Former land use officer for Red Rocks, history buff and teacher, video star, David Adams has an impressive resume that includes handling wheeling with grace and notoriety despite his mobility issues. David shares his life history, his addiction to wheeling and Jeep grills and the accommodations necessary to stay out on the trail. It’s a great listen!
4:16 – “if you get shot down, here’s $10K to bribe your way out of the country”
7:41 – my wiring sucks
12:35 – you’re never going to be a construction worker, you’ve got to do well in school
16:26 – I wanted a Jeep so I could still get out in nature
25:17 – I was the land use officer for 13 years
37:50 – Pritchett Canyon is just iconic
50:37 – the way you reduce damage is to expand the number of trails
1:00:51 – …I literally bent my steering wheel with my face
1:17:37 – I keep the old girl, she’s cantankerous, she breaks down and has issues, always need something, but that’s what all Jeeps are,
We want to thank our sponsors Maxxis Tires and 4Low Magazine.
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[00:00:06.370] - Big Rich Klein
Welcome to conversations with Big Rich. This is an interview style podcast. Those interviews are all involved in the offroad industry. Being involved, like all of my guests are, is a lifestyle, not just a job. I talk to competitive teams, racers, rock crawlers, business owners, employees, media and private park owners, men and women who have found their way into this exciting and addictive lifestyle. We discuss their personal history, struggles, successes and reboots. We dive into what drives them to stay active and offroad. We all hope to shed some light on how to find a path into this world we live and love and call offroad.
[00:00:53.790] - Advertisement
Whether you're crawling the red rocks of Moab or hauling your toys to the trail, Maxxis has the tires you can trust for performance and durability. Four wheels or two? Maxxis tires are the choice of champions because they know that whether for work or play, for fun or competition, Maxxis tires deliver. Choose Maxxis, tread victoriously.
[00:01:20.290] - Advertisement
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[00:01:47.770] - Big Rich Klein
On today's conversations with Big Rich, we have David Adams. David is out of southern Utah. I'm not sure exactly where he's from or where he got his start. Just like you guys, you're going to learn a lot of information. You may know Dave from Truck Night on America and he's been in a lot of videos. He's a disabled wheeler, he has a hand controlled vehicle. And Dave has been a friend for a long time and done a lot of stuff in Moab, but now he's a sand hollow native, you might say, or one of the sand hollowites. I don't know how you guys call each other. Anyway, David, thank you so much for coming on board and sharing your story with us.
[00:02:33.670] - David Adams
You're welcome, Rich. It's my pleasure. Glad to be here.
[00:02:36.540] - Big Rich Klein
Excellent. So Dave, let's find out all about you. So where were you born and raised?
[00:02:43.390] - David Adams
So I grew up in Colorado Springs, Colorado. My dad was a military back during the Vietnam war and that was the last place that he was stationed in and they liked it. And so my parents stayed there and so that's where I grew up, on the front range in Colorado.
[00:02:58.450] - Big Rich Klein
Awesome. I know a lot of people from the front range, especially from Colorado Springs, because we raced out there at Ram off road park for a number of years.
[00:03:07.030] - David Adams
[00:03:08.330] - Big Rich Klein
So how are things when you were a kid out there, you're of that age to where things are probably still pretty rural, is that correct?
[00:03:18.560] - David Adams
Right. Yeah. When I was growing up in Colorado Springs. It was still a fairly small little town. I mean, you go back and you look at it now, and town has just changed so much. Where I grew up, I mean, it was all fields up north of that, actually. When you would drive up the Air Force Academy, you're driving in the middle of nowhere, and now it's staying near full solid all the way up to Monument, Colorado. So it's changed a lot.
[00:03:45.650] - Big Rich Klein
Right. So your dad was military. Was he with the Air Force or was he with the army base down there? Okay.
[00:03:53.580] - David Adams
He was Air Force. He actually had just graduated from college in 67, and he got a draft notice. And so he showed up to the local army recruiter, and they said, infantry or artillery? And he said, no, thank you, and went next door and joined as an officer in the Air Force.
[00:04:10.610] - Big Rich Klein
Perfect. What was his duties in the Air Force?
[00:04:16.990] - David Adams
He was an accountant. He was an accountant. That was his career. So he was actually spent a year in Thailand working with a lot of the personnel that were over there as they would fly missions over into Vietnam. He was one of them was responsible of giving them basically their bribe money. So you get shot down here is $10,000 cash to try to help bribe your way out of the country. So he did all that kind of stuff and got some interesting stories. He was one of the last few in country as basically an accountant, making sure that everything was accounted and taken care of. As the Viet Cong, we're literally coming into the streets in Vietnam.
[00:04:54.380] - Big Rich Klein
Oh, wow. Okay, that's wild. So he was there at the embassy then? Probably, yes. Okay, interesting. So then growing up, did you get to see your dad a lot as a young child or with the yeah, okay.
[00:05:13.490] - David Adams
Yeah, by the time I was born, he'd gotten out. He got RIF’d after the war, so he'd been in for nine years, and then he got into the civilian world as an accountant and various different office manager and stuff like that.
[00:05:26.920] - Big Rich Klein
Okay. What was your life like as a young child in that area? Did you guys get outdoors a lot?
[00:05:37.830] - David Adams
I was always really into the outdoors. I grew up very active in the Boy Scouts of America, all the way from the old Cub Scout at age eight and then working through all of that as a teenager. Through high school. I was very active in Boy Scouts. I worked at a bunch of different summer camps up in the Colorado Rockies. We're going camping every month. Obviously, with my disability, I can only do so much, although back then it wasn't as bad as it's progressed now. So I can never run and jump and stuff like that, but I could ride a bike, I could hike, I could do things like that. And so I was very active in the outdoors. I'm the youngest of four by a significant margin. My nearest sibling is six years older than me. Well, so kind of as I got to high school, I was almost like an only child. And so my friends I had in the scouting and stuff like that were huge to me. And I just loved every opportunity I could to get out in the outdoors and enjoy that opportunity, especially growing up there in Colorado.
[00:06:40.330] - David Adams
I loved it.
[00:06:41.120] - Big Rich Klein
Right? Yeah. And right there in the Front Range like that, I mean, it's pretty amazing. You come down out of the mountains and yeah, you're still at a pretty high elevation, over 5000, 5500ft there at the base. But you get into the real high elevations and the change is really dramatic. I remember that going up onto Pike's Peak and looking out and going, holy. I mean, it just like it's a wall drop right there. So you guys, your camping opportunities and everything, we're really close, but up at high elevations.
[00:07:20.130] - David Adams
Yeah, the summer camp that I worked out there in the Pikes Peak Council, I mean, I think our base camp was at like, 9200ft or something like that.
[00:07:28.520] - Big Rich Klein
[00:07:30.070] - David Adams
[00:07:30.940] - Big Rich Klein
And do you mind talking about your disability?
[00:07:36.210] - David Adams
No, not at all. Happy to.
[00:07:38.240] - Big Rich Klein
And what is it that you're suffering from?
[00:07:41.550] - David Adams
So it's an interesting name. It's called Sharko Marietuth. And I'll spell that. It's. C-H-A-R-C-O-T. Marie. M-A-R-I-E. Tooth. Tooth. And it's a silly name that most people have no idea what it means. And basically it's the three French surgeons who discovered it in the late 18 hundreds. Okay, so that's where the name comes from. But basically what it is is it is a peripheral neuropathy. And so it affects the nerves exclusively in my extremities, both the sensory neurons as well as the motor neurons. So because the motor neurons are affected, they don't tell the muscles the correct thing to do, so the muscles can't work. Right. And then with the sensory neuron damage, they also result in me having less feeling and less sensation in my extremities, especially the farther you get away from my head.
[00:08:43.560] - Big Rich Klein
Okay, all right. Interesting. Thank you for that explanation and definition. When you first said that, I was like, sharknado. You flying shark or something?
[00:08:58.170] - David Adams
Yeah. People always wonder what's wrong with your teeth?
[00:09:00.410] - Big Rich Klein
Wait a minute, how does that happen?
[00:09:03.270] - David Adams
Yeah, okay. Exactly.
[00:09:04.680] - Big Rich Klein
So is it a type of, like, muscular dystrophy or yeah, it's a very.
[00:09:10.670] - David Adams
Fringe type of muscular dystrophy. A lot of muscular dystrophy affect more your central nervous system, spine, your liver, lung, stuff like that. Mine doesn't affect any of my central organs. Mine is all just completely peripheral nerves. So it doesn't affect my life expectancy. It doesn't affect any brain function, anything like that.
[00:09:31.160] - Big Rich Klein
Okay, so it's just your body not doing what you want it to do.
[00:09:35.320] - David Adams
Exactly. I always tell, like, when I used to be a teacher, I would always explain it to my students. It's basically like having some stereo, and your head unit works great, and your speakers work great, and your wiring sucks.
[00:09:47.760] - Big Rich Klein
Okay, got it.
[00:09:49.930] - David Adams
That's kind of what I got. My wiring sucks, so therefore the message doesn't get through and it gets garbled as it's traveling.
[00:09:55.540] - Big Rich Klein
And what age were you when they discovered that you had an issue?
[00:10:00.930] - David Adams
So I was diagnosed when I was age six, which for a Charcot-Marie-Tooth, what they call CMT is quite young. Most people aren't diagnosed with it usually until middle age. It's a late onset disease. But I was on a Tball team. I remember playing T ball back when I was four or five years old, and the coach sent us down to go run around this tree. And I was still on my way down there when all the rest of the players on my team were on the way back. And my mom was like, well, that's kind of different. And so we went through this process of trying to figure out what was wrong. And eventually I discover it through a nerve conduction study, which actually shows the great reduction in the speed and transition of the nerve message as it travels down through the body.
[00:10:51.600] - Big Rich Klein
[00:10:52.010] - David Adams
So I was diagnosed at a very young age. It's pretty much all I've ever known.
[00:10:56.030] - Big Rich Klein
Okay. I was wondering because when you started off with T ball, I didn't know if maybe all of a sudden instead of swinging at the ball, you start swinging at your teammates or something.
[00:11:07.120] - David Adams
[00:11:09.610] - Big Rich Klein
It's not connecting. What level of scouting did you get through?
[00:11:19.490] - David Adams
I went through all of it. I was an Eagle Scout. I got my Eagle Scout when I was 14. Very good. And then at 14, I became very active in the Order of the Arrow, which is kind of the honored camper version of Boy Scouts and stayed with that. And I was active in national and even international events all the way up until my thirty s. Oh, wow.
[00:11:42.310] - Big Rich Klein
Okay. Yeah, I bailed on it as soon as I got my driver's license. I got my Eagle at 14 because I got presented with my Eagle at 14. I was 13 when I was able to I could have gotten it, but I was waiting for a friend to complete it so we could do a double ceremony.
[00:12:03.330] - David Adams
[00:12:04.240] - Big Rich Klein
I mean, it would have been really close, but could have pulled it off. So then what did you do as your Eagle project? Do you remember?
[00:12:12.040] - David Adams
I actually built a hiking trail up at the Florissant Fossil Beds National Park outside of Divide, Colorado.
[00:12:20.850] - Big Rich Klein
Very good. Cool. So then what was school like for you scholastically? Were you a good student? Being an Eagle? It can go either way, right?
[00:12:35.150] - David Adams
I did pretty good. I kind of went through this period that school wasn't cool of course, and homework was overrated because I wanted to do the things that I wanted to do. I enjoyed learning and I enjoyed some aspects of school very much, but I thought it was slow that I had to take the classes I didn't want to take. Right. I remember having a conversation with my dad and he said to me one day, he said, look, you need to understand you're never going to be a truck driver, you're never going to be a construction worker, you're never going to be in an industry where you're working with your hands or your body. You've got to do well in school because you've got to have a degree. And it was really kind of a wake up call for me that you're right. I've got to figure out a way to be able to make it in this life, and therefore I've got to use my brain.
[00:13:21.850] - Big Rich Klein
[00:13:22.210] - David Adams
And so I kind of changed things a little bit and ended up being pretty decent in high school. And that's when I really fell in love, kind of with my passion. That's history. I had some amazing history teachers in high school and then later on in college that really showed me that history is nothing more than the greatest story ever told.
[00:13:42.010] - Big Rich Klein
[00:13:42.710] - David Adams
And so that's what really inspired me to eventually get my degree in history teaching. And I did that for a long time.
[00:13:50.540] - Big Rich Klein
Excellent. Okay. I'm a history buff. When I drive, I don't listen to music. I listen to books on tape, basically, that kind of thing. And through the library system and everything I read, it's either kind of a science fictionist type thing or it is history. If I'm going to read a book, I want to learn something from it. Not just Jane Austen novels. That kind of stuff don't interest me at all, except for the history aspect of those things, if that's what they're following the follow line.
[00:14:30.510] - David Adams
Yeah, I agree.
[00:14:35.590] - Big Rich Klein
With doing as a history teacher and going through that well, obviously through high school. Where did you go to college?
[00:14:44.470] - David Adams
So I graduated from BYU.
[00:14:46.400] - Big Rich Klein
Okay, so are you LDS then?
[00:14:51.010] - David Adams
I was raised LDS.
[00:14:52.510] - Big Rich Klein
[00:14:52.940] - David Adams
I haven't been super active for a little while, but my parents still are and one of my sisters still is. And some of the greatest people I've met, I've met in the church, and there's obviously good people everywhere and bad people everywhere. Yeah.
[00:15:07.560] - Big Rich Klein
I wasn't being judgmental. I was just questioning because going to BYU?
[00:15:12.730] - David Adams
Yeah, I went to BYU. I went on a two year mission to upstate New York. Absolutely had a great time in college. I took a lot of advantage of the different opportunities that were there. Like, I went on two different study abroad. I had three different internships, including my student teaching. I double majored plus had a minor. So, I mean, I felt like I took advantage of it as much as I could. And for the quality of education you get. BYU is a good school. I mean, you really get a good education and it's not expensive. So it worked out very well for me.
[00:15:46.580] - Big Rich Klein
Excellent. And so then what areas did you teach in?
[00:15:53.590] - David Adams
My main focus was once I got hired and I was teaching in Moab is I taught mostly freshmen world geography, so high school level and then sophomore world history. And then I did a little bit with I taught debate, was a debate coach, and then also taught some government from time to time to the seniors.
[00:16:12.230] - Big Rich Klein
Okay. And that first stint was in Moab.
[00:16:16.870] - David Adams
Yeah. So that's where I got my first full time teaching job, was after I moved in Moab.
[00:16:21.290] - Big Rich Klein
And did you get into off road at that time?
[00:16:26.650] - David Adams
Actually, I kind of started getting into it before. And it's funny when I go back and think about my experience, my memories, what kind of got me into it. I had a paper out when I was a little kid, and so this would have been probably 84 somewhere in that range. And I remember seeing a brand new CJ Seven, and it was parked in this apartment building where I delivered my newspapers. And I just thought, that is such a cool vehicle. When I get old, that's what I want. And then as I got older and going through high school and in college, and my disability started getting worse, I started getting to the point that I knew that I wasn't going to be able to continue my lifestyle the way that I want in terms of hiking and getting out into nature. And so at that time is when I really decided that I wanted a Jeep so I could still get out in nature, I could still go out and do these things. I could still go out and go camping, but I didn't have to rely on my legs in order for me to be able to get there.
[00:17:24.110] - Big Rich Klein
[00:17:25.220] - David Adams
And so by that time, my dad was actually the office manager at a Jeep dealership in Colorado Springs. We were obviously around Jeeps all the time. Funny enough, he's never owned one. He's always had Chrysler products. But after I got back from my mission, I got back on my mission in 97. So the TJ had just barely came out, and I wanted one so bad, but it didn't have the money, didn't have the means to be able to get one. So my dad ended up hoping to get a Cherokee, a Cherokee Pioneer.
[00:18:00.070] - Big Rich Klein
[00:18:01.150] - David Adams
That was actually my daily driver when I was in college, was that Jeep. And I ended up putting a little bit bigger tires on it. I was so excited because my first set of tires were a set of 30 inch by 950. I mean, today you think most people come with tires stock bigger than that, but I was so excited and I put a little three inch Rancho lift kit on my Cherokee, and I just thought I was so cool. And I had that for about a year, and I was on my way to a Christmas party and a lady ran a red light and pulled out in front of me and I Tboned her and ended up that Jeep got totaled. And so I took the insurance money and finally bought my CJ Seven that I'd always wanted.
[00:18:45.430] - Big Rich Klein
Excellent. And that first CJ seven you saw, what color was it originally?
[00:18:52.760] - David Adams
It was white.
[00:18:53.700] - Big Rich Klein
[00:18:54.130] - David Adams
And it was funny, I remember seeing it there. I met the guy at the mall there in Orem, Utah, and he showed up with it and it had a four inch lift, four inch spring under 33 inch tires, had this six point roll cage in it. And I just thought, oh my gosh, this is the coolest thing I've ever seen. And at that time, though, I didn't know how to drive a stick, and it was a manual. And so I actually bought the Jeep having never driven it before, and then had a very quick course in learning how to drive a manual, which is all different ball game for me. Literally bought the Jeep I've never driven. I just fell in love with the look of it.
[00:19:38.410] - Big Rich Klein
Excellent. That's pretty cool. And that's still the same Jeep that you have it is.
[00:19:42.690] - David Adams
That's the green Jeep. I picked that up in January of 1999 and we're going on, what, almost 25 years together?
[00:19:50.600] - Big Rich Klein
Yes. That's pretty cool.
[00:19:52.850] - David Adams
Yeah, I've been through lots of changes on that's, been replaced, but that's the heart of the Jeep that I bought back when I was in college.
[00:20:00.880] - Big Rich Klein
Excellent. And so then what other locations did you teach in besides Moab?
[00:20:11.150] - David Adams
Before I moved to Moab, I substituted in the Nebo school district there in Utah Valley for a while, and then finally, after about a year after I graduated, my ex wife and I wife at the time decided that we wanted to move to Moab because I'd found Moab during college. I actually joined the Long Peak Four Wheelers Club out of American Fork, and they were actually getting ready to go down on a President's Day trip. So I bought my Jeep in January of 99, and they're planning this President's Day trip in February of 99. And so I will come to MOAB. I'm like what's Moab. I had no idea. And so I showed up and I remember that Saturday morning, we rolled into the city market and people are there, they're doing their thing, they're airing down their tires, they're just checking their Sway bars, I mean, all the rigmarole that goes with it. And I'm like, what are you guys doing? Do I need to do that? I had no idea. Right? So my very first trail ever, like, besides just putting around in the mountains and stuff like that, was Golden Spike.
[00:21:21.680] - Big Rich Klein
[00:21:22.440] - David Adams
And I had no clue what I was getting into. I mean, I'd only wheeled this Jeep just a couple of times on really mild trails there along the Wasatch front, and all of a sudden, we're jumping on to poison Spider, and I'm going up the waterfall, and I kill it, and I have no idea what to do because, I mean, obviously it's got the old 4.2 liter motor in it, that's carbureted. So I've got to hold the brake down. I got to push the clutch and start it, but I got to get a gas, and it was a day rich. I tell you what, I'm not sure how I survived. I got to the Golden Crack, and I'm like, I'm not doing it. I'm not going through it. And they're like, you don't have a choice. And so Charlie cops I'm sure you're familiar with. He was on the trail that day, and he basically was kind of my little buddy that just got me through and just kept me going. And I mean, without him and some of the other people from the Lone Peak four wheelers, I went and made it through.
[00:22:20.630] - David Adams
But I got back to the hotel that night, and I thought, oh, my gosh, what did I just do? That was either the dumbest thing I've ever done or the best thing I've ever found in my life.
[00:22:30.250] - Big Rich Klein
[00:22:30.670] - David Adams
And the next day, we went out and ran behind the rocks, and I was hit. The bug bit me. And so I started going down to Jeep Safari. And then, like I said, after I finished college and everything, I ended up moving down to Moab in 2004 because Moab was a blend. All that was the open and off road back in that time, and I couldn't imagine being anywhere else and loved it.
[00:22:56.570] - Big Rich Klein
So that's awesome. Charlie was one of I think he was the first one and maybe the only one to drive the upper waterfall.
[00:23:09.470] - David Adams
On the proving grounds.
[00:23:12.310] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah, exactly. And unaided without a winch. I understood they had the winch line out, but they never got it tight. Yeah, that's amazing.
[00:23:23.020] - David Adams
I remember seeing video of that he had the old unimag Jeep. And an interesting point about Charlie, if you remember, his old CJ seven was yellow.
[00:23:31.210] - Big Rich Klein
[00:23:32.010] - David Adams
And that's why my roll cage is yellow, because when he was getting to rebuild his Jeep, I actually bought his old roll cage. And at that time, I had painted my Jeep green because I had replaced the tub, and so I bought his yellow roll cage, and I really liked the color combination. And so literally, that's why here, 25 years later, my Jeep is still green with yellow roll cage. It's going back to Charlie COPSY and buying his yellow roll cage off his old comp DJ.
[00:24:00.410] - Big Rich Klein
That's awesome. Yeah, small world. What time did you get into the red rock?
[00:24:11.090] - David Adams
So I got into red rock right about as soon as I moved to Moab. I mean, obviously I was one of those guys. Every year you get the Jeep Safari paper and you get so excited, you go through the grid, you figure out what trails you're going to do and what days, and you put down the numbers. I would spend hours pouring over the Jeep's party paper every year getting ready to go down to Moab. And so when I got down to Moab, I was very excited to become a member of the club and start working with them. And so my first meeting, I think we got to Moab in, I think it was April, like the end of April or something, and the first meeting was the first Monday of the month there in May. And my first meeting I went and started meeting people, started going out Jeeping, and then just even a couple of few months later they had an opening for the land use officer. And the guy that had been doing it for a long time was kind of ready to move on, do something different. And so I started as the land use officer in 2004, and I still have the longest continuous period of service with the Red Rock four wheeler.
[00:25:17.490] - David Adams
I was land use officer for 13 years.
[00:25:19.900] - Big Rich Klein
[00:25:20.440] - David Adams
And dealt with that and did all the permits, did all the dealing with the BLM and State Trust Lands and Forest Service and National Park, and was really big into that for a long, long time.
[00:25:32.460] - Big Rich Klein
I'm surprised you have any hair left.
[00:25:36.350] - David Adams
For real, because I would have pulled it out. It was an interesting, it was a major learning curve and luckily we had a lot of really good land use managers and boat that I was able to deal with and a lot of it was frustrating, a lot of it was difficult. I mean. One of the big things that happened as I was land use officer was switching to the new five year permit where we began to get exclusive use of the trails where you're starting to where Jeep Sparta was really turning from less of a spring break at a party to more of this epic worldwide event that was just becoming this monster that Jeeps party became in the early two thousand and ten s and even on. And so it was interesting to be there and kind of experience all that growth and see the change and see what it went through and deal with all that.
[00:26:28.940] - Big Rich Klein
And so once you were in Moab, you pretty much stayed there. And how long did you keep teaching?
[00:26:36.410] - David Adams
So I ended up teaching between full time and substituting, almost ten years. Moab is just a tiny little town with one elementary, one middle school, one high school that's it about 100 kids per grade. And so I actually ended up getting laid off at one point because we had some major funding issues. Long story short, which I'm not very good at, but basically the district financial manager died and they found that he had been using the wrong money to pay the wrong bills.
[00:27:07.880] - Big Rich Klein
[00:27:08.520] - David Adams
And so they had to end up laying off 20% of the school district. And so I was one of those that ended up getting laid off. So then I substituted for a little while and then went back full time teaching for just a little bit again before I decided that I was ready to do something else.
[00:27:26.930] - Big Rich Klein
Awesome. Cool. And what is that something else that you decided to do?
[00:27:33.110] - David Adams
Well, not live in Moab anymore.
[00:27:35.190] - Big Rich Klein
[00:27:35.590] - David Adams
Basically what it came down to, moab Boeb is one of those towns that it is a lot of fun. It's got just about anything you can imagine the outdoors to do. But it is very difficult to survive in Moab unless you somehow are independently wealthy or something. I mean, it's very typical people working two or three jobs. Most of those jobs are seasonal, which means every winter you're unemployed, you're dealing with trying to survive. My wife at the time, she was almost always working some type of seasonal position and so it was rough to make it. And Moab has changed a lot as you're fully aware of the in last 25 years. And it's kind of just become this playground for the elite. The town doesn't really want the jeepers there. They're trying to push out the side by side. They're trying to minimize the motorized recreation. They want the tourism dollars from the national parks. They want the rafters, they want the mountain bikers, but other than that, they're just not motorized recreation use friendly. And I just got to the point I was tired of banging my head against the wall and losing every single time.
[00:28:51.710] - David Adams
And I then came out to trail Hero for the first time in 2016 with your son, Little Rich, and I was just blown away. I'd heard of Sand Hollow before and I tried to make it to a couple of the previous winter on the rocks but never was able to make it. And so that first trip that I came out to trail here, it was just like the heavens parted and I was like there's this whole other world that I didn't even know existed.
[00:29:19.130] - Big Rich Klein
Right. You're not overly regulated.
[00:29:23.810] - David Adams
Yes, you can go out and you can have fun. You can still have that enjoyment. That what Moab used to be back in the day. You can make new trails, you can make new obstacles. You can do them, you can do them ethically, you could do them appropriately, but you can still do them legally.
[00:29:39.770] - Big Rich Klein
[00:29:40.450] - David Adams
And it was just this eye opening experience and like I said, it was kind of that mass exodus. There was quite a few of us that left Moab there in the late teens period, of course, Steve and Ants being probably the most famous of all those.
[00:29:55.990] - Big Rich Klein
[00:29:56.410] - David Adams
And so I finally moved. Over to St. George area in 2018 and now live literally right next to Sand Hollow. I mean, I can see the side of the dam from my driveway at Sant Hollow State Park and couldn't be happier.
[00:30:09.470] - Big Rich Klein
Excellent. So what was the biggest battle that you felt you had to wage with BLM to get the Easter Jeep Safari going?
[00:30:24.410] - David Adams
So much of it was just the very idea of it almost like we had every year fight legitimacy of the event that we could justify why we're doing this and then the damage that's being done to the trails and what was going on. And the argument that we always had is that Moab is a destination. It is a four wheeling destination for people literally from all over the world. So if you don't allow us to be able to go out and to do this event, these people are still going to come. But what they're going to do then is they're going to go out and they're not going to know what they're doing. They're not going to know where they're going, they're not going to practice the tread lightly principles. And it's going to be going back to almost the Wild West states of people that are driving anywhere and everywhere they want to go.
[00:31:08.060] - Big Rich Klein
[00:31:10.010] - David Adams
Our big push was, let us go out there. Let us guide these people. Let us teach these people, let us show them how to use the land and use it appropriately, and show that there's a way to be able to recreate on public lands in a safe, mildly controlled environment where the damage isn't going to be done, where you're not going to have a bunch of yahoo just driving over the crypto and going wherever they want. And so that was always the big push, is give us this opportunity to educate and to entertain responsibly and appropriately.
[00:31:43.010] - Big Rich Klein
Right? That's good. And one of the things that drives me nuts. And I touch on it in a lot of these conversations is that Moab and the powers that be. Which truly are the city council and county. Do not understand. And they don't understand that bikers. Meaning mountain bikers. Or the majority of mountain bikers. I'm not going to say all mountain bikers because I don't want to be inclusive like that. But most mountain bikers, most rafters, most rock climbers, the raw hikers don't spend a lot of money.
[00:32:23.330] - David Adams
[00:32:25.430] - Big Rich Klein
For the majority of them, they're camping down by the river. They may buy gas if they have to in town, but they don't even use City Market properly. I've seen so many people forage at City Market, and that's the best way I can put it. As forage and you walk through that store and you find all these empty containers of crackers and chips. I saw a guy in there one time busting off the fresh mushrooms, busting off the stems, and bagging only the caps.
[00:32:58.920] - David Adams
Oh, my gosh.
[00:32:59.820] - Big Rich Klein
And leaving the stems, and yet the city council and the county still, oh, my God, we got to go to the non motorized recreation. Motorized recreation is buy. They have power.
[00:33:17.310] - David Adams
Yes. And that was always kind of our joke there amongst the locals. In Moab, you'd have a mountain biker coming for the weekend, and while he was there, he wouldn't change his underwear or his $20 bill.
[00:33:32.110] - Big Rich Klein
All he left is his TP and waste.
[00:33:35.710] - David Adams
Right, exactly. But you're so true. If you look at the financial impact that the motorized event had in Moab, I mean, they were tens of millions of dollars a year, but it's almost like the city council was almost blind to that or thought that it was just showed up by magic. It's like they didn't understand that the Jeepers were coming into town, that we're driving our trucks and our trailers or our campers or RVs, and we're staying at the hotels, we're staying at the campgrounds. We're buying gas, we're buying food, we're going out to dinner, we're buying parts as we broke. And so much money came from that motorized recreation economy, and they just didn't care. They wanted to be almost like another Aspen or Vale or park city or something where, come spend your money, but don't go out in nature. Just kind of leave the money and then go away.
[00:34:29.490] - Big Rich Klein
Right. And they don't understand that that money that is spent, like you just mentioned, is the money that stays in town.
[00:34:38.710] - David Adams
[00:34:42.350] - Big Rich Klein
People aren't coming to Moab and then buying a bicycle unless they destroy theirs. It gets run over in the parking lot by somebody, some guy back in his minivan out. They're not buying a new bicycle. They're not buying a raft. They're in there, and they're either renting or they brought their own. So they don't need anything from town.
[00:35:07.190] - David Adams
Yeah, and that was the thing that I knew a lot of people on the city council and county council, so I went to those meetings quite often. I was pretty politically involved by I was there. And now the thing is always that you guys need to push these off road events because Moab needs shoulder season events. We're inundated during the summer. But the thing is, with offroading, you can still do that in November over Thanksgiving weekend or even over Christmas or Presidents Day, where none of the other outdoor activities really can you I mean, who goes to Mob, go mountain biking in the winter or go rafting in the winter or even go to the parks, but yet you can do that in the winter. I was at guys, you guys are missing this opportunity to harness and more money and make more of a true year round economy. They just don't care.
[00:35:54.190] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah. And the way the police would just be on top of everybody. I went through there and stayed at Danny Grime's house for almost 90 days, and me and Shelley and had a great winter off season and it was fantastic. Never had any interaction with the police or we spent a lot of money there and all the businesses. But when it's a weekend of or a week where there's a lot of wheelers in town, the city police just seem to be like so anti. Well, it's like, okay, now here's how we get our overtime pay. Yeah, they were just on you for.
[00:36:47.720] - David Adams
Anything and it seemed like the PD and the state were the worst. I would knew a lot of the deputies and I was pretty good friends with the sheriff and they were always really cool. But it seems like especially the state troopers, they just viewed moab as their piggy bank in so many ways. And it was sad because it's like as long as guys are banned, the laws are doing what they're supposed to be doing for the most part. Most cheapers are pretty cool people, but it seemed like they always had to try to make it more than what it was. And then when they bring in all the out of state or not out of state, but the state out of district, especially for jeeps fare and stuff like that, it just became crazy. It was sad to see what it was because that's not the mo app that I knew and fell in love with.
[00:37:38.900] - Big Rich Klein
Right. So what is your name? Your three favorite trails in moab?
[00:37:50.830] - David Adams
That would be a good one. I would have to say printer canyon is just iconic.
[00:37:56.090] - Big Rich Klein
[00:37:56.490] - David Adams
I mean, in terms of just beauty and remoteness and challenge of the trail. I always love principal. Anytime I got to run print, usually I would go up print it and then turn and go up hunter canyon and out through the end of behind the rocks. That was always one of my favorite trails. Next would probably be out in area BFE. One of my favorite to do, especially some that hadn't been out to area BFE is we would go in there, drop down into the bottom of the wash, go up through the gatekeeper of upper El Dorado, turn left, go up through minor threat and up through green day.
[00:38:35.670] - Big Rich Klein
Right. That's how we use that when we raced out there.
[00:38:38.860] - David Adams
Yes. You guys did that one a lot with your dirt riot and stuff.
[00:38:42.380] - Big Rich Klein
[00:38:42.840] - David Adams
And that one was just such a great one because it was enough that even somebody in a fairly stock issued rig, you could get through it on 35 if you took the right lines and stuff. But you can also go out in the full blown too buggy or even rear steer rig and just have so much fun. And so that trail out in BFE, I love that one. That was one that I did on a quite regular basis just because it was so much fun and it really got an opportunity to show people what extreme wheeling is in moab because when I came to learn mob doesn't have a lot of extreme trails. I thought they did when I first moved there. I thought, this place is amazing. Nobody could ever do anything more difficult. And then as I got there, you only run poison spider or cliffhanger, stuff like that so many times. BFE was so instrumental and influential because that opportunity to go and do the hardcore stuff. And we had real good relationship with all the owners originally and the little club that I was in, the Moab friends for Wheel, and ended up actually building and maintaining a lot of those trails out in area BFE.
[00:39:51.010] - David Adams
And it was just such a fun little unique area to be able to go out there, to really push yourself, right? So I'd say that would probably be number two. And then even though it's kind of cliche, you can't go to Moab and not run Hell's Revenge. You just have to go out and do it. You can run Hell's Revenge in 45 minutes if you got the right rig and go out there and just zip through everything, everything. But it was just so neat to be able to take people, especially people that had never really been wheeling or never been that kind of wheeling. And you go up that first chicken fin and you just see their faces. And then you drop down there by the abyss and you're heading out towards Hell's Gate. At the end, you go out to the overlooked and then even you got a good group of rigs, you go and you run the name obstacles, you go and you run Hell's Gate and you go and you run Mickey's hot Tub. You go and you're on the escalator and all that type of thing. And when somebody who's not been really wheeling when they get done with held remained that first time, they will never, ever forget that day.
[00:40:57.890] - Big Rich Klein
True. Very true. Okay. One of my favorite trails out there is the rim. But yes, I really don't ever want to do it at night. I never feel like I'm going to roll over out there, even though so many people do, but the vistas are just incredible.
[00:41:24.830] - David Adams
Yes, I loved we would go up, we would do a night run and we'd get up to the rim and then watch the sunset and then turn around and come back down at night. But it took me a little while. I kind of have a love hate relationship with the rim there for a bit because when I first moved up to move up, my jeep wasn't that built. And so I didn't have very good gearing, I didn't have very good brakes. So going all the way down there, I'm riding my brakes the whole way, having to put it neutral to be able to get myself to stop because I was pushing through my brakes, right. And it took me a long time before you know what I decided I'm going to learn this trail and I'm going to get comfortable up and down it backwards, sideways, any way you want. And I got to the point that I could spot somebody up the Moab rim from my phone in my living room. Okay, as you come up here's, where you're going to put your tire, you're going to come around this little rock. The beauty and the majesty of getting out on the Moabriam is just amazing.
[00:42:22.160] - David Adams
[00:42:23.080] - Big Rich Klein
Yes. The last time that you and I wheeled together was on Mo Everim, and that was during Christine Sullivan's run. And we got to the top and my locker, the seal and my airlocker had gone out, so I turned around and came back down. I called Steve Nance and said, okay, do you have an open bay? And he goes, yes, we just opened. So, yeah, I've got an open bay, but it's first come, first serve, rich. So we're up there at the observation point, and I turned around and drove down, and I was standing there at Steve's in, like, ten minutes.
[00:42:59.850] - David Adams
[00:43:00.400] - Big Rich Klein
And people were coming up and just get bailing out of my way because I came flying down the trail because I didn't want to sit and wait for my rig. I wanted to get it done.
[00:43:13.050] - David Adams
Yeah, absolutely. It's amazing how you could get up to the top of Moor Brim and back down in an hour. Yeah. So it was a fun one, no doubt.
[00:43:22.120] - Big Rich Klein
Absolutely. So then you guys made the move to St. George Hurricane. What was that like for you personally, to get out of a community that you were very well established? Is it easy to do the same thing over in Hurricane?
[00:43:52.330] - David Adams
Not in the same way. Moab, I think for the sound and kind of maybe cliche, I really came into my own in Moab. I became very heavily involved in the social media side. I ran all the social media stuff for the Red Rock Borders, their Facebook page and stuff for their website. In a lot of ways, I kind of became that phase of the Red Rock four wheelers, because any time anybody would post up online or something, it was usually me that they were dealing with. And then I did a blog for a while called Moab Dave, where I wrote on my page about the avengers of a handicapped Jeep for living in Moab and what it was like and what I went through and what I experienced and some of the highs and lows of being there. And I met so many amazing people. I mean, I've been on different TV shows, different commercials, different advertising, from everything from Bfgoodridge to Jeep to Warren to Quadratech, because I had these opportunities to meet these people and interact with these just fantastic industry reps. And so leaving all that was hard. But Moab wasn't the place that it used to be.
[00:45:04.610] - David Adams
It was losing a lot of the fun. It was kind of getting a little bit toxic, especially for me. I had my own set of issues with the Red Rock Four Wheelers and ended up actually separating myself from them because I disagreed with some of the decisions they were making and the way that they are moving forward with the event, it wasn't something I felt like I could support anymore.
[00:45:28.850] - Big Rich Klein
[00:45:31.210] - David Adams
Yeah. And that was hard because for so long, Jeep Sarri and the Red Rock Four Wheelers was almost kind of who I identified myself as. I was working hours and hours every day promoting the event, promoting the social media pages, trying to get people out there and to show them what it was and to have that separation, that was hard because I really had to change a little bit of who I am. I was moab, Dave. I mean, if you said moab day, people knew me.
[00:46:04.810] - Big Rich Klein
[00:46:06.010] - David Adams
So coming up here to the hurricane and living out here in southwest Utah now, it's been different because I still will be out and obviously my Jeep still that same green and yellow it's been for 25 years old. You guided me on my first trail back in 2004. Do you remember me? No, but sure. I just became engrained in a lot of people's memories because obviously my Jeep is big and bright, so it's obvious there's not a lot of disabled Jeepers out there. It was a fun experience, but it just got to the point that I just couldn't stay in Mob any longer because it just was no longer fun.
[00:46:48.450] - Big Rich Klein
Right. Okay, I get it. I absolutely understand that. I've moved from areas for the same reason in the lived in Cedar City and it was fun for three and a half years and then it be when it was fun for three years and then it started to taper off. It became a lot of hard work for me because I was trying to keep I went out there for a job and the job only lasted about six months because the guy that I went to work for had moved and made the commitment for sold the business and then same kind of thing. Their whole way of doing things, what their end goals were, were not the same. Basically what it was is some guy bought the business so that he could get his sons involved in something because all I wanted to do was golf.
[00:47:50.050] - David Adams
[00:47:50.740] - Big Rich Klein
And it was two tire stores. There was one in Cedar City and one down in St. George, and at the time I was managing both of them. And the guy that hired me, we had already designated that we were going to build eleven stores and before we could build any others, he wanted to get these two stores running right. And so I came in to do that and then he sold the business once he got those two stores right and it made a big difference. And then it became a struggle. And then we went back to California and I started Calorox. So it all worked out really good right. For me, and I think it was good for my kids. But it's hard to stay someplace when it's no longer fun, when it becomes toxic, or it just becomes too much work to try to just get through each day.
[00:48:48.830] - David Adams
Right? Exactly. And that's where, in so many ways, that kind of light going on my head with trailhero and what Sand Hollow had to offer, it was like, this is where I need to be. And the experience of coming out here, the amazing people that we have here in this southwest Utah area. I live in Dixie Springs, which, as I said, is literally right adjacent to San Jose State Park. And I know of, at least off the top of my head, six rear steer buggies just in my neighborhood.
[00:49:18.090] - Big Rich Klein
[00:49:19.430] - David Adams
And it's like, how many places in the world can you go and have these amazing people and these amazing drivers? And my living girlfriend, now, my better half, Sarah, she's gotten into Jeeping since she's been out here. She grew up kind of doing a little bit of mudding in the Midwest, but it never experienced anything like this. I always tell her she's getting basically a graduate degree in offroading because on any given Saturday, she can go out and get spotted by your son, Little Rich, or by Dave Wong or by Mike Brassenini or by any of these Randall Davis, these people that have got these iconic names in the industry. And they'll go out milk, they'll take out you'll go run Milk Smile or Double Sammy or whatever. And to be able to be so ingrained in this community that it's just been such an amazing place because of what now Santa Holo is becoming and Santa Lo now, I think is even better than the fun that Moab was 20 years ago. And I don't see that changing for quite a while, if ever. And hopefully it won't.
[00:50:27.840] - Big Rich Klein
Right. It'll all come down to how BLM deals with that open area.
[00:50:37.250] - David Adams
Yes. And that's going to be huge. And that's one thing that I oftentimes had conversations with the BLM in Moab about. How do we reduce use? Well, the way that you reduce damage is you don't minimize the number of trails. You expand the number of trails. You don't limit it to 100 people per vehicle or 100 people for a trail per day. What you do is you add more trails, you add more mileage. That's how you mitigate the damage. I remember having that conversation with the people down at the BLM and Moab. Let's make the Sand Flats open across country, travel right? Let people go out there and have fun. Like, oh, no, it'll be a desert lands or it would be a war escape out here. There wouldn't be a tree or a bush or alive. And it's like, look at Sand Hollow. There's 66,000 acres where you can literally drive anywhere you want. There's bushes, there's not a lot of trees, but it's a desert. But there are trees out there. There's scrub brush, there's cryptobiotic soil out there. Even though people can and legally are allowed to drive anywhere they want, it shows that an open across country travel management area can work on a large scale.
[00:51:51.350] - David Adams
And I wish more places understood that it really is a feasible land use management option. Open across country does work.
[00:52:00.650] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah. I mean, another perfect example of that is Johnson Valley.
[00:52:05.580] - David Adams
[00:52:06.360] - Big Rich Klein
Except for the desert floor where people are going to maybe spread out a bit to stay out of the other person's dust that they're driving with. Still, those hillsides, those main opportunity areas, they're just canyons and they're going to change anyway when the rain happens.
[00:52:27.110] - David Adams
[00:52:27.510] - Big Rich Klein
And that's when they closed off the Grand Staircase because of our friends at the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance or whatever. SUA yeah, they were fighting BLM and as a club president at the time of the Color country four wheel drive in Cedar City, I started a group that was called the Tristate Off Highway Vehicle Association. It was a bunch of clubs, and we ended up with mountain bikers and motorcycle riders and ATVs and horse people because we knew that we were going to lose the staircase if the roadless initiatives went through their plans. And they did because sue threw more money at it. And I moved. And when I moved, they had one meeting, I guess, after I moved, and that was it. And it was like that group went away. And it was a shame because we were getting 150 people at a meeting basically once a week because that was during the time where they were going through their plan. And unfortunately we lost that, but it's a shame. So let's talk about some of those television shows and the opportunities you've had. I know that you were on the Truck Night in America.
[00:54:00.150] - Big Rich Klein
What was that like?
[00:54:02.130] - David Adams
Truck Night in America was interesting because I had heard of it the first season, but I haven't watched any of the episodes. And then I met a guy, Hobie, when I was out in Moab, and they just finished episode of season one. And so actually we were out there with Little Ridge doing a trail ride out there, and I ended up riding with Hobie for the day. And they had a great, fantastic day talking with him. And I knew they were getting ready to do season two, but didn't really know much about it because the advertisers I saw for season one, I mean, they're shooting paint cans and they're pushing silos over, and I'm like, oh, my goodness, this is so cheesy. Well, I ended up a couple of months after I moved out here, getting a call from Hobby and said, hey, what would you think about being on Truck Night, season two? And my first response is, are you kidding me? There's no way I want to destroy my vehicle. Because so many, I mean, they're jumping, they're acting like the Duke's Hazard out there, they're slamming into people. And so my initial reaction was, no, I had no interest.
[00:55:08.020] - David Adams
And then I got thinking about it, I'm like, you know, I've had my jeep for a long time. I know pretty well what it can and can't do. If I do this, I can do it right, I can do it responsibly without destroying my vehicle. And so I finally responded back to hobby and said, yeah, I'd like to be in consideration. And so I went through the entire process, and there were 6000 applicants, and 60 of us were chosen to be on season two.
[00:55:37.770] - Big Rich Klein
[00:55:38.270] - David Adams
And so it ended up being a really neat experience. They shipped my jeep out there and flew me and a friend out for the week, and they did the shooting over three days. And it was the first time I'd really done anything TV production wise. I mean, I'd been involved in some commercials and some other commercial type stuff, but seeing an actual TV show and what went into that was really neat experience and getting to meet the people. And I always say my biggest takeaway from Truck nine America is the people that I met getting to meet people like Glenn Plake and Bender and Abe Wine, and then of course, Pete Sohren, who was my coach, right? And that memory that I have of Pete and he and I working together, getting through that, and then unfortunately, with his passing that winter, that opportunity, I had to meet him and interact with him, those are memories that I'll cherish for the rest of my life. And it was just such an incredible experience. And I remember I knew when I went out there, I watched all season one at that time, which, like I said, they needed some refining.
[00:56:53.470] - David Adams
And season two did get much better. But my two goals were to not be eliminated in the first challenge, because nobody ever knows that guy's name. And the second was to not quit unless they actually make me stop.
[00:57:07.470] - Big Rich Klein
[00:57:08.160] - David Adams
And so those are my goals. I didn't care if I won, because $10,000 isn't going to change anybody's life. I mean, they make it think like, this huge amount of money, and it's not you could go through $10,000 on a set of tires these days. But I was able to go out and I was able to compete, and I was able to go out and I think show people that just because I'm disabled, just because I can't walk 10ft, doesn't mean I can't drive up this ten foot waterfall. And so that aspect was really neat. I had a lot of fun, and it ended up being a really positive experience. So I'm very glad I did it.
[00:57:47.060] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah. In the second year, if I remember right, like, you were talking about the first year, shooting the paint cans and pushing over the silo and doing some of the things that they were doing. It was kind of hokey. And the second season was more wheeling.
[00:58:08.670] - David Adams
Yes. They got a new course designer, a guy you may know named Little Rich. Yeah. And he brought a lot of legitimacy to it because it's funny because I was talking to a couple of people after the events. I didn't know the Little Rich was doing the courses when I originally applied for season two and ended up finding that out later after I got accepted. But the actual producers of the TV show is an older lady that lives in New York that has never had a driver's license, and she's the one trying to do this off road show and just showed that they had no idea what they were doing. And so it was interesting going back to even watching season one versus season two and seeing how it became more like legit wheeling. Some of the challenges we ended up doing, probably the most famous one was the creek climb was one that I ended up doing. And for me, I'm like, this is just moab. I mean, this is just like going up through Mickey's hot tub. I just get into a roll on up, get a little momentum. In a way. I go.
[00:59:11.800] - David Adams
And so it was fun seeing that the more real type of wheeling it got in season two, and I was really looking forward to it progressing. And then, of course, I think it was so many things. Money is what killed it, and they needed more money, and the History Channel wanted to get this. And then with Pete's passing, and then it was really unfortunate that it didn't continue on. I think it just would continue to have gotten better and draw more people into the idea what offroading really is, right?
[00:59:42.560] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah. I actually applied for one of the host jobs.
[00:59:49.230] - David Adams
[00:59:49.900] - Big Rich Klein
Didn't realize? I had no idea who else was doing it. They approached me and said, hey, you want to do this? And then after that, I started finding out who else it had applied and then found that the four guys that they did pick, it was like, okay, I see what they were looking for. And I'm not that type of personality where I'm kind of over the top. Where Glenn? Yeah, definitely.
[01:00:25.830] - David Adams
Oh, my gosh, babe.
[01:00:27.460] - Big Rich Klein
Same thing. Pistol Pete. When you can look at a group like that and say, bender is probably the sanest of that group, you're saying something, right?
[01:00:41.680] - David Adams
Yeah. Anytime vendor has to be the voice of reason. That's always scary.
[01:00:48.970] - Big Rich Klein
Sorry, Bender. But you know what?
[01:00:51.080] - David Adams
You're right. We love you, Rob. Yeah. No, but it's so true. And meeting those guys and I mean, it was such an awesome experience. Even my. Fellow competitors, those that have seen the episode very first course, I ended up jumping my Jeep, and it was my own stupid fall. I didn't have my harnesses tightened appropriately. And so when my Jeep landed, my harnesses actually came down off my shoulder and I literally bent my steering wheel with my face.
[01:01:20.570] - Big Rich Klein
[01:01:21.850] - David Adams
People don't realize they think that happened after I hit sue, the other competitor. And that's not what happened. That's the reason I hit sue, the other competitor, is because I literally bounced my face off my steering wheel, put my nose, and I remember looking up and seeing sue in front of me, and I remember looking down at the brake pedal and thinking, I need to push that. And it was just that half a second that it just knocked me for enough of a loop that I ended up running into sue. And I mean, gratefully didn't cause much damage to either vehicle. My got a little bit of cosmetic damage, but yeah, because that's never happened before, right? But, yeah, I definitely learned you can bend your steering wheel with your face and literally ran into this lady. I'd seen The Breakfast that morning, and that was it. And now she and I are good friends. I've been out wheeling the rubicon with her and her husband and two boys, and she's coming out here to trail Hero this year. The people and the opportunity I had to meet and even some of the other competitors from the various different both season one or season two.
[01:02:27.330] - David Adams
We've got a little Facebook group and we all kept in touch for a while, and a lot of them have come out of trail here. A couple of them came out to mow out while I was still there. And that experience was absolutely worth it for the people that I met and I still have involved in my life.
[01:02:43.340] - Big Rich Klein
Excellent. Excellent. Yeah. After that, after I got when they were getting ready to try to find people to go on the show, I started getting calls from one of the talent search people, and they were going, okay, this is what I'm looking for. I am looking for a person that is of this demographic. And it was age, sex, nationality. They really wanted to be inclusive. So I ended up giving them a long list of names, and I was absolutely amazed at how many ended up on the show. I probably gave him 20 names, 25 names over those two years for those two seasons. And I think that probably at least ten or twelve of them got on there.
[01:03:41.190] - David Adams
[01:03:42.040] - Big Rich Klein
You know, and I'm not going to say who and what the people were, what the scouts were looking for, but if you see that diversity of the people out there, it wasn't that typical 18 to 35 white guy.
[01:03:59.970] - David Adams
Right? And that's what I thought was me. They did. They brought out some amazing people. There were a couple of grandmas that they brought out and these mud truck racers and stuff like that. And it really was a good mix. We really had a lot of fun. It was an opportunity to have people that you never would have met otherwise, that never would have been in the same room otherwise, if it hadn't been for that commonality of the offroading and enjoying that aspect.
[01:04:27.770] - Big Rich Klein
Right. So living in southern utah now, or western southern Utah, that st. George hurricane area. Are you working at this time? Have you retired from teaching completely, or what's your day to day thing?
[01:04:45.810] - David Adams
So long answer. I guess short would be I'm not currently working. I do quite a bit of volunteering with some of the different local organizations and stuff out here. Most importantly for me is a group that we have called hero for a day, okay? And it actually is a 501 c three non profit organization that was started kind of piggybacking with trail hero and now has become our own entity. And I'm the vice president of that organization. And our focus is to provide motorized recreation for special needs individuals and veterans. And so it's been a really rewarding opportunity. Obviously, that's something near and dear to my heart, because with my disability, my jeep is literally my replacement for my legs, right? And so we've been able to have some really amazing chances where we've been able to take out special needs individuals as well as veterans, show them what we do, show them the outdoors, giving them the opportunity to go out and have fun. And it's been a really, really neat thing to be able to do. Like, one of our big events we just did earlier this month was we do a big 4 july barbecue where we take out a lot of our local veterans up on an area called the west rim.
[01:05:57.870] - David Adams
And the west rim, you can overlook the entire st. George valley. And so we go out there and we take the veterans who then can watch the fireworks, but they're far enough away, they don't feel the concussions or hear the detonations, and so therefore you're not triggering into that PTSD and stuff like that. And I think this year we had like 120 people up there. We cook barbecue, burgers and hot dogs and just had a fantastic time up there, just enjoying our veterans and showing our appreciation to them. That's awesome. We've actually been really blessed that the BLM has been very supportive of us. And we have a trail that was formed about four or five years ago called the fallen, and it's got nine major obstacles on it, and each one of those obstacles is dedicated to the fallen soldiers in the 20th century, starting with world war one, world war II, korea. And as you progress through the trail, the trail gets a little bit more difficult until you get to the final obstacle, which is a pretty gnarly nine rated big V crack. And then at the very end of that, we've been able to get a 99 year lease from the BLM on an area that we've called the Drill grounds.
[01:07:09.730] - David Adams
That is a warm veterans memorial. Nice. We put a flagpole up there that's got a solar light on it. We actually have a little memorial area where we have a bench, and each bench is dedicated to one of the branches of the pollen. Members of Air Force, Army, Navy, Coast Guard, marines. The natural rock is kind of a very I don't know how to put it, but it's got like little notches and niches and stuff in it. So a lot of people put little moments in there of veterans they've known who have passed away or family members or things like that. So we actually have that as a 99 year lease from the BLM. And it's the only dedicated war or veterans memorial or any type of memorial like that, as far as I know, in southern Utah out on BLM property.
[01:07:57.270] - Big Rich Klein
That's awesome. I didn't know that there was a 99 year lease and that it was set up as a memorial like that. I knew that I knew about it, but I didn't know that much. That's awesome.
[01:08:10.860] - David Adams
Yeah, it's been really cool. We've had a lot of really good volunteers have actually gone in and carved a set of stairs out of the natural sandstone, and we actually have a hand rail there. So people even with mobility issues and things like that and still be able to get up there and be able to access the main part of the drill grounds. And it really is a solemn area. I mean, you go up there and it's just kind of a little natural bowl. It's got a big old huge rock wall on one side or getting ready to be mounting a big old metal flag that we got from laser Nut Cody made for us. We're going to be mounting that up here with a couple of solar lights. It's a solemn feeling, and it's really neat to be able to have this, especially if you go up and you run the fallen to then get up there and have this memorial ground that's been dedicated. It really is a neat thing. And so I'm doing some things like that. I'm helping out with some of the other local events. Of course I help with trail hero and winter jamboree and things like that.
[01:09:11.330] - David Adams
But right now I'm not working full time. I am in the process of getting a handicapped van be built for me, which will then allow me to be able to start going out and doing things on my own again. And when that happens, I probably will continue doing some more volunteering and some working with some of the local charity organizations in the area is my goal.
[01:09:31.920] - Big Rich Klein
Okay, let's talk about your Jeep. Okay. Especially the mobility issues that you have been able to overcome with, I would imagine from help with outside sources. Talk about that some.
[01:09:53.550] - David Adams
So when I got my Jeep, I was young and stupid, and when I would break it, I couldn't afford to fix it. And so I had to learn very quickly how to try to fix what I could when I could, because I was a cheap college kid. I was just trying to survive. And so I became a very poor shade tree mechanic, and I know just about enough to get me in trouble, but not really accomplished a whole lot. But as I've gotten older, my disability has progressed. Even though I have some of the knowledge, my body just can't do it anymore. Right. My fingers have a hard time holding the tools or holding the wrench or holding the things like that. I can't stand now for more than about a minute at a time. And so as a result of that, I've had a lot of really good friends who have helped up and have helped me keep my Jeep going, who put in countless hours to keeping me in my rig. And Steve Nance when I was in Moab. I mean, he was huge. He sponsored me for several years by giving me some free labor and helping me to keep my Jeep up and going because he realized how important it was for me to be able to get out and do it, both for my mental aspect, my physical aspect, everything.
[01:11:05.080] - David Adams
I mean, it literally is therapeutic when I get out and get to go on the trail.
[01:11:09.720] - Big Rich Klein
Right. And that's Nance from Sand Hollow off road.
[01:11:13.480] - David Adams
Yeah, when he was out in under four X four outpost. And now, of course, he's out here with handheld off road. Absolutely. And just a fantastic guy. If you know Steve, none of that story surprises you. I get tell stories all day about Steve Dance and some of the amazing things that he's done for me. And just an awesome guy. He's the epitome of the people that we need in this industry because he's just that guy.
[01:11:39.480] - Big Rich Klein
Right. And then there's a lift that you guys did to get in and out of the Jeep.
[01:11:45.820] - David Adams
Yes. And so there's a local company here called Cargo Glide out of St. George. And when I was getting ready to go on Truck Night America, they were trying to figure out what would be the best way to get me in and out of my Jeep, because at that point, I couldn't get in it by myself. I would have to use, like, kind of a step stool and kind of step up on one step and then step up on another step and then get my foot up in my Jeep. And it was catchy. Not going to lie. A couple of times I didn't make it. And I had this local company that said, hey, we've got this. Basically the roof rack system and we think we can apply it to your Jeep. So what they ended up doing is they took my two front seats and they put it on this rail system and they ended up having to widen my driver's side door. So that way the back of the seat will slide out and my entire whole seat mechanism. Both driver. Passenger seats. Center console. Everything will slide out my Jeep and then tip down at a 45 degree angle with an electric winch so I can stand up from my scooter.
[01:12:49.240] - David Adams
Sit down on the edge of the sea. Push the button. The winch will suck my Jeep back in and then slide me back into my Jeep. And I'm in my jeep and I'm ready to go.
[01:12:59.380] - Big Rich Klein
[01:13:00.250] - David Adams
Good. That was 100% donated to me just because some friends and some businesses wanted to be able to see me still go and go wheel. And so that was a very humbling thing to have that donated to me. And I've had several different experiences like that, where people, different companies or different individuals have stepped up and have helped me out with some things just because they're good people. And I've been very blessed because of that.
[01:13:26.480] - Big Rich Klein
Excellent. So cool. So the transition of your Jeep, it started off with the carburetor 42, like you said, yes, let's go through the process, or some of the steps you've made to get the Jeep the way it is now, because it is no longer a stock Jeep.
[01:13:46.120] - David Adams
No, there's not a whole lot of stock left. And people always say, well, what year is your Jeep? And my whole answer is, well, what part? Because when I bought it as a mostly stock little CJ seven, and there's not a lot of and there's not a lot of CJ seven left to it. And a lot of that is because I started building it and I started using it and I started abusing it, and I rolled my Jeep for the first time three months after I bought it. Within the first year of owning my Jeep, I was getting ready to put a new tub on it because I jacked out the original tub and the original roll cage. And at that time, Charlie COPSY did a lot of the work on my Jeep back then. I had a girlfriend who was driving it and ended up getting T boned and broke my frame. And so I was talking to Charlie about what to do, and he said, well, we can always put another CJ seven frame in it, or if you want, we could put a YJ frame in it, which is going to be stronger.
[01:14:47.330] - David Adams
Or I just barely put a TJ frame under my CJ Seven, and that will give you coil springs. And I said, yes, let's do that.
[01:14:57.950] - Big Rich Klein
[01:14:58.270] - David Adams
And this would have been in late 2000, maybe early 2001. And mine was one of the I would say besides Charlie probably one of the very first CJ seven out there on coil springs. This was before the Warren coil spring conversion. This was before any of that type of stuff because Charlie was able to find this TJ frame. I think TJ has only been out for a couple of years at that time. And he put that TJ frame under it. And I was running a Teraflex short arm, four inch coil spring kit on my CJ.
[01:15:33.570] - Big Rich Klein
That's definitely progressive back then.
[01:15:36.270] - David Adams
Yeah, and I still have most of that CJ frame left. It's been stretched, it's been modified, and it's been back half and stuff like that. But I still have a lot of that same TJ frame that Charlie put in 22 years ago or something like that. Of course I did. The VA. I ran an AMC 360 with the Turbo 403 hundred for years and years and years. And then the 360 started getting tired. So I ended up swapping to a 57 Vortex and put in a 700 R four, because in Mobile, I was still driving my Jeep to the trails I wouldn't trailer when I was in Moab. I drive all the way out to the Pickle, or I would drive all the way down to PFE, so I wanted that overdrive. So I put the $700 for in, eventually switched to an Atlas, did one ton conversion. Help with some friends, some good friends like Jeff Stevens in Moab and some people like that, and just built it and built it and built it. I'm to the point now I'd really have to think about it. Probably my fifth motor, probably my 7th transmission, third transfer case, second frame, fifth body, fourth roll cage.
[01:16:51.990] - David Adams
It never spots on and on and on. Right? It is what it is. It's kind of that iconic Jeep that I've thought about, do I just to bug it? Do I just give up the ghost and just cut all the body panels off? Because, I mean, it's basically a too buggy underneath with all the running gear and stuff. But I just like the idea of having a deep granted, it's not much of a CJ seven besides just kind of the body panels and the front cliff, but it still looks like a Jeep. Anybody is going to see that, think, yep, that's a Jeep. And I've always loved that look of the CJ, you know, the CJ grill, the rounded hood. I just think to me, that's one of the best looking Jeeps they ever made.
[01:17:36.060] - Big Rich Klein
[01:17:37.470] - David Adams
And so for now, I keep the old girl and she's contankorous and she breaks down and she has issues and she always needs something. But that's what all Jeeps are. And that's why we love and that's why we do it.
[01:17:50.610] - Big Rich Klein
True enough. So let's talk about your grill addiction.
[01:17:59.250] - David Adams
[01:18:00.040] - Big Rich Klein
And we're not talking barbecues, right?
[01:18:02.770] - David Adams
Although I do enjoy a good barbecue, don't get me wrong.
[01:18:05.080] - Big Rich Klein
Right? True. So how did you start getting into collecting jeep grills.
[01:18:13.530] - David Adams
Honestly, it was kind of funny. I was driving home from a friend's house in moab, I was coming down spanish valley drive in moab, and I just happened to see an old willys pickup in somebody's backyard. And I had just bought a willys pickup not too long before that. I bought a 1951 willies pickup in 2010 or eleven. And so this would have been probably about 2013 or so. And there's not a lot of worries pickups in moab. I mean, there are not a lot of pickups anywhere. And so I saw this. So I kind of pulled in, and I got thinking, what if I had any parts or anything? I just want to kind of check it out. And I ended up seeing literally over against this rock wall, this old jeep grill leaning up against there. I didn't really know what it was. It kind of looked like a willys pick up grill, but it was just a little bit different than mine. But it was kind of this old rusted red. It had some of the chrome horizontal bars on it. And I was like, that's really neat. And so literally knocked on the door of the trailer park and said, hey, I was interested you guys have out here?
[01:19:23.590] - David Adams
And a couple of parts. Well, they ended up they were just renting, so they gave you the number of the guy that owned the property and so ended up calling him and talking to him. And I went out and looked he had a couple of willies pickups and old willys wagon, and some stuff had been used back in the mining days back in the so that was the first grill I actually bought from. I think I bought it for like $75, and I thought, you know, it'd be cool to get some of the old cheap grills. I always was a fan of the old willys, of course, and so I thought maybe a couple of flat fender grills, made a couple of CJ grills, some stuff like that. And so I started collecting them, and I started looking around, and I got one, and I got another, and then I got another, and pretty soon I had about a half a dozen. I thought, you know what, I'm pretty cool now. I've got just about every one of the major jeeps. I had a commando, and I had a CJ seven, and I had a CJ two a, and a three a, and I had a CJ five, and I had a couple of willys pick up grills and need to have those, maybe a couple of the wranglers if I come across them.
[01:20:31.590] - David Adams
And then it just kind of kept going. And then I found more, and then I found more. And then I was able to actually find some really rare pieces. One of my most unique pieces I actually have the 1941 slat grill that was made when willy's was making me the very early Willysm B. And somebody posted a picture on one of the Facebook pages that I was on and says, hey, if anybody's interested, I know the guy that owns this. And I messaged him and said, yeah, I'm very interested. You give me his number. Well, he kind of hemmed and hot, and I kind of stayed with him. Finally, a month later, I get this phone number. Literally this random guy I've never met, no idea anything about him. He lives in Delaware. And I call up this guy and I said, hey, I know this is weird, but here's the story. I heard that you have this old Jeep grill. I got a Jeep grill collection I'm trying to collect. I ended up talking to this guy for almost an hour and a half. I mean, it was just such a cool guy. He'd been a Jeeper back in the day with an old farm guy in Delaware.
[01:21:38.190] - David Adams
Got this old dairy ranch back there. And he said back in the early 90s, he was at a farm auction and bought a pallet of just random parts. Didn't even know what it was. He got it for like $100 or something like that. And there on the very bottom of this pallet was this flat grill. And he knew the Jeep grill, but didn't really know much about it. So anyway, ended up being able to buy that from him and had some friends that were coming out to Jeep Safari from Virginia that were able to pick it up and bring it out to me. And it's been such a unique experience because I've been able to literally meet and buy grills from people all across the country. I've had so many of them were delivered to me by good friends, a good friend out of Michigan that brought me a couple, or somebody that literally drove up from Florida a couple of years ago that brought me one or out of California or Washington. And I now would say definitively, I have the most complete Williams and Jeep grill collection of anybody in the world. I have everything from the Slat grill all the way, every single model of Willies and Jeep up to 2005, plus all the modern Wranglers.
[01:22:54.230] - David Adams
That's awesome. Eventually I'll get the more modern stuff, but I have a hard time justify spending a couple of $100 on a Jeep Liberty grill once you all get them all up. But right now, I think my collection is up to 57 pieces. Like I said, every single one a different grill, and they're all going up in my garage. And when my garage is done, eventually my goal is to have it all, like a little Jeep museum with my grill collection. And I also have about 20 tailgates from the various different Jeep trucks. But I have ended up being really blessed in this because I have Jeep grills that most Jeep aficionados have not even heard of, let alone seen. One that I have is called a CJV 35 U. And it actually was a prototype that there were only 1000 of them made in 1951 because at that time, the US had just gotten involved in Korea and the Marines were looking for a forward vehicle that could actually forward water. And they needed a vehicle that could go through water up to a foot, over the windshield, over the hood. And so they came out with the CJV 35 U, the U standing for underwater because you actually had a button that you could flip on the dashboard and it would overpressurize the transmission, the transfer case and the motor in order to keep water out of them.
[01:24:30.190] - David Adams
So this was a guy that he posted up that he had a gorilla tailgate in the tub for one. And again, like I said, there were only 1000 of these made back in 1951, and I only know of three complete that still exist of the CJV 35 U. And it took me almost two years of messaging him back and forth before he finally decided to part with that grill and tailgate. And funny enough, I actually had one of my good friends, Jake White, he was out at the off road convention out in Tennessee and was able to meet up with the guy and pick it up for me because the guy wasn't willing to ship him and ended up that kind of got passed down to a couple of friends before eventually it made its way out here. And now hanging up on my wall, it's been a lot of fun. Another one that I really like is I had a guy in 2018 that posted up on one of the early Jeep grill groups that I've got that he has this World War Two Jeep Grill. Of course, it's immediately going to catch my attention.
[01:25:33.010] - David Adams
Well, the more I did a little bit of research into it, we started talking. He actually was in the Ukraine and he and a couple of business partners are World War II salvagers. And they hit, in May of 2018, found this Jeep that had been destroyed outside the Russian city of Corcos. And by doing some research, I found that that was a battle that was happening when the Russians were basically surrounded the Fifth Army in Stalinrad and the Germans were trying to break in to free their troops. This is one of the battles that happened in February of 1943. And the Jeep was destroyed and literally buried in the Ukrainian soil for almost 80 years. And so the guy was able to dig it out of the ground was the only salvagent part of the jeep. I mean, it's rusted, it's dinged, and it's dented. I mean, you can tell it seems stuff. And I did some research to make sure that it was legal for me to be able to import it. And lo and behold, I did. And so by June of 2018, that grill was back here in my living room. So I would say that that's my Mia who went off to war driven by Americans, driven into combat by Soviets, destroyed by Nazis, spent 80 years in the Russian soil, and I repatriated brought it home, and now it has a place to honor hanging up in my kitchen.
[01:26:57.990] - Big Rich Klein
Wow, that's awesome. That's a great story.
[01:27:02.170] - David Adams
And I just had so many like that of things that shouldn't work, that shouldn't have happened. And either a friend or a friend found out about a grill, or heard about this tailgate, or heard about this whatever, and it's been fun. And I love going out to my garage and looking at these. And I don't repair them, I don't fix them. I literally wash them with soap and water and I hang them on the wall because they all have their story to tell. Whether they're dinged indented or broken or missing a headlight or missing a slot or something like that. It's what they've been through. It's the life that they've experienced. I think nine of them are military, all the way back from World War II, all the way up to I have an M 151 mutt from the Vietnam era. And I would love to sit down and have them all tell me what they saw, who owned them, what they experienced, what they did. But by having this collection, I try to make that live on. I try to make this as almost like a living diagram of what Jeep was and what it has become.
[01:28:09.850] - David Adams
Literally, at the very top left of my corner, I got this Slat grill. And at the very bottom of my garage, I've got a JT grill. And just about everything in between, with the exception, just a few of the late model more plastic style grill.
[01:28:26.370] - Big Rich Klein
Right, so the evolution and you've been able to find all those. That's just phenomenal. That's cool.
[01:28:34.510] - David Adams
Yeah, it's been fun. And then literally right now, I have every single one up to 2005. The last one is the second model Liberty. And then after that, I would need to get like the commander and the patriot and the compass and start getting into some more of those, which eventually I'll get, but haven't yet.
[01:28:53.770] - Big Rich Klein
Is there anything back in the day that like your 35 Vu hood or grill? Is there that unicorn out there that you're looking for still?
[01:29:11.170] - David Adams
I actually just got another really rare one that's sitting at my dad's house right now. It actually is off a fleet van. And I think you're familiar with the fact that I'm in the current process of building a fleet van to be my daily driver, my handicap accessible vehicle.
[01:29:28.690] - Big Rich Klein
[01:29:29.710] - David Adams
And so they only made about 1800 of those for the post office back in the early sixty s. And they were designed as right hand drive. And you actually stood up to drive them there. Was no driver's seat. Literally, the brake went straight up and down with your left foot and your right foot stood on the ground and turned sideways to give a gas. And I obviously have one because I have one on my actual fleet van that's being built. But I just recently had a guy that contacted me and said, hey, I've got some old fleet van parts. Would you be interested in them? Sure. What do you have? Oh, I've got this, that, and I've got a grill. Shut up. You've got a grill. And ended up the guy's like, you know what? $20 is yours. And I mean, this is a grill you couldn't find. I mean, I couldn't find this grill for $1,000 if I was out there looking. That's cool. It's just been an interesting experience to be able to have these. So many of them. I have no right to claim that I did anything, but I just happened to be at the right place at the right time.
[01:30:34.460] - David Adams
[01:30:34.790] - Big Rich Klein
Or people hearing that. That's what you do.
[01:30:37.870] - David Adams
[01:30:42.550] - Big Rich Klein
What's next for David? How do you see the future playing out?
[01:30:48.490] - David Adams
Well, I think what I want to do is I'm going to continue to just stay active in the offroad industry, of course. I mean, to me, that's life. I mean, that's family. It's very rare that I go somewhere on vacation that doesn't either involve Wheeling or involve visiting friends that I've met through Wheeling because they're really some of the best people out there. I'm sure you've experienced this hundreds and hundreds of times. If you were to take two people that are into offroading and put them in a room together, more than likely they're going to get along well. Yes, because we're all kind of a little bit crazy. We're all a little bit type A, we all like the outdoors and we all just kind of have a screw loose. That's kind of just who we are. And so the off road world is me. I mean, that's what I'm going to be as long as I could do it for as long as I can. I actually bought a cop buggy from Craig Stump, his old commando that I'm sure you've seen go through the entire process of changing.
[01:31:46.360] - Big Rich Klein
[01:31:48.010] - David Adams
I bought that from him a couple of years ago and I've just finished making some major changes. So I actually will be able to control the front axle with the joystick so I can get out. So I'm hoping to be able to do some competitions. Probably not this year because life's been kind of crazy this summer, but I'm hoping next year I'll be able to go out and do some of the competition with that and keep doing trailhero, keep doing the different events, keep doing the hero for a day and just living life as long as I can, every day that I can.
[01:32:15.740] - Big Rich Klein
Excellent. That's good. David, I want to say thank you so much for joining us with Conversations with Big Rich and having a great conversation and learning you sharing your life and your passion for off road and everything related to that, which it boils down to. Just like everybody else has said, it really comes down to the personalities and the people that we meet.
[01:32:44.830] - David Adams
Yes, without a doubt.
[01:32:46.460] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah. And I appreciate you spending the time with us. Thank you.
[01:32:49.650] - David Adams
You're welcome. Thank you, Rich. You have a great day. I appreciate your time.
[01:32:52.880] - Big Rich Klein
Okay. Talk to you later. Thank you. Bye bye.
[01:32:55.600] - David Adams
[01:32:56.890] - Big Rich Klein
Well, that's another episode of Conversations with Big Rich. I'd like to thank you all for listening. If you could do us a favor and leave us a review on any podcast service that you happen to be listening on or send us an email or a text message or Facebook message and let me know any ideas that you have or if there's anybody that you have that you think would be a great guest. Please forward the contact information to me so that we can try to get them on. And always remember, live life to the fullest. Enjoying life is a must. Follow your dreams and live life with all the gusto you can. Thank you.