For brothers Brad and Roger Lovell, adventure is always around the next turn, literally. Brad typically finds adventure behind the wheel of his off-road racing truck on a TORC Series track. Roger finds it during grueling Ultra 4 events. Sometimes the brothers even find adventure together, like when winning the Smittybilt Every Man Challenge during King of the Hammers week.
This summer, the Lovell brothers decided to take a different type of adventure.
Armed only with what they could pack into their three pre-2000 off-road vehicles, the Lovells, their sons, mechanic Jake Arbitter and AMSOIL video producer/photographer Wyatt Gruben scaled rock ledges and drove through heavy downpours to complete the 550-mile trek from Colorado Springs, Colo., to Moab, Utah.
Brad recently sat down with us to answer a few questions about AMSOIL Expedition Colorado.
AMSOIL: What was the purpose of this trip?
Lovell: The purpose of this trip was simply to see if it could be done. We grew up in the Rocky Mountains and, rather than turning around to go home after the weekend, we wanted to see what adventure lay on the other side of the ridge line. By using older vehicles, we wanted the experience of our forefathers and to pass it on to our children. Overall, we were looking to find authentic adventure in our backyard, and we definitely succeeded in that.
AMSOIL: Who went with you?
Lovell: There has been a lot of interest in AMSOIL Expedition Colorado from friends and associates. A lot of people wanted to go, but we needed to keep it simple and small to prove the concept. In the end it was myself and my 11-year-old boys (Adam and Byam), my brother Roger and his son (Parker), plus Jake Arbitter, who works for the team, and Wyatt Gruben to capture some great images.
AMSOIL: Is this the first time you have done this?
Lovell: Yes. The idea came about to see if the West was really still wild. Just like there was a time in history when cattle drives were drowned out by fences, we wanted to see if we could still cross 550 miles of the Rocky Mountains on only dirt trails. The answer? Well, we were thwarted by snow, road construction and large landowners locking gates on what appeared to be private roads. We made it, but with more pavement miles than I had hoped. With this experience, planning and a little luck, we will develop a better route.
AMSOIL: What are the makes/models of the cars that you drove?
Lovell: This is an adventure and we wanted to make it difficult. My brother and I grew up on similar adventures and, in all reality, this was equally a chance to pass the same experiences on to our children. We drove the following:
- 1943 Willys MB (Brad) – we originally bought this as a pit-support vehicle and my kids took a great interest in rebuilding it. They helped me redo the engine, brakes, wiring, etc. before the trip.
- 1986 Ford Bronco II (Roger) – this was Roger’s first vehicle when he turned 16. It has been through a half dozen builds over the last 28 years and has solid axles, a 5.0L V-8, linked rear suspension and has been narrowed 6 inches.
- 1996 Ford Ranger (Jake) þ Jake built this Ranger while attending UNOH [University of Northern Ohio] and it sports solid axles front and rear and a lot of suspension work. It should be noted that this is Jake’s daily driver, and he drove all the way back to Colorado Springs from Moab.
AMSOIL: Where did the expedition start/stop and what is the distance between those two?
Lovell: We started in downtown Colorado Springs in front of the Antlers Hotel. It is a historic hotel located on the zero/zero block of Colorado Springs. We ended the trip overlooking the town of Moab on the Hell’s Revenge Trail. It seemed more fitting than the center of town because everyone goes to Moab for the trails and wilderness, not the town itself. The total distance was 550 miles, which we mapped on Google Earth and tracked during the expedition on an iPad.
AMSOIL: So, why are you wearing a garbage bag?
Ha! We had all kinds of weather on the trip. We were in a thunderstorm above timberline, which is not a good place to be. The head gasket in the Willys had just gone sour and we were all freezing cold. My “breathable” rain gear proved to not be waterproof and I was really cold. The only waterproof thing left was a trash bag. It felt GREAT to get some dry clothes on and stay dry!
To see what products the Lovell’s use, check them out here.
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