Wheelin' The Truckhaven Hills
Each year the members of the Serious ExplorATIONs club migrate to the arid hills of Truckhaven for their annual weekend wheelin' bash in the remote desert region of Southern California. The tight-knit club is a group of Ford Explorer, Ranger, and assorted Blue Oval SUV enthusiasts that have banded together for tech and adventure through their website and forum connections.
Truckhaven sits just west of the Salton Sea off Highway 86 and is an exceedingly harsh and barren area of California's southern desert. However, this region is a maze of steep hills, plateaus, and washes and makes for an extremely challenging and interesting four-wheel recreational area. Truckhaven gives the Serious Explorations members room to roam and test the limits of their rigs, from heavily modified to stock.
The club is national and holds a number of off-road events around the country each year. If you own a Ford and are interested in the club's adventures or just tech information, you can find them at www.explorerforum.com.
Some wheeling situations in the hills of Truckhaven require speed, which gets a rig past the slick sandy spots and gives it just enough momentum to make it up and over. Robert Webb from Lakewood, California, sets his sights on the top of this hill and hammers the skinny peddle of his Mazda Navajo (a rebadged Ford Explorer); he made it on the first try.
This isn't the set of Jurassic Park, but since the movie used Ford Explorers, Steve Boggs took the hit for the entire club on a dare and painted his Explorer with the movie's theme. Despite the creative paintjob, the solid-axle Explorer performs exceptionally well in harsh terrain.
As easy as some trails look, there's always that one obstacle that can quickly hang a rig up. A great aspect of four-wheeling with a group of good friends and club members is there's always someone around to assess the situation and lend a helping hand-or a winch, for that matter.
Besides the cool trails and challenging obstacles, there are many to things to experience around Truckhaven. The hills are filled with amazing geological formations, rocks, and petrified wood, and the Salton Sea is less than 2 miles away. This is a great place for family adventure.
The steep hills around Truckhaven are extremely fun and challenging. Although the hills aren't technically difficult, it can be unnerving for some folks to take a drop (especially in a stock vehicle) not knowing exactly what's on the other side of their vehicle's hood.
The club allows different makes to participate in its four-wheel adventures. However, by bringing his '86 Toyota 4Runner from La Habra Heights, California, Justin Margedant must have angered some Blue Oval-loving god!