Southern California is known for its crowded freeways, Hollywood dreams, and beautiful weather, but who cares about all that garbage when you can escape to run the Hammer trails of Johnson Valley? We can't get enough of this desolate desert playground, located outside of Lucerne, California, and known for axle-snapping and driveshaft-abusing good times. One of the biggest events of the year in these parts is put on by the Tin Benders Off Road club. This weekend event brings a cornucopia of Toyotas, Jeeps, stock SUVs, and ragged, ratty, or radical tube machines. The base camp found on the lake bed at the end of the sandy, rutted Boone Road becomes a scene out of Mad Max with everything from dirty kids, mega camper tow rigs, all-night wrenching and welding repairs for the next trail run, and folks having various levels of recreation from campfire storytelling to a rock band beside a bonfire inferno.
Plus here is the best part: The whole shebang is organized to raise funds to help keep the trails open. Nearly $4,000 was raised this year for Friends of Panamint Valley.
Want to go wheeling in the desert, break your junk, and do it all for a good cause? Then visit www.tinbenders.org and come on out next year.