2021 Centerforce Adventure Run!

"The Backway to Crown King"

2021 Centerforce Adventure Run

The idea of a “manual transmission only” off-road trip is something that we’ve wanted to do for a few years now. Not only as a way to highlight the capabilities of our clutch and flywheel products, but also to spend time on the trail to be reacquainted with old friends and especially make new ones.

After a year of no in person events, we were excited to host an all star cast of Centerforce equipped off-roaders for a 3-day adventure through Arizona’s most scenic backroads and off-road trails.

Day 1 - The Backway to Crown King

The team assembled in a Fry’s Marketplace parking lot just outside of Lake Pleasant in Peoria, AZ. This would be the last bit of pavement we see for a few days, and gave everyone one last chance to fuel up, stock up on any last minute items and provisions.

Our trail boss for the week was none other than Trent McGee, a legend in the off-road world and local Arizonian who knows his way around local Jeep trails better than anyone. Trent led us in his one-of-a-kind 1964 International Scout, sporting a chopped roof, killer authentic patina, Cummins Turbo Diesel engine and of course a Centerforce clutch and flywheel.

Trent called a driver’s meeting, and rounded up the gang to give us the plan for the day and what to expect on the trail. We would be tackling “The Backway to Crown King” trail which just so happened to be recently selected as a Jeep Badge of Honor trail. The trail is rated as difficult, and had a variety of challenging obstacles along the way to the old mining town of Crown King, Arizona.

We made our way through the trail, taking the “fun way” as often as possible. The group consisted of many experienced off-road drivers, so most of the obstacles were navigated without issue, and those not as heavily equipped only had a few minor hang ups.

After stopping for a trail side lunch and repairing a broken valve stem, we carried on to Crown King.

Crown King is a hidden gem, situated at about 5,700 feet in the Bradshaw Mountains. Named for the Crowned King mine, the name was shortened to Crown King in 1888. It is estimated that more than $2,000,000 in gold was mined from the Crowned King mine - which has been closed since the 1950s.

We stopped inside the Saloon to grab refreshments, and Trent convinced the owner of the General Store to open up just for us, so we could buy some of the famous fudge.

From there, we headed just up the road to set up camp for the night. It had been a great first day on the trail and Trent had scouted a great campsite for the group. Everyone pulled in and began deploying their roof top tents, while a few pitched ground tents.

Ali (KC HiLites) volunteered to make dinner the first night and he pulled out all the stops, treating the group to “Persian Burritos”. Ali prepared a traditional Persian BBQ using long skewers to cook marinated chicken beef over an open fire, topped with shallot yogurt, cucumbers and wrapped in fresh lavash. It was just what everyone needed after a long day of wheeling in the sun.

Day 2: Crown King to Turkey Creek and Cleator Yacht Club

After a great meal and good night sleep, the group got an early start to begin the second leg of the trip. Some hot coffee and a quick breakfast is all that was needed to quickly break down camp and report for the second drivers meeting of the day.

Trent shared that the route for the day would be leading us down to lower elevation and to Turkey Creek, and Cleator Yacht club, on to Bloody Basin where we would then set up camp in a dry creek bed.

We descended out of the Bradshaw Mountains and onto a trail called Turkey Creek, which provided incredible desert scenery, littered with beautiful Saguaro cactus, ocotillo plants and a handful of water crossings. There were a few technical obstacles that in the words of Trent, “Might get a little tippy”.

After traversing Turkey Creek, we emerged at the desert oasis that is the Cleator Bar and Yacht Club. A boat graveyard and bar in Mayer, AZ that is worth checking out if you’re in the area. After a long day in the desert sun their ice cold beverages were a welcome treat, however they don’t serve food during the week, so be sure to bring your own food if you plan on visiting.

Brit, from American Adventure Lab had an issue with a rear brake caliper on Day 1 of the trip, and our friends at Summit 4x4 saved the day by meeting us with replacement parts, tools, to help him get fixed up. Jesse and JP were extremely generous to meet us on the trail and handle the repair. This simple act of kindness speaks volumes about the kind of shop and people they are. Thanks again!

After a quick lunch stop and repair, we were ready to hit the road again. We continued on to our camp destination, which ended up being in a rocky creek bed (don’t worry, we checked the weather forecast for rain.) The rooftop tenters definitely had an advantage here, the ground tenters had to find and clear an area of rocks.

Our good friend Marco, of OvrlndX treated us to his famous Birria de Res tacos, complete with homemade salsa and birria cooked in a pressure cooker. The meal was incredible and we can’t thank Marco enough for the incredible meal. Will Baty also contributed his famous beans, which were an awesome addition to the tacos.

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After more than a few tacos, the group shared laughs and stories around a campfire under a beautiful clear night sky. Sean Holman of Motor Trend wore his comedian hat that night and had the group in stitches. Sean, if your magazine gig doesn’t work out, you certainly have a future in comedy!

The Final Day

On day 3 we woke up to the smell of sausage on the Skottle, fresh pancakes and hot coffee thanks to Brother Jeff, who treated us all to his famous pancakes. No, you didn’t have to worry about us going hungry on this trip.

The route for the final day was a bit shorter than the other days, but still provided some beautiful Arizona views. We snaked through the valleys and ended up on Mingus Mountain, where we stopped for a few group photos.

Once our tires left the dirt and returned to pavement, we headed straight for Centeforce HQ, where we gave the group a quick tour of the facility and let everyone air up their tires. From HQ we had a late team lunch at Colt Grill in Prescott Valley, and had a good time looking back on the trip and planning for the next one!

Thank you!
We want to thank everyone who made this trip possible, we had an amazing time and made lifelong friends and memories.