The Rightline Gear Jeep Build for the 2015 SEMA Show began in mid-May and ended in mid-October. Our goal was to complete the build ourselves (with minimal outside assistance and guidance), drive to Las Vegas in the Jeep, detail the Jeep ourselves, showcase our Jeep Storage Bags on the Jeep in our booth, take in a day of off-roading after the show, and then drive back to North Carolina in the Jeep. A real grass roots effort you might say!
We started the long drive to Las Vegas on the Thursday before the show. Since we were going with a crew of (4) guys, we needed to figure out a plan to carry our personal belongings, Mothers Cleaning Products, and the new black Jeep Storage Bags that we would be showcasing at SEMA. Good thing our Jeep was equipped with the Curt Roof Rack Basket and Hitch Cargo Rack, plenty of extra space to carry everything we needed. Our crew used the Rightline Gear Auto Duffle Bags for their gear.
We took I-40 through NC, TN, AK, OK, TX, NM, AZ, and NV on the way to Las Vegas. Our rig was definitely tested in highway driving, first being hit by a ton of giant bugs in AK and second by high winds and a six hour rain storm in OK.
Loading the Jeep with our gear on top caused the Jeep to be caught like a sail in the high wind, especially when passing or being passed by semi-trailers. Eventually, we got used to driving with two hands on the wheel and anticipating the force of the wind. The Hellwig Sway Bars provided noticeable stability, even in these conditions. The BF Goodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 Tires gripped the road, while producing no road noise what-so-ever. The Rugged Ridge Exo Top kept us dry the whole way.
An incredibly welcome last minute addition to our build was the Alpine Navigation Receiver. Besides keeping me busy learning it’s functions during the (3) day drive to Vegas, the Navi Station helped us find gas stations, food stops, and places to stay. We also enjoyed the blue tooth connection for playing music from my iphone and the hands free calling feature.
After (3) days of driving (11) to (12) hours each day, the lights of Las Vegas were a welcome sight.
We got up early on Sunday and headed to the local car wash to begin the detailing.
We finished the day’s worth of detailing just after dark.
We gave the underside of the Jeep a fresh coat of VHT Epoxy Paint (yes, in the hotel’s parking lot – that is hardcore!) on Monday morning. We love this product because it makes the Jeep look brand new with a sharp satin black finish. We finished up mid-morning and headed over to the convention center. We carried our booth banners, racks, stands, literature, etc. on the Jeep, right into the convention center. That is Art from T&A Offroad’s trailer in the background. We were thankful for his help in getting most of our booth to SEMA for us.
A final touch up at the booth and our Jeep looked fantastic. We cannot say enough about the effectiveness of each of the Mothers cleaning products. The tires looked brand new after the Back To Black Tire Shine and we used the Vinyl Protectant on much of the Jeep including the vinyl wrap and even our Jeep Storage Bags.
We gained a 24th sponsor during the show with Factor 55’s Pro Link. It was amazing that they feature a color almost identical to our Rightline Gear orange.
The show was a great success for us as usual and our black Jeep Storage Bags, including our new Soft Top Window Storage Bag, were well received by all of our customers. The bags will be available in February 2016.
Here is a video we made at the show, highlighting our (24) sponsors – much thanks to them!
We participated in the SEMA Cruise and SEMA Ignited on Friday evening – both great events. We were all packed up and ready to go Saturday morning for our day of off-roading at Red Rock Canyon outside Las Vegas. What a beautiful spot and we got in a little excitement rock crawling through a stream bed on the main trail. For the trip back to NC, we used the Rightline Gear Sport Jr Car Top Carrier in addition to the Auto Duffle Bags to carry our gear.
We decided to drive into the night on Saturday so that, you guessed it, we would have time to go to Moab, UT on Sunday. We opted to take the Northern route back to NC to get a variety in scenery and of course – to go to Moab. I have been mountain biking and ATVing at Moab before, but tackling it in our show Jeep was truly something else. We made it through the Fins n’ Things trail in one piece with everyone getting the chance to drive. I know my grin lasted the rest of the day!
The MaxTrac Lift with the Bilstein Shocks were truly something special in this environment; we could drive over anything. Also, the Hellwig Front Sway Bar’s quick disconnect let us achieve full articulation in no time. Next to the Smokies, the La Sal Mountains in Moab are my favorite. You can see why. Spending the whole afternoon at Moab cost us time and we had to drive well into the night on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Our journey back took us through NV, UT, CO, KS, MO, KY, TN, and NC.
At the end of this whole trek, we only lost (2) bolts out of (1) Ultra Wheel hub cover, (1) bolt out of the Curt Hitch Mount Rack, (1) small bolt on the top of the Bulldog Winch, (2) of our Mcguard Lug Nuts, and (1) stock rubber bushing came apart above (1) of the front shocks. Not bad for 4K plus miles and (2) off-road sessions. Our Jeep was well equipped to handle everything the highway and the trails had to throw at it. The only thing – I definitely need to alter the gearing with the larger tire size in place. A lack of power was especially noticeable when driving up hills or up mountains on the highway.
The Rightline Gear Jeep Build passed many Jeeps on trailers going to and from the SEMA Show. Even thought it was a little crazy, we couldn’t help but have a little pride in our accomplishment. Now we have to figure out how to top it next year….stay tuned.