We were officially on the Golden Spike (I recognized it from many magazine pictorials). The Launching Pad is a fairly steep decent and climb. My suburban is so long that I drug my hitch for a good 3-4 feet as I reached the bottom and started to climb the other side. The sound of solid metal to slickrock contact was fairly common when dealing with the overhang of my rig. Our next quest was to find the Golden Crack. Along the way there are a few obstacles that are fun to play on, the Waterfall for instance (just past the Launching Pad). The trail can be hard to follow so a close eye has to be kept on the trail looking for piles of rock markers and the painted golden spike symbols.
There were a few steep drop offs before we found it. Also, I have to mention that the scenery is simply breath taking... pictures alone cannot do Moab justice. If you get a chance to visit -- do!
The Golden Crack is the only obstacle that doesn't have a bypass, if you want to continue you'll have to cross. The advise in a long wheel base rig is to approach as if you were going to cross it diagonally, then as your left tire starts to drop into the crack steer left into the other wall. This advise works great. I turned a little too sharp at first and jammed my front tire into my fender well (no bump stops) and had to back off a hair. Then without turning quite as sharp I made it without much difficulty. I did drop my right rear bumper onto the crack... the noise of metal scraping on rocks sounds worse than it is. Hopefully you're hitting something stout, otherwise you may get a bit of sheet metal rearranging.
The jeep and zuki didn't have much of a problem, they also hit bumpers. Pat, in his classic bronco, gave us the best show. His angle was just a little different than ours and he wound up dropping his right front tire into the crack, picking up his left rear high! We put a little weight on the bumper and he pulled across... he did have that tipsy feeling.
The next major obstacle is the Golden Stairs, I say major because I did the thing I was told never to do. Bounce. The Golden Stairs have ledges that hit both my front and rear tires at the same time, without lockers to crawl up, I decided to just "bump it" over, I bumped and somehow I jammed the gas petal a bit too hard. My beater jumped up and down a few times, acting like a bucking bronco wanting to throw it's rider, when I heard it go... SNAP! I thought for sure I had broken an axle. After some good spotting I managed to back down safely (I had also bounced over to the steeper side of the ledge and had to maneuver back to a safe backing down spot). At this point we had been on the trail for about six or so hours. Fortunately I had only broken my right front axle u-joint. Shattered would be a better description. That was the good news. The bad news was, I now had to unlock my front hubs and put it in 2-High (so my drive staft wouldn't turn -- in retrospect I could have removed my front drive shaft to retain my lower gear ratio). So now I'm having to hit some of the obstacles a little too hard to get over. A few times I had to be strapped over... either that or risk even more damage.
Speaking of damage, I did also manage to get a nice dent in my right rear fender (this picture was taken after I bolted my bushwhacker flares back on). One of those obstacle that was causing me to smell my cluch smoke also got the better of me and I slid into a nice little rock overhang. Whew, I'm glad this was what I bought this for. The next obstacle was supposed to be Double Whammy, which I wasn't looking forward to (I wouldn't have attempted it without four wheel drive) but somehow we wound up finishing the end of the Gold Bar Rim (3-1/2) trail.... hmmmm. Never did figure where we took a wrong turn. Even with the minor breakage, getting lost, and my fender rearranging, I consider the venture a success, I thought it was a blast! Am I sick or what!?