Bent, busted, tired, and in need of air, we made our way back to the trailhead to find Bob Oliver and Bill Barnes with the BFGoodrich race support trailer. If you've ever had your very own pit crew, with all the tools, tires, and expertise that comes from supporting hundreds of race teams in dozens of motorsports, you know what it's like to have these guys on your side. In a word ... salvation. Trail repairs are a thing of the past with BFGoodrich there. And now that Hobart Welders is part of our family - when something breaks all we've got to worry about is getting back to camp.
Bull Shoals Lake
Day two took us on our first road day south out of Seymour on Highway K and through the Mark Twain National Forest. We worked our way out to the shores of Bull Shoals Lake, where we took the last free ferry in Arkansas in groups of six across to the south side. The ferryboat is power by a 6-71 Detroit Diesel ... yeah, we wondered too.
Lead Hill, AR
To keep things interesting, Editor Rick Pw took us down Old Highway 14 and over an aging bridge into Lead Hill, Arkansas. When we say "Old" we mean down-right untraveled for the last 20 years, and the overgrowth proved it. After sending our convoy of 21 4x4s through, we cleared out most of the brush and relocated more than a few of the native spiders. You're going to have to see the DVD to believe it! As luck would have it, the old highway rejoins civilization right near Brian's Truck Shop, home of the stoutest Ford E4ODs and 4R100 transmissions on the planet. We stopped in to see Brian Thompson and his family, exchange T-shirts, and get some emergency welding and repair work done.
Just outside of Fayetteville, Arkansas, on the way to the Outlaw Adventures Off-Road Park the group stopped for gas, food, and camping supplies. Premium fuel was $2.44 a gallon (about $0.30 cheaper than in Los Angeles), which was still painful for John Hughbanks considering his big-block Bronco was averaging 4.86 mpg!
We spent the night in the Outlaw Adventures Off-Road Park and the next morning our trail leader Bam-Bam led us into the park in his YJ on 44s with Rockwell axles. This is where the trails got serious, and we found out how many blind spots our Ultimate K10 had. The day began with an obstacle called the Gate Keeper. The trail was a series of Suburban-size boulders covered in moss, trees, and poison oak. It looked like something out of an Indiana Jones movie. We quickly managed to high-center our K10 on the first obstacle to the point we had to pull out the Warn winch cable and drag ourselves back onto all four wheels. The two video crews were all over Editor Rick Pw to find out what it felt like to get stuck.
The Marsh brothers, Nate and Brad, brought their 6,700-pound Wagoneer "Chalupa" out from Colorado to road trip with us for the week. The 1973 Jeep has been in the family since it was new, but Nate still had to race to get it to the event. It turns out the original Chevy V-8 he swapped in ended up having a cracked block, so he had to find a replacement engine just days before he was scheduled to meet up with us. Impressive, but what we really want to know is how did he keep those taillights alive all week?