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Tierra Del Sol Desert Safari 2014: Braving Dust Storms and High Winds

Posted in Events on March 7, 2014
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Every first weekend of March, off-road enthusiasts from across the southwest flock to the Tierra Del Sol Desert Safari in California’s famed Northern Ocotillo Wells area like mosquitos to bright lights. The origin of the event dates back to 1962, when a group of Jeepers decided to take to the desert in their CJs and Flatties. They had such a great time that they started an annual pilgrimage to the desert for some fun wheeling action. .

This year marked the 52nd running of the Tierra Del Sol Desert Safari, or TDS, as it is more commonly referred to by dirty desert connoisseurs. As in years past, we spent the weeks prior to TDS scrambling to get our desert rigs in running shape to meet up with the rest of our rag tag group of family and friends. Much like that first group of Jeepers way back in ‘62, our crew of magazine editors, staffers, and publishers alike banded together for a weekend full of wheeling in the famed Notches of TDS.

It’s not every day you see an old M1009 CUCV clattering through the desert. While the 6.2-liter diesel V-8 in these K5’s aren’t going to win any drag races, they sure can put out enough torque to claw their way through just about anything.

Normally the first weekend of March makes for the perfect desert weather with blue skies and hardly a cloud in sight. Not this year. With a storm rolling in from the pacific, we we’re hoping the mountains between us and civilization would keep the wheeling dry and fun, but Mother Nature has a mind of her own. Not only did some areas get hit with a little rain and high winds, more than a few dust storms rolled through Ocotillo Wells, which often made for some white-knuckle wheeling with almost no visibility at times.

It seemed as though many folks decided to stay home this year to avoid the weather and the possibility of being stuck in the desert when it surely flooded. Thankfully, those fears were largely unfounded and despite all the threatening weather, the turnout was still plenty impressive as always. From desert rigs to rock donkeys and even Azusa Mud trucks, TDS has it all and then some.

Check out all the cool rigs we saw out at the 52nd Annual Tierra Del Sol Desert Safari!

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