Meet the Staff and Cronies of Ultimate Adventure 2019 #UA2019

    We’re Workin’ for a Livin’

    As staff of the world's largest off-road magazine Editor Christian Hazel, Tech Editor Verne Simons, and freelancers Trent McGee (who is also a UA crony) and Harry Wagner (an ace photographer who is also a hell of a writer) get to look forward to many exciting yearly off-road-related work activities. And truly, getting to travel for work is almost always a welcome adventure. Generally we get to go to Moab for EJS, Las Vegas for SEMA, and occasionally on one, maybe two new vehicle releases sponsored by one of the OEM companies at some scenic location or on a local trail ride to shoot features or trail coverage. We also get to test the year's new 4x4s for Four Wheeler's SUV and Pickup Truck of the Year.

    All of those trips are fun, but without a doubt the highlight of the 4WOR staff's work trips every year is the Ultimate Adventure. That's mostly because of the people the event draws together. We're like a bunch of friends on a working vacation. From invited readers, film crew, and support to local enthusiasts, corporate sponsors, cronies, and more, the UA really is an amazing event because of the people involved. Oh, and the backdrop of Alaska this year ain't too shabby either.

    Still, some of us work for months before the event—and some of us year-round—on the planning, logistics, sponsors, and generally making the trip a success. For us, the UA has become more than work, more like a labor of love and a chance to spend time with our colleagues and friends, who have become a work family.

    1964 International Harvester Scout 80, the Ultimate International

    Driver(s): Christian "The Combine" Hazel and Trent "The Farmer" McGee
    Drove it or towed it: Towed. It's the UA rig—it has to be there.
    How Many UAs Have You Been On: 7 (Hazel); all of them (McGee)
    Favorite Part of the Trip: Kennicott Mine was really cool to see, but for me I really enjoyed watching people roll in on check-in day and talking about what a killer trip they had driving up through British Columbia from the lower 48.—Hazel. Guiding new and old friends to cool spots all over Alaska.—McGee

    >Drivetrain
    Engine: Cummins R2.8 Turbo Diesel
    Transmission: Tremec TR4050
    Transfer Case: Offroad Design Magnum Doubler
    Axles: Ultimate Dana 60 crate axles with 4.88 gears and ARB Air Locker (front and rear)
    >Suspension
    Springs & Such: 6-inch Chevy front springs (front) and 52-inch springs (rear), all from Skyjacker and hung spring-under; Skyjacker M95 monotube shocks
    Tires & Wheels: 38x13.50R17 Falken Wildpeak M/T on 17x8.5 Walker Evans Legend II wheels
    Winch: Smittybilt 12K XRC Gen 3
    Other: Redneck Ram-prepped, right-hand JK steering box and ram; JE Reel driveshafts; Rare Parts JK tie-rod with custom length drag link; Modified Fab Fours Bumpers front and rear intended for a JK; Premier Power Welder; Dakota Digital gauges; Mastercraft Baja RS seats; ARB twin compressor and refrigerator; PCI radio and intercom; Airaid UBI system; Lizard Skin insulation; Pull Pal
    What Broke During UA: Dragging brakes and sticky clutch on Day 1. Fortunately, simple adjustments fixed both issues.

    1989 Range Rover, the Derange Rover

    Drivers: Verne "Pizza and Beer" Simons
    Drove it or towed it: Trent McGee drove it to Alaska and pre-ran the UA 2019 route with it. Towed home.
    How Many UAs Have You Been On: 8
    Favorite Part of the Trip: The first camping night on the sandbar in the river. Alaska has always been a dream destination for me. I can't imagine a better group of friends to explore it with.

    >Drivetrain
    Engine: Cummins R2.8 Turbo Diesel
    Transmission: NV3550 5-speed manual
    Transfer Case: Offroad Design Magnum Doubler
    Axles: Ultimate Dana 60 crate axles with 4.88 gears and Eaton Elockers (front and rear)
    >Suspension
    Springs & Such: Factory Rover radius arms with Skyjacker LeDuc Series JK coilovers, RuffStuff Specialties track bar brackets, and Rob Bonney Fabrication chromoly track bar (front); Rover 3-link with custom upper wishbone, Skyjacker M-95 shocks, and Skyjacker JKU rear lower control arms (rear)
    Tires & Wheels: 38x13.50R17 Falken Wildpeak M/T on 17x9 Method 101 beadlock wheels with 106 rings
    Winch: Warn XD9000
    Other: Premier Power Welder; 26-circuit Painless Performance weatherproof off-road chassis harness; 40x55-inch Legacy Products sliding soft top; Axis Industries R2.8 adapters and motor mounts; Centerforce clutch, pressure plate, and flywheel; Wilwood clutch master cylinder and pedal assembly; Novak clutch slave cylinder; JE Reel driveshafts and 32-spline flanges front and rear; ARB front bumper, freezer-fridge, and roof rack; Stage8 Dana 60 spindle lock nuts; replacement Rover radiator from RockAuto.com; MasterCraft Baja RS seats; Flex-A-Lite mechanical fan; Redneck Ram-prepped and ported right-hand JK steering box and ram.
    What Broke During UA: Had small wiring issues the first day, and the Rover's front radius arm bushings died a slow and terrible death throughout the trip.

    1977 Ford F-150, Raymond

    Drivers: Ken "The Hydrolocker" Smith, Harry "Picture Bazooka" Wagner
    Drove it or towed it: Drove it.
    How Many UAs Have You Been On: 5 (Ken); 5 (Harry)
    Favorite Part of the Trip: The views from Summit Lake on the last day.

    >Drivetrain
    Engine: 460ci V-8 built by LA Speed
    Transmission: ZF5 5-speed manual
    Transfer Case: Offroad Design Doubler
    Axles: High-pinion Dana 60 with 5.38 Sierra gears, Detroit Locker (front); Sterling 10.5 with 5.38 Sierra gears and Detroit Locker (rear)
    >Suspension
    Springs and Such: BDS coil springs, Fox 3-inch bypass shocks, and Rockhound radius arms (front); Deaver F53 leaf springs and King 3-inch bypass shocks (rear)
    Tires and Wheels: 41.5x13.50R17 Pit Bull Rockers on 17x9 TrailReady beadlocks
    Winch: Warn 16.5ti
    Recovery Gear: 7/8-inch Voodoo Offroad Kinetic Rope and Soft Shackles
    Other Upgrades: Chris Durham Motorsports 7075 aluminum tie rod; PSC steering box and hydraulic assist ram; Nate's Precision custom rollcage that ties into the rock sliders; B-Radd Customs cargo rack; Nate's Precision pipe bumpers; PRP suspension seats; Deezee bed box; dual Odyssey batteries; CR Fab fan shroud; MSD Atomic EFI; 125-quart Canyon Cooler
    What Broke During UA: Lost a lifter after water got in the engine.

    The Video Crew
    Chances are if you don't know about Petersen's 4-Wheel & Off-Road because of our paper and ink magazine, you know about it because you've watched the videos of the action surrounding the 20 years of the Ultimate Adventure. And while we are a magazine first (with all our stories on the internet), video comes a very close second. As a result we have employed dedicated video personnel for all but the first few Ultimate Adventures. This year we had a new video crew, who absolutely rocked the shoot (that's Hollywood lingo for they done good).

    Behind the scenes, Director Ryan "The Boss" Foss may be quiet, but he talks when necessary, and he runs the show when it comes to filming. This guy is always working, from flying the drone to touching base with his crew to editing footage for the daily videos that you may have already seen. We hardly saw Ryan pause to breathe, eat, or sleep.

    Jeremy "Hush Now" Foss holds the title of GoPro Operator, but we saw him doing many, many jobs, like setting up the drone or checking the camera guy's batteries. And if Ryan is quiet, Jeremy is silent, only opening up a little once he gets to know a person.

    Steven "Smiley" Salcido is officially the director of photography. His smile is ever-present, and he is always ready to learn and engage with everyone, and always lightens the mood.

    Last but not least, Camera Operator Austin "The Hussle" Atencio is always in the right spot for the best shot. He and Steven ran most of the off-road trails we did on the UA without slowing. None of the camera crew seemed to stop. Their work ethic and positive attitudes despite the mud, cold, and stinging plants was infectious. We can't wait to see the full videos!