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Trail’s End: January 1992, The Turtle Expedition Meets Granville King

Posted in Features on January 10, 2017
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Photographers: Four Wheeler Archives

Two Four Wheeler staples of the ’80s were The Turtle Expedition and Granville King. In the Jan. ’89 issue, their paths crossed in one cool story.

Globe-trotting Gary and Monika Wescott, the brains behind The Turtle Expedition, were planning a trip to South America in their new Turtle III turbodiesel Ford F-350. Granville King, who lived off the grid in Baja with his dog and a collection of 4x4s, was a Four Wheeler correspondent who regaled readers each month with his off-road adventures.

The Wescotts penned the story that began with, “Granville King is an ornery cuss. What makes him likable is that he knows it; he’s proud to be an ornery cuss.” The story noted that the new Turtle III needed a shakedown run prior to leaving for the South America trip, and there was plenty of “shake” to be found on the road leading to Mr. King’s “museum of four-wheel-drive artifacts,” which was approximately 743 miles south of the U.S.-Mexico border. Thus, the Wescott’s decided a visit was in order.

According to the story, very few people knew how to find Granville. Also, it was noted that Granville shot every third visitor so the number of prospective searchers was ever decreasing. The Wescott’s wrote, “As fortune would have it, the third visitor had come through about a month before,” so no shots were fired when they arrived at Granville’s Baja encampment.

“Hospitable person that Granville is, he suggested that we set up camp in the arroyo located just beyond the sand dunes from his place; we’d be more protected there if the wind came up, he said. We expressed some concern about the potential flash-flood problem in the arroyo, but Granville assured us that he’d never seen the water more than three feet deep,” the Wescotts wrote. Clearly, Granville liked his space.

While in Baja hangin’ with Granville, the Wescotts had a plan to find gold and a glimpse of beautiful maidens. According to legend, the gold was hidden in unexplored canyons and the beautiful maidens called into the night to backcountry travelers. Granville wasn’t enthused about leading the Wescotts into the remote canyons to look for the aforementioned things but did so anyway. The three explorers took off on a trio of Honda FourTrax ATVs the Wescotts had brought along but returned with no gold and no sign of the beautiful maidens. Nonetheless, they had plenty to talk about and did so over dinner in the Turtle III while rain lashed the windows. Eventually, Granville retired to his little trailer on the cliff for the night.

During a lull in the rain the Wescott’s walked down to the beach to see what the storm had washed ashore. “A yellow moon occasionally found a hole in the clouds, its light sparkling off the wet sand to dance among the whitecaps in the Sea of Cortez. Standing there in the cool salt air, we could easily see why Granville King has chosen his solitary backcountry lifestyle,” they wrote.

Sadly, Granville King passed away shortly after the Wescotts’ visit. The Wescotts, however, are still roaming the globe.

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