Our road trip on Day 5 took us well into the evening, so we didn’t arrive at camp until ni
Day 5, Wednesday, July 6:
First Full Road Day
We woke up early and quickly broke camp. You know it’s going to be hot when the sun isn’t even up and your T-shirt is already soaking wet and there’s sweat rolling off your face. Today was the first full road day. Our plan was to drive from D-Day Adventure Park just outside of Wyandotte, Oklahoma, to Wheelin’ World near Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Our destination wasn’t that long a haul, maybe a few hundred miles as the crow flies. But remember, we never take a straight route. Rolling down just any old interstate wouldn’t be adventurous, and we want to see the heart of the country in the little towns and rural farm-to-market roads.
After leaving D-Day Adventure Park we headed into town and stopped by the Bunker Store, a huge military surplus outlet. The store was a great place to shop halfway through the UA since some of us blew out the front door on the way to the UA without everything we needed.
We had no clue what we were in for until we pulled up to our next destination, Bluff Dwellers Cavern in Noel, Missouri. Missouri just isn’t another great state to four-wheel in; it’s also known as the Cave State. We were all amazed at this very cool (literally) and interesting stop, which was a great place to relax after spending half the day on the sizzling blacktop. We aren’t sure if we had any spelunkers amongst us, but we were all pumped up and felt like 12-year-old kids waiting in line for Disneyland. As we approached the steel doors to the entrance of the cave, some of the guys let out a groan of relief. The year-round temperature inside is 56 degrees, a welcome relief from driving in rigs with no A/C.
After an interesting and refreshing tour of the cave we hit the highway again. Our destination for the day was Wheelin’ World 4x4 Offroad Park just outside Eureka Springs, Arkansas. But we had a number of other stops in between! After filling up our rigs with fuel and tossing more artery-clogging deep-fried gas station food into our gullets we met Dale Backs, owner of Wheelin’ World.
Dale went over our route with us to the park, and then took us on a meandering tour of more twisty turning dirt roads and trails. At one point we found ourselves in the heavily forested middle-of-nowhere and inside the long-abandoned Eureka Springs train tunnel. Most of the stops we make except for food and gas are in some way educational and a great experience. After being told the history of the 1800s tunnel and a little exploring we were off counting white lines again.
After a short night run we finally found Wheelin’ World late in the night. Most of us drank gallons of water, heated up Hot Pockets on a cast iron skillet, and hit our sweaty, rank, and uncomfortable sleeping bags for the night.
Carter Reed and Dave DeVormer were still having a little trouble with their Comanche’s fro
Waking up in the morning to the old cronies’ traditional UA breakfast is always a thrill b
We know the photo doesn’t show the angle in perspective, but this was one of the most hair
We ran across a lot of old bridges like the Beaver Bridge near Beaver, Arkansas. The bridg
Day 6, Thursday, July 8:
Wheelin’ World Trail Action
Thursday was slated for a full day of off-road action. When we awoke in Wheelin’ World we were surprised to find an incredibly nice campground and great facilities like extremely clean little blue houses replete with sparkling toilets, and a hose dangling from a tree with fresh water for showers. The park does have full campground hookups, including his and her showers, but we shied away from them so as not to clog the drains with dirt, ticks, chiggers, and any other critters that had attached themselves to our bodies. The accommodations we enjoyed may sound a little primitive, but after a sweaty few days on the trail they were welcome pleasures. Although all of the places we camped were filled with warm and friendly folks, Wheelin’ World was one of the nicest and cleanest campgrounds we stayed in.
Readers Corey Osborne and Terry Hawkins did some expert wheeling on the UA and worked very
The trails at the park were steep, rocky, and slippery. The slickest trails and hillclimbs weren’t due to mud, but rather loose dirt and small pebbles and rocks that acted like ball bearings. Gaining traction and making it up and over a hill in some situations didn’t entirely depend on tire traction, but horsepower, momentum, and speed. Other obstacles paralleled ledges that leaned vehicles off-camber toward drop-offs, giving drivers an uneasy feeling and a butt crack full of seat upholstery. Winch lines were pulled and hooked to anchor points just for safety.
Enjoying the tight turns, rocks, and logs at Wheelin’ World, Verne Simons (driving) and Tr
After a great day of four-wheeling we headed back to camp to make repairs, rehydrate, and knock some of the grime off ourselves before dinner. The staff of Wheelin’ World and the crew of the Rock Hard Wheelers had prepared us an amazing BBQ chicken feast with all the fixings, a welcome break from the greasy gas station food we had been choking down.
We are always impressed with Tim Hardy’s driving and his ability to get his lightly powere
Everyone on the Ultimate Adventure quickly gets used to having a camera in his or her face
One of the last hillclimbs of that day at Wheelin’ World was incredibly slippery due to lo
Making big look good, Stephen and Brandon Watson from Offroad Design always impress everyo
We found (left to right) Ali Mansour, Stephen Watson, and Mel Wade looking under the hood
Matt Kime was the lucky reader who was along for his second UA. His co-driver, Ben Brewer,
We were ecstatic to have Nitto Tire and Tim Coltey on the UA for the first time as sponsor
Sam Patton of Sam’s Off-Road is smoking his way up one of the day’s toughest obstacles, li
Food, folks, and fun! The staff at Wheelin’ World threw an incredible BBQ for us. It reall