That was the response from one reader who had learned he'd won the lottery. But this was no ordinary lottery. The winnings? The opportunity to attend 4-Wheel & Off-Road's Ultimate Adventure 2003.
2002 was the first year we opened up the Adventure to reader participation, and both last and this year brought an overwhelming mailbag of reader pleas to attend. Choosing the winners was no walk in the dog park, but since Editor Péwé has always been a fan of the diamond-encrusted pinky ring, the bribery worked. And he sure looks classy wearing three of them.
So what exactly is this Ultimate Adventure? Nutshell: It's a tour that requires participants to drive their rig to an extreme trail. Then they must hit the trail in that rig, avoiding breakage, body damage, and total destruction. Why? Said vehicle is also their only way to the next locale and trail ride and to the Adventure finish line, so they best keep it in working order.
Because the vehicle has to make it from one spot to the next without being trailered and the group is on deadline, things can get pretty tense--over the years, Adventurers have been faced with pulling all-nighters on the trail, Smokey greeting them at each new city to discuss the topic of street legality, fullsizes in a world meant for downsizes, and the occasional catfight, which is acceptible, whereas whining is not.
Our plan this year is to traverse the Southeast region of the U.S., including wheeling in Tellico, North Carolina. Come back to 4wheeloffroad.com on 6/1 for your first look at the hardcore trails we'll be running and what can go wrong if the drivers make one bad decision. You won't want to miss this, as it'll be your sneak peek of the potential carnage that lies ahead in the November issue's full Ultimate Adventure coverage, on sale 9/30.
And stay tuned for more Ultimate opportunities for you to be a part of the trip, including a Best Of screen saver.
Check out the photos and details below for a look at the reader vehicles attending this year's Ultimate Adventure.