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Fred DED: Revival of the Ultimate Avalanche

Posted in Events on February 1, 2011 Comment (0)
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Péwé and Freiburger have this road trip thing figured out. They call it DED, for Dirt Every Day, and it usually involves them flying in to some town, getting dirty every day until they get their newfound treasure up and running (usually a Jeep flatfender), and then hitting the road home, where crazy antics and adventures ensue and, of course, some four-wheeling every day. Voilà! Dirt Every Day.

Recently I figured I'd try my hand at this type of journey. So as not to jump on their bandwagon, I guess I'll have to call my excursion "FRED."

Day 1: float Rails Every Day
I outfitted my adventure with a camera/computer backpack, a 60-pound toolbag that was too heavy after the first five-minute walk, and my new Red Ox duffle bag (made in Montana, mind you). The Red Ox has big zippers and room for 3 or 30 days' worth of clothes, depending on how often you change. In true Boy Scout fashion the toolbag had everything I needed and was only opened once the whole trip. Next time I'll just bring a Leatherman.

Day 2: Fix Rigs Every Day
One of the goals of this trip was to get the Ultimate Avalanche back to Southern California. This is the '03 Chevy Avalanche we built for the Ultimate Adventure seven years ago ("Ultimate Avalanche," Aug.-Dec. '03). It was painted flat black and has been sitting at Shaffer's Off Road outside Reno for the last three years. We had planned on doing a major rehash of the truck, but in fact it sat derelict while so many other projects got attention at home. When Shaffer called and said he was moving the shop to Oakland, California, I figured I better get the old girl back home.

Day 2, cont'd: Fight Rims Every Day
The old tires and wheels on the Avalanche had seen better days, so new rubber and rims were sourced. I looked for 38s, but at the time I was ordering they were backordered, so I ended up with the new 40x14.50R17 BFGoodrich Krawlers. These tires fit the truck much better than 38s would have. To bolt them up, a new set of Trail Ready beadlocks was recruited. To learn how to mount beadlocks, check out "Beadlock Busting," Nov. '10. The big rubber had no issue, even unbalanced running down the road, though the Avalanche doesn't like to pass a gas station without stopping.

Day 3: Find Rocks Every Day
A couple of gentlemen outside of Reno have some property, actually a lot of property, roughly 100,000 acres (yes, a hundred thousand). They decided that rather than let it sit there going stale, they'd find some different uses for it. The land has been used for rockcrawling and desert racing, and we heard rumors that some crossover King of the Hammers rock/desert races were happening there in September 2010. To help open more trails on the acreage, the Rat Pack off-road posse showed up. This was reason enough for me to tag along.

Day 4: Fotograph Rigs Every Day
Every day of a road trip like this I'm looking for cool 4x4s, and sometimes I also find cool cars. Though this magazine is for all you 4x4 lovers, I'm sure you can recognize a cool-looking car even if it doesn't have a transfer case.

Day 5: Fred Rides Every Day
With that, I headed home. The old Avalanche needs some work to be back in its prime, but for a road trip machine it's not too bad. It's no 60-year-old flatfender, but then it's the trail, not the truck, that makes every road trip an adventure.

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