp ES9000 comparison:

Bilstein's installed and happy.

Santiago Peak
March 2014

I made the trip to Santiago Peak to test the Bilsteins. I entered via Silverado/Maple Springs Rd, which is quite a nice secluded neighborhood. It was still overcast and quite foggy heading up. The temps were about high 40s to low 50s. Even after a day of light rain, there were a few good sized puddles to splash through but no mud thanks to the hardpack trail. The Bilsteins offered a great ride even offroad. Less jarring, more stability. The dampening really absorbed a lot of the rocky sections and eliminated a lot of the transferred shock to the cabin. I was quite impressed when comparing to the ProComp ES9000. It was so foggy and cloudy there was no view to be seen. Just white all around me. Unfortunately after taking a small technical section on the way down, my rear sway bar driverside bracket sheared off. It looked like the bushing just wanted to get out of dodge and busted out of the bracket. Drove home with it partially attached and ended up just completely removing it when I got home. I'll be buying a replacement bracket when I get the chance. I wish I had more time out there to really explore the entire range from North to South, next time I guess.

I wish there were more scenic views, but there literally were none.

Heading up via Silverado:

Starting to gain elevation and the fog started moving in:

What view?

The highest point:

Got even foggier on the way down:

On the way down. It looks like I drove through some diarrhea..:

Broken rear sway bar bracket! Bye bye, Mr. Bushing!

Colorado Trip
March 2014

Day 1:

Left home to pick up the girlfriend in Long Beach at 4am. Headed out onto I-15 North. Stopped at the usual Barstow Station MickeyD's to grab some breakfast off of Main Street and then off we go. A pure road trip. We stopped occasionally along the way to snap some pictures and take breaks. Stopped at the Chinatown of Vegas to pick up some supplies at the 99Ranch Market and get some Boba for the girlfriend. Made our way to I-70 East towards Denver where our first stop of the night would be Oowah Campground south of Moab. We got into Moab around 9:30pm and decided it was better for us find a site along the Colorado River south of Arches NP. It would be another hour and a half if we decided to head to Oowah and with temps dropping, it was a good idea we didn't. We drove along Hwy128 where we found a few BLM campgrounds but they were all full except one tucked away between the larger two. We luckily found a perfect spot along the river away from the bigger sites and camped for the night.

Finally on the road!

At 99Ranch Market for supply pickup

Obligatory boba for the girlfriend

A quick pic of the Arizona border sign! Too tired to pose. You'll see what we always do at sign pictures.

Quick stop at a trading post somewhere along I-15 North before I-70 East.

Rockin some camo

Snack for the entire trip

Finally at I-70 East!

Unfortunately along the way, we missed the Utah sign and the opportunity to pose... :(

One of my favorite pictures of this trip. Sunset in Utah.

Stretch break at Devil's Canyon Lookout in Utah:

Day 2:

Woke up a bit late due to fatigue from driving but cooked a quick breakfast with tea and headed out to Arches NP for the quickest tour of the park. Drove all the way up and out via Salt Valley Road since we had a deadline to get into Idaho Springs to meet Josh for the bumper transaction. So I let the girlfriend drive the fireroad out and let her rip. Pretty fun letting the rear end slip out. Anyways we cross the Utah/Colorado border and took obligatory pictures. Passing Vail and all the other resort towns, we finally meet Josh in Idaho Springs about two hours late. We totally forgot to account for the one hour difference. The itinerary I made for this trip went out the window. I salvaged what I could but we stuck to it as best we could. That's the fun of these trips. Anyways, I originally booked a hotel in Boulder for this night but the girlfriend made a wise comment on how we could save $200 and camp instead! Hell, okay! That's what I'm talking about. This made my afternoon, but it would soon be cut short. We drive up the back road to Arapaho NF and look for campsites along the route since there were a handful. Unfortunately almost all the sites were closed due to snow. It wasn't that high but the NF Rangers deemed it impassable. So we continued and found the Reverend Campground in the Golden Gate Canyon SP around 7:00pm. Barely anyone there. For a large facilitated and electrical campsite, there were only 5 campgrounds occupied including us. Temps dropped below 30degrees. This was our first camp in the cold weather. And we weren't as prepared as we should/could have been. Too much moisture in the air took us quite sometime to get the fire going. We cooked up some ramen and attempted to sleep in this frigid weather. An interesting night.

Campsite along the Colorado River south of Arches NP.

Moab sign pose

Moab behind us now

Arches NP entrance!

Somewhere in those cold mountains would have been Oohwah Campground. Too cold.

A great drive for such a short route!

One of the numerous arches in the park

Speed it up honey!

At the border of Arches NP. Heading back to the highway

At the Colorado border. I'll save the pose for myself. :)

Saw these badboys being hauled somewhere near Vail

Beautiful resort and mountain towns

Eisenhower and Johnson Tunnels

After meeting Josh and bumper in the trunk, we finally made it to the outskirts of Denver.

Sign was fenced off so we couldn't pose on this one. Golden Gate Canyon State Park.

The road to our campsite

It's so damn cold. Fingers and toes were about to fall off

Day 3:

This day would be the most relaxed. We slept in till 10am and enjoyed our brunch. Slowly packed up and headed out towards Boulder. Once we got into town, we had some time to kill as my friend we were visiting wouldn't be off of work til 5pm so we headed over to the local Target and resupplied. Then met up, had dinner in downtown Boulder and unpacked at his place.

The morning of

Our usual breakfast everytime we camp

This little guy kept coming in to eat the crumbs. Didn't even care we were there.

Out of focus but meh

Heading out from Reverend

River running alongside the road

Day 4:

My buddy took us out to Rocky Mountain NP to explore areas he's never been to. We took his car and went out driving. Stopped at the Stanley Hotel where they filmed The Shining and Dumb&Dumber. We headed towards Bear Lake and it was one of the most beautiful drives I've ever been on. Weather was perfect, scenary was brisk. Unfortunately along the way, we saw the aftermath of the recent floods that happened in the area. Swept a lot of the land and housing away. The traffic going up was caused by the construction crews cleaning up what was left of the damage and landslides. Well anyways, we hit a few spots to take pictures of the scenary, and play in the snow since we don't really get that here in LA. Finally hit Bear Lake around 5ish. It was quite cold, as cold as the previous camp night. We walked across the frozen lake which was pretty cool. My camera died so I don't have any pictures of the ensuing activities. We found these two large snowballs in the middle of the lake and decided to make a snowman by stacking the balls. I swear the snowballs were probably 60-70lbs as it took two guys to lift. On the way back it started to snow a bit and we ran into a herd of elk and deer. One of the elk got pretty darn close to the car. Exciting day for us urban-ites.

Damage from the recent flooding

Estes Park sign!


The Stanley Hotel

View from the hotel

Male elk enjoying the day

Elk poop. We stepped on a lot of it.

It started snowing


Herd of elk!

I do what I want.

Among the trees


Day 5:

Woke up late. Had lunner and had one last hurrah at the Flat Irons. Said goodbye to my friend and off we went. Drove 12 hours straight and the girlfriend took care of the rest. Saw a deer laid out on the road. Blood, guts and limbs all over the highway. I thought someone had painted the highway red. Interesting sight to see. An uneventful drive back home. Hit stupid Los Angeles traffic in the morning of Day 6. All the stupid drivers were out in-force. Work called as I was having lunch so after finishing lunch and dropping the girlfriend off, I had to head into work zombified. A bummer but I'm all caught up.

I really wish I had at least another day to stay in Moab but I guess there is always next time.

Goodbye Boulder and you hippy hipsters.

After work, I got to enjoy this.

A great end to a wonderful trip.

Calmini Modified Rear Tire Carrier:

So I finally installed the rear swing out and washed the truck. A build thread is nothing without pics! So here you go:




Monache Meadows
June 2014

Calmini HD Upper Control Arms

The unforseen battery shenanigans replaced by this chunk of change...
Optima Yellow Top:

Here is the previous setup of OE parts with Bilstein 4600 0-3" travel shocks. UCA soaking in WD40 Rust Penetrator:

The mess post-install of the passenger side. A very straight forward process. I used Marine Grade Trailer Hitch Grease on all the bushings pre-install. Then used the grease gun to really grease it internally. Definitely quite the messiest process for this install.

Calmini UCA & ball joint installed:

You can see the Ball Joint Separator tool in the bottom right hand corner. Makes the uninstallation of the OE ball joint a lot easier in conjunction with a 3lb sledge to smack it into place.

Last edited:


Cranked the Torsion bars to level out the ride.

Midland 1001LWX with 4' Firestik and trunk mount

Midland CB installed and mounted in the passenger side foot well. I may find a different spot for it later when I get the time to plan out more accordingly with the 2m Yaesu next on the list. Unfortunately the 1.5gens don't have much room around the dash to install without losing cubby space which is already small and limited as it is.

Antenna mounted above passenger tail light:

Cleghorn and Horse Thief Flats
July 2014

Headed out to Big Bear along with fellow local ExPo members this past weekend.

First time out on a technical trail. My noob cherry was busted this weekend. Found out the hard way the benefits of driving the correct line and airing down but made it out with the help of great guys and great advice. I didn't air down until the latter quarter of the run and found out how much more beneficial it is to do so. I initially thought I'd be able to do the run without airing down, but it got quite rocky with loose dirt in the mix. Only thing that did happen to the Xterra was a torn driverside CV boot with a possibly busted axle. Most likely happened when I was spinning in place and a loud thunk sounded off.

I brought my camera to get some pictures but I didn't take it out at all. Driving and learning took priority so these are pictures the other guys took:

Picture credit: nwoods

Found myself in a quite an off camber perdicament behind the main group:
Picture credit: bob91yj

Picture credit: bob91yj

Picture credit: bob91yj

Picture credit: stioc

My torn CV boot and poissibly busted axle:

Things I got from this run:
- air down to about 15-20psi to gain traction, ease the ride quality, and minimize punctures
- picking the best line to avoid off camber situations, keep the vehicle as level as possible
- invest in some sliders and skids!
- invest in on-board air!
- get my 2m HAM completely installed and get my license

- - - Updated - - -

Tough Mudder, Snowmass Village, Colorado
September 2014

Tough Mudder Trip 2014
Snowmass Village, CO
9/4/14 to 9/8/14

Day 1: Home (Los Angeles) to Capitol Reef NP: Cathedral Valley Campground
Time: Approx 12hours
Mileage: Approx. 650mi

Loaded up the truck the previous day and then grabbed some last minute things in the AM. Headed out from home about 0600hours to Las Vegas. Filled up near home and filled up the jerry cans. First stop was in Barstow to grab some breakfast and top off the tank at about 0900hours. Then off to Vegas to grab dinner and breakfast groceries. Hit Vegas about 1200hours and it was at least 103deg. Picked up some Subway for lunch and grabbed some ice, eggs, pork belly, green onions and yellow onions, Nongshim ramen and a 6pack of beer from 99 Ranch Market. Filled up in Vegas and took off.

I passed the Riverside/Bunkerville exit and unknowingly/unexpectedly took a picture of this area... If you haven't heard in the news what happened in this area, you'll find out later. :/

Crossed the Arizona state line at about 1300hours

The entire trip had cloudy skies the whole route. Most were isolated showers but no storms yet.

Crossed the Utah state line at about 1430hours. Filled up at Cedar City, UT and hopped onto the I-70 East.

I hit Richfield, UT at around 1800hours. Sun was beginning to set as I filled up again. I took the UT-24 East to the UT-72 North and then turned right onto FR-206. The sun already set once I hit the UT-72N. I aired down at the trailhead to Cathedral Valley Campground.

I entered Captiol Reef NP and was able to get to the campsite with some very well posted signage and directions. The road in was a basic fireroad, not requiring 4WD whatsoever. I had ample lighting so finding my way around in the pitch black was no issue.

Setup camp around 2100hours. I was the only one in the entire area. A little spooky but exciting at the same time. Saved the other half of my Subway sandwich for dinner and an ice cold beer, as I was too tired to cook my meal of ramen.

Day 2: Capitol Reef NP: Cathedral Valley Campground to Snowmass Village, CO for Tough Mudder
Time: Approx 6hours
Mileage: Approx. 350mi

Woke up to a wonderful morning but a massive headache. Popped some Acetaminophen and enjoyed the rest of the morning with eggs and porkbelly. Had a great view of Cathedral Valley from the campground. I setup camp at the 3rd site on the roundabout. Had a walk around the entire site and took in the views. Wrapped up breakfast, and packed up to go!

I even let this wasp have some breakfast as well. It peeled off one of the countless bugs on my front end and took it with him.

The wonderful view from the campsite

Leaving the campsite:

Nemo approved!

29miles to the Entrance via the River Ford:

I stopped along Hartnet Road to check out the Cathedral Valley Overlook. Just amazing and breathtaking:

This is the South Desert Overlook. One of the many beautiful views along the way. The color differentiation was spectacular

A smaller version of Balanced Rock along the route

In the southeastern Cathedral Valley. So expansive. Hartnet Road ran along the entire valley back to the main road UT-24. It was quite a scenic drive.



A one of many holes spotted along the ground. Don't know what made em but there were a lot.

Made it to the otherside of the entrance of the Hartnet Road. Had to take a picture :)

Awesome formations and colors on the route:

Hit the Bentonite Hills

On the way out of the area:

Some rocks being elevated by something underground:

The area changed a lot once I hit the bottom of the park. Since the river crossing was coming up, the area became lush and green. Much welcomed after sand and rock.

Made it to the River Ford. The water was quite shallow; I could stroll across the river

At the entrance/exit to Cathedral Valley and aired up the truck for the rest of the highway trip.

Checked out the Capitol Reef National Park Visitor Center and the scenic sites along the way.

OUt of the park and checking out the outskirts of the park. It was another spectacular site in itself.

I reached the I-70 East right about 1100hours and headed in to Green River to grab some lunch at Arby's and fill up the tanks. Then proceeded into Colorado.

Passed through Grand Junction as I was planning on filling up Glenwood Springs before taking CO-82 South into Snowmass Village, CO.

Arrived at Snowmass Village, CO around 2000hours. It was dark so I wasn't able to take any pictures. I arrived and stayed at the Stonebridge Inn. Quite a nice place. My friend met me there at 2100 hours so we had a few drinks and turned in early for the next morning's Tough Mudder.

Day 3: Snowmass Village, CO for Tough Mudder
Time: 1 days
Mileage: 12mi

Did the Tough Mudder event on Saturday, Day 3. My friend Mike and I had a late start time so we slept in until about 1000hours. We grabbed some breakfast at Fuel at about 1130hours through a recommendation since the restaurant was closed between breakfast and lunch. We carb loaded up and started Tough Mudder. Check-in time was at 1245hours. We were the last wave of the day and got one of the most pumped up speeches I've heard in awhile. Average elevation was around 9000ft. Highest point was 9500ft and the lowest was about 8000ft. My lower body started to shutdown around the mile 9 marker. My legs had some major cramping issues and was unable to walk or run for about a mile. I had to skip one obstacle (walk the plank) since my leg muscles cramped and wanted to avoid drowning from limp legs. Turns out I wasn't replinishing enough carbs since I was burning more than my intake and the elevation was taking its toll. The medics gave me a big size bag of Cooler Ranch Doritos. I swear that bag of Doritos allowed me to finish the remainder of the race and complete the rest of the obstacles. Five hours later we crossed the finish line. At the end of the day we were covered in mud, dirt and grime. I felt great overall, minus the painful muscle cramps. I'd definitely do it again at the high elevation. Next year.

Day 4: Snowmass Village, CO to Arches National Park, UT
Time: Approx 3.5hours
Mileage: Approx 220mi

Woke up exhausted. Checked out of Stonebridge Inn at 1000hours. Had another great breakfast at Fuel and then Mike and I said our goodbyes. He headed back to Boulder and I began to start the trip back home. I hit 1000 total miles on the odometer on the way out of Snowmass Village. Hopped back onto I-70 West towards Capitol Reef NP.

The rains didn't want to dissipate so I turned on NOAA. Turns out there were flashflood warnings all over the area in Utah and western Colorado. There were warnings at Captiol Reef NP and that got my attention. I was planning on staying at Cathedral Valley Campground again. I called the Visitor Center to check on conditions. Unfortunately a decent storm just passed through with more on the way and road conditions were bad. I decided to change plans and camp at Arches National Park. The earlier arrival meant more light to setup camp and have dinner. There is Salt Valley Road into the park so at least there's off-pavement.

Passing through Grand Junction again. Grabbed lunch and filled up gas there.

Made my way to Thompson Springs and drove in via BLM 146. Spotted a single young male deer on the way. Drove from the BLM-146 to the BLM-145 to Salt Valley Road into Arches National Park.

On the way in on via Salt Valley Road, I came across a family in a Ford Focus with a busted tire. They were on the latter end of the tire swap and were in process of putting on the little donut spare as I pulled up. I asked if everything was okay and they said yes. Turns out they were from San Francisco and were heading back to Vegas to fly back from there. I recommended them not to continue on the road since it gets just a little bit rockier and if they don't want to risk another flat plus the donut spare. They decided to turn around and take the main road out of the park. I told them I'd follow them back out just to make sure they get out okay with no other flats.

There were storm warnings in the general vicinity, but it seems luck has been going my way. I haven't encountered any storms yet. Everything was literally around me.

Made it out of the park and hopped onto UT-128. Drove along the Colorado River to Drinks Canyon Campground where Deanna and I camped last year. Unfortunately, there were people camped in the same camp spot I was looking for, but the site next to it was open. Site 16. Right on the river. It was perfect. Only thing that sucked was that I had to lug everything down into the campsite. There was a mild climb up and down from where the truck was parked. Setup camp and cooked a wonderful meal of ramen and pork belly.

Day 5: Arches National Park, UT to Mesquite, NV (Planned for STAR CENTER in Whittier, CA)
Time: Approx 5.5 hours (Planned 11hours)
Mileage: Approx 400mi (Planned 750mi)

I woke up to a light sprinkle on my tent and a sore body. It was hard for me to wake up so I slept in a few hours. Woke up about 0700hours. Decided to pack up and get on the road since I woke up late. While I was packing up, one of the camps next to me had a wonderful morning. I heard the moans and groans of morning sex. She was quite a loud one and it literally echo'd off the canyon walls. They were going for quite sometime. By the time I was finished packing, they had finished their activities and finally quieted down. Decided to also skip breakfast and grab something while on the road. I had numerous cliff bars with me so that became my breakfast. I took the same route I drove while coming in.

Decided to check out Klondike Bluffs but the road became rocky requiring 4wd and I didn't want to risk damage since this was my drive home. Turned around and headed out.

I saw the same deer I saw the previous day in the same general area.

Then I saw another male with 3 females resting along the road. They ran off as I got out to snap a picture.

As I neared Thompson Springs, I aired up the tires. As I was airing up, I did a quick walk-around and discovered all the rattling and vibrating actually backed out a few self-tapping screws holding my front bumper together. I ran out of screws since I replaced a few already back at Capitol Reef NP. Utilized zipties to keep it from flapping around.

Passing Capitol Reef NP via I-70West.

I stopped off at Richfield, UT to grab some lunch at Arby's and fill up gas at about 1300hours. The proceeded down to St. George, UT. I kept the NOAA alerts on and kept recieving flash flood warnings in Washington and St. George, UT. I hit a massive thunderstorm on the way just before St. George. Lightning and extremely heavy rain. I passed through the storm and filled up at St. George, UT. Hit the road again and as I passed through Virgin River Gorge, I hit another massive storm. This time even bigger than before. NOAA began alerting on-going flash flooding at Zion and Bryce NP. Moapa had another flash flood warning as well as Clark County, NV and the rest of northern Nevada. All of southern Utah and Nevada had flash flood warnings. I was hoping to push through the storm and get ahead of it. Driving through the Virgin River Gorge was quite sketchy. Visibility was about a few 100ft. Heavy rains and flooded roads. The canyons were pouring with countless waterfalls and the shoulder of the road was completely flooded. Waters from the canyons were pouring all over the road as well. The construction equipment on the side of the roads were about a few feet deep into muddy waters. I briefly overheard one of the truckers on the CB that I-15 was flooded...

Virgin River Gorge. I had to pullover and just take in the awe of mother nature:

I passed the city of Mesquite around 1800hours and once I hit the 170-Bunkerville/Riverside exit (exit 112) traffic began to back up. I talked with a few truckers and they mentioned that the road was completely blocked off and the highway patrol were turning people around back to Mesquite. So as I sat in traffic moving at turtle speed, there was word of Mesquite losing power and also the possibility of overcrowded hotels and parking lots. I pulled off right before the turnaround and just decided to wait in the truck. I was surrounded by other vehicles and truckers pulled off on the side waiting the flood out. Apparently the I-15 in Moapa was completely flooded out. Cars were floating off the road. I began to look for alternate routes but they also closed off the Virgin River Gorge from fallen rocks on the roads and flooded sections. We were pretty much trapped. That's how bad it was. We talked with the authorities there and they said the road wouldn't reopen for another few days. Crap. I had a Validated Physical Ability Test the next day at noon. So we waited a few more and talked again to the authorities. They said they were trying to open up the 169 so traffic can bypass the flooded section. I sucked it up and decided to take a nap hoping for the best around 2200hours. Set my alarm for every hour. I can tell you I didn't get a good nights sleep whatsoever.

Day 6: Mesquite, NV to STAR Center in Whittier, CA
Time: Approx 5.5hours
Mileage: Approx 350mi

Finally around 0500hours the next day, I walked up to get an update. Apparently they did open up the 169 and only small traffic can get through. (WHEN DID THIS HAPPEN???) I had 5.5 hours to get to my 1130hours appointment in Whittier, CA. I booked it down through Moapa and Valley Fire State Park. Did a quick pitstop to fill up gas and change into workout clothes at Barstow, CA. Hopped back onto I-15 South and booked it into Los Angeles. I made it to my appointment with four minutes to spare. 1126hours. Luckily with my condition of soreness and only a few hours of sleep after a 5.5hour drive, I passed my Physical Ability Test. :)

After six days and 1,990 miles, I finally made it home at 1500hours. Dead tired.


2014 SoCal Mountain Rendezvous
September 19-21, 2014
Camp Tahquitz

I headed out right after work on Friday just to sit in traffic for approximately 4.5 hours on a route that would typically take about 2.5 hours. Left work at 1700hours. After some stops to pick up food and necessities, I finally arrived at the location for the SoCal Mountain Rendezvous at about 2145hours. Most everyone was asleep, minus a few which I found out later that night were still up enjoying the cool mountain air. Setup camp, ate my Arby's BeefNCheddar, had a phone call with Deanna (to which I was happy to have reception), and passed out.

The next day was filled with blueberry pancakes with bacon, socializing, trail runs, hiking, dutch-oven contest/potluck, raffles, and whatever you can occupy yourself with in one day. According to Dave, there were over 100 rigs so there were plenty of people to talk to. I started my day at 0645hours. Had a massive egg/ham/onion scramble for breakfast then headed down to socialize and have a few of Mojoe's blueberry pancakes with bacon. Quite delicious! It's safe to say I was satisfied with lunch in my belly as well. I hung out at the main camp in the morning but spent most of the day at my own camp (in the overflow area away from the main camp) reading a biography of Ulysses S. Grant and how he saved the Union. Drank a few beers, took a nap. Quite a lazy, relaxing day. Then I headed down to check out the Dutch-Oven contest. I was late as I was near the last man in line to get in on some of the dutch-oven goodness. There were scraps in the main pots. Maybe a nibble or two in the next few pots. Then just meat chili and chow-mein, chips and salad. Not the variety I was looking for nor was I able to vote on which was the best. I kept the tickets to myself since there were literally no food left to vote on. I ate what was left but ate too much of it. Didn't even feel like cooking my own dinner I had waiting for me back at camp. Luckily though I won a SureFire G2X Pro flashlight during the raffle. I can never have enough flashlights. The event dispersed, and the rest of the weekend was yours to do.

Sunday I was planning on joining the exit-run to Rattlesnake and 2N02. Packed up camp about 0830hours. Had a quick breakfast but mch later found out that there was no organized run. I jetted early about 0915hours on my own route since I was hoping to cross paths with the group. Took 2N01 across to 2N02. Fiddled around 2N89Y, tackled it, and headed back onto 2N02 to Yucca Valley. Luckily, I ran into the original leader on the latter half of the trail. Turns out he had a late start and no one inquired about the run, so it never happened. He, on the other hand went out anyways, as did I. Took the road out, and home.

I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.

- - - Updated - - -

- - - Updated - - -

- - - Updated - - -

This set of pictures are of the following Sunday along 2N02. More me-time to explore and have fun :)

On 2N89Y: Went up, then went down.

- - - Updated - - -

Back on 2N02

Some cool rock formations along the way:

Then I saw this! I had to stop and snag a picture. Still not a part of that forum though.... it's too exclusive of a club :D

That's all I've got. :) Overall I had a blast, met some new faces, enjoyed the mountain air, and look to make the next Rendezvous in the future.


Lowrance GlobalMap Baja 480c

Excuse the crappy cellphone pic:

Cooper ST MAXX 265/75-16 (32's)

- - - Updated - - -

Death Valley
November 2014

Day 1

On the way to Shoshone

Ibex Spring

- - - Updated - - -

Ibex Springs Continued

Saratoga Springs

- - - Updated - - -

Saratoga Springs Continued

Deadman Pass

To Chloride City/Cliffs through Amargosa

Campground near Chloride City

- - - Updated - - -

Day 2

Campground to Chloride Cliffs

Chloride Cliff

- - - Updated - - -

Chloride Cliff to Ryolite


Ryolite to Leadfield

- - - Updated - - -

Leadfield to Ubehebe Crater via Titus Canyon

- - - Updated - - -

To Racetrack




Lipponcott Road

Palm Hot Spring Campground

Day 3

Palm Hot Spring Campground

To Cerro Gordo

- - - Updated - - -

To Swansea

From Swansea we headed into Lone Pine to fill up and part ways.

And that's all I have. It was overall a wonderful trip with great company. :)

I did break my two Hella Ralleye 4000 bumper mounted lights. The washboards were so nutty, the vibrations broke them both apart. I ended up unbolting them and tossing them in the backseat. Other than those lights, the truck ran great and the ST Maxx's were even better. Ran about 14psi the entire trip and they took everything we threw at them.

- - - Updated - - -

Bradshaw Trail to Joshua Tree to Big Bear solo trip in the plans.

Cleaned my air filter the other day and it was pretty nasty. Luckily the inside of the filter was baby's-butt-clean.

Here's the 2 x 2 x 1/4" L-bracket I made at work along with the Osh purchased L-bracket for the ARB awning. I deployed it at work when I got off but it was too dark to take pictures. I don't know how one person would deploy this by themselves... it took at least 2 of us to deploy it. I have to figure this out for my upcoming solo trip.

Excuse the crappy cellphone picture:

- - - Updated - - -

Bradshaw Trail/Joshua Tree NP Trip
November 2014

Day 1: Torrance to Bradshaw Trail Campsite

So after a few last minute days of planning , I decided to do Bradshaw Trail and Joshua Tree. Luckily Merito (Steve) was going to the same area so we met up, along with my coworker buddy for a light trip. I briefly planned to hit Bradshaw on Day 1, Joshua Tree on Day 2, and then Big Bear on Day 3. I left the entire trip open to do whatever came up.

I met up Steve in his Rubicon and his two kids and dog at 8AM in Gardena to grab some breakfast and remaining items; then we headed out to General Patton Museum to meet my buddy Ryan in his Vehicross. Got to the Museum about noon time and checked it out. It was an awesome place and we all were really glad to have visited it. Tanks, tons of WWII memorabilia, and also some items from the Vietnam, Korean, and Iraq Wars. I'm extremely happy to see this place still functioning and lots of visitors throughout the day!

After checking out Patton's Museum and learning about the entire Desert Training Center, we headed out to Bradshaw Trail via the Red Canyon Jeep Trail just south of the Museum. We had lunch at the trail head and then headed out. It was an awesome trail, very light that only 2wd was only needed. There were tons of ATVs, buggies and dirtbikes along the way.

On the Jeep trail, I did manage to get myself stuck for the first time. I had pulled to the side to let some oncoming Jeeps come pass but as I pulled off, I ended up in some really soft sand. The Jeeps by this time had turned around and headed another direction...bastards. I end up digging a massive hole with my driverside rear (no lockers :( and 4lo didn't do anything). We tried getting the truck out by stacking rocks and whatever we can find but that dug me in a deeper hole. We ended up using Steve's winch to get me out as he was very eager to break it in. First minor recovery a success.

Once we hit the Bradshaw Trail, light was starting to dwindle so we headed out and decided to find a campground near one of the mines along the way. On the trail, we encountered a recently abandoned Honda Passport. It had been almost completely stripped. Windows broken, missing all 4 wheels as it was sitting on blocks and one ammo can, dash ripped apart, etc. We left after checking out the carnage and made camp along an unused trail off Bradshaw, unable to find the mine as it was pitch black outside.

General Patton Museum

- - - Updated - - -

Day 1 Continued:

Bradshaw Trail:




- - - Updated - - -

Day 2: Bradshaw Trail to Berdoo Canyon Campsite

Today we woke up at a leisure pace and did some plinking before we left the BLM campsite. We backtracked a bit to check out the random boat that was being built along the trail. A pretty cool looking boat with some pretty nice fiberglassing molds. On the way out, we decided to wing the rest of the trip and the kids and Ryan wanted to check out the geode area south of Bradshaw along Wiley Way. So we make the detour and head down there around noon time. It was getting hot so I busted out the awning and had some ice cold brewskies. We all hung out at the geode location; Ryan and the kids found some pretty good geodes to take home. Had lunch there then took off towards the second campsite. We debated whether or not to find a campground within Joshua Tree or to just head towards BLM land and find anywhere to camp. The sites in Joshua Tree are first come, first serve, so we weren't sure if the sites were packed or not, being a long weekend. We decided on the former to avoid not finding a spot; and headed towards Berdoo Canyon to find a spot just before the entrance to JT. We found a nice tucked away corner surrounded by hills up above the road and camped there for the night, away from the crazy's.

- - - Updated - - -

Day 3: Berdoo to Joshua Tree

Woke up wonderfully after a good nights rest and cooked some breakfast. Another great leisure morning, as it should be. Steve and the kids wanted to plink some more so we had an awesome morning of relaxin, breakfastin and shootin. Steve and the kids headed home right before lunch time as they had things to take care of at home. Thanks for coming along Steve, Hank, Carter and Mackenna (spelling?). Hope you guys had fun and I wasn't too much of a bore. We'll see you at the next outing!

Ryan and I decided to wing the rest of the trip and take a leisure pace through the rest of Berdoo into Joshua Tree. On the way to Geology Tour, we took some offtrail routes and I ended up getting stuck making a U-turn. My rears dug in again and so did my fronts. I had dug an even bigger hole than the first time and both front and rear had gone in. Decided to use a snatch strap to tow me out. Found a rockier patch and made the turn out. These Coopers really don't like soft sand... or I just need lockers :) We ended up just at the end of Geology Tour and hiked to the Desert Queen Mine as dusk approached. We explored a few open mines and the immediate area. Sunset approached so we decided to head out of the park and head home. We ended up sitting in traffic before Morongo Casino, so I radio'd Ryan to see if he wanted to epxlore a bypass route Service Road on the north side of the I-10 freeway. Turns out theres a fireroad running along the stretch of freeway from Joshua Tree all the way into Morongo Casino. Most of it is Federal/State land but the gates were open. Away we went and once we hit Morongo to fill up, we sat in more traffic all the way home. As I drove home, what I should've done is take Forest Road 2N02 into Big Bear via Yucca Valley to not only avoid traffic, but also to enjoy the rain and fireroad in the dark. That would've been a great ending to this trip... next time!

Overall a great trip, great company and a wonderful time.

- - - Updated - - -

- - - Updated - - -

Toys4Tots, Camp Pendleton, 2014
December 2014

- - - Updated - - -

- - - Updated - - -




- - - Updated - - -

- - - Updated - - -

Big Bear Run
December 2014

​With the girlfriend working all day and night today, I decided to hit up Big Bear after my morning bike ride. After a good rain, there's bound to be snow and good mud puddles to blast through up there. Grabbed a jacket and headed out for an evening/night run to Forest Service Roads 2N01 and 2N02: something easy as I went solo. Caught a really wonderful sunset, but the temps began to drop drastically. From a comfortable 65-ish degrees to a chilly 22 degrees. Glad I brought my down jacket, although I was in shorts... Anywho, on the way up, the roads became a bit icy and slick. The ST Maxx's tried to hold up but I eventually lost some traction on the ice for a split second as would any tire. On the trail, snow was probably a few inches high, nothing to write home about as it wasn't deep enough for a tire snow test. It wasn't muddy either, but there were numerous large mud puddles to splash through. Saw many coyote tracks along the fireroad, their paw prints were about 2-3inches wide. The trail was easy, didn't need 4WD but kept it occasionally in 4HI in the snowy sections just to be safe. Overall a fun experience going solo in light snow and I'm hoping to head up there again once this upcoming storm this week passes through. The truck needs more mud on it. Only the passenger side has a gratuitous amount as the driverside looks lackluster.

The ST Maxx's did well in this light terrain. Until I actually drive through some deep snow and some decent muddy sections, I'll keep the opinions limited for now.

I did take some pictures, not as much as I wanted to as it got dark very quickly and it was quite cold (I wasn't dressed appropriately):

- - - Updated - - -

December 2014
Dead alternator.

Mean Green 180A alternator VS OEM rebuilt unit.

You can see how offset the pulleys are after lining up the mounting points. I've already tried installing it with the belt on it and the difference is just too great for me. You can actually see the belt at an angle. So I installed a rebuilt unit from O'Reillys with lifetime warranty for now. I may just grind down the Mean Green Unit to offset the difference to make it line up. We'll see but for now I'll be holding on to the 180a when I decide to up the accessory electrical pull.

With the rebuilt OEM unit installed along with a new oil pressure switch since we broke the old one.

- - - Updated - - -

AAV Joshua Tree NP Trip
January 2015

Decided to hitch onto a last minute trip with Dave from AAV, and Brian from GooseGear, to Joshua Tree. After missing the previous trip with a bad alternator and wanting to go somewhere before the weekend was over, I linked up with them for a night. I met them at the Denny's in Beaumont. I arrived a little early and was able to sneak in a quick nap before their arrival as I had little sleep the night before. We took off for Joshua Tree via Highway62 to the Northwest entrance. Did some supply runs on the way, filled up and entered the park. It was quite a busy weekend as there was a line to get in, and lots of folks stopped off at the points of interest. We checked out and climbed up the rocks for the little ones and walked around the area. The air was a bit cold, snow was still on the ground, but the sky was clear blue. It was a beautiful day to be out. We then headed to Old Dale Mine to find and link up with Cam from Mojoe. Unfortunately it began getting dark early and the temps began to drop as well. I followed Dave and Brian into the hills and we found a nice spot in BLM Land to setup for the night. It was pretty chilly as the temps broke 30degrees at night. We had a delicious meal that night and turned in.

The next morning, we woke up leisurely after a cold windy night. I didn't sleep well at all. Dave cooked up some delicious breakfast and we then packed up and headed out around mid-morning. We continued on Old Dale Mine to Highway 62. It was quite an easy trail, except for the light technical section about halfway in. Brian's borrowed trailer from DefconBrix hitched the the 4runner did very well. It tracked nicely although it was bouncy on occasion. We had an early lunch at MickeyD's, then Dave and Brian went to pick up the next night's dinner. After stopping at the visitor center and grabbing some souveniers, I decided to head back to LA as I was leaving for Vegas in a few hours. Traffic sucked and I was extremely tired. Got home at 1600. Left for Vegas at 1700... just to sit in more traffic.

I digress... onto pictures!

- - - Updated - - -




- - - Updated - - -

- - - Updated - - -

Until next time! :)

- - - Updated - - -

Big Bear Run, Gold Mountain and Gold Fever
February 2015

Went out to Big Bear this morning with some fellow ExPo folks: Stioc and ih8philly

Hit up Gold Mountain, but we had traction issues getting up one rocky section and had decided to turn around and save it for another day, a drier day. Had to use some recovery tools to get Stioc out of a tight spot which was great to observe and see in person. We ended up running Gold Fever and enjoyed the beautiful SuperBowl Sunday morning. Lots of mud and slush, large mud puddles, and slippery conditions.

- - - Updated - - -

Well that's the life of my Xterra until this point today. Took awhile to skim through everything but I hope you guys enjoy the consolidated pictures!
I recall you mentioning a trip to CO while on the DV trip, but you've logged some serious miles and time off-road in 2014, quite impressive!!

Did you get your rear swing arm situation resolved?

-Nick (Red Montero DV trip)


I recall you mentioning a trip to CO while on the DV trip, but you've logged some serious miles and time off-road in 2014, quite impressive!!

Did you get your rear swing arm situation resolved?

-Nick (Red Montero DV trip)
Hi there Nick! Glad to hear from you.

Unfortunately I haven't had time to address the situation, although I have a solution of remaking the hinge joint. Hopefully we'll have some down time at the shop where I can just take care of it in a few hours of welding. So for now, the ratchet strap is still holding it in place since the DV trip.
Top Bottom