Matt Ward and the Hallmark team recently returned from a product testing adventure in Moab, Utah. The following is Matt’s trip report and an announcement about next year’s Hallmark outing.
Hallmark’s Adventure Test in Moab
Every camping season here at Hallmark Manufacturing we like to get out of the factory to evaluate our products and options. Most of the time, we load up a Hallmark pop-up camper and head out in our own direction on our own time. This year we decided to plan a trip that we could all enjoy together. It turned out to be an extremely fantastic trip and test.
The information gathered about our campers during the test has already made a difference in our thinking and has proven to be priceless product information. As a result, we have decided to make the trip an annual event and will be inviting our customers for next year’s trip. More on that later.
For this year’s evaluation trip, we chose Moab, Utah as our destination. Moab is a charming little town surrounded by adventure; biking, boating, fishing, hiking, four-wheeling, camping, and more abound. Moab is located just south of Interstate 70 between Denver and Las Vegas and is a must visit camping destination in the Fall and Spring.
Our goal for this evaluation trip was to take stock trucks with fully loaded Hallmark campers over rough four-wheel drive roads. We installed inverters, solar panels, air bags, overload springs, microwaves, refrigerators, racks, tie-downs, air conditioners, and many more features for the test. We also assessed Hallmark’s new seamless carbon roof and patented power lift system. The campers and products were used and abused just as our customers often do.
Our four test rigs pulled out from our Fort Lupton, Colorado factory early in the morning on Thursday, May 1st during a strong spring snowstorm. We soon slowed from a crawl to a stop as an accident had closed Interstate 70. We quickly discerned a new route through Golden, Colorado on Highway 6.
Unfortunately, another accident had closed Highway 6 and we had no choice but to wait for the clean up. Eventually we made our way back to Interstate 70 and climbed in altitude until we hit white out conditions and snow pack on Vail Pass. We locked our trucks in four-wheel drive and slowly continued our way out of the white stuff.
Eventually the weather subsided. By the time we reached the town of Rifle, we were back up to highway cruising speeds. What would normally be a seven-hour trip had been stretched to an eleven hour trip.
We rolled into Moab at about 8:00 pm. We picked out some tent sites and had the rigs set up quickly. After we made quick sandwiches for dinner, we turned in for the evening. We were all very excited about hitting the trails the next morning.
On Friday we woke up with the sun and were shocked by chilly thirty-degree weather as we stepped out of our toasty warm pop-ups. We all enjoyed a quick breakfast and then were briefed about the days trail choice, Long Canyon (GPS waypoint N 38 degrees 32.69’ W 109 degrees 45.83’).
Our guidebook for the back country was, “Guide to Moab, Utah Backroads and Four-Wheel Drive Trails” by Charles A. Wells. We recommend this book to anyone who is planning a trip out to the Moab, Utah area.
Finding our route in Long Canyon was exceptionally easy and the drive was exhilarating. The optional side roads and the condition of Pucker Pass can make this trail even more challenging and fun. We took our time on Long Canyon and enjoyed the vast scenery, took some short hikes, and entertained a small crowd of onlookers as we passed under the “giant fallen rock”. One onlooker made a very flattering comment and said that they, “didn’t know pop-up campers could take that kind of abuse” and would be, “taking a closer look at pop-up campers”.
Around noon we enjoyed a long lunch on the trail and chased a few lizards. The smiles on our faces caught bugs the whole day. We returned to camp that evening and grilled Italian sweet sausage with green peppers and marinara sauce. The stories from the day were fun to rehash and we briefly discussed the next days plan before calling it a night.
On Saturday morning we got up and cooked a huge bacon and egg breakfast on our camper cook tops for our sixteen adventurers. Then the drivers were again briefed on Saturday’s chosen trail, Hurrah Pass (GPS waypoint N 38 degrees 31.99’ W 109 degrees 36.03’). At about 9:00 am we departed for the pass just four miles south of town.
The Harrah Pass trail is breath taking as it begins along the side of the Colorado River and ascends quickly onto the canyon walls. Much of the trail is easily driven and offers many places to stop and enjoy petroglyphs, overlooks, and rock formations. One particular section of the trail includes little fingers that stretch over the side of the cliffs that allow you to really see and feel the height of the canyon walls. It is best to keep small children and pets very near to your person on this trail.
We quickly swallowed our vertigo and continued our venture to the summit of Hurrah Pass. We again enjoyed a scenic lunch and vowed to get permission to camp on the top of Hurrah Pass some day. One can only imagine the night sky from this vantage point.
We opted not to continue onto Chicken Corners trail as it was getting late in the day. We decided to turn around and quickly made the return trip over Hurrah Pass to our designated campsites. We wound down the day back at camp eating homemade chili. Why does everything taste so good when you camp?
It is very important in and around Moab to camp responsibly and to use designated campsites. It’s also important to catch all black and gray water and pack out any human or animal waste. Please contact the Moab area BLM office to make camping arrangements.
On Sunday we decided to stay in camp and enjoy a nice relaxing day. We basically lounged around eating and napping all day. We chased a few more lizards and did a little bird watching. In the evening we went into town and did some window shopping in the little unique stores spanning Main Street. Later that night, we enjoyed a beautiful night sky with an amazing star display just before we turned in for bed.
On Monday we packed up the rigs and enjoyed an uneventful ride home. We stopped on Vail Pass and climbed around on the snowdrifts to stretch our legs.
Our goals had been met. We had put ourselves in situations that many of our customers face every time they go camping in a Hallmark. The campers were never spared. We put them to the test at every opportunity. The Hallmark campers performed flawlessly and all four units came back without any needed maintenance or issues.
For more information about Hallmark Manufacturing, visit their website at www.hallmarkrv.com.