We Visit the 2018 Tierra Del Sol Annual Safari! Or, the Experienced Idiot’s Guide on How to go Off-Roading
When the MotoIQ guys went on their rookie tour of Johnson Valley at the 2018 King of the Hammers race, I was supposed to be their tour guide to show them the ropes, keep them out of trouble, and act as chauffer in my appropriately equipped 1997 Jeep Cherokee. Due to a complete lack of comms in the valley and differing arrival times, this never panned out. While they were nearly getting stuck, breathing dust and probably continually trying to keep Project Tundra clean (sorry Mike, no amount of Quick Detailer is gonna fix Johnson Valley’s silt), I was enjoying the race, timing the leaders at the big hills, and otherwise having a relaxing day.
While TDS is a great introduction for people new to off-roading, it’s more about organized rides, vendor shows, and registration fees while we prefer a more “seat of the pants” approach to these trips. We skipped the whole registration thing and used the weekend as a chance to watch the crowds do stupid things and a convenient time for everyone to meet.
So, why did I abandon my life of go-fast track racing for a life of redneckery? We all get old. We get married, we have kids and some of us stop racing and move on to other sports or other more family-friendly versions of vehicular recreation. For me, it was the natural choice, as off-roading is something that can be experienced by the whole family, and was something both of our families did growing up. My wife and kids ride with me in the Jeep, there aren’t pissed off weekend warrior racing douchebags throwing fuel jugs around the pits in a hissy fit over an unnecessary meatball flag, and the only competition is the usual member-measuring hoonery that happens whenever men (and some women) and vehicles are involved. Off-road trips aren’t about winning, but hanging out with good friends and having fun in cars doing something other than staring at the license plate in front of you in endless traffic. That being said- it’s not without its dangers, and like many things in life, the second you stop respecting it is the second you get bitten.
Enough preaching, on to the trip. Comb your mullets, don your Van Halen tank top, crack open a nice Coors (pronounced Coo-errs), Banquet and enjoy.