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Fighting Scurvy on the Dry Seas

Posted in Events on July 1, 2001
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We’ve all heard the quip, “Since when are weathermen ever right?” They’re wrong so often here in Southern California that they should come mow our lawns when they screw up just for wasting our time. They did it again, forecasting heavy showers for the event weekend. Needless to say, it didn’t rain, but the threat was enough to wash away a noticeable number of attendants. Still, even with the reduced number of vehicles, the Desert Safari is one of the biggest off-road events of the year. This time around, there were over 1,000 registered vehicles in attendance, with almost as many unregistered.

The Location

It’s tucked in the absolute bottom lefthand corner of the country, in the desert between San Diego and the Salton Sea. The closest civilization is Salton City, but that’s not saying much. Think quaint if it helps you. Most people camp in motor-homes, in tents, or right on the dirt. There are precious few hotels in the area and that’s fine with us. If you can’t take staying in the desert for a few days, you probably freak out when you get grease under your fingernails. Sissy.

The ’Wheeling

The whole area used to be the bottom of the ocean. Former geologist and our illustrious leader, Rick Péwé, prattled on and on about alluvial this and sedimentary that, but we were thinking about Twinkies. At any rate, the terrain is somewhat loosely packed rock, dirt, and shells, mixed in with sedimentary rock here and there. There are dry washes to haul through, nachos to get all twisted up in, long and steep hillclimbs, rock ledges, and way-cool canyon walls to climb. It all combines for some of the coolest ’wheeling this side of insanity. Whether you’ve got a full-competition rockcrawl buggy or a totally stock MB, you can have more fun than you can imagine.

The Event

The Desert Safari, hosted by the Tierra Del Sol 4 Wheel Drive Club of San Diego, takes place the first weekend in March every year. People are ’wheeling all over the place from Friday morning until Sunday night almost nonstop, but vehicles begin lining up at midnight Friday for the officially sponsored club run. The Tierra Del Sol members work their squibs off to mark trails, perform a tech inspection, arrange vehicles for extraction and emergency transport, host a raffle and barbecue, and even set up a fireworks show (at least we hope they were fireworks). For more info about next year’s event, contact Tierra Del Sol 4 Wheel Drive Club of San Diego, www.home.off-road.com/~tds4x4.

The Title

No drugs were used in the conception of this story’s title. Just a lot of long hours coupled with very little sleep. Here’s the thought process:
“What do I call this story? It’s a damn ocean. I’ve been in the office way too long today. I want a beer. Péwé is a weirdo for not liking lime in his Corona. Lime is a citrus fruit. Citrus prevents scurvy. Sailors get scurvy at sea. I just mentioned it used to be an ocean. There’s a connection but it doesn’t make much sense. Who cares? Write it and go get some sleep.”

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