Have you seen the commercials where the guys are driving their Chevy Avalanche and they stop and decide to change? We got the opportunity to do just that. This year for our Ultimate Adventure we snagged a brand-new 2003 Chevrolet Avalanche 2500, and we are going to change it in ways that even the General hadn't planned on.
The Chevy Avalanche is kind of an odd vehicle. It's like a Suburban without the back, or a Crew Cab truck with no separation between the bed and cab. Plus it has the added benefit that the rear seats can fold down and you have access to the bed from the cab. This feature is great if you need to haul plywood, but not if you are hauling horse manure or your prized piggy to the fair. These trucks are known for their unique styling and the plastic body cladding that evokes a "love it" or "hate it" response from most people who see it. We were pumped to get our hands on this rig because it was one of the last vehicles that we would have chosen to build into a serious trail rig, but a very capable project truck to start with. Plus, we liked the challenge of trying to make a cool-looking and more capable rig from an odd duck.
As you may know, Ultimate Adventure is sponsored by some great companies such as BFGoodrich, Tuff Country Suspension, Dynatrac, Detroit Locker, Rhino Lining, Warn, Poison Spyder Customs, Trailready, and Flowmaster. These companies are just some of the sponsors and usually send a representative on our adventure with us, but we also like to find smaller businesses as well to test out their components on our trip. In the end we apply some of the coolest components from companies all over the nation to build what we think will be the Ultimate vehicle for our Adventure, but we also like to push the envelope and try new and unusual ideas that are not seen on the trail every day. We think you'll be excited with what we end up with.
From the time the buildup started to the day it hit the trail was one and a half months, and in that time we went from a barely broken-in new rig (1,700 miles) to a machine unseen before. Every year we take a select group of sponsors, readers, and staff on our Ultimate Adventure trip, and this year we are going to the muddy tight trails of the Southeast. We will report on how the trip went in our Nov. 2003 issue, but for now let's dive into the first stages of The Change, which took place at Off Road Unlimited in Burbank, California.