Long before we were on our first Ultimate Adventure, we, like you, were readers of off-road magazines. In fact we were somewhat fanatical about them, buying just about any off-road magazine we could to live vicariously through the folks and vehicles we saw between the pages. Keep in mind it was before the internet as we know it. One event that was ever in our minds since we heard about it was the Ultimate Adventure, a weeklong trip that pits a group of hardcore off-road enthusiasts against some challenging off-road trails with a fair amount of on-road mileage and other distractions mixed in for good measure. It’s the original and truly the ultimate off-road adventure, and we are proud to be a part of it. The Ultimate Adventure, like off-roading in general, is open to just about anyone who is truly passionate and puts in the effort to join the fray. The prime example of this comes from the portion of the Ultimate Adventure group made up of invited readers. These are the guys and gals who live for vehicular adventure, the people we write magazines for, and the people that allow us to do what we love for a living. For Ultimate Adventure 2022 we had another great group of folks (it’s almost like Christian Hazel knows how to assemble a group of off-roaders for Ultimate Adventure). The group meshed well and overcame all obstacles with a little excitement, a few broken parts, and a ton of support from everyone involved. Here are the special few who applied and were selected to go on Ultimate Adventure.
Matt Anderson and the Double Dentside Known as GreenFerd
Truth is, we got to vet Matt Anderson and his co-driver Ted Morris on a few trails in Moab during Easter Jeep Safari. They did fine and meshed well with us and our friends. Matt’s also buddies (and neighbors) with our laid-back and easygoing crony Dave Chappelle. Like Dirt Head Dave, Matt and Ted are laid-back and ready for adventure, always smiling. Matt’s 1977 F-250 is also just about the perfect truck for a trip like Ultimate Adventure. It’s (relatively) lightweight, oozes coolness, works on- and off-road, and Matt knows how to drive it. Despite nearly daily on-the-trail sheetmetal modifications—and, finally, the death of Matt’s roller-camm’d HO 302 engine on the last day—this pair of Spokanites (they’re from Spokane, Washington) were a blast to have on the trip. The Ford we call GreenFerd (because we can) did great … until it didn’t. Still, Matt seemed unfazed about the loss of the engine (he was still smiling) and we’re sure the green Ford will be back on the trails in no time.
- 1977 “Ferd” F-250 Ranger XLT “Double Dentside” (was just a regular dentside before Ultimate Adventure)
- Driver: Matt Anderson
- Co-Driver: Ted Morris
- How Many Ultimate Adventures Have You Been On: One
- Drove It or Towed It (to the start of the trip): Towed there and back
- Engine: Ford Mustang 5.0-liter V-8 roller engine with Ron Francis wiring harness
- Transmission: NP435
- Transfer Case: 203/205 doubler with Offroad Design adaptor
- Front Axle: 2003 Ford Super Duty Dana 60, 5.38 gears, Yukon Ziplocker, East Coast gear chromoly shafts, Yukon Hardcore hubs, Yukon Super joints, RuffStuff brackets
- Rear Axle: 2003 Ford Super Duty Sterling 10.5, 5.38 gears, Yukon Ziplocker, RuffStuff truss and brackets
- Springs & Such: Skyjacker four-inch Diesel JK coil springs on all four corners, custom mattfab (Matt built them) three- and four-link (front and rear, respectively) with Skyjacker ADX shocks
- Tires & Wheels: Falken Wildpeak M/T 38×13.50R17 on Method beadlocks
- Steering: PSC pump and hydro steering-assist
- Winch: Warn EVO 12.5 with Factor 55 Ultra Hook
- Recovery Gear: Bubba Gear recovery rope, tree saver, and soft shackles
- Custom mattfab front and rear bumpers
- Custom mattfab fuel tank
- Rigid LED lights
- Rugged Radios M1 with headsets
- PRP four-point seat belts
- Bobbed bed, shortened frame (20 inches)
- Got some cool stickers on it too
Engine broke (not sure exactly what happened but she started knocking on the way to the trail on the last day of Ultimate Adventure, knocked some more, smoked, then died). Matt also extensively remodeled the bedsides of the truck, but ’tis a flesh wound. Matt has plans to straighten her back up, spray a coat of green paint, and put a fresh 5.0-liter with F303 cam and GT40P heads with Explorer intake. She will be good as new and hopefully have a few more horsepressures in the mix.
Tim and Georgia Jackson in the Cookie-Carrying Cheater Army Truck
Tim Jackson and his wife (and true off-roader) Georgia were both “trail help” at Katemcy K2 during Ultimate Adventure 2021 last year, and somehow they also applied to be invited readers on Ultimate Adventure 2022 … in an entirely new and different vehicle than either had at Katemcy last year. For Ultimate Adventure 2022, Tim built a well-thought-out and functional M-715 that looked mild but just about aced all the harder trail sections of the trip. This couple lives for off-roading, and for their wonderful hound dogs (who sadly weren’t allowed on Ultimate Adventure—damned lawyers!!!). Tim is quiet, but funny and smart—surprisingly funny and surprisingly smart—and fun to be around. Georgia is also a pleasure to be around, and when she isn’t out hunting deer or wild pigs, or rockcrawling around Texas, she is apparently baking cookies at an industrial scale. We’re talking about thousands of delectable, prepackaged cookies that basically made other food items on Ultimate Adventure obsolete for everyone in attendance. So many cookies, and delicious ones at that … oh, and some venison salami, too!
- 1968 Kaiser Jeep M-715
- Driver: Tim Jackson, sometimes Georgia Jackson
- Co-Driver: Georgia Jackson, sometimes Tim Jackson
- How many Ultimate Adventures have you been on: One, but both were trail help at Katemcy K2 on Ultimate Adventure 2021
- Drove it or Towed it (to the start of the trip): Towed it
- Favorite part of the trip: “All of it! Every day was awesome, but just hanging out with like-minded folks and reflecting upon the day’s activities was where I (Tim) got the most laughs, and gained some friends … but also Windrock. Windrock is awesome. “
- Engine: 2008-ish aluminum 5.3-liter Chevy V-8, DOD delete, Holley Terminator X engine management
- Transmission: SM465 four-speed
- Transfer Case: Divorced Offroad Design Magnum Box and an NP205
- Front Axle: ’99-’04 Ford Super Duty Dana 60, 35-spline inner and outer Yukon chromoly shafts, Yukon Super Joints, Yukon locking hubs, Yukon Grizzly Locker, Nitro Gear 4.56s
- Rear Axle: 2002 F-250 Super Duty Ford 10.5 Sterling, Nitro Gear 4.56s, Yukon Grizzly Locker
- Springs & Such: 52-inch Chevy front and rear leaf springs, spring over, custom hangers and shackles, Skyjacker ADX shocks, fancy traction bar
- Tires & Wheels: Method MR701 Bead Grip wheels, 39×13.50R17LT BFGoodrich KM3 tires
- Steering: Saginaw power-steering box from a full-size Jeep, West Texas Offroad ram-assist cylinder, Borgeson steering joints, ⅞-inch rod ends used for tie-rod ends
- Winch: Warn 8274, Factor 55 hook
- Recovery Gear: Bubba Gear recovery rope, tree saver, and soft shackles
Custom front bumper, Baja Designs LP4 lights on bumper, LP6 where original blackout light was, custom rollcage, Corbeau suspension seats, PRP harness, hydroboost brake conversion. Tim custom-built the top for the truck (and somehow didn’t destroy it on Ultimate Adventure), and Quigley built the driveshafts, front and rear.
Somehow Tim and Georgia only managed to break taillights on the M-715, for which they had brought a few replacements (like four to six), predicting that would be the case. Other damage was limited to just a few dents and scratches on the truck.
Jeemmy, Carrying Derek and Owen Rickford
The name for Derek and Owen Rickford’s GMC Jimmy comes from amalgamating the words “Jeep” and “Jimmy.” That’s because this SUV is distinctly a modified Jimmy, but one modified like many a Jeep, to do Jeep-like stuff … just without all the dumb Jeep stuff! Either way, the Jeemmy and the Rickfords prove an Ultimate Adventure point: They have applied to go on the trip for as long as we can remember and are always present in the applications inbox, and their persistence paid off this year, when they were finally invited to be a part of the trip. Talk about tenacity! This father/son duo was always present with huge smiles, just soaking up the adventure and enjoying this unique experience we all truly love. Both were helpful and resilient on the trails, ready to lend a hand whenever needed, and made repairs in a flash when they did break a locking hub on Ultimate Adventure Day 2. They, like you, decided they wanted to be a part of Ultimate Adventure, but instead of sulking and licking wounds when they weren’t invited right away (like the first 10 times), smiled and applied again … and again … until it paid off. We’re so glad they stuck with it because they were an incredible addition to the event.
- 2000 GMC Jimmy
- Driver: Derek Rickford
- Co-Driver: Owen Rickford
- How Many Ultimate Adventures Have You Been On: Our first!
- Drove It or Towed It (to the start of the trip): Drove it from Markleeville, California. That’s a drive of 2,400 miles to the start with a whopping total of 6,150 miles (oil change in Hotel parking lot before driving home!)
- Favorite Part of the Trip: “For our favorite trail, we loved Windrock, Tennessee; it’s like Fordyce with mud on everything. From there, the whole trip was great, a chance to wheel and just hang out with our off-road heroes. Father/son adventure A+++ 10/10 can recommend … worth the wait!”
- Engine: GM 5.7-liter Vortec V-8
- Transmission: GM 4L60E
- Transfer Case: North West Fab Eco Box ahead of a GM NP241 with a slip-yoke eliminator
- Front Axle: Chevy low-pinion Dana 44 with tubes swapped for driver-side drop), 4.88:1 gears, OX locker, Chromoly shafts, Yukon Super Joints
- Rear Axle: GM semi-float 14-bolt, disc-brake swapped, Detroit Locker, 4.88:1 gears
- Springs & Such: ORI 16-inch struts up front with radius arms, custom leaf pack with ORI 16-inch struts rear
- Tires & Wheels: 38×13.50R17LT Falken Wildpeak M/Ts on 17×9 Battleborn beadlocks
- Steering: Forward-swing “Astro van” steering box, PSC Ram Assist
- Winch: Warn 10S
- Recovery Gear: Bubba Rope and Soft Shackles, Warn straps and Gloves
Full rear driveline armor/anti-wrap bar designed and built by Derek, which took tons of hard hits and did its job. ORI struts over leaf springs in the rear are unusual, but allow ride height adjustment under different loads. Custom quick-disconnect anti-sway bar.
Locking hub on Day 2 (with free replacement thanks to a Napa warranty!), minor passenger door dent.
Red or Dead 4Runner
Sometimes an iconic vehicle shows up on Ultimate Adventure, and sometimes a vehicle with “smallish” tires shows up on Ultimate Adventure. For Ultimate Adventure 2022, the beautiful 1988 Toyota 4Runner of Bobby Summers and co-driver Stephen Hoelzel represented both categories. We’ve had first-generation 4Runners on Ultimate Adventure in the past, but Bobby’s was the first with (albeit modified) Toyota factory-based IFS (with a smallish differential and smallish halfshafts) still in place. The 35-inch tires Bobby runs on this rig were big on the first few Ultimate Adventures, but are now definitely relatively small, though still hard on that Toyota IFS system, and Bobby knew those facts would present additional obstacles to him and the 4Runner. Having said that, Bobby and Stephen ‘wheeled the tires off the 4Runner, hitting the trails hard, often saving the front axle parts by unlocking the front differential. One way or another, despite the odds, Bobby, Stephen, and the 4Runner were always at the end of the trail, bathing in success with smiles on their faces. Bobby did break a front CV axle early on in the trip, but with the skill and persistence of its drivers, this Toyota made the daunting trip relatively unscathed.
- 1988 Toyota 4Runner
- Driver: Bobby Summers
- Co-Driver: Stephen Hoelzel
- How Many Ultimate Adventures Have You Been On: One
- Drove It or Towed It: Towed it to Tennessee, then drove from there
- Favorite Part of the Trip: ‘Wheelin and camping with my heroes!
- Engine: Toyota 3RZ 2.7-liter
- Transmission: Toyota R150
- Transfer Case: Dual gear-drive Toyota 2.28 cases
- Front Axle: Total Chaos Caddy 2 long-travel kit, ARB locker
- Rear Axle: Toyota E-locker axle from first-gen Tacoma with backbone truss
- Springs & Such: King 2.5×8-inch external-reservoir coil-overs up front. King 2.5×16-inch triple-bypass shocks, Bilstein 2.0 2-inch air bumps and custom-built Deaver leaf springs with custom 12-inch shackles in the rear.
- Tires & Wheels: Falken Wildpeak M/T 35×12.5R15LT on Ultra X103 beadlock wheels
- Steering: Custom-built pitman arm, idler arm, centerlink, and rod ends. All spherical joints
- Winch: Warn VR8S
- Recovery Gear: Bubba kinetic rope, two Bubba Gator Jaws, 10-foot tree-saver and a snatch block
Centerforce clutch, custom-built rollcage, custom hidden winch-mount and skidplate, PRP bucket seats, Crow harnesses, Nardi steering wheel, Switch Pro, KC slimlites spot, Baja designs S2 sport flood, Full throttle AGM battery, Custom sliders and rear bumper, custom bedcage with King triple-bypass shocks located behind the back seat, custom front and double-cardan rear driveshaft built by The Machine Shop in Chino Valley, Arizona. Full-size spare is mounted to bedcage, with room for the fridge mounted to a fridge slide. Fully functioning back seat! Plenty of room for the family and two dogs. All bolt-on parts supplied by Yotamasters in Corona, California, and a radical tiger-stripe valve cover was painted by Nick Sawyers from Loose and Lost!!!
James Ryder in the Hill-Killing Tacoma Double Cab
James Ryder and his father Kevin were our returning readers for Ultimate Adventure 2022. These two showed up last year in a well-sorted rig with big tires, great gearing, some serious driver skill, and a can-do attitude that meshed well with the other Ultimate Adventure regulars. They made all of the obstacles on Ultimate Adventure 2021 look easy, and as returning readers did much the same in the now slightly more-used 2002 Tacoma. James and Kevin are great to have on the trip. They do what they need to do and take care of themselves while lending a helping hand when needed. James’ first-gen Tacoma proves the point that these rigs can easily be built to work really well off-road and still drive down the highway. Last year, during Ultimate Adventure 2021, James had a few hiccups, but swapped the ring-and-pinion in his rear axle quickly and quietly after it started making noise. James also did some impressive body damage last year, and preemptively swapped a noisy driveshaft carrier bearing. For Ultimate Adventure 2022, he only managed to break his tent … which is an Ultimate Adventure failure that just barely counts. Once again, the boys from Oregon in the Tacoma exemplified the spirit of Ultimate Adventure.
- 2002 Toyota Tacoma
- Driver: James Ryder
- Co-Driver: Kevin “Pa” Ryder
- How Many Ultimate Adventures Have You Been On: Two
- Drove It or Towed It: Trailered 2,500 miles to Tennessee and drove from there
- Favorite Part of the Trip: The long day of ‘wheelin we spent at Windrock
- Engine: Stock Toyota 3.4-liter
- Transmission: Stock A340 auto with a big fluid cooler
- Transfer Case: Four-speed Atlas II
- Front Axle: Custom-fabricated 609 with True Hi9 diff, 5.38:1 gears, Yukon Grizzly locker, ’99-’04 Ford Super Duty outers with Yukon 35-spline chromoly shafts, Yukon Super Joints and Yukon Hardcore hubs. Branik unit bearings and Legacy 14-inch rotors with Wilwood calipers, Jesse Hains caliper brackets, and weld-on steering
- Rear Axle: Custom-fabricated 609 Yukon diff with Daytona pinion support, 5.43:1 gears, spool, 35-spline chromoly shafts, RuffStuff spindles, Branik Legacy rotors and Wilwood calipers, wheel hubs robbed off a junkyard Dana 71
- Custom three-link (front), custom four-link (rear)
- Springs & Such: 16-inch ORI struts
- Tires & Wheels: 17×9 KMC Grenade Crawls wrapped in 42×14.5R17 Maxxis Competition Trepadors
- Steering: PSC full hydraulic
- Winch: Warn VR10s
- Recovery Gear: Bubba Gear recovery rope, tree-saver, and soft shackles
Most everything fabricated on this truck is one-off, built by hand by James—1¾-inch DOM interior ‘cage, full back-halved chassis, Nameless performance hand brake for front digs, suspension seats, Baja Designs XL80 pro headlights, custom spare tire three-way strap built by Quality Chain Corp.
Ultimate Adventure 2022 Coverage!
Ultimate Adventure 2022, presented by Rugged Ridge, will be happening the last week of September, so be sure to keep your eyes on this website for daily event updates publishing from September 25 to October 2, event coverage in the pages of Four Wheeler, and, of course, the Ultimate Adventure videos on MotorTrend’s YouTube page in early December.
How To Follow Ultimate Adventure On Social Media
Follow the hashtag: #UA2022
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