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Saturday's trail was Flat Iron Mesa, which is a 4-rated trail. The group left out of Moab just after 9am and headed south on the highway about 18 miles. The trail immediately becomes rocky for a short stretch and then levels out into sandy trails for awhile. It goes high up on a ridge and overlooks the highway from there and has several steps and nice, rocky hillclimbs. The winds were kicking hard all day, probably around 30 mph or so. Sand was blowing everywhere, as the land had dried over the last two days.
Little did we know, that today's trip would be a short one. We weren't more than an hour and a half into the trail, when we came to a small (in comparison to Golden Spike's) step. Tim Kyle was in front of me in the Voodoo Chile and was climbing when I heard that all-to-familiar sound. BANG! I told Tim to ease it back on to level ground for inspection. Sure enough, Tim had busted an axle, just like I did on Spike earlier in the week. Game over. Time to return the favor of a helping hand.
We decided that Lesbo would stay with the Jeep and I'd take Tim and Rick back into town. We had a GPS and knew how to get back to the highway. The trail boss also showed us a 2WD shortcut. We went to 4 Wheel of Moab and Eric was very helpful. He had a brand new axle set sitting there in the shop. Not sure which we needed, we took both with us. We got fluids for the differential and headed back to the crash site.
Once the axle was out, we found that the Dana 35C has a 12 point, 1/4" bolt. We had 6 sets of sockets, but no 12 point! So, off we went, back to see Eric again. Eric lent us his socket and we headed back up the trail. The spline was so twisted, that we could not extract it from the spider gears and had to completely disassemble the differential......in a sand storm. If it's not snow and rain, it's flying sand! I put a blanket over the work area and Tim and I swapped out the axle. Seven hours later, we were returning to town. We'd had enough! Let's go home to Texas!