The greatest (off)road trip on Earth.
2005 Ultimate Adventure, Part 1
2005 Ultimate Adventure, Part 2
The road trip. If Americans didn't invent it, we certainly perfected it. Nowhere else on the planet do you have the freedom to explore millions of square miles without a passport, permit, or personal army. It's part of who we are.
But no one ever said that a road trip has to follow a paved path. In fact, the best road trips take place far away from the asphalt freeways. These great road trips are adventures to locations few others have ever been, or will ever go. And the ultimate road trips are the ones that test your preparation and prove what you're truly capable of. That's why you're here. To join us on the Ultimate Adventure 2005. Welcome to the greatest (off)road trip on Earth!
Every year we pick four of the hardest trails in the country and string them together with an all-American 20-rig road trip that keeps us off the interstate and into the heartland of this great country. To make sure things go smoothly, we assemble a support team from the top off-road product manufacturers in the country. Then we stack the guest list with a crew of the best minds and most capable hands in the off-road world to guarantee that no matter what happens, where, or to who - we've got it covered. From there all we need is six of you, our readers, to come along and share in this great trip with us. Otherwise no one would ever believe it.
To really get a feel for this year's Ultimate Adventure, you need to go into the bathroom, wash your hands in gear lube, turn on the shower to steam up the room, and dump about 100 mosquitoes into the air. Perfect. Now picture yourself wrenching on your 4x4 for weeks on end with only enough sleep to keep you from welding your fingers together. Now call the credit card company to see if they can up your limit so you can drive, tow, or push your rig to Seymour, Missouri, for the start of the trip. When you're done reading, start planning on joining us for real next year - you won't be disappointed!
Rushing to get to our own event, the staff spent a sleepless 30 hours driving from the left coast to deep into the Ozark Mountains. Along the way we tried to blend in with surrounding yellow trucks to escape local law enforcement. It didn't work. As we pulled in Saturday morning, Ultimate Adventure 2005 began with the 1,828 residents of Seymour, Missouri, hosting this year's check-in and tech inspection. The opening day was a huge success, and our thanks go out to the Mount Olive Masonic Cook Crew for feeding us, and the Hillbilly Cruisers, who along with our sponsors auctioned off donated goods and raised $1,660.05 that the club will use to purchase air conditioners for local senior citizens in need.
It wouldn't be the Ultimate Adventure if someone didn't have to swap an automatic transmission. We took one for the team this year by replacing our TH350 (no Reverse) in the Ultimate K10 before we even hit the trail. Special thanks go to readers John Hughbanks and Steven Deitsch, who brought our original TH350 transmission 1,700 miles across the country so we could swap it back into the truck. To keep us from working in the Super 8 Motel parking lot, Kevin Mensik opened up his shop, Mensik Mountain Motors, after hours to let us use his lift, tools, transmission flush, and a case of ATF (he was also part of the crew that cooked us dinner). Thanks again, Kevin!
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Trail Day One took us deep into the Southern Missouri Off-Road Ranch where trail leader Jason Harris warmed us up with a rocky hillclimb they call Rocker Knocker. Unlike the obstacle in Moab of the same name, this one is covered in loose dirt and if you flip over backwards, it's a long, long way down. Mike Cox of Sam's Offroad pulled a nice wheelstand over the top of the hill before his boss, Sam Patton himself, literally launched his CJ-7 up it moments later. Not to be outdone by his co-workers, Rick Franco pounded his AMC 20/Dana 44 axles with this tree trimming assault on the hill. With this much throttle on the first day, we knew it was going to be an exciting week.
Taking trail prep to a whole new level - we invited Hobart Welders to bring its mobile welding shop on wheels to the Ultimate Adventure this year. And as luck would have it, the very first bead Hobart's crew laid all week was fixing the roller fairlead mount on our UA K10.