Let me introduce you to our videographer/producer, Wyatt Gruben. We rarely see him in the office, mostly because he’s off at an event getting some pretty awesome footage. But, on the rare occasions that he pops in for a meeting or all-company event, his tie perfectly coordinates with his shirt, pants and shoes; his hair is always perfectly coiffed; and he’s got a mustache you would swear is straight out of the movie “Tombstone” No wonder he was the perfect model for our new ad featuring this Indian Scout and the AMSOIL Synthetic Motorcycle Oil we recommend for it.
But, what makes Wyatt perfect for his job at AMSOIL is his love for adventure. He loves riding mountain bikes, road bikes and snowboards. So, when off-road racer Brad Lovell decided to invite him along to film his back-country trip, Expedition Colorado, Wyatt was all for it.
Lovell, and his brother Roger Lovell, are best known for co-piloting rock racers and racing off-road trucks. But this summer, between races in the TORC Series, they decided to take their sons, employee Jake Arbitter and our own Wyatt Gruben in their 1943 Willys Jeep and 1986 Ford Bronco II from their home in Colorado Springs, Colo., to Moab, Utah. The purpose? To show there’s still adventure right outside your back door.
Although Wyatt is off to another fun adventure in Sturgis, we managed to pin him down to learn a little more about his (mis)adventures on his road to Moab.
AMSOIL: What were your thoughts going into the trip?
Gruben: I was unsure of what to expect, but I knew it was going to be a crazy adventure. Brad had mentioned to me before arriving that he did not know if some of the mountain passes would still have too much snow remaining on them to allow the Jeep to make it through. Also, the entire route had been planned using Google Maps, so we had no idea what the condition of the route would be.
I have worked with Brad in the past for various other videos, but I knew this would be something different. I knew that off-roading for five days with tons of camera equipment was going to be a challenge, but I was definitely looking forward to it.
Side note: This 1943 Willys Jeep was incredible to watch throughout this whole adventure. It climbed over terrain that I never believed it would. It is truly amazing that it made it through some of the things that it did.
AMSOIL: What mishaps/interesting scenarios did you find yourself in along the way?
Gruben: On day two of the expedition, we awoke at our trail-side campsite and packed up our damp tents amid the hurry of making coffee and oatmeal. After a night of showers, we welcomed the morning sun as we rolled out of our campsite. We started the day with some gorgeous sandy roads mixed with rock. As the morning progressed, the terrain started to get more challenging as we climbed toward the Continental Divide. We passed over it via Hancock Pass. The view from the top was breathtaking. After stopping here for a break, we continued on our way descending down the other side.
A number of hours later, the going got tough. It was pouring rain on us. Both Brad and Roger do not have a roof on their vehicles. The kids were freezing cold and wet. Our rain gear was not quite sufficient to stand up to the hours of rain we had been enduring. We took turns riding in Jake’s truck, since his was the only one with a roof and heat.
The trail had slowly turned into what resembled a river. We came upon a shelf that the jeep was struggling with and had to turn around Roger’s Bronco in order to winch the Jeep up the slippery, wet rocks. After what felt like an eternity, the weather started to turn back in our favor.
Just as we were cresting the top of our next pass, the sun broke through to show us a gorgeous alpine lake. It was at this point that we stopped and changed into drier clothes. Brad opted to don a trash bag instead of his soaking-wet rain gear because he hoped it would do a better job of keeping him dry if the rain came back. We reached camp later than anticipated that night, just as it was getting dark.
While we were setting up our tents, we realized that Jake’s dry bag was a not-so-dry bag anymore. His sleeping bag was thoroughly soaked through. He opted to sleep wearing his insulated Carhartts that he just so happened to have stuffed behind the passenger seat in his regular-cab 1996 Ford Ranger.
This is just one day of what was an incredible trip. Although not all things went as planned, I would not change anything about it. We went into this trip looking for adventure and that is exactly what we got the entire time.
AMSOIL: Tell us about sleeping on a garage floor.
Our last night was in Moab, Utah. Although Brad had some connections in Moab, we had decided that in the spirit of the trip, we would finish it by spending one more night in our tents. It just so happened that the weather did not want to cooperate with our plans. We had our camp all set up and were just beginning to think about cooking ourselves some dinner, when the skies opened up. The wind was howling and the rain was pouring. After a slight break in the storm, it intensified even more. It was at this point we decided to take advantage of the shelter that had been offered to us. We happily slept on the concrete floors of the famed Grandpa’s Garage in place of our tents.
AMSOIL: Would you do it again?
I love the outdoors, but four-wheeling is something that takes a special kind of mental fortitude. You have to constantly battle the elements, make sure you are paying attention to your vehicle, all the while wondering if you are going to come upon a locked gate that may force you to backtrack over rough terrain for hours. I hope that next year we come up with something even more insane than this. I cannot wait.
To catch all the adventures Wyatt and team endured on this trip, be sure to sign up to receive the latest edition of the AMSOIL Signature Series. You can also view previously released Signature Series videos here.
Up next for Brad Lovell? Rounds nine and ten of the TORC Series presented by AMSOIL in Buchanan, Mich.
Up next for Wyatt? Adventure awaits… be sure to stay tuned.