ULTIMATE ADVENTURE
Four Wheeler|February 2021
PART 2: WILDLIFE, NATIONAL TREASURES, AND EXTREME WHEELING
Christian Hazel
We left Ultimate Adventure last month snoozing at camp after climbing to the top of a mountain to visit the incredible McKelvey Lake outside McAllister, Montana. And while unique museums, ghost towns, and abandoned train tunnels were in the event’s rearview mirror, that’s not to say our bag of surprises was empty. On the contrary, Ultimate Adventure had just been warming up to this point, with visits to several of America’s bucket-list destinations in store, as well as some truly world-class wheeling.

DAY 5: Gold Mine Ghosts, Old Faithful, and Road Day Carnage

We awoke on Day 5 to another chilly early fall Montana morning and wasted no daylight packing up camp. Our site for the night had been down toward the end of the unpaved North Meadow Creek Road, but it would be hours still before we’d see pavement. We backtracked just a bit, finding the turnoff onto South Meadow Creek Road and following it as it shrunk from a two-lane through the valley into a single-track shelf road that followed the rising grade up alongside South Meadow Creek. With very few turnoffs and 26 wide off-road vehicles we’re fortunate the only people we ran into were a pair of bear hunters on foot.

We eventually came to the ruins of the Missouri Mill site in the mountains outside of McAllister, Montana. First operational in the late 1800s and in use off and on until the 1980s, pretty much all of the wooden buildings that supported the milling operations of the Missouri Mine, farther up the mountain, had succumb to the heavy winter snows. Now a mass of nailstrewn timber juxtaposed with evil-looking early 20th century stamping, power generating, and water pumping equipment, the Missouri Mill site held plenty of artifacts, as well as potential for injury, with Verne Simons discovering his sandals were not as nail-resistant as he thought. We browsed around for a while before loading up and heading back down the same shelf road we had driven up. After a quick pit stop to air up tires and knock the dust out of air filters, we hit the pavement on Highway 287 into Ennis for fuel and then pushed on toward Wyoming.

Not too far outside of West Yellowstone, Ian Johnson called over the radio that his transmission had overheated. He came into town on a VooDoo rope behind Skinny Kenny. While the rest of us topped our tanks and scooted through the entrance to Yellowstone National Park, Ian and Kenny stayed behind to effect repairs. You don’t bring UA to Yellowstone without seeing its biggest attraction, so we bisected the park, passing elk, buffalo, and moose on a direct route to Old Faithful. We arrived at the geyser 35 minutes before its next eruption, which just happened to coincide with Ian and Kenny’s return to the group.

With photos and video of Old Faithful in the digital banks, we hit the road again past Lake Yellowstone, out the East Gate, and into Shoshone National Forest with a bunch more wildlife sightings, including a black bear munching on some berries. The road through Shoshone climbs steeply and just less than an hour outside of Cody, Wyoming, the Quigley van called out over the radio that it had lost all drive. Once again, Skinny Kenny hung back and helped Quigley’s Tiger LeBrun while the rest of the group headed into town. To save Tiger a tow bill, Skyjacker sent its trailer and driver, who had been flanking our progress, back to get them. Instances such as this are the only real times a trailer is allowed on UA, and by the time the Skyjacker trailer got to them, Tiger had the T-case removed and disassembled for inspection, indentifying a worn factory shift fork in the NV261 as the culprit.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM FOUR WHEELERView All

SAFE & SECURE

Tuffy’s lockable Center Console Security Safe insert offers security for your stuff

3 mins read
Four Wheeler
November 2021

Jeep Gladiator Rubicon

Second report: Many days of dirt

4 mins read
Four Wheeler
November 2021

OVERLAND ADVENTURE 2021: PART 1

CLIMBING UTAH’S GRAND STAIRCASE

5 mins read
Four Wheeler
November 2021

TECHLINE

DIFF DROP OR NOT I’m upgrading my lift kit from a budget Pro Comp kit to the Ironman 4x4 Foam Cell Full Kit (2–3-inch lift, new shocks, coils, full leaf pack, and carrier bearing drop kit) on my ’10 Toyota Tacoma Double Cab. The truck is my daily driver and weekend overlanding/camping rig. I don’t do any extreme offroading or rock crawling. Usually trails with softball-sized rocks at most.

5 mins read
Four Wheeler
November 2021

BRAKE TIME

TSM Mfg’s easy, affordable way to upgrade any Ford 9-inch from drum to disc brakes

2 mins read
Four Wheeler
November 2021

2022 FORD F-150 LIGHTNING

Ford’s fully electric truck of the future arrives … and starts at under $40,000!

7 mins read
Four Wheeler
November 2021

CAN'T BUY BACK TIME

Peter, Makayla, and Makena Hansen seek out rugged camping spots in this ’02 Chevy Avalanche

2 mins read
Four Wheeler
November 2021

Ford F-250 Super Duty Limited

Final report: The end of the road (and trail) for our heavy hauler

4 mins read
Four Wheeler
November 2021

HEADGAMES

How to replace the cylinder head gasket in a Willys Go Devil flathead engine

5 mins read
Four Wheeler
November 2021

PART 1: Analyzing the why & how DIY LONG-ARM FRONT SUSPENSION

A long-arm suspension is a great idea for most off-road linked suspension rigs. Many have been built and much time has been spent thinking about doing so. Using a Jeep as an example, many coil-sprung models have relatively short front arms.

4 mins read
Four Wheeler
October 2021
RELATED STORIES

Big Sky's Moment of Glory

The most rugged resort in Montana gets speedy lifts, luxury hotels, and fine dining to match its extreme slopes

6 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
October 18 - 25, 2021

When the Humans are Away

Montana’s remote Crazy Mountains are a playground for more than just hikers.

4 mins read
Backpacker
September - October 2021

Virginia City, Montana

This city struck it rich with a well-preserved ghost town.

3 mins read
True West
September 2021

SHOULD WILDLIFE BE PRIVATE PROPERTY?

Montana’s legislature wants to turn big game hunting into a sport for elites.

4 mins read
Men's Journal
May - June 2021

TOP 7 QB competitions

The 49ers are headed for a battle royale at the all-important quarterback position this summer — and perhaps for the rest of this season, and possibly even years to come — as holdover starter Jimmy Garoppolo takes on the challenge presented by rookie Trey Lance, the youngster San Francisco invested in heavily to take Garoppolo’s job as soon as Lance is ready.

4 mins read
Niner Report
August 2021

Eye of the Storm

Foul-weather backcountry days have an allure all their own.

1 min read
Backpacker
May - June 2021

A Big Sky Adventure

FROM THE MAGIC CITY OF THE PLAINS TO THE LITTLE BIGHORN AND THE “GRANDEST” TRADING POST OF THE FUR TRADE, A ROAD TRIP THROUGH EASTERN MONTANA OFFERS NO SHORTAGE OF FRONTIER FUN.

7 mins read
True West
April 2021

Bears & Gobblers

SPRING BEAR & TURKEY IN MONTANA

9 mins read
Bear Hunting Magazine
January - February 2021

Autumn Hudson

Hard Work and Evolution with Tattoo Artist Autumn Hudson

5 mins read
Skin Art
Issue 175

SECOND TIME AROUND

After a shady shop pulled a huge scam restoring his 1969 Camaro, the owner ended up building the car of his dreams

6 mins read
Hot Rod
January 2021