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Back to Hi-Desert Roundup, 2010

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Hi-Desert Roundup is a major CA4WDC event, held every Memorial Day weekend, in the Stoddard Valley Off-Highway vehicle area, located off CA Highway 247, about 10 miles south of the city of Barstow.  I've been attending High Desert Roundup since 1993, but due to circumstances, it had been 12 years since I'd been able to bring along my son Matthew, and since he's now a man, I felt it was time to have him drive.  Also in attendance was my friend Robert Kipperman, and this was to be Robert's first CA4WDC event.  

Photo:  Here's a scan of the program cover of this year's event.

Friday morning, May 28, 2010, at 0500 came early for me, as I get off work at midnight - yuck - but I was so jazzed about attending Hi-Desert Roundup that it didn't matter that I only got a couple of hours of sleep.  Sure enough, Robert showed up at 0530, and we were on the road in just a couple of minutes.  We picked up my son Matthew at his place in Bakersfield, and by early afternoon, we found ourselves in Barstow, where we purchased gas and ice.

To reach Hi-Desert base camp, you take California Highway 247 south from Barstow to Stoddard Wells Road, which is about 10 miles south of town.  Although Stoddard Wells Road is a dirt road, it is reasonably graded, and its suitable for motorhomes, if they're driven with reasonable care.  The registration package for Hi-Desert Roundup lists the GPS coordinates for the turnoff, but they aren't really needed, as the association posts signs for the event, so you'd have to be asleep to miss the turnoff to base camp.  It's almost four, dusty, washboarded miles to base camp, and as you crest a ridge, you'll see base camp a mile or so away.  Most four wheelers prefer to camp in motorhomes, but you'll see a smattering of trailers, pop-up tent trailers, and even a few tent campers, like us.  

Photo:  Hi-Desert Roundup, 2010, base camp, as seen from the vehicle games area, a mile to the north of camp.

Photo:  It's Friday night, May 28, 2010, and more vehicles are rolling into base camp, on dusty Stoddard Wells Road.  Note the fifth wheel cresting the hill in the rear of the photo.

Hi-Desert Roundup 2010 is a CA4WDC event, and a major fundraiser for the association.  Funds are used to keep our trails open; the association is staffed by volunteers, so most of the money raised goes to further what we love to do:  Four wheel in beautiful country!  CA4WDC promotes safe, responsible fourwheeling, and Hi-Desert Roundup is truly a family-oriented event.  Anti-social activities such as driving off the trails, harassing wildlife, and drinking on the runs aren't tolerated at Hi-Desert, or any other CA4WDC event.  You won't find monster trucks, loud partying or reckless behavior, but you will find a great group of people, beautiful scenery, fun, challenging trails, and some of the most awesome rigs you've ever seen.  I've attended many four wheel drive events, including the Rubicon and Moab, but my all-time favorite events are CA4WDC's Panamint Valley Days, and Hi-Desert Roundup.

After setting up our camp, we headed over to get the truck checked out by the San Diego 4 Wheelers, who were safety checking each vehicle before it was allowed on the trail.  After getting the truck certified as safe, we hiked over to registration to pick up our registration package, dash plaque and tee shirts.  CA4WDC emphasises safety and fun, so before you're allowed to complete the registration process, you must undergo the safety inspection. We had pre-registered, so it was simply a matter of presenting my confirmation number - 54 in my case - and picking up my package, the it was a short trip to the motorhome next door, where I picked up the tee shirts and tank tops that I'd ordered for myself, and my son Matthew. Since we were "there," we signed up for the Blue Moon trail run, which is a run suitable for all four wheel drive vehicles, and SUVs, providing the vehicle is equipped with a low-range transfer case.  

Photo:  Eric (your author) and Matthew Rench stand under the traditional welcome arch at base camp, at the "town square" which is the center of camp.

Photo:  If you need help, or just need someone to chat with, these folks have set up a complete 2 meter ham radio station.  Many four wheelers are getting their ham licenses, as they realize the benefits that ham radio offers four wheelers, and the tremendous advantages it holds over CB.

Hi-Desert Roundup 2010 base camp is almost like a small town in the desert.  Actually, since most participants camp in motorhomes, it is like a town, as many permanent desert residents choose to live in trailers or manufactured homes.  Base camp provides such services as registration, information, clean port-a-potties, and food, in the form of Chef Andy's Ruff Rock Run Caf.  You don't have to cook, or pack food when you attend Hi-Desert Roundup, as Chef Andy sets up a restaurant in the desert - go to this link to read about the great meals that we enjoyed.  Camp communications use CB channel 14 and the 2-meter ham radio band frequency of 147.510 MHz simplex, so its easy to reach out and touch someone.

Photo:  Saturday morning, the Achy Breaky run leaves camp, heads for the trail, and leaves a cloud of dust behind on Stoddard Wells Road.

Saturday is trail run day, followed by the Saturday night barbecue dinner.  Sunday, there are more trail runs and the vehicle games, with the awards ceremony and the raffle, held Sunday night.

Click on each chapter of our write-up of Hi-Desert Roundup, 2010 to ride along with us, and enjoy spectacular desert scenery, the good times, and the ride.

Photo:  Left to Right, Steve Gardiner, Gloria, Robert Kipperman and Matthew Rench chat about the wonders of four wheeling, and what a good time they're having at this year's Hi-Desert Roundup.

As a postscript, Robert had such a great time at Hi-Desert Roundup, 2010, that he not only joined the association, but when he returned home, he joined a local four wheel drive club!  See how addictive Hi-Desert Roundup can be?

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