Day 3: Monday, July 6
After a great day of wheeling we said goodbye to the hotel room and hello to the four nights of camping ahead. Although we were told that this would simply be a road day to cover a few hundred miles of ground, the old cronies know that there is no such thing as just a road day. It was no surprise to them when less than an hour into our trek we pulled into a field for an impromptu wheeling session. Fully loaded with camping gear, spare parts, and a week's worth of supplies, those who still had the option to lock in their hubs did so, and we dropped into the Coal Mine trail at Rob Grinnik's property.
Rockcrawlers are not the only ones who know about buggies. Admittedly, this Amish ride see
The Grinnik's Coal Mine trail was a nice surprise for the first road day, cut through the
Sam Gillis was the first conquerer of the steep hillclimb at JeepSkool, so he naming honor
Surrounded by incredible green foliage, we slipped our way through the trees and the western Pennsylvania vegetation. After a relatively short trail came the final obstacle, and the only way to exit was to blast up an incredibly slick hill. To conquer the obstacle, two very distinctive and simple techniques were used: lots of skinny pedal or simply pull cable, and let the Warn winch do the work.
Exiting the property we made our way back onto the road and down a trail of a more historic nature. Formed in 1753, the Washington Trail is a nice drive through the countryside that offers you a bit of historical insight and amazing visuals of how the glaciers formed the land.
The Ultimate Super Duty battled a few fueling problems during the day. Luckily, the truck
Having no trailers means that you have to drive your rig on the highway, and it must be ab
Vehicle progression is a huge part of this hobby and something Mike DeMarco knows all abou
Passing through the Amish countryside it didn't take long before we crossed over into Ohio. Lined with steel mills new and old, there was a healthy mix of big industry and mom-and-pop operations.
Not much longer into our drive we pulled into a muddy side road through a gate and Editor Pw took us on a mud-whompin' swamp trail that he swears he had never been on. At the end we heard banjo music and saw some strange sights, but still escaped to the main wheeling area.
The last obstacle of the day proved to be too much for the Ultimate Super Duty's Sterling
Stephen and James Watson of Offroad Design are veterans of the Ultimate Adventure and no s
Driving up a sandy and rocky hillclimb is already tough for a Samurai on 35-inch tires, bu
Day 3 Damage Rear ring-and-pinion: UA Super Duty ICP sensor: UA Super Duty
Waiting for us through the woods was a group of fun loving wheelers at JeepSkool. Hidden away in the backwoods of Ohio, JeepSkool is an off-road park that caterers to wheelers of all types. Designed with a mix of man-made obstacles and naturally tight and windy trails, there is something here for the buggy to the basic trail beater. Kelly Haylett runs the park with the help of his JeepSkool crew, and they were more than accommodating to our UA pupils.
What was supposed to be a quick trip through the trails of JeepSkool turned into an overnight camping trip when our lead Ultimate Adventure Super Duty decided to grenade the rear gearset.
With a game plan to fix the Super Duty in the works, the rest of the adventure group set up camp and told tall tales around the fire late into the night. What would tomorrow bring? Not even Pw could have guessed the new addition to the trip.
The locals let us loose on a waterfall trail that had been closed for five years. The slic
Day 4: Tuesday, July 7
The Tortoise And The Hare Scramble
With the Super Duty down for the count and parts on the way, we regrouped while the old UA cronies cooked up some Spam-and-egg breakfast burritos for those brave enough to try one. Loaded up with plenty of Gatorade and water donated by Haylett's Convenience Store, we aired up and set out for another road and trail day.
As it goes with the Ultimate Adventure the participants never know what's going to happen or where exactly they'll end up. So when nearly two dozen rigs stopped on the side of the road to look at a $500 '90 F-250 that caught Pw's eye, it was no surprise to us. Andrew Schirf (owner of the truck) and his family, on the other hand, didn't know what to think. Can you imagine bartering over your beater pickup with 50 people? And don't forget we're filming this Ohio family as we try and strike a deal! Let's just say that we're no Publishers Clearing House. Though the F-250 had some questionable "fixes," Pw was happy to have a new truck to lead the group with. Pw ran down the road, got plates and insurance, and off we went with a new lead truck dubbed the Whopper Jr. since the Whopper (aka the Ultimate Super Duty) was being fixed
Wheeling into the night was no problem, as we had the crew from Light Force to brighten up
Back on the highway we set our sights on Painted Rock Adventure Park near Somerset, Ohio. Created by off-road enthusiast Ralph Painter, the private park is now open only for special events and Ralph's own tour, the Ohio Adventure, held every July. With our gear unloaded we headed straight to the trailhead for an afternoon filled with twisting trails and plenty of off-camber obstacles.
Over the course of the Ultimate Adventure, obstacles range in difficulty, but generally the off-road challenges increase as the trip progresses. Since the Painted Rock crew knew that we would have some experienced drivers and well-built rigs with us, they set us up for a little surprise by opening the waterfall trail that's been closed for five years. Our group not only had the opportunity to chew up some fresh terrain, but the first one to conquer the obstacle at the end of the trail got to name it!
Always up for the challenge, Tom Boyd in his Bruiser buggy was the first to attack the slimy and jagged fall. Spotted by UA veteran Keith Bailey, Boyd was the first person to conquer the falls and decided to name it Turtle Head Hill. We think the name stems from his love of turtles, but it could have something to do with the "pucker" factor as well.
Day 4 Damage Body Damage: Cooper Tundra, DeMarco Grand Cherokee Cut tires: Durham TJ, K&N
With Boyd's success came a line of rigs shooting to be the next to conquer the waterfall. While a few other rigs managed to claw their way out, the extremely sharp and jagged extruding rocks sent many rigs limping off the trail.
As night time called an end to our day, we slowly made our way back to camp. Waiting for us was the UA Super Duty sitting next to the Hobart Welders support trailer. The good news is that the truck drove to the park using only front-wheel drive with no issues; the bad news is that they received the wrong pinion bearing and would be out of the trip for a little while longer. With reader Kevin Stearns, the Watsons, and Hobart offering to stay back with the rig, we all grabbed a little shuteye under the starry sky.
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To conquer Turtle Head Hill you had to commit to your line choice. This meant being prepar
You're looking at the proud new owners of a very weathered and worn '90 F-250 4x4, purchas
Invited readers Kevin and Jennifer Stearns piloted one the larger rigs on the trip. Powere