Some of our readers think that the Ultimate Adventure is a lot of hooey, with wallet-job readers and over-the-top sponsors just flashing their cash in pay-to-play rigs. They also think that the obstacles we encounter are nothing a regular rig could overcome and that the trip is just a whimped-out excuse to get away from home. The fact of the matter is totally the opposite. We do it for fun!
It is true that a lot of cash is dumped into this event from a variety of sources, but it’s more of a three-month thrashfest as individual readers, sponsors, and staff pull out all the stops. At times we go without sleep, food, and even beer, while depleting the bank account (if you have one), begging, borrowing, and stealing parts and pieces off your buddies’ rigs, and convincing the Significant Other to come along or let you break the piggy bank open, all the while holding down a job and playing with the kids. And don’t forget convincing the boss that you need two weeks off in the summer to go play!
It’s fascinating what some people can come up with on a budget, and how we can Krylon a 4x4 to give it a snazzy look for under 25 bucks. Sure, the transfer case gears weren’t cheap, but you needed them anyway, right? And for that matter, we pick UA readers’ rigs based on how they are at the time of the application, not what they plan to improve on their rigs. In fact, we tend to shy away from that, as all it generally does is reduce reliability, and the name of the UA game is reliability.
It may seem like we don’t always hit the hardest obstacles and bash and thrash as some would like to see. The reason is that we are wheeling for the week, not the day. We have to make the obstacles, keep our rides in one piece, and then drive our 4x4s to the next park some 200 highway miles away—no trailering allowed. That means you live and wheel out of your 4x4 for a week, with the goal of simply completing the event. And as usual, this year we have the assortment of rocks, mud, dirt, heat, bugs, and general mayhem you’ve all grown to love and hate.
The goal of the Ultimate Adventure is simply to have fun. Naysayers simply haven’t been on the trip, or think too much of themselves to listen to someone else. Know-it-alls usually spout off the loudest and confirm other people’s suspicions on what they really know, or don’t. If you don’t like the UA, don’t enter/come/watch/read. If something other than the normal whets your appetite, give it a chance—or better yet, apply! Your chances of getting chosen dramatically increase if you have an open mind and a desire to have fun, rather than being a whiner.