As kids, most of us went on sometimes crazy and dangerous adventures, whether it was rattlesnake hunting or jumping off a bridge into the local river. As adults our adventures often lose their outrageousness in favor of safety, sanity, and comfort. We go four-wheeling on some of the toughest trails, but so does everyone else. There's very little adventure in that, especially when you trailer your 4x4 to the trails.
Why not make a tour of the hardest trails we can find and do them all in an eight-day stint? Most trail rigs can handle a 20- or 30-minute drive on pavement to the trailhead, but suggest throwing down 1,200 miles and most four-wheelers become queasy. Then toss in the thought that if you break down on one of these difficult trails, you have until sunup the next day to get your steed ready for the road. That would be the Ultimate Adventure. And that's just what we did.
Our trip of trips would start in Southern California and encompass the Southwest. The trails of choice were located in Phoenix, Arizona; Las Cruces, New Mexico; Farmington, New Mexico; and Montrose, Colorado.
It wouldn't be nearly as much fun alone, so for the inaugural event we hand-picked a few people that we knew would be up for this rattlesnake hunt. Most of our invitees responded with "That's crazy! When do we leave?"
First we contacted Brian Cox, which wasn't difficult because he works in our building. He said he would come and he knew a couple of people who would join us. So, into the group came Jon Bundrant from All-Pro Off-Road, Drew Persson from Persson Off-Road Systems, and Steve Sasaki from Powertank. Brian, Jon, Drew, and Steve all drove well-built Toyota 4Runners. We also called Trenton McGee from Superlift and Sam Patton from Sam's Off-Road. Trenton drove his beat-up early Blazer, and Sam drove one of the biggest, best-working CJ-7s we've ever seen.
A quick call to Greg Miller at Klune-V and he was sold on bringing his bright-green Bronco on the trip. Rob Harris was already touring around in his motor-home, so he brought along Ol' Spot Too, a spotted Wrangler. Jody Campbell from 4x4review.com caught wind of our plans and had his CJ-5 ready to go. Tom Boyd had known about the event for some time and guaranteed us he'd make it in his quarter-elliptic Bronco, along with his friend Dan Trudo in his Wrangler.
We'd like to thank all of those who sacrificed their time and vehicles to join us on the trip as well as those that met us at each trail. We're in the midst of planning the next Ultimate Adventure, which will be open for anyone, but space will be limited. Keep your eyes peeled on future issues for more infor-mation.
Day OneOn the way to the official meeting and kick-off spot at the Cabazon exit off Interstate 10 near Palm Springs, California, the luster of driving our trail rigs such a distance glimmered brightly. Many of us had not met before, but we soon realized that we all had something in common: insanity. With four Toyotas, two early Broncos, a Wrangler, a fullsize GMC pickup, and a CJ-2A, we began our trek to Apache Junction, Arizona. The others would meet us there and continue on.
Arizona in the summertime isn't exactly cool. With temperatures far enough over 100 to make sheetmetal sweat, highway driving in some of these vehicles wasn't a picnic. The interior temp in John Cappa's CJ-2A was hot enough to literally melt the soles off his shoes. However, all of the Toyotas were sporting air conditioning, a fact which garnered the Toyota drivers many disgruntled comments about a compressor being used for something other than on-board air.
The first breakdown occurred in Blythe, California. Greg's Bronco suffered a chaffed oil-cooler line as we were exiting for gas. The subsequent leak sprayed about 2 quarts of oil all over the front of the Bronco. A quick fix bypassed the cooler but gave us enough time to install a winch on Tom's Bronco.