Ultimate Adventure 2021, Day 2: Cross Bar Ranch Off-Roading

For a majority of the event’s history, Ultimate Adventure followed a simple formula: hit a killer off-road trial one day, then drive on the paved highway or backroads the next day to a completely new area. Arrive, rest, and get up and hit another killer off-road trail, then repeat the cycle. However, Christian Hazel and Trent McGee have been morphing the event into something a tad different over the past six years, to where Ultimate Adventure nowadays has virtually no road-only days. Day 2 of Ultimate Adventure 2021 presented by Rugged Ridge is a perfect example.

Day 1 saw Ultimate Adventure 2021 hit the exceptionally fun and exciting Rugged Mountain Ranch in Burris, Oklahoma, so going by the old formula, Day 2 should have been a long slog over pavement to the next ‘wheeling spot. Noperino, bub. The morning of Day 2 did start off rather benignly, with a scenic drive through the southern Oklahoman countryside as the group departed McAlester, Oklahoma, southbound toward our camping spot for the night. But rolling hillsides and cow-studded pastures weren’t the only thing on the agenda for the day.

Cross Bar Ranch Off-Roading

We pulled into the Cross Bar Ranch in Davis, Oklahoma, shortly after mid-day, aired down, and locked hubs. After signing our waivers and paying our fees in the office, we pulled behind our trail guides, Brain and Kim Trotter, in one of the ranch’s Ultra 4 cars and we headed out. Criss-crossed with awesome terrain ranging from entry-level easier stuff to full on crazy make-or-break Ultra 4 race courses, Cross Bar Ranch offers something for anyone, including a 26-vehicle-deep line of Ultimate Adventure participants. We wound up doing a mix of trails beginning with Goat Trail, Roller Coaster, Rock Face, Overlook, and others. The terrain on Goat Trail begins down low in the valley and criss-crosses rather deep water crossings before rising in elevation.

We found ledges to climb, loose alluvial soil to churn, off-camber rock obstacles, and more. The group was doing rather well before the carnage fairy left some broken parts under our pillows. First up was Jeff and Zaed Ismail, who hit a bump just a bit too hard and bashed the oil filter hard enough to knock a hole in it. We picked up the spilled oil and Jeff bummed a new filter off of Dave Hamrick in the 1978 F-150. Jeff filled the crankcase and motored on before we heard over the radio that the N-Fab Colorado blew something up in the rear axle. 

Dirthead Dave Chappelle towed them back to the Cross Bar Ranch shop on a VooDoo rope where they cracked open the diff cover and found the factory ZR2 locker internals in pieces. They tried valiantly to resurrect the dead by welding some steel together to try to turn the guts of the factory locker into a spool, but it lasted only a mile or so before it let go. We’re not exactly sure what material that GM locker is made of, but it doesn’t like to be welded to even by a master welder intimately familiar with cast and other ductile irons.

Where to Next?

With the ZR2 Colorado issues at least understood, we headed for our campsite at Turner Falls Park, which is just outside the Cross Bar Ranch property line. With a rolling stream the perfect temperature for wading and splashing in, the group made dinner and got cleaned up from the 99-degree humidity of the day. What will Day 3 hold for Ultimate Adventure 2021 presented by Rugged Ridge? Check back to find out!

Watch! Ultimate Adventure Day 2 Recap

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Full Coverage of Ultimate Adventure!

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