Hot, Hot Heat and Rocks: Phoenix to Table Mesa! Part 1 – Ultimate Adventure 2017

Hot, Hot Heat and Rocks: Phoenix to Table Mesa! Part 1 – Ultimate Adventure 2017


(gentle acoustic music) – [Christian] Ultimate
Adventure is a unique event. Each year essentially
begins with a blank slate. It’s always fun, it’s always exciting. But there never seems to be enough time. I’m Christian Hazel, editor of Petersen’s 4-Wheel & Off-Road. It’s the start of UA 2017 and I’m in the barely completed UA CJ-6D. I bought this nearly original,
1971 CJ-6 many years ago. I ran through a few different build plans before deciding to go all-out and make it this years official
Ultimate Adventure vehicle. Only this year, in addition
to the normal crazy planning and build schedule, there was a catch. My wife and I were expecting
out fourth child, right in the thick of the usual build
up and pre-run time tables. Tech Editor Verne Simons
dove into the UA CJ-6D, keeping the body and tossing
pretty much everything else for a modified JK Wrangler frame, which simplified incorporating
the Skyjacker suspension and ultimate Dana 60 axles. But that’s where simple ended. Verne frenched the body
down onto the frame, chopped the windshield,
and crammed over six feet of inner cooled, turbo diesel drive train, backed by no fewer than four gear boxes. While Verne toiled in the
shop, long time colleague and friend Trent McGee was
tapped to plan, pre-run, and lead the route of this
years Ultimate Adventure. And with that, we begin UA
2017 as a true team effort. Starting in Phoenix,
Arizona in the summer, on a day it was literally
too hot for airplanes to fly, he began an epic trip through some of the most incredible
places in the southwest. This year, even our road
days required low range, but as usual, our invited
readers and loyal sponsors were more than up to the challenge. So here we go on another
week long Ultimate Adventure, hard core rigs on hard core trails, seeing sights only
wheelers ever get to enjoy. (dramatic rock music) It’s the vehicles first
ever shakedown run, and I’m late for check in. It’s seven miles from where
we built it to the hotel, so I’m hoping nothing goes wrong. So, you know, just your
standard, everyday start to another Ultimate Adventure. As I pull into the hotel,
the cronies are hard at work. There’s a lot to do before UA officially starts the next morning. We do a tech inspection on each vehicle, add sponsor stickers, and, of course, have our
first drivers meeting. But last year, there was an
all-too familiar voice missing. So I stalled the crowd until former editor Rick Péwé could make his appearance, and give the all-too familiar call. – Thought we were going
to have a drivers meeting. – Yeah, there he is!
(drivers cheering) – This is our newest crony. (crowd cheering) – Morning drivers meeting,
which Rick can thankfully call out, ’cause my voice does
not carry as well as Rick’s. – Driver’s meeting! – Thank you very much, alright. Nice to have that back. So here’s Trent to talk about the route that he has planned for us tomorrow. – [Trent] ‘Cause of the heat, we’re going to get started very early. 6:00 drivers meeting, and we are rolling no later than 6:30 out of here. (country rock music) – [Rick] Drivers meeting! (drivers cheering) – Alright, we’re going to
be rolling out 6:45 today, so make sure you get everything packed, stowed, ready to go. – I17 North, so everybody just kind of make their way to I17 North. – [Man] (mumbles) as
soon as they all get out. How are we doin’, Rick? (country rock music) Okay, Dale’s rollin’.
– Copy. – [Trent] The destination
for the day is Table Mesa, an area about 20 miles north of Phoenix, that’s known for its tough,
technical rock crawling trails. – [Man On Radio] Lights on for safety. – [Trent] Just a few hundred
yards off the interstate, the group would experience what would become a
recurring theme for the week. Heat, and dust. (country rock music) (cars crunching over gravel) This year’s Ultimate Adventure
has the usual motley cast of characters, sponsors, and readers from all over the country. 20 rigs in all. Let’s meet some of the new,
and returning, readers. – I’m Damon Haas, out of
Sacramento, California with John Marshall, out of Oregon and we’re drivin’ a ’61 International with a bunch of Ford stuff thrown in it, and lookin’ forward to the
adventure of a lifetime. – Hi, I’m Dan Strubbe, this
is my 1990 Ford Bronco. We’re here, day one,
Ultimate Adventure 2017. And this is my co-pilot. – Nolan Montevirgen. – We’re ready to roll. – My name is Chris Paul, and this is my co-driver, Kyle Cunliffe. We are in my 2006 Hummer H3 on day one of Ultimate Adventure, and we are from Santa Clarita, California. – Hi, I’m Nick Leblanc,
this is AJ Posikan. We’re from Jacksonville, Florida. I drive a 2000 Jeep Cherokee. – Wayne Lambert, this is
my co-driver Jack Geigle. We’re from Hermosa Beach, California. Driving ’71 Chevy K30,
we’re the returning readers for 2017, and we can’t wait
to go out and get hot again. – [Trent] The first trail
day of Ultimate Adventure is always a tough one, as
everyone is a little nervous, and isn’t quite sure what to expect. The long dirt road to the
first trail this year was a good opportunity for drivers
to settle in, and relax a little, instead of just going
straight to the hard stuff. After crossing the Agua Fria River, which is really more of a
stream this time of year, the group headed to
Predator, a technical trail known for it’s big rock obstacles. (engine rumbling) Long-time crony Keith Bailey
is representing Magellan this year, along with master navigator, Steve von Seggern, who
has also been involved with many past Ultimate Adventures. Keith brought out his very capable Bailey-beige ’84 Jeep CJ-7. Skyjacker returned to
Ultimate Adventure this year with Lonnie McCurry Jr.
piloting his show-quality, hemi powered, 2011 JK,
along with his son, Evan. Now that JK may be shiny,
but JR isn’t afraid of putting it in harms way. – A really tight trail,
so with all the heat, just really makes you sweat, just white-knucklin’ it the whole time. (car creaking) – [Trent] David Chappelle
and Steve Bechard are representing Rugged Radios this year in David’s freshly painted Isuzu Amigo. In addition to a full complement
of communications gear, the Amigo features a flexi suspension, 38 inch Falken tires, and
lots of custom modifications. – My buddy Dave Chappelle’s
being rad up there, in the Rugged Radios Isuzu Amigo. Cooper Rasmussen’s
doin’ pretty good in the Power Products Ram, regular
cab short bed diesel truck. And Wayne, who we call Wayny Jack, he’s doin’ pretty rad up there as well. This is Tube Sock, my little TJ, I’m going to go drive up this hill. Thanks for tunin’ in, this
is the Cummins 2.8 R28. (car creaking) – [Trent] Long time UA
sponsor Diesel Power Products was back this year with a brand new, freshly built 2016 RAM 2500. Wildman Cooper Rasmussen
was the one tasked with keeping all four corners intact, while co-driver Cameron Hotchkiss’s job was to document the ensuing events, just in case things didn’t go as planned. – Whoo! That was tight, for the big truck. (engine revving) – [Trent] 4-Wheel &
Off-Road technical editor Verne Simons not only built the UA CJ-6D, he also managed to swap an
engine and build a full roll cage in his solid axle swapped S-10 Blazer just days before the UA started. If it looks like he’s
tired, it’s because he is. – I’m going to hang a tire here for Scott. (engine revving) Ah, yeah, this is silly. There’s a perfectly good
road right up there, but… – [Man On Radio] (mumbles) you got a copy? – Extreme close-up! Whoo! – [Trent] Meet Mark Turner
and Dillard DeLasalle from VooDoo Ropes, in their
freshly finished CJ 10. (voice on radio) – We’re in the VooDoo rig. – Yeah, we in the VooDoo rig. – [Mark] Beatin’ on it. Don’t mind those clunkin’
noises when you hear ’em. That’s normal. – [Dillard] Temperature gauge says it’s– – 127.
– 127. – [Mark] Oh wait, we forgot (mumbles). (speaking on radio) – [Trent] Cronies Tom
Boyd and Clifton Slay opted for the UA rental program this year, by borrowing Verne
Simons Shrink Ray ’97 TJ. The smallest rig of the group,
it packs just four cylinders under the hood, and 35
inch tires under the body. – It’s nice to be little sometimes. – [Trent] Long time crony
and Alabama native Sam Gillis was back this year, in
his extremely capable, Mean Green, LS powered tube car. – Alright, so this morning
we jumped in the Jeep, we drove about 20 miles to the trailhead, at interstate speeds we were doin’ great with the new engine, so I think
it had about 20 miles on it. Christian really got
a feel for the vehicle as we were goin’ off road. Hit some of those early rocks. He’s got about 30 levers
goin’ on on the floor, so it’s been kind of entertaining to watch that combination with our engine. And watch him get a feel
for the low end torque. And really watch the temp gauge
drop once we hit off road. So this diesel likes to
run cool on the trail. (axle creaking) – It’s hittin’ hard stop. – [Man] Need an Allen wrench? – So what happened here
is this little clamper worked loose, and so it’s sliding. So, we have to slide it
back to where it was, tighten it up, and maybe (hammer tapping) pin the tie rod or the little tack weld so it doesn’t move back and forth. – [Trent] If you want to
get something fixed quickly, it’s not a bad idea to
get Chris Durham involved. Chris used his onboard welder to rectify the steering problem,
and it remained fixed for the remainder of the trip. (welder sparking) (engines running) After surviving Predator
without much carnage, the group checked out the
ruins of a nearby Indian fort before heading to the next trail. But not before some shenanigans. – So Keith Bailey is a avid
hunter of Indian artifacts. Back East they just plow ’em
up all the time, so it’s okay. Out here in the West, you
leave ’em, it’s not allowed. So this is one of the areas
where Keith can’t find one, or can’t take it home. So I bought a whole bunch of fake ones. – It’s awfully cool. – You guys see this? Found an arrowhead. – Look at this, it’s awesome! (overlapping chatter) – Look what I found. – Golly, man, you all are wrackin’ up. – Just bring up to me, that’s all. – I found one, too. – You really should try harder, Keith, it’s really not that hard. – We just found a buncha artifacts,
we got to shut this down. – We’re going to have to shut it down. – [Trent] Practical jokes aside, it wasn’t getting any cooler out. So we headed to the next
trail, Lower Terminator. – We’re hopin’ to get just
some of the sights and sounds of a full size, there’s a
lot of banging and crashing as the various body panels, bumpers, and sliders bounce off of things. It’s part of the charm. (vehicle creaking and squeaking) (engine revving) – [Trent] The readers were
quickly finding their groove in the unforgiving Arizona rocks. (axle creaking) – [Man] Get up here, pull over. (muffled chatter off screen) – [Trent] Unfortunately, it
didn’t take long for the heat and the rocks to start finding the weak points among the rigs. – Had a radiator blow up,
it’s really hot outside. Still trying to figure out what to do. May end up towin’ it out
of here so we don’t have to replace it on the trail. Waitin’ to figure that out, still. (engine revving) – [Trent] Our last obstacle of
the day is also the hardest. The Terminator is a nasty little climb that favors certain wheel bases and it’s easy to slip off the right line, which unfortunately
requires starting all over. (engine revving and wheels spinning) Though even if you manage
to stay on the right line, getting to the top often
requires heavy use of throttle. Christian proved that a heavy
throttle wasn’t a requirement to tackle the terminator. The UA CJ-6D is packing the
Cummins R2.8 Crate Engine, which offers mountains
of torque right off idle. That, plus the nearly
unlimited gearing choices and 38 inch Falken tires
made this look easy. The UA CJ-6D had the perfect
combination of width, wheel base, and torque to
crawl right up the terminator. (engine running) Others weren’t so lucky. (engine running) (axle creaking) (engine revving) – Last obstacle was a pretty steep one for a big truck like us, near vertical kind of waterfall climb. We went for it, we
tried about three times, and we put the side of the cab
into the rocks a little bit, decided to back down, and
lived to fight another day. (engine revving) – At the top there, it
got to a point where I either needed to commit
to some body damage or, you know, discretion is
the better part of valor. Back off, and wheel for the week. – [Trent] Long time sponsor
Offroad Design was back this year in their Magnum
equipped convertible 81 K30. (engine running) Stephen Watson and his
father James made Terminator look easy, thanks to the perfect line. Randall Speir and Jon Mobily
are representing Dana Spicer in this LS powered JK. These guys were self-appointed
durability testers for Dana 60 crate axles
they’d built into the JK. If nothing broke here, they were probably going to be in pretty good shape. The tricky part of The Terminator is that there are several potential
lines, but the key is which one is right
for your rigs wheel base? (engine revving) (tires spinning) (engine revving) The Terminator proved
difficult for everyone. All the rigs attempted it, but some made the very wise decision to back off and wheel for the week, not for the day. (engine revving) But not without giving it
one heck of a try, first. (car creaking) (muffled chatter) (engine revving and wheels spinning) (car creaking) The dynamic duo of Chris
Durham and Fred Perry were back this year, representing Warn. Chris’s 2007 JK uses a
collection of carefully selected off the shelf components,
including the Skyjacker Long Arm suspension and Dana axles, but it’s the unique Jeep
Gladiator truck conversion that makes it stand out in a crowd. As usual, Chris found the perfect line to tackle Terminator without
hardly spinning a tire. – We were up on our last obstacle today, and it’s a very technical climb. One way or the other, if
you miss a line an inch, one way or the other, you lose out. You’ll fall off in the
crack and you can’t get out, and you have to back off of it. There’s no room for error
one way or the other. You either get the line or you don’t. (car creaking) – [Trent] Freshly minted
crony Rick Péwé is serving as tail gunner this year,
so if you see him at the top of the last trail, you
know the day is about over. (engine revving) (car creaking) With temperatures hovering
well above 115 degrees, it was time to air up
and head back to town for some water, shade, and maybe a shower. – Okay, so that’s the end of
day one on Ultimate Adventure. Everyone’s airing up and we’re
going to head back into town. Get a little dinner, get
our supplies for tomorrow. (country rock music) – [Trent] It may be the end of day one, but Ultimate Adventure
2017 has just barely begun. The group has a lot of packing
and supply gather to do, because tomorrow night is a camp night and there is no guarantee
that what is traditionally a road day won’t turn
into a trail day instead. Join us tomorrow, as there are sure to be a lot more fun, dirt, and carnage to come. (country rock music) (hammer tapping)

15 thoughts on “Hot, Hot Heat and Rocks: Phoenix to Table Mesa! Part 1 – Ultimate Adventure 2017

  1. Just have Fred conduct these. He actually sounds like he wants to be here. Oh and have Fred bring Dave along as his co-driver.

  2. Y'all should have ran the trails in Florence Junction on day one, then Table Mesa on day two. You missed out on some amazing scenery and hardcore rock crawling by not hitting Florence.

  3. Yeah that law about not picking up Indian artifacts is really stupid. It's not doing any good just laying on the ground out in the middle of nowhere.

  4. They took a cj6, threw out everything but the body, then put it on a jk? That's not a cj6, that's a jk in disguise so you get old school cred. If you were going to wheel a 6, you missed the boat.

  5. cannot finish very good start on adventure buggy. Sell 5k. https://dallas.craigslist.org/sdf/wan/d/hawkins-would-trade-for-van-trailer-4×4/6799602071.html 4×4 buggy on east texas C-list.

  6. Hey what radio comms do u all use and how many and be on at the same time and what’s the range ? Dan here in phx

  7. To hot to fly.. meaning density altitude is way to high to generate lift in the aircrafts available power at said altitude. Most N/A private planes cant take off when the density altitude hits around 7k feet, need more take off roll and the engine wont generate sufficient power.

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