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Hard-chargin action highlighted the 29th Annual HDR this year in Stoddard Valley, south of Barstow, California. Saturday was reserved for trail rides in the blistering heat, while Sundays events were 4x4 games in the surrounding desert near camp.
The wide-open desert is a great place to have a wide-open throttle. Between some of the trail obstacles and back and forth to the highway are plenty of high-speed sections to test that prerun suspension stuff.
The Victor Valley Four Wheelers set up the popular ramp test and had a steady stream of contestants willing to max it out. This Grand Cherokee made an impressive showing, but it didnt quite make it to the end. As far as we know, no one rolled their Jeep off the ramp.
Trails were available for all skill levels and according to vehicle modifications. The most difficult courses required lockers in both ends and a minimum tire size of 33 inches. Having a winch along isnt a bad idea either.
The Drifters set up the Potato Race, in which potatoes are stabbed from a moving vehicle in a certain amount of time. This 1953 CJ3A with a V-6, Warn overdrive, lockers, and Tru-Tracs is piloted by Brian Robertson, as Christi Jimenez stabs the spuds.
For pure fun theres nothing like the Wet Lap Race put on by the Rim of the World Four Wheel Drive Club. While the passenger holds a bowl of water, the driver must race around the rough course for the best time, while minimizing the loss of water. The remaining agua is measured at the finish line, and the team with the most water retained and best time achieved is the winner. As you can see, most of the water ends up in the passengers lap, hence the name.
The Can and Stick game is put on by the Gad-Zuks club, with the object being to take the colored cans off the sticks on the first pass and replace them on the proper matching stick the second time around. James Bucaro of Alpine, California, had the help of James Jr. and Rachel as they putted around the course in their 1942 Willys.
The Pumpkin Eater trail is a favorite of the hard-core rockcrawlers, and Cody Wagner is no exception. This trail is known for busting differentials, but Codys 1971 CJ-5 with a Buick V-6, an SM420 tranny, a Dana 18 transfer case, and dual Dana 44s does it all, even though its a spring-under rig.
Some of the rocky trails have alternate fun spots such as this killer obstacle. Allan Mitchell took his primered 1971 CJ-6 through the chute without a scratch. The spring-over buggy sports dual 44 axles with 4.88 cogs and Detroits, and a Chevy 350 and NV4500 spewing into a Dana 18 transfer case.
The first Hi Desert Roundup we attended was over 10 years ago, and the good times and great wheeling are still emblazoned on our memories. While we participated with our own Jeep on the run and games way back when, this year was to cover the event for you, the reader. For nearly 30 years the high desert area south of Barstow, California, has been host to this event and many others under the auspices of the California Association of 4 Wheel Drive clubs. While hot and dry in the summer, the spring season is usually cool enough for a day of trail rides on Saturday, with Sunday being reserved for a host of different vehicle games in the desert sun. This year the temperature soared into the triple digits, but none of the participants seemed to mind too much, as the Memorial Day tradition of this 29th Annual Hi Desert Roundup is too much to miss.
Held in the Stoddard Valley OHV Open Area, many trails criss-cross the mountains with rocky canyons to challenge the hard-core fanatics, and more docile runs explore the desert terrain. Leaving early in the morning to get a jump on the heat, most runs arrive back at camp in the afternoon, while some of the tougher stuff takes until evening to get everyone off the trail. On Sunday, the member clubs put on an array of games to challenge the drivers and passengers while also raising money for the Association to help fight land closures. Next years event is sure to be a spectacular one, since it will be the 30th anniversary. For more information contact the CA4WDC at Dept. Jp, 8120 36th Ave., Sacramento, CA 95824 or call 800/4x4-FUNN or 916/381-8300. You websters can get them on your terminal at www.cal4wheel.com.