“Off-camber” is a slight understatement, as the UA JK nearly took a tumble on this rocky s
Day 2, Sunday, July 1:
As the sun sprang into view early in the Northwest sky we rounded up the crew for the first day of wheeling. The first set of missing Toyota guys (Joe Eaves and Jodey Ardrey) showed up in the wee hours of the morning. With only a few hours of sleep the ’Yota guys arrived in high spirits, ready to wheel. Early-morning drivers meetings are part of the UA routine, and as the week progresses sleep tends to diminish and morning meetings become earlier and earlier.
Meeting us at the hotel was the day’s trail leader and local shop owner Graeme Tydeman of G-Fab Motorsports in Bend, Oregon, along with OHV Specialist for Oregon’s Forest Service Matt Able. Tydeman, in conjunction with his 4Locked Crew and Able, helped create the fresh trail our group was getting ready to christen.
New trails give drivers the option of creating their own line, as the proven path has usua
While trail closures are an increasing problem for our hobby, Able is one of the good guys working hard behind the scenes to protect and develop new and exciting places for wheelers to explore.
With our introductions to the trail and crew out of the way we gathered up our gear and set out on the roughly 30-minute drive to the Cline Buttes Recreation Area, which is controlled by the Bureau Land Management. With over 20 rigs in our group a seemingly short trail can and will take all day. For some of the freshly built rigs it was the first time their tires ever broke dirt.
As we broke away from the pavement and peeled off onto the forest service roads it was apparent that rockcrawling was on the day’s agenda. The fresh trail offered little guidance or insight, which made for some very interesting first tries. The Oregon trail was also a great way for the full-bodied rigs to see how they measured up to a trail carved by extremely built tube cars.
Nic Pook’s very custom long-wheelbased Samurai made light work of the technical and rocky
Some of the more intense optional lines were definitely not for the faint of heart, and the extreme side hills elevated the pucker factor immensely. Amazingly, most of the crew managed to stay planted over the loose rocks and dirt, and the first trail day’s damages were kept to a minimum. There was a bit of minor mechanical damage in the group, but the best carnage of the day was claimed by returning reader Paden Saracino in his ’89 Jeep Cherokee. It seems as though the Jeep’s new 40-inch Nitto Mud Grapplers got a little more bite than his 9-inch rear axle could handle. The result was an exploded third member that would send his rig limping back to the hotel and searching for a new gearset in the morning.
Overall, the clear skies made way for a warm and enjoyable day of technical rockcrawling and helped the group shake out those first-day jitters. So with the light fading into the dust we aired up at the trailhead and made our way back to town for our last night in Redmond.
The crew from Synergy is no stranger to climbing rocks, but the Oregon boulders were much
A long wheelbase can be both a blessing and a curse. The long stance works great to keep y
Rattling through the trail and churning out little puffs of smoke was Offroad Power Produc
Tim Hardy is a legend among Samurai owners, a valuable old crony, and one of the calmest a
Originally attending the event as an invited reader, two-time UA veteran Matt Kime came on
It was apparent from the moment the two Chileans got on the dirt that these two guys absol
Jimmy Jack’s Jeep conglomeration represents a long lineage of Jeep history and parts. Jack
Offroad Design is well known for its fullsize GM product line, and the company decided to
It’s no secret that we are big fans of the Ford Ranger pickup. And though invited reader B
Now that’s three sisters that really stand out in a crowd!
Day 3, Monday, July 2:
On the Road
Monday kicked off our escape from civilization as we said goodbye to the climate control of the hotel and hello to a full week of camping. With the crew complete (the other Toyota guys, Chappelle and Boyd, finally arrived the evening before in the barely finished Hilux), we gassed up, loaded in our gear, jumped onto the highway, and headed into the winding mountain roads and luscious green landscape. Making our way out of Redmond, it didn’t take long before snowcapped mountains came into view. A snow sighting in the summer was another UA rarity, along with the cool weather.
For the open-topped and doorless rigs the morning was a bit colder than expected. Luckily the picturesque mountain scenery helped to keep minds off of the piercing wind.
Not long into our highway spell we drove into the town of Sisters, Oregon. Here we laid eyes on the massive Three Sister Mountains. Nicknamed Faith, Hope, and Charity, the Three Sisters Mountains are a must-see for those in or around central Oregon.
As we exited Sisters a few rigs began to notice some new squeaks and groans echoing from under their rigs. To play it safe, we swung onto an old logging road and checked things over. After rummaging through toolbags and checking a few fluid levels we hit the highway again. As we threaded our way through the mountains we roared by many of the lakes and rivers that spider across Oregon. “Scenic” is an understatement for this part of the country.
One often overlooked rule in the UA is the minimum fuel range of 150 miles. If your rig cannot make it 150 miles, you must carry spare gas! Since our rigs don’t run on good intentions, stopping for fuel is an everyday affair. Along the backcountry roads, unique and small gas stations are a mainstay. This often means two pumps, limited supplies, and occasionally some of the wall items like pump-action pellet guns and wooden placards painted with “Gone Fishin’” slogans.
Sometimes gas is merely part of the big picture, as was the case this day. Péwé managed to find us a pretty amazing gas station atop a hill that happened to overlook a lake few would even know existed. While no stop at the pump is a pleasure on your wallet, at least this one was easy on the eyes.
Many of Oregon’s backcountry roads snake alongside lakes and rivers. The views are spectac
When was the last time you ran across a gas station with this type of view?
Inside, Warn is more than just a warehouse. It is a fully functioning fabrication, machini