One of my jobs as editor of this magazine is to plan out the Ultimate Adventure, our annual weeklong trip wheeling and roading through the top trails of the U.S. and beyond. Of course to do this Ineed to prerun the trip to find these trails, set up campsites, gas stations, pit stops, and the occasional roadside attraction that makes you shake your head. It's a rough job, but someone has to do it.
This year our trip goes through Idaho, Nevada, and Wyoming--a great bunch of states with more than enough room to spread out and explore. We'll cover the in-depth cruising and carnage in next month's issue, as well as feature highlights and sidelights on www.4wheeloffroad.com. But for now, here's a few snippets of what Mike Harrington (our video director) and I encountered in a 3,000-mile, four-day thrashfest to scout out the Ultimate Adventure.
World-renowned videographer Michael Harrington agreed to spend 3,000 miles with me in our prototype FJ Cruiser for the prerun of Ultimate Adventure. Mike is a veteran of many of our off-road adventures, and knew this would be just as fun.
The Toyota FJ requires premium fuel in the tank, and this was an average price we paid for gas. At around 15 mpg in an on- and off-road trip, the fuel bill came in at about $800, so we ate real cheaply to stay within our budget.
Did you know Elko, Nevada, had world-class wheeling? Our buddy Jared Neff from the Bangin' Bones 4WD club took us out in his dual 60'd buggy to show us a killer rock trail.
The Idaho Off Road club took us to a local trail to tempt us into bringing the Ultimate Adventure to their area. We can't say if we will or not, but some of the trails they have can kick your collective butt.
When you're on a budget and in a hurry, you eat on the fly. Next time we'll take an ice chest to keep the perishables from turning green.
This submarine is not buried under the Idaho sands. It's just the fin on top, but it does reside in the first city to be electrically powered by nuclear energy.
The blue and gold band around the building tip one off to what lies within. Yep, my favorite beverage (Corona) is started here in the malt stage, somewhere in Idaho. No signage is visible, out of consideration for the local populace.
Sand wheeling can be fun and dangerous at the same time. These dunes are monster big, and this photo is of one of the small ones. The FJ Cruiser did fine once we let the air out from 45 to 15 psi.
There are big rocks in the north as well, and squeezing a squished Chevy through the notches is a tight fit. He did make it through.
It wouldn't be a "Rick Trip" or mini DED if we didn't find Jeeps along the way. These three fine examples were at a log-splitting establishment, and might be brought back home after the UA.
If we're lucky, the UA will hit snowdrifts and winter wheeling. We did on the prerun, and remembered why we shouldn't be by ourselves on the trail.
Ten years ago we stopped at a cool army surplus store in Idaho Falls on a Sunday, and they were closed. This time we cruised every aisle and came out smiling. Try www.armysurpluswarehouse.com and be amazed, very amazed.
We stopped here in Montana because, well, why wouldn't we? Guy Amburgey had a slew of old Dodges he was working on, but this school bus was our favorite.
Our trip back to California wouldn't be complete without us rescuing Grandma and four toddlers from a rolled-over Ford. They all came out through the sliding window and were fine, since everyone was belted in.