Creating the Ultimate Adventure takes planning, prerunning, research, and just the right amount of luck. While Editor-in-Chief Rick Péwé does an excellent job of outlining our epic adventure, the trip wouldn’t be possible without the help of the clubs, parks, and individuals who go above and beyond with their time and resources.
We at the magazine are fortunate enough to call the wheeling hobby a career, but for many people it is a pastime that requires time and dedication long after they’ve punched out from their everyday job. We simply can’t thank everyone enough for their hospitality and support throughout the trip. From Redmond, Oregon, to Wallace, Idaho, and everywhere in between, the great people and places are what made this year’s UA such a success.
Cline Buttes Recreation Area
Our first trail day kicked off in Oregon at the Cline Buttes Recreation Area. Cline Buttes is controlled by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and has a wide variety of shared-use and OHV-specific trails. Matt Able works as the OHV specialist for the Oregon Forest Service and is instrumental in helping to create new trails and keep existing ones open. Able worked with Graeme Tydeman of G-Fab Motorsports and the entire 4Locked Crew to create the new trail that our group got to christen as an introductory tour to help the BLM with our comments and observations. Filled with off-camber climbs, loose boulders, and incredible views, Cline Buttes is a crawler’s paradise. Thanks again to Able, Tydeman, and the entire 4Locked Crew for making the day a success and giving us access to the freshly laid trail.
Cline Buttes Recreation Area
Moses Lake Sand Dunes & Mud Flats
Mud pits and sand dunes seem like two extremes that wouldn’t be neighbors, but in the northeastern region of Moses Lake, Washington, the two co-exist rather well. The Moses Lake Sand Dunes and Mud Flats rest on 2,800 acres and are lined by the massive Moses Lake. The dunes are big, the pits are deep, and the people are as friendly as they come. We were fortunate enough to have Lyle Labe open up his facilities to us, which ultimately served as a place to perform an engine swap, air up, and hose down our muddy rigs. With the help of Rich Archer, Tim Villarreal, Jay VanNess, and the rest of the Sand Scorpion crew, we had an exciting day of launching in the sandbox and blasting through the waterlogged pits.
Moses Lake Sand Dunes & Mud Flats
Elbe Hills OHV Trail System
The Elbe Hills Forest is managed by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources and is home to some of the more challenging trails in the region. With the help of ARB USA employees/local wheelers Marc Bowers, Mitch Carter, and Bill Carter, we were able to tackle the tight and slippery Busywild Trail. Busywild is definitely one to take seriously. And if you are piloting a fullsize rig it’s safe to assume that your sheetmetal may not look the same at the end of the trail. While some of the group looked like offshore fisherman in their full-length rain suits, the wet weather didn’t stop us from having an absolute blast. Thanks again to the ARB crew for showing us the way.
Elbe Hills OHV Area
The Mears Family Compound
There is no question that the Pacific Northwest has some of the most amazing views in the nation. The mountain peaks and flowing rivers present a relaxing vibe and a postcard quality. John Mears, his wife Ilise, and their two daughters—Ariana and Clara— were gracious enough to open up their riverfront home to our wheeling convoy. Along with providing a hot meal, great camping digs, and a topnotch fireworks show, Mears also played trail guide for Friday’s long hike over the Bitterroot Range. Thanks again for all of the help and breaking out that pristine Early Bronco for a great day of wheeling.
Located off of Highway 93, the Bitterroot Range is home to multiple OHV offshoots and trails. The long and winding paths within the range will send you through the Rocky Mountain subset, up steep grades, and into the dense forest. The seemingly endless dirt road is filled with spectacular views and narrow roadways that will keep you on your toes. At the foot of the dirt road is a maze of water crossings and slick rock passes that will test your rig’s footing and fording capabilities. As you make your way through the range you’ll transition from Montana to Idaho. Thanks again to John Mears for showing us the way.
Camp Conden & Flex-A-Lite
To get a group as large as the UA posse into one area is no easy task, especially when it comes to an area for us to camp. Thankfully Erind Conden’s compound had plenty of room to host our camping digs for a couple of nights. The Condens are a family of wheeling enthusiast, many of whom also work for the well-known electric fan geniuses at Flex-a-lite. Both Flex-a-lite and the Condens went over and beyond with meals, help, and gracious accommodations. We can’t thank them enough for their hospitality.
The final trail day was definitely one of the best. Located near an old silver mine outside of Wallace, Idaho, the Compressor Trail is one of Idaho’s best-kept wheeling secrets. The entire trail snakes up a river and makes the steep transition to nearly 4,500 feet as you climb up the mountainside. Special thanks to trail guides Garrett Ness, Mark Berger, and Berger’s daughter Aby for showing us the potential of the upper and lower portion of the trail. It was a great ride and the perfect way to send off the 2012 Ultimate Adventure.
Since no trailers are allowed on the UA, many of the guys who choose to tow their rigs out need a place to store their trailers and haulers for the week. Luckily, the off-road community is one of the best, and we found a few guys willing to lend us their land. Craig Allen of Tubeshark is located just south of Redmond, Oregon, and had great accommodations for those looking to stow away near the start of our journey. Another helping hand came from Randy Shoaff of Metal Werks and Central Oregon Off Road Race Park. Between the two, we had plenty of safe parking for all those in need. Thanks again for the free parking, guys!
Central Oregon Race Park
Metal Werks Customs