Off Road Xtreme’s recurring feature; Off-Roading With Christopher Polvoorde is back. On this episode, Christopher takes us on an inside tour to experience the Dixie Offroad Expo and Easter Jeep Safari in beautiful and scenic Moab, Utah. This is the traditional annual gathering of off-roaders who enjoy one of North America’s most treasured OHV areas. This particular region falls under the Bureau of Land Management’s jurisdiction and has over 40 designated trails.
In his own words, here is Polvoorde’s play-by-play, a grip load of amazing photography, and an awesome recap video to go along with it.
Christopher Polvoorde takes us out to the Dixie Offroad Expo in Moab.
Christopher Polvoorde: I have been working a lot with the Optima Batteries marketing activation team. They organized the expo portion of EJS. I went last year, and had a blast, so when I received an invite to go this year I did not want to miss out. I brought two vehicles from my fleet; my F100 Prerunner, and the 2019 Ford Ranger. Both of these vehicles “technically” are not for rock crawling, but both do turn heads.
The F100 spent the first part of the trip on display, just being eye candy, while we headed out in the Ranger to tackle some off-road trails. That first morning I was invited to hit Steel Bender Trail. It is rated as somewhat medium level on the range of difficulty until you hit the well known “waterfall”. This obstacle is quite steep, especially for a near stock Ford Ranger, and features a tall drop off as well.
We ventured onto this wild trail with little to no knowledge of what was actually ahead of us. That soon showed once we kept running into traffic coming the opposite way. Everyone coming down told us we were going backwards on the trail. At this point, we were already committed and figured it would be better to just keep going.
The Ford Ranger performed insane. It was truly incredible to watch how the truck was able to do everything so effortlessly. To demonstrate the true abilities of the Ranger pickup truck, I decided to throw Autumn from Ford Performance behind the wheel. Being from Detroit, she had never been off-roading let alone rock climbing in her entire life. Unexpectedly in the driver’s seat, she was not happy at first, but she soon began to have a ton of fun. She was mind blown on how this limited but capable vehicle could traverse over such crazy terrain.
Between me and her, we definitely worked the Ford Ranger through its paces and tested its off-roading prowess. Making good time on the trail, we were having a ton of fun causing plenty of commotion, and lots of stares when these fully built jeeps with 42-inch tires passed by.
Autumn was able to complete most of the trail, not having to winch or even get out, just by looking at each obstacle and going for it. We eventually got to Steel Bender’s famous waterfall, and there was quite the crowd and a serious bottleneck. When I pulled up in a nearly stock Ranger, most people advised me to turn around and go home, clearly looking like we did not belong there since we had been going the opposite direction of proper trail flow. The whole situation was compounded since we had to go up the steep waterfall’s ledge.
I knew my truck was capable of making it up the smaller and less notorious “Wild Waterfall” and the feature next to it but I was definitely a little nervous. Any mistake driving, could have sent me rolling down a 75-foot cliff which definitely would not end well. I tackled it, but we fell just a little short on ground clearance bottoming out on the frame. I think with 35-inch tires, I would have rolled through no problem. It was quite the experience having to get winched up, just to add that extra sense of safety in case something did happen. Overall, I think most people were shocked that I even attempted it in the Ford Ranger.
By the end of the day, a bunch of vehicles in our group were having a ton of issues. One lost a driveshaft, another lost the front differential, and another had snapped a winch line. This trusty Ford Ranger was still running strong with zero issues besides a couple scuffs here and there. We finally finished our “small” little morning adventure that I thought was going to be a few hours of wheeling, but actually took over 7 1/2 hours.
After a long day on the trail, its time to break loose.
We headed back to the Optima Batteries compound for Dave Cole‘s birthday and even did some line dancing. The next day, Friday, I woke up super early and started the F100 to warm her up for the chilly Utah winter morning. When she was ready, we took off and headed to the North end of town by Arches National Park.
There, I met a full camera crew who were able to capture some amazing sunrise photos of the Ford F100 PreRunner surrounded by the beautiful Moab backdrop. It felt like we could have been on mars and it was an amazing experience. After we called it a wrap, I headed into town, grabbed some donuts, checked out the Dixie Offroad Expo, and some more of downtown Moab.
As an off-road racer myself, and not wanting to miss the action, I headed out to watch the Ultra-4Area BFE Beatdown qualifying event. The Ultra-4 race cars were crazy as always, with plenty of action packed entertainment. You know they were going for it and giving it their all for qualifying positions.
The next day was another early morning F100 start up that woke the entire compound. Again, I had to head to another video shoot. This is the first time I got to stretch the legs on the F100 with her new 39-inch Toyo Tires. It was built around and always had 37 inch tires before, so I was a little anxious wondering if it was going to rub. All my care and concern left after I hit the juice. I went hard out of the gate and prayed for the best.
The film crew I was working with only wanted to start off the morning recording some hero shots that ended up turning out great. We moved onto some more high speed action stuff South of town near the sand dunes. I went up on some ridges and scored some incredible backdrops. With a little bit of encouragement from the photographers, I began to send the F100 PreRunner pretty hard. We were able to capture some of the best moments the F100 has ever been in.
In between the photographers setting up for the next shot, I found a nice little sand wash drop off. The film crew looked at me like I was a little crazy. I said stay down there and video this. I think you will like it. They went with it and caught some awesome shots of the truck shooting off a nice little ledge.
The new 2021 Ford Broncos spotted out in the wilds of Moab Utah!
While we were out filming in the dunes, a Ford Bronco and Bronco Sport ride-along experience came driving through. Once they spotted me ripping around in the PreRunner they stopped for a while to watch us send it over a couple jumps. The Broncos came over and followed in my tracks at their own comfortable pace. It was cool to see the Bronco Sport’s capabilities come out while they were playing in the same dunes I was driving a full-blown PreRunner in. They were just regular folks driving around and getting after it!
Once we finished up our morning of filming, I headed back into town to grab some lunch. We met up with several Ford VIP Executives, and put them in the F100 for thrill rides. We had some fun and hopefully got their blood pumping.
My two-wheel-drive F100 PreRunner definitely stood out surrounded by trail rigs, rock crawlers, and 4×4 everything everywhere. Driving through downtown Moab with this extremely different vehicle got us some wild stares and a lot of looks. It was pretty awesome! The F100 was very much out of its natural element, but it performed amazingly. Although we didn’t really hit any real rocks trails with the F100, it was a lot of fun getting to where the rocks started. We definitely won that award!
I finished up the trip on Saturday watching the Ultra-4 race, which did not disappoint. Like most off-road racing, there was all kinds of action packed with a ton of chaos. It definitely got me itching and wishing that I could race an Ultra-4. Maybe next year!
On the next addition of Off Road Xtreme’s recurring feature; Off-Roading With Christopher Polvoorde, we will take readers on an inside tour of the Polvoorde Racing short course program. Learn what it takes to get ready for a race weekend of Great American Short Course, what happens in the pits, and what Christopher’s #94 Ford Ranger Pro Lite goes through during a couple rounds on and off the track.