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Back to Hi-Desert Roundup, 2010

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In order to participate in Hi-Desert Roundup, 2010, all vehicles must undergo a safety check, hosted by the San Diego 4 Wheelers.  The word "undergo" sounds ominous, like getting a tooth pulled, but it is a quick and painless procedure, hosted by friendly folks, in beautiful Stoddard Valley.  

Photo:  The Safety Check, run by the San Diego 4 Wheelers, on the blustery Friday afternoon of May 28, 2010, at the 39th Hi-Desert Roundup.

So what exactly does it take to pass a CA4WDC inspection?  Here's what they're looking for...

*  Roll bar or factory installed hard top
*  Emergency brake, parking brake, line-lock, or other redundant braking system
*  Tow strap or rope (recommend rated at 2 times the vehicle weight)
*  First aid kit
*  Jack capable of lifting the vehicle and tools to change tire
*  Spare tire within 3 inches diameter of other tires, or, for tires 37" or larger, run-flats or tools to repair/reinflate tire
*  Fire extinguisher with gauge indicating good/full, appropriately stored
*  Seat belts for all vehicle occupants
*  Antennas must be rigid or restrained in a manner to prevent injuries
*  Adequate attachment points front and rear, i.e. tow hooks, receiver, etc. Tow balls not permitted
*  Battery hold downs (no bungie cords)

Personally, I think the requirements are simple and just pure common sense, and I certainly would not want to be on the trail in a vehicle that didn't meet these simple guidelines.

When it was our turn, the guy asked me to pop the hood, and he actually pulled on my battery, and sure enough, it was a solid as the Rock of Gibraltar.  Then, he asked to see my fire extinguisher, and then he wanted to see my tow strap and High Lift jack, which I keep in the tool box, so I opened it to give him a peek.  I run the trail with two spare tires, as shredded tires are the most common issue on the trail, so that wasn't a problem, and my truck sports tow hooks up front and a heavy-duty receiver hitch in the rear, all in plain sight.  I'm an amateur radio operator, call sign WS6L, and my truck sports two Hustler high frequency antennas, one for the 40 meter band, and the other for 75 meters, so I had to remove the band resonator and the stinger to comply with the 54" maximum antenna length allowed.  I have four very flexible VHF and UHF antennas mounted on the roof of the truck, but since the cab is sturdy and enclosed, the antennas present no danger, no matter how much they flex, so they were able to pass inspection.

Photo:  The safety guys are checking off items on the list so this Jeep can participate on the run.

After passing inspection, I was given a little sticker to place above my left headlight, and a accident release form to sign, so if I had an accident, CA4WDC wouldn't be liable.  Now I was free to go over to registration and complete the registration process.

Time spent in safety check: 5 minutes.  Time spent chit-chatting with friendly people:  5 minutes.  Presence of mind, knowing my vehicle was safe, along with everybody else's:  Priceless.  Safety and fun at Hi-Desert Roundup, 2010:  Priceless.

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