Season Opener In Johnson Valley Rocks
The desert season was right around the corner, so when we heard about the Roxy Bash at Johnson Valley, California, we packed up our gear and headed for the hills. The Roxy Bash started three years ago as a birthday party. Everyone who came had such a good time they decided they might as well make it an annual event. In its first year the ladies decided to throw a Jell-O wrestling match to the tune of a live band. The second year they partied it up Mardi Gras style (yep, that's right, use your imagination). This year's Roxy Bash luau was nothing but good times.
A storm had passed through weeks before Roxy Bash, and its mark was everywhere. The roads were soft and washed out and the dry lake bed was more like a mud pit. We woke up early Saturday morning, ready to hit the trails. By around 10:30 (not exactly early) we rolled out of camp with eight rigs to run Wrecking Ball. We have run this trail several times, but every time it seems to be a bit different and never boring. The rains had ripped through the trail, shifting boulders and leaving it totally dug out.
The first obstacle was a preview of what we would come to know very well. We didn't make it 50 feet into the trail before we saw carnage. A Toyota-powered buggy broke a Birfield. (He broke a Bir-what? Don't worry about it; we run Jeeps and don't deal with those Birfield things.) Two minutes later we heard a bang just up ahead. A broken driveshaft U-joint slowed Eric Anderson's Land Cruiser for a few minutes, but he, like all of us there, was a veteran and had his rig back up and running in no time.
Throughout the day we would become well acquainted with that familiar bang sound. While we were at it, we figured everyone might as well stay consistent and only break Toyota parts. A Birfield here, a ring-and-pinion there, the usual. When we said we wanted to hit the trails, we didn't expect the trails to smack back. Wrecking Ball just wouldn't let up. It lived up to its name, showing us the technical side of rockcrawling. Large tires, lockers, low gears, and a winch all definitely came in handy.
A case of water, a bag of chips, and seven hours later, we made it through the trail and headed back to camp where we cleaned up for the festivities. We were greeted with enough food to feed a small army. From the roast pig to the birthday cake, all the angles were covered. Friends, food, a huge bonfire, and a good day of wheeling - what more could you ask for? The Roxy Bash proved to be a fun weekend. We want to say thanks to Roxy and the gang for inviting us to the party and showing us an action-packed weekend of wheeling and entertainment.
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Out of the eight rigs we took, only three were Jeeps (and one of 'em had Toyota parts on it). We finished up the trail at around 6 p.m. and headed back to camp with six rigs. One had to turn around midtrail because of a broken driveshaft, and the other broke a rear axleshaft on the last waterfall. We left the vehicle on the trail overnight and decided to fix it the following day. Let's not forget the list of broken parts - notice the lack of Jeep components?
3 Toyota Birfields
1 Toyota ring-and-pinion
1 Toyota front inner axle
2 Toyota rear driveline yokes
1 Toyota rear axleshaft
1 Toyota rear main leaf