Canyonlands Needles Outpost, Utah - June '07

This is a spot we have been going to since 2005 when Dageek decided he wanted to camp in a more desert-like area. The Canyonlands Needles Outpost campground, situated right outside the Needles Distric entrance of Canyonlands N.P., Utah, is owned by Tracey and Gary who are a couple of the nicest people you'd ever want to meet. The do their utmost to take personal care of all of their patrons. If you're taking a trip to the Needles District of Canyonlands you will likely have to stop at the Outpost either on your way there or on your way out as it is the only place within dozens of miles to get gas, food or something to drink.

The view from the campground is awesome to say the least. Behind you there is the butte which is on the property and great for climbing and driving R/C trucks on. The rest of the view is taken up by the massive expanse of Canyonlands. Sunsets on the property are really something special. The rocks of the Outpost's butte turn an orange/red/brown color that sets off beautifully against the deep blue sky that you can only get in the wide expanse of the wild west.

Okay...enough about the scenery because this is supposed to be about R/C, right? It is...but you have to get a feel for the surroundings before you can appreciate just how cool it is to be bashing around in the environment.

We left about 2:00AM to drive the 7.5 hours to the campground in order to have a full day ahead of us. Almost like clockwork we got to the campground at 9:30AM. Rather than fart around in the park for a couple of hours until check-in time we wandered in to talk to Tracey and Gary to see if our reserved site was open (same one we had the last two years). She thought it was but when we got there it turned out that a guy and his two children were still there (they were doing a day-to-day thing). Since it was taken, Tracey told us to take the small group site all to ourselves for the time we were going to be there. Man was that awesome!!!!

The small group site consisted of about half a dozen sites situated around a central area that was ideal for R/C geeks like us. We had a 320 foot long "driveway" that consisted of some loose gravelly parts and some really sandy parts. The drive led up to a wide open area with lots of sand and soft spots. This is where we setup the ramp (we decided to bring it along on this trip since we had the trailer on which to carry it). Regardless of what kind of motor you are running you have plenty of room to get up to top speed. Behind the campsites lies the butte.

Owing to our new location this year we had 4 or 5 direct access points to the butte (whereas before we had to go by or through other peoples' campsites). This year we could go from drifting through the sand to climbing the butte without letting off the throttle. What a dream!

Day #1 was a bit of a pain for Dageek. It seemed that everytime he started up a truck and ran it something would break. A-arms, spur gears, steering servos, name it and it probably broke on him. Special Ed had the opposite experience. Nothing broke and all trucks ran great. We spent the whole first day putzing around the campsite and climbing around on the butte. For the sand and rock we found that the Pro-Line Gladiator II tires worked quite well. We would have run Sand Paws or Paddles but there was so much of a mix of terrain that those kinds of tires would have been useless a lot of the time. For the butte Special Ed ran with Losi Taper Pins (Red) on the rear and 8-rib (Red) on the front. These grabbed onto the slickrock like crazy and really offered great traction. The pink compound would probably have been better but we didn't have any with us.

Both of the monster trucks, Ripper (T-Maxx) and Stitch (E-Maxx) were running with their Imex Dirt Dawgs. They also did a pretty good job. Although the stock Traxxas chevron tires did a little better in the deeper sand and rock. Both of these trucks had technical issues over the course of the four days so were run quite a bit less than the stadium trucks. The stadium trucks were really just a better fit to the terrain anyway so it wasn't like we were missing out on anything.

On day #2 we took a backcountry trail into Davis and Lavender Canyons. This trail offered a killer perspective on the Six-shooter Peaks you can't get from the highway going by. Most of the time was spent 4-wheeling in the "blue thing" but we did manage to spend a short bit of time R/Cing on part of the trail where there was a wide expanse of sandy ground. What a hoot that was. It's awesome to be in the midst of all of that beauty and have not a single soul in sight to impact your fun. On the first half of the trip into the canyon we ran into a herd of cattle grazing freely right next to, and on, the trail (see picture below). We had to stop in order to allow this huge bull to get out of our way. We opted not to take a picture of him in case it made him mad and caused him to charge the "blue thing" we were driving. He was impressive though...nards the size of basketballs!!! We headed back to the campground later in the afternoon and settled in for an entertaining evening of beer and bashing.

Day #3 started with the intent to go into/around Moab to find another suitable bashing spot. However, we were kind of worn out from the day before and it was hot...damn we opted to make day #3 our "chill out" day and hung out at the campsite. As is was soooo unbearably hot that day we really didn't do much bashing. We would setup and jump the ramp for awhile and run on the butte for awhile but then had to retreat to the shade for a much longer while in order to cool down sufficiently. It was a nice relaxing day so it wasn't like it was a loss or anything. Regardless, the next day we were headed to Moab for fun in the sun.

Day #4 was Moab day. We wanted to go check out Lion's Back (you know the place from video on TV showing a woman driving her SUV off the side of the thing on the way down). We were hoping to catch people running up and down it but for some reason it was closed the day we were there. No worries, we just headed into Sand Flats Recreation Area which was right around the corner (literally). We drove through the Rec. Area scouting spots to bash on. On our way back through we drove through several camping areas but none seemed right. We headed on and eventually ended up at one of the entrances to Fins & Things, a serious 4x4 trail. We didn't go down the trail, we pulled in and stopped at the trailhead. This was a nice wide open area that was pretty much nothing but a flattish mound of slickrock. We spent about an hour bashing around this place before heading on. The slickrock looked calm enough but it wasn't exactly that way. The rock was littered with little potholes and bumps. It made for diffulty in controlling the trucks but it was definitely fun. At times you would hit a bump and most of your wheels would come up causing you to have to drive on one or two wheels (Dageek did an awesome rear wheelie - front tires on the ground - for about four seconds but it seems to have disappeared from the vidz we took. We headed back to the campground for our last evening of bashing.

We did a little driving after getting back but spent most of the evening getting ready to leave the next day. That day ended on a note we won't discuss here.

Weather = Wind and occasional rain the first day, otherwise sunny and hot
Campsite = Secluded and private
Broken parts = 2 suspension arms, three spur gears, steering servo, 2 ballstuds, Evader chassis, Evader front servo brace
Quality of terrain = Excellent, good mix of sand, loose rock and hard rock surfaces

Geek Brothers' Rating =

Additional Pictures

Jumping Devo in camp

The '07 Family Photo

Dageek's Boys at
Sand Flats

View from campsite

Ripper after a
zesty session

The trail cows

Special Ed's boys at
the end of day #3

Evil Ed