Bubba Rope’s Matt Kime and Faron Tidwell did a great job of powering their fullsize truck
Day 6, Thursday, July 5:
The warm sun sprang early into the air and heated our tents with attention-seeking force. The heat was actually a welcomed change, as it offered relief to our wet shoes and damp camping gear. Meeting us at the sandy hillside were our local guides for the day—Rich Archer, president of the Sand Scorpions, and Tim Villarreal—and a few of the local Sand Scorpions. At 2,800 acres Moses Lakes Mud Flats and Sand Dunes is a wheeler’s paradise for those lucky enough to live in or near northern Washington.
A warm bunch of Spam, egg, and cheese burritos for breakfast was a great gift from the old
With the group already unloaded and aired down, it didn’t take long for us to round up and head into the sand hills. The dunes were surprisingly well packed, which allowed the crew to pick up speed and carry momentum pretty easily. Like kids in a sandbox, the crew launched their Tonka toys over the sandy ridges and blasted around the deep bowls. If you’ve never wheeled in big dunes, the idea of jumping your rig may sound completely absurd. While we tend to agree with you, the sand can make for a somewhat forgiving landing pad. And if you can time your leaps just right, it can be a smooth transition from takeoff to landing. More often than not, though, it’s a rough ride that makes for a great photo!
Chilean Sebastian Varas is no stranger to sand dunes. And with over 400 ponies stuffed und
After a short jump competition, Péwé rounded us back into orbit and set us off in the direction of the water-lined mud flats. Since the region had experienced a long winter, the flats were still mostly covered with deep water. While certain sections may have been passable by a sky-high mud bogger, the majority of our low-slung trail rigs didn’t stand a chance. Since the big pits were more lake than pit, we went searching for a milder form of swampy waters. Before too long we managed to find a swampy section that was just waterlogged enough to have fun in but would not drown the rigs.
Synergy’s Rob Peterson’s mud pit assault looked awesome, but unfortunately part of the big
Letting loose in the muck was an easy transition for the crew, as many made multiple high-speed passes through the mega puddles. Unfortunately, one Jeep found a bit more water than it intended. After blasting through a particularly deep section, Synergy’s JK tried a liquid diet that didn’t quite sit well. The resulting water gulp sent a connecting rod through the side of the engine block and left the Jeep literally dead in the water. The colossal engine failure wrapped up the muddy mantra. With the Synergy Jeep now strapped to the back of the original UAJK (aka the Rubi Wagon, Aug. ’07–Jan. ’08), we headed back to camp.
Big trucks and huge dunes can often be a challenging combination. Luckily, Offroad Designs
As we loaded up our gear, we sent the Synergy Jeep ahead to Lyle Labe’s compound, where the guys could get the Jeep inside of a garage and begin to formulate a plan. By the time the rest of the group arrived there, the damaged JK was partially disassembled and the guys were able to find a pullout engine from an ’11 Wrangler sitting on the floor at the relatively nearby American Expedition Vehicles shop. Getting the engine to Moses Lakes would take a bit of planning, patience, and a lot of help, but the guys had a sound plan.
Another frequent flyer belonged to Oklahoma invitee Jody Ardrey. Since the UA was the stra
With many heads buzzing around the shop looking for ways to help the stranded JK, the rest of the crew spent time checking over their rigs and giving them a quick bath at the Labe family compound. Leaving the busted Jeep and heading back on the road, our next backroad adventure would take us through more farmland and rolling green hillsides near Edwall, Washington. With tires roaring we inched farther into tree-lined countryside and alongside a crystal-blue river outside of Springdale, Washington. On most Ultimate Adventures we get the luxury of viewing the picturesque backdrops but rarely of camping next to them. This day would be a big surprise, as the group made a sharp turn into the riverfront manor of the Mears family.
With four-wheel steer capabilities the Orange Jeep cut some great monster truck–style donu
John Mears is a friend of Péwé’s and an avid wheeling enthusiast. His lakeside home had plenty of land for us to set up our tents and take in the amazing lake views. Another bonus was a hot meal waiting for us at his house, along with a kick-butt fireworks display that neither we nor the neighbors will soon forget. As another night fell we told wheeling tales around the fire and slowly disappeared into our tent dwellings.
The swing-a-way tire carrier swung a little too far post-landing. We hope old crony Keith
Steve Carroll’s TrailBlazer still sports the factory six-cylinder, which is not the most p
Invited reader Jimmy Jack definitely wasn’t afraid of the mud flats. Though he had a few m