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Jeep 4X4 Off Road Desert Trails - Hi Desert Roundup

Posted in Features on November 1, 2001
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Subtract 30 years from your age (if you're even that old) and think back. What were you doing in May of 1971? That spring, a group of pioneering members of the California Association of 4WD Clubs was putting on the first Hi Desert Roundup (HDR). We can't help but wonder if they knew then that they were starting a tradition that would still be alive and well 30 years later and enjoyed by off-roaders who weren't even around yet.

This year's event, held just south of Barstow, California, in the Stoddard Wells OHV area, was certainly alive and well. Entitled 2001 Trails by Fire, the name fit this year's get-together perfectly. With 16 clubs from the Southern California area participating and more than 50 sponsors donating products and services, this roundup proved to be one of the best yet. We think HDR easily has another 30 years to look forward to.

As in the past, the turnout was great, only slightly affected by the high price of gas in California. Even with that, there were participants who came from as far away as Colorado, Arizona, and Nevada, further proof that HDR has become a tradition that many 'wheelers simply refuse to miss.

HDR would not have become the event it is, though, if the trails weren't tough and the times weren't good. HDR is planned as a family event, and great care is taken to ensure that everyone who comes is included and finds something that fits their tastes. Trails such as Blue Moon and Devil's Loop are for pretty much any size vehicle and require very little special equipment. If you come to HDR to tackle the tough stuff, then there is Achy Breaky, El Diablo, or Pumpkin Eater. If those trails aren't what you are looking for, you can choose The Empire Strikes Back, or take a shot at Wild Wash Canyon with hillclimbs that really kick in the pucker factor. It seems most of the extreme trails can be run on adrenaline alone, so who cares if gasoline prices are a little outrageous?

The organized trails are all run on Saturday, which leaves Sunday wide open. If you're in the mood for a little competition, you can try your hand at backing up the scoot, running the potato race, or balancing your vehicle on the teeter-totter. If you really want to test that 300:1 crawl ratio you're always bragging about, get in the turtle race. Want to get even with a friend? Ask him or her to join you in the wet lap. Want to see how flexy your trail rig is? Then welcome to the articulation ramp.

After the grownup games, Sunday afternoon has several hours dedicated to the kids. There is always plenty of supervision, and everyone is made welcome. In fact, we felt that all those who worked so hard to put this event on did a good job of making everyone feel at ease.

When the fun and games finally conclude, the weekend is wrapped up with the serious business of presenting all the winners of the various events with trophies. Then the raffle is held and lucky participants are presented with gifts donated by HDR's generous sponsors - things such as winches, tow straps, and everything that everyone who hits the trail wants and needs. And better yet - what a deal - more than half of all the revenue generated by HDR is put to the best use possible: keeping our public lands open to the public.

For More Information: If you are interested in attending next year's Hi Desert Roundup, contact the California Association of 4WD Clubs, 8120 36th Ave., Sacramento, CA 95824-2304, (916) 381-8300, www.cal4wheel.com.

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