I don't mind going a bit off topic now that it seems all of the ride reporting is complete. Thanks for contributing photos, videos and stories.
My take on the 1wd/2wd thing based on ownership and use of four of the five drivetrain variations in Urals & Dneprs; that is 1wd, Ural locking 2wd, Dnepr fulltime 2wd, and the rare(and best) Dnepr fulltime 2wd with locker. But I will only discuss the Ural options here.
I love the 1wd system. Much simpler design with fewer moving parts, fewer failure points and less maintenance overall. With a knobby tire as pusher it will take you pretty far off road. 1wd rigs outnumbered the 2wd rigs for the first half dozen or more years of this ride.
But once I established my strong preference for riding dirt over pavement, I decided improve my bike's off-road capabilities by converting to 2wd. Even though I found a basket case 2wd which provided the parts essentially free, I seriously questioned my decision for a while after the conversion. There was no questioning the added traction but the practicality was lacking. The preplanning plus stopping to engage/disengage (which can sometimes be difficult when stopped) disrupted the flow of the ride and lost momentum. At Jay's strong recommendation I ponied up the bucks for the Raceway tank shifter.
What a game changer! The ability to shift in and out of 2wd on the fly and at a whim dramatically increased off-road performance. If you see something sketchy up ahead, keep up the speed and engage it before you get there.
Some of the sand and mud water holes we encounter in the pines are deceptively deep with ruts created by 4wd vehicles with oversized tires deliberately trying to dig holes. The bike maybe comfortably riding through 6"-8" water when the sidecar drops into one of these ruts. That tends to grab the sidecar wheels and spin the whole bike around into it. If you are in 2wd when this begins to happen, you stand a good chance of simply pulling right through.
So if you have 2wd and plan to ride off-road, I highly recommend a modified 2wd shift lever. I've heard of simply extending the stock lever as an improvement but I see the big advantage when you can keep your right hand on the throttle while shifting with your left. The Raceway dual shifter is the only bolt on option of which I am aware. IMHO, to take full advantage of this shifter the easier to reach, top lever should be used for 2wd and the under tank lever for reverse.
'07 Ural Twourist