The CA4WDC Hi Desert Round-Up is held over Memorial Day weekend each year and includes four days of trail runs, 4x4 games, great food, and plenty of camaraderie among fellow 4x4 enthusiasts. The event takes place at the Stoddard Valley OHV area near Barstow, California, in the heart of the Mojave Desert. The terrain varies wildly from steep rocky climbs to deep sand washes and rutted trails and includes many meandering razorback paths along the tops of the multiple outcroppings of hills and small mountains.
The trail runs at the Hi Desert Round-Up offer vast wheeling opportunities from easy rutted roads to hard-core rock climbs. A different participating club hosts each trail run. The clubs provide experienced trail hands at each obstacle and lead and tail vehicles to make sure all of the vehicles stay on the trail and/or aren't left behind. This year's trails included The Empire Strikes Back, El Diablo, Devil's Loop, Blue Moon, Achy Breaky, and a Calico Ghost Town run that explored Mule Canyon, Hidden Valley, Odessa Canyon, Phillips Canyon, and the Mud Hills. We decided to tag along with a group running Pumpkin Eater, which is one of our favorite trails in the area. The Desert Dawgs 4WDC guided the way for our group of 20 or so vehicles as we cut up and down rocky canyons through the course of the day.
In addition to the trail action, another hit at the Hi Desert Round-Up is the 4x4 Games, which is hosted by participating clubs. This year's games included Best Equipped, hosted by Desert Dawgs 4WDC; Back It Up, hosted by Riverside Ruff Riders; Ball Buster, hosted by Inland Empire 4 Wheelrs; Blind Man's Bluff, hosted by Gad-Zuks; Can & Stick Race, hosted by Rock Cat Racing and R.V.M.D.; Potato Race, hosted by Drifters Jeep Club; Teeter Totter, hosted by On the Rocks 4 Wheelers; Turtle Race, hosted by Hemet Jeep Club; and Wet Lap, hosted by Point Mugu 4WDC. A geocache game was also held throughout the weekend. Each cache collected earned a free ticket in a special geocache raffle. A raffle for all registered participants was also held and featured some really great prizes donated by the many event sponsors.
Another added bonus of the event is the food. Chef Andy Cunningham and his crew of volunteers open the Ruff Rock Run Caf each year at the event site. The Ruff Rock Run Caf served a full menu including made-to-order omelettes for breakfast and New York steak dinners on both Friday and Sunday. Saturday night's menu featured a whole beef side that was cooked over a bed of coals buried in a pit.
In its 37th year of existence, the Hi Desert Round-Up is part of a series of association fund-raising events held throughout the year. Annual CA4WDC events include Sierra Trek, Panamint Valley Days, Operation Desert Fun, Winter Fun Festival, and Molina Ghost Run.
For more information about CA4WDC and the Hi Desert Round-Up and other events, contact: California Association of 4 Wheel Drive Clubs Inc., (800) 4X4-FUNN, www.cal4wheel.com.
The California Association of 4 Wheel Drive Clubs was founded in 1959 and is a nonprofit organization that promotes the advancement of vehicle-oriented outdoor recreation. The Association embodies over 8,000 members and 160 clubs, representing owners of all makes and models of 4WD vehicles, as well as nonowners who support responsible vehicle-oriented recreation. Members are active in conservation projects throughout the state, which are coordinated with local agencies. Projects can range from tree planting to removing junk cars from remote areas and from closing off entrances of hazardous mineshafts to repairing trail damage. Many clubs also participate in the Adopt-a-Trail Program and work hard to help maintain the trails they use on a regular basis. For more information, visit www.cal4wheel.com.