February 11-12, 2006
The Mojave Road is historic and legendary. Few trails have whole books written about them! Originally a footpath for the Mojave Indians to take their trade from the banks of the Colorado River on their way to the Pacific Ocean, it soon became an important route for the white man as well - who graduated to wheeled, horse drawn vehicles.
The Indians soon regretted showing it to the newcomers, as U.S. military posts sprung up at the few wells and springs along its snaking path through rough and dry desert. The wagons gave way to trains though, and eventually the route was all but abandoned. That is, until it was discovered by a new breed of explorer - the four wheeler! There are wheeling traditions along the trail, from the "Penny Can" to the "Mailbox" - and this crew honored every one of them. And there is a secret that only those who have driven The Road know - the words on the thirty year old brass plaque which sits inside the Traveler=s Cairn on Soda Dry Lake!
The HummerXClub's Nevada Chapter joined ranks with some California wheelers and drove "The Road" in a two day, 130 mile run that is destined to become a yearly event! The 21st Century wagon train was fifteen rigs long and included eleven big H2s, two intrepid H3s, and two Land Rover LR3s. Day One was a grueling drive from sunup to sundown through the stark and desolate desert on a "Road" that is often little more than a rut through the Joshua trees and scrub. It was discovered that the "obstacle" of the Mojave Road is not a rock or a rut or a hill. It's the seemingly never-ending expanse of desert. The dryness. The dust. The heat. The miles.
All fifteen rigs made it through - most unscathed, a few with very minor damage. About half the drivers opted to camp on the side of the trail at the end of the first day and they swapped stories and jokes by a roaring campfire until the wee hours of the morning. The other half left The Road and drove to what turned out to be the roughest spot on the trail - The Bun Boy Motel. They have a new mantra - "Never leave the trail. Never leave the trail. Never leave the trail."
Day Two had the crew back on The Road and heading through Rasor OHV area to Afton Canyon. Afton is a stunning place where the Mojave River flows year round above ground and the walls are 300 feet high with funnels and spires that are truly awe inspiring. It was a perfect wet ending to a long dry run, culminating in a "splash off" at the last river crossing!
A lot of fond memories were made over the course of these two days and, more importantly, some strong new bonds of friendship. It was the first time these folks had wheeled together. It most certainly won't be the last.