2023 Unlimited LJ Adventure: The Potato Adventure

The 2023 Unlimited LJ Adventure took participants to the great state of Idaho, hence the name, The Potato Adventure. If you have never heard of the Unlimited LJ Adventure, let me give you a quick history lesson. 

Jeeping-accountant ready for participants to start showing up

In 2015, Terry and Ryan were sitting around the fire talking about all these different Jeep or off-road events and noticing none about the 2004-2006 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. So they decided to take it upon themselves to start their own. In August of 2016, the very first Unlimited LJ Adventure was held in Buena Vista, CO. There has been at least one event each year, except 2018, which had two events.

Some of the t-shirts we were able to give the participants

Every year, the decision is made to take the participants somewhere new. The only time the event has gone somewhere before was in 2020 when the wildfires in California shut down the forests and forced the event to be moved at the last minute to another location. For 2023, the decision was made to show everyone what Idaho has to offer. Idaho is definitely not somewhere you think of when you think of rock crawling. But Terry had a plan to show everyone what Idaho has to offer, and that he did. 

Lining up to hit the first trail

Day 1 brings everyone to Idaho as we all gather at Terry’s house for check-in and meet-and-greet. I’ve always loved day one as it’s a great way to catch up with old friends and start making new ones. The evening meal was provided by Yukon Gear & Axle and one of our participants, Bob, smoked pork, jalapeno poppers, baked beans, and more as we all gathered around to introduce ourselves next to the Snake River.

Setting up camp on day two

I’ve always loved how the event draws people from all over the United States, and this year was no different. This year, we had nine different states represented, as Texas and Missouri brought the most with four rigs each. 

Everyone lined up to go down into the caves

Day 2, we started the day at a local coffee shop, Bullets n Brew, owned by our very own Terry, so if you are ever in Hagerman, Idaho, you need to stop in for some coffee and a new firearm or souvenir. After breakfast, we headed out to the trailhead. After topping off for fuel, we made it to a dirt road. As we lined up and started airing down, one of our participants found that his front driveshaft was no longer connected to his transfer case. 

Shoshone Ice Caves

Every year, we have what we call The Idle of Shame, which we make the participants display if they need assistance while on trail. This year is the fastest we have ever busted it out. Thanks to Yukon Gear & Axle for helping us this year. Yukon produced unique pink t-shirts for us to hand to participants who needed assistance, and Shane was our first victim. 

Shenanigans are always happening out on the trail

After they fixed the driveshaft, we headed out on the trail as we were going to camp at Boulder City. After trekking up the steep, talus mountain slopes and fighting through some slippery, wet, and loose boulders, we reached Boulder City, a galena ore mining ghost town where many structures still exist. After we set up camp near the ghost town, it was time to start up the campfire and start the jiffy pop, a ULJA tradition. 

Marc taking a quick break to catch some sun

After spending the night in the old ghost town of Boulder City, we woke up to frost-covered tents. Once, we had camp packed up, and it was good that we got it done when we could as a morning rainstorm hit the mountains. When we got back down the mountains, everyone had a quick lunch break before heading out to the Shoshone Ice Caves. 

Our youngest participant, Ethan, showing everyone the line

The Shoshone Ice Caves is a 45-minute tour that took us underground into an ancient lava tube filled with massive 1,000-foot-long blocks of ice in the middle of the lava desert. Temps in the cave were a crisp 28 degrees, and it’s good that we still had our jackets handy. After the tour, we continued trekking south back to Hagerman for dinner. 

Always there to give a helping hand

On day four, we decided to take the training wheels off as we followed the Snake River into the Alkaline Foothills. We immediately kicked it into high gear and tackled three trails south of Bruneau, ID. Our skid plates and armor were tested as we made our way through lava rock canyons and car-sized boulders. Our lovely pink t-shirts provided by Yukon were handed out all day. 

StrokedLSLJ showing off the flex

Even with the rough terrain, we only suffered one issue with a hydro-assist line deciding to leave the chat on the day’s last run. After a fantastic meal by Big Fry, an impromptu night run happened. There was Nothing like running trails at night, being unable to see, and using your skid plates like braille. But we got everyone through and returned for a good night’s sleep. 

Everyone following the leader through the boulder fields

After leaving Bruneau in the rearview, we headed to Hemingway Butte, OHV, for the last few days of the event. To hit five different trails, with names like Gatekeeper, Dirty Little Secret, and if that doesn’t scare you, how about Meat Grinder? Off-camber situations and articulation were the names of the game, and after a long hard day of wheeling, everyone made it back under their own power, even though some late night repairs were made. 

Shaddylandcustoms waving his driver front tire to everyone

Once we were fed, some participants noticed that the trailer for our food truck, Off The Grid Pizza (which was provided to us by JS Offroad and overkill-lj), was sitting a little odd. After a quick inspection, it was found that one of the rear spring hangers was broken, and they had no idea. Well, we are a well-prepared group, and Premier Power Welder’s portable welder was busted out to fix them up. 

Everyone enjoying some pizza after a long day wheeling

On day six, we woke up in the Hemmingway Butte OHV, and the day would be filled with grit, determination, and perseverance. After eating dust driving to the trail, we turned up the canyon to find one of the biggest and hardest gatekeepers I have seen. This double climb, S-turn obstacle challenged every rig and left spotters scratching their heads. It’s a good thing everyone had winches as we gave a bunch of them a good workout as we guided the Jeeps through giant holes and tall rocks. Unfortunately, we spent most of the morning at this spot because of the complex trail.

Fixing the food trucks broken spring perch

After the first group had made it through, near the top, we ended up having a bad break as one of the participants tie rod ends decided to leave the chat room. The Premier Power Welder was busted out again as no one had the correct tie rod end. Unfortunately, the first weld didn’t hold. It was starting to get late in the day, and no one wanted to miss our Hawaiian BBQ, so the whole group got around the Jeep and attempted to repair the joint without everyone staring and watching. Everyone made it back to base camp while they could fix the tie rod and get the Jeep back on the trail to head home. 

Jeeping-Accountant guiding a participant

And it’s good that Genright Off-Road provided us with a fantastic Hawaiian BBQ dinner. The best part was the Pineapple upside-down cake. Everyone went back for seconds and maybe thirds when it came to the cake. 

Ridinlj making his way through the gatekeeper on the last day

All good things must come to an end. It was one of the best trips we have put together, and who knew Idaho had some great wheeling. If you ever want to wheel Idaho and have a guide, hit up PROJECTLOWJ, as he is the local. Everyone said their goodbyes, and we headed in different directions, saying goodbye until next year’s adventure, The Hill Country Adventure. 

Ethan learning life lessons he will never forget. Even if his mom would rather him not learn them

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