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BF Goodrich Tires 4x4 Off Road Adventure - Ultimate Adventure 2003

Rock Crawling
David Kennedy
| Contributor
Posted November 1, 2004
Photographers: The 4-Wheel & Off-Road Staff

Southeast Wheeling Invasion

The 4-Wheel & Off-Road Ultimate Adventure, presented by BFGoodrich Tires, is the coolest wheeling trip we take all year and the one we know you all lie awake at night dreaming about going on. It's a weeklong expedition to string together the best wheeling trails the off-road world has to offer, and to do it in vehicles that drive on the street more than 1,200 miles as well as they tackle the trails. Make no mistake, there are no trailer queens on this trip, and anyone who whines about not being able to handle the terrain or fix their stuff when it breaks ain't coming with us. No matter who you know.

The secret to Ultimate Adventure's success is that it is unlike any other off-road trip because it is completely different every year. We purposely seek out the trails less travelled and combine them with the big-name trails you know to demonstrate what is possible with a group of dedicated off-road enthusiasts who are passionate about their hobby and the vehicles they build.

This year we threw away all the safety nets of being close to home and decided we needed a challenge that included more than just rockcrawling. We also wanted to shake things up by bringing along some new vehicles that we thought would be better suited for the Southern mud runs we had planned in Murphy, North Carolina; Monteagle, Tennessee; Birmingham, Alabama; Starkville, Mississippi; and Hot Springs, Arkansas. To guarantee things went smoothly, we called in our partners at BFGoodrich, Flowmaster, Rhino Linings, Warn Industries, Tuff Country Suspension, Trailready, Poison Spyder Customs, Dynatrac, and Detroit Locker to help us make this year's UA take off. We're thankful to have had this support and logistical help when we where closer to their backyards than our own.

But most importantly, we heard your requests for more reader participation and we stepped up to invite three readers with us on this year's Adventure. Mike Copeland of Brighton, Michigan, Bryan Richman of Robertsdale, Alabama, and Tommy Galbreath of Courtland, Virginia got the nod. All three of them submitted their entries and won a spot on the adventure of a lifetime. We'll be watching for your entry next year.

Day One: Tellico
We knew that if we were going to run Ultimate Adventure in the Southeast, we absolutely had to start at the Tellico OHV area in Murphy, North Carolina. That also meant we'd meet and greet the trip participants at Crawford's Camp, the place to go at Tellico. Steve Crawford opened his campground and shop, and we can't thank him enough for his hospitality. There's no question that Tellico is the best-known off-road spot east of the Mississippi and has trails as difficult as anything we've ever done on Ultimate Adventure. So to separate the men from the boys on this year's UA, Pw had us hit the slickrock trail fresh out of the gate-and, boy, did it hit us back!

Still photography just doesn't do this terrain justice. There were endless layers of rocks that just don't give you the grip that we've come to expect from our West Coast geology. We can still hear the engines singing and smell the tire smoke from full-throttle crawling that isn't just for kicks in's required. We knew we were in for it when our trail leader, Steve Crawford, proceeded to break an axle U-joint before he even got to the first obstacle. Not to be outdone, our boss Pw chose to sideswipe the state of North Carolina and inflict the first body damage to our Ultimate the first 100 feet of the trail. When asked if he thought that crunching noise was bad he said, "Ah no, that was nothin'!"

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