Part 1: Red Dirt And Milkshake Mud In Big Texas
As kids, how many of you had a wide-brimmed hat and a six-shootin' cap gun that you wore proudly as you roamed the wild ranges of your backyard playing cowboys? Or better yet, maybe you actually got to live the hardy life in the saddle, roping and brandingcattle in the wild fields of the West? And now, how many times in your life have you had the chance to ride into town on the back of your trusty steed, with your gang of dirty roughneck friends and just have the most rootin' tootin' good time ever? Well, this year Ultimate Adventure took our wild band of 18 rough and weathered trail machines, with 34 cowboys and two cowgirls, down to the biggest state in the lower 48 where we wrassled some of the meanest dirt climbs, roughest rock ledges, and mud so nasty it would leave some of our gang sniveling like babies.
So what is the point of all the trails of tears? It's just the most important week of the year for us. The week the editors of 4-Wheel & Off-Road leave our cluttered desks behind to go get some quality dirt under the tires, and rather than go alone we round up a group of like-minded wheelers to go with us. By "like-minded" we mean folks not scared of living in the dirt, wrenching nightly to keep our battered rides on the trail, and wholeheartedly leaving the grueling daily grind behind for a seven-plus day trip where we can recharge our batteries in the most exhaustingly fun week of off-roading possible. Basically the office is closed, we've gone wheeling, and when we get back our clothes will stink and be infested with bugs. Don't you wish you were with us?
So it's 2007 and the name of the game is Big: big state, big tires, big Jeep, big fun in big mud, big dirt, and big rocks. Every year we organize our Ultimate Adventure trip to cover about 1,000 miles across three or four states, where we go wheeling every other day, and commute between trails on deserted backroads in our trail rigs. Not on trailers, and not in air conditioning, but rather behind the wheel of our sometimes barely legal 4x4s with mud-terrain tires whirring underneath and the noise and heat of rugged powerplants filling our ears and frying our feet.
This year we chose to visit just one state-one big state called Texas. You would think we would show up like lethal outlaws in these small towns, what with our big machines and dirty clothes from camping and wrenching every night, but the fact is we usually find some of the most hospitable local wheelers to help lead our troop to the local wheeling spots, and those folks from Texas were as fun-loving as any we've ever met. Never before has the weather been so great (though slightly warm and just a wee bit humid), the trails so fun (though by fun we mean brutal), and the people so welcoming (helpful, fun, and outfitted with some of the best Bar-b-que-ing skills in the nation). It was truly an unforgettable trip, and in case you were wondering, we'll be doing it again next summer to another part of the country, so fill out your application in next month's issue to join the gang.
Check in at Longview Driveshaft & 4x4, Longview, Texas
Just getting your truck done, getting packed, and getting there in one piece is as much an adventure as the trip itself. You'd think everyone would be completely prepared and not have any last-minute projects to do. We promise every year that this is the last year we'll be wrenching at check-in, though we're sure it will be the same next year, and the year after that, and the year after that.