By Anthoney Urtz
Photos: Jacob Clough
Back in spring of 2017, I was on the Facebook page of LJ Nation, where you are required to be an owner of a '04-'06 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited (LJ), when I came across a post about registering to attend the '2017 Grand Adventure' before the deadline. Like any curious Jeep enthusiast, I liked the Facebook page and followed the Unlimited LJ Adventure page to get more information about it. I found that the deadline to enter was approaching quickly, so I clicked on the link ( to apply. After I filled out the application, I put it off to the side, not imagining I would be selected to attend as this event is limited to only 15 LJ owners and 5 vendor. I'm also the guy who never wins during raffles or is selected for any type of prize, in fact, you probably don't want to stand near me when raffles are being drawn because you probably won't win either.

A few months later, the event originators, Ryan Boudreau and Terry Mode, went on Facebook live to draw the names of this years attendees. For some reason, I didn't watch the live drawing, probably due to some family obligations that day. Luckily, a friend of mine commented on the live stream asking if he could pull a winch line for me. When I saw this, I couldn't have been more excited and figured it was time to start prepping my 2005 LJ for the trip.

This was only the second LJ event put together by the organizers of Unlimited LJ Adventure. Last year, the event was held in Colorado and only lasted three days and they had 12 attendees, including the founders, Ryan and Terry. This year, 15 people were selected but Genright Offroad brought thier LJ, giving us 16 rigs for the trip. What made this event interesting was that we were given a minimal amount of information about the trip prior to arriving. We were only given a date, a time and a GPS coordinate on where to meet. We knew that the trip would begin in the Grand Junction Colorado area and end in Moab, Utah. Everything in between, including routes and lodging were only known by one person, Ryan Boudreau.

The Ulimited LJ Adventure required each attendee to have:
- 2004-2006 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited
- Minimum 35" tires
- Differential lockers front and rear
- Winch
- CB/Ham/Dual band radio
- All necessary safety gear.

My LJ happend to already have all of the requirements, so my prep time was spent on ensuring my setup would withstand the rigors of wheeling the Colorado rocks and within the trails of Moab for 5 days. The last thing you want on a event like this, is for the trip to be cut short because of a mechanical failure. Ensuring the LJ was ready to wheel some of the most iconic trails known to any off-roader, I also needed to be prepared with camping gear and food preparations as we could be off the grid with no idea what the week would entail. After discussions with my local wheeling group, I was as prepared as I could be and it was time to load up and head west.

It was about a 16 hour drive from my home in central Oklahoma to Grand Junction, Colorado. We were told ahead of time that we had to find our own storage for a truck and trailer if we were trailering our rigs to Grand Junction. My plan was to store my tow rig and trailer in Moab instead so it would be there at the finish of the adventure because the likelihood of having a major breakdown would probably happen on a trail in Moab. I arrived in Moab a day before the event, unloaded the LJ and made the hour and a half drive back to Grand Junction where we met up with some of the other attendees at our hotel.

As the first day of the event arrived, we were all anxious to get the adventure started. We convoyed a short distance to where the GPS coordinates lead us and arrived just outside the trail head of '21 Road'; where we would register, air down, sign waivers, pick up our packets, meet Ryan and Terry and then eat a quick breakfast that was generously provided by Lyft Offroad. After a brief drivers meeting, the sound of 16 LJs roaring to life filled the valley of '21 Road' with a sound that would put a smile on the face of any gearhead.

16 well build LJs was a beautiful sight, especially with Poison Spyder's famous 'Daddy Long Legs' LJ and Genright Offroad's LJ. We had LJs on 35" to 42" tires, LS swapped motors, RIPP superchargers, Banks Turbos, one-ton axles, coilover suspensions, and even some stretched wheelbases. This group of LJ owners and their passengers were some of the nicest people Ive met, which seems to be the normalcy in the Jeeping community. People from all walks of life were gathered, from college students, business owners to medical professionals. It didn't matter what we were back home, here, we were all equals ready to have some fun abusing our rigs in the dirt and rocks on the first trail that was designated by two numbers, a 2 and a 1. This road is rated a medium difficulty when its dry and we were very fortunate that it didnt rain as it can make this trail more challenging. There are multiple points on this road where you need to decide if you have what it takes to tackle some steep obstacles, otherwise, you will need to just turn around and head out.

The second day of the trip, we arose early and were informed we needed to meet at a gas station on the Southwest side of Grand Junction. We filled up our tanks here as we would not see another gas station for a couple days. Making our way through a National Forest towards the Delores Triangle area, our destination was still unknown to us as we continued west for a few hours on the dusty BLM roads until we came upon a fork in the road where we could see a sign for the trailhead of 'Top of The World'. The group grew excited knowing we were just outside of Moab and were about to head up the trail. If you have not had the opportunity to drive the Top of The World trail, know that it is a pretty bumpy ride all the way up and back down. We did get to stop at the top overlook where we ate lunch while those who wanted to, got the iconic Top of the World picture of their Jeep on an outcropped rock. Once everyone got their pictures, the group made their way back down the trail.

Continuing on, we made our way over to Rose Garden Hill and as you look down from the top, it is quite intimidating. This steep hill includes a few sheer drop-offs that require a proper tire placement while descending or your vehicle could be sent plummeting off the edge, but the group made it through without any issues. As we approached the end of the day, we began to make our way to our camp location for that night. Heading towards Onion Creek , we came upon an area with some sparse trees and camp spots where we were introduced to Bob and Mary, owners of TnT Customs out of Cheyenne, Wyoming. They had prepared us an amazing camp side dinner for the group which was a welcomed treat as we were ready to get out of our Jeeps, get camp setup and eat. Stepping out of our LJs, you could see storm clouds were beginning to build on the horizon, causing us to scramble to get our tents setup. With tents up, we began fixing our plates for dinner and the weather took a turn for the worse. It began to down pour with heavy winds, drenching the entire group. You would think this would cause everyone to run for cover to get out of the rain and wind, but with this group, it was quite the opposite. The drive from Colorado to our first camp site had been on dusty roads for 90 percent of the day, so the downpour was a welcomed gift and was nature's way of washing off the days dirt.

After a good nights rest, we started the day of by making our way down Onion Creek towards the Colorado River. From there, we followed the Colorado River all the way into the town of Moab and stopped for a quick fuel top off. With our tanks full, we headed over to the infamous 'Potato Salad Hill' where we got to play around. (If you're ever at Potato Salad Hill, just below the parking area, there is a nice little river where you can jump in and cool off on a hot day). Once we had our chance at Potato Salad Hill, we were given a few hours on our own in Moab before we needed to meet back up for our next stage of the trip. This was the optimal time to get some real, non-camping or snack food. After a good meal and some exploring around the town, we met back at the Moab Convention center to head towards our sleeping arrangements for the duration of our stay in Moab. The group was given the option to get a hotel room if the tolerance for camping had been met. Some opted for a hotel room while the rest of us were surprised with the ability to stay at Danny Grimes house, otherwise known as Grandpa's Garage. If you have not heard of Grandpa's Garage before, you are in for a treat. Without giving too much detail about it because you need to see it for yourself, it is a house with a two bay garage that has every tool known to man to repair your rig if you are to break while wheeling in Moab. It became famous when a vendor in the Jeep community needed a place to host a party and asked Danny if they could host it at his house. Grandpa's Garage is now THE party location for vendors in the off-road community during the Easter Jeep Safari. Danny was gracious to let anyone in our group stay on his property and use his bathroom and shower facilities.

After dinner that evening, we headed out to do some night wheeling in Moab, starting at the trailhead of Moab Rim. By the time the group was aired down and had a brief drivers meeting, the canyons of Moab were pitch black. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise for me as I have a fear of heights; I was unable to see the sheer cliffs only a few feet from the obstacles we tackled. This was the key for me to be calm and focus on my driving. If you get the chance, the overlook on the Moab Rim Trail at night is a must do. It's amazing to see the little town of Moab all lit up from nearly 1900 feet above it.

We started our fourth day of the trip with breakfast at the Moab Dinner, a must stop for breakfast while in Moab. Our destination for the day was the Arches National Park and being in Jeeps, there was no way we would be taking the 'tourist' way into the park. Hitting the back roads into the Arches, it took us about an hour through a sandy wash with the occasional rock pile jutting out to arrive at Tower Arch. The group walked down to the Arch to take a group photo and as we headed back to our vehicles it began to rain. I assumed we were in a bad spot because we were far into the park and the dirt roads we drove in on were basically rain wash outs. The likelihood of a flash flood was a real threat with the amount of rain that had begun coming down. We headed out, driving towards the main road, there were times I was racing the rushing water on either side of the road and even had to cross over streams that began swallowing the road. This was legitimately the most terrified I have been behind the wheel of my Jeep but, we all managed to make it out to the main road without any incidents and took the paved road through the Arches National Park. After that adrenaline rush, it was the perfect way for me to have some time to calm down. As I look back, we were lucky to make it out of that situation without any issue.

The final day of the Unlimited LJ Adventure, we were given the opportunity to tackle Pritchett Canyon, which I had been waiting for the entire trip. Pritchett Canyon has been on my bucket list of trails to do since I became a Jeep owner. I have watched nearly every YouTube video of Pritchett Canyon that could be found. This trail is rated as one of the most difficult trails in Moab outside Area BFE. It's one of those trails that test you and your rig to its fullest and it will show you where your weaknesses are. Before heading for the trail, I stripped my LJ of all the extra storage and equipment I'd been hauling around for the duration of the trip. I wanted to make the rig as light as possible and carry the minimal equipment needed to help me make it through.

At the trailhead, we dropped our 5 dollar donation into the little tube and headed onto the trail. I was excited as a five-year-old child on Christmas morning! The trail was slightly muddy and had pools of water from the priors day rain, making this already difficult trail, much more challenging. The first major obstacle you hit on Pritchett Canyon is Chewy hill and all the videos I have viewed, do not show the true height of this obstacle. It is larger in person and as I watched the rigs ahead of me struggling, I knew Chewy hill would not disappoint. My LJ took on Chewy Hill with little issues and then from there, we continued through the canyon toward Rocker Knocker. With all my Youtube 'experience' on this obstacle, I knew what the right line was needed to clear this obstacle. Once all the rigs had their opportunity at Rocker Knocker, we stopped to have a quick bite before heading over to Axle Hill. Many rigs have busted axles here, giving name to this obstacle. Axle Hill is not a large obstacle, it's extremely steep and you need to have some forward momentum in order to make it. While you are climbing this obstacle, there is a lip towards the top that will stop you in your tracks and this is where most people end up breaking something on their front axle. If you make it up Axle Hill without breakage, you have about a hundred yards before final obstacle of Pritchet Canyon, the Rock Pile. This was a tricky obstacle as it has a cutout at the bottom and if you did not have tall enough tires there is little chance of you making it up unassisted. I didn't have 40 inches tires on my LJ and ended up having to be winch up. Once you are over the Rock Pile, it is then a long, steep drive to get out of the canyon and you need to keep your momentum going to drive out. The sense of accomplishment I had making it out of the Canyon without breaking anything on my LJ was unreal. I can now check that off that bucket list, however, I now want more of Moab, and if you were there, you would too!

Once the group exited Pritchett Canyon, we had about an hours drive to get back to our campsite at Grandpa's Garage. When we arrived, dinner awaited us and then it would be time to have a raffle. The raffle had all kinds of goods from the sponsors of the event and apparently my luck may be changing as I managed to win a raffle item! After the raffle, everyone began saying their goodbyes as some were going to start their drive home that night and others planned to leave the next morning. We pack up our stuff and headed to our campground that we had reserved for the night.

I could not have been happier to have been chosen to attend the Unlimited LJ Adventure. I got the chance to wheel in one of the most iconic off-road locations in America and was able to make new friends with people from all over the country. If you have a LJ and want to attend an event that will test your rig and allow you to meet new people from all over, head over to the Unlimited LJ Adventure website and enter the lottery for your chance to attend one of these events. Like myself, you may be the one picked to join the adventure!