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"Serious Explorations"TM
Truckhaven 2000
January 14 - 17, 2000

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Saturday night Ford sponsored a buffet dinner for the entire group. Over 50 people were in attendance for this awesome dinner at the Palm Canyon Resort in Borrego Springs. When we arrived in the banquet room there was plenty of ice cold beer, wine, and appetizers. Before dinner Ford showed us a video presentation on their new 2001 Sport Trac. The Palm Canyon Resort served a great dinner with your choice of either BBQ ribs or BBQ chicken. Numerous side dishes were also available and for desert they had some of the best apple pie I've had in years.

Several companies donated door prizes for the event. Matt Adams got PIAA Lighting to donate two pairs of their ultra bright headlights. Trailmaster Suspension donated a set of 4 - SSV shock absorbers, Explorer Express donated a wall clock and a jacket, KKM donated 4 - $25.00 gift certificates, the Chart House Restaurants donated 2 - $50.00 gift certificates, FLY-N-HI Offroad Centers donated 2 pairs of KC lights and a receiver hitch cover and I donated 5 - www.explorer4x4.com windshield banners. There weren't quite enough prizes for everyone to win something, but Ford made up for that when they gave all of the drivers an Explorer Sport Trac jacket. So no one left empty handed or with an empty stomach!

2001 Explorer Sport Photo by Peter Weber

Sunday a few folks had to head back home. Trailmaster, Explorer Express and Michael Rudd from Fourwheeler all went their own ways as did a few from our group. We did pick up one new traveler though. Tom Wilson from Super Ford Magazine road rode with us most of the day.

We started Sunday's run as one large group and found an area that was riddled with trails of every caliber. A few of us drove up a narrow crevice until we reached the top of a ridge. RangerX then led us on a white knuckle trail. It may not have been quite as bad if it hadn't started to drizzle, all I could think of was slipping off the edge of this ultra narrow trail which joined two plateaus. The trail was loose, barely wider than the Explorer, lasted over 100 yards, was off camber,  and to make matters worse, we had to take the same trail to get back. A few of the folks who climbed up to the ridge with us declined this side trip.

Kevin Kocher Photos by Peter Weber

We regrouped with the others on top of the ridge. Matt Adams found a great way down practically STRAIGHT. With a little guidance Matt positioned his Explorer on the edge and dropped the front tires over the side. I took this same trail after Matt, and I can tell you it seemed like an eternity before I could actually see the trail in front of my Explorer. All I could see was sky. Once the nose did start pointing down hill it wasn't so bad. A bit loose, but no problem.

Matt Adams Photo by Peter Weber

Just as we reached the bottom we heard a call on the CB that José's Explorer was stuck on the trail. It turned out that his starter was D.O.A.. This may not have been a big problem if his truck had a manual tranny, but it didn't; he had an automatic. This is where a close family comes into play. José's cousin, Alfonso, was also along for the trip. Alfonso started his Explorer, removed the starter while the engine was running, and placed it in his cousin's truck! This worked great, both were once again trail ready. By now everyone else had gathered for lunch. We met up with them just in time to get a quick bite before we were ready to head back to the staging area. A few of the group needed to leave around noon so we headed back to camp running the wide wash like it was a super highway. There was one slight problem with this tactic. Somehow Wendy Crawford made a wrong turn when she entered the wash and got split up from the group. We didn't realize it until about 15 minutes later when someone asked, "Where is Vivian?" Vivian was one of the Ford crew and she and Wendy were no where to be found. 

We said our farewells to those who needed to leave and the rest of the group quickly saddled up to find Wendy and Vivian. Ray Hutchinson, AA6H and I both tried Wendy, KG6CG, on the ham radio and the CB. At first we heard nothing, but once we got to higher ground we could faintly hear her on the CB. Ray ran his truck to the top of a hill where he was able to spot Wendy in the wash. He talked her in to us and the situation was quickly resolved.

After rejoining with Wendy we formed two separate groups of vehicles. One group was led by Paul Bredehoft and consisted of the locked up rigs and the other was led by myself and consisted of unlocked rigs and stockers. I can't tell you what happened with Paul's group, but I can share with you the fun that we had. Our group found a narrow twisty trail to climb. After most of the group made it to the top Juan Felsmann decided to try and climb a steep loose hill, which I guess had his name on it! We all cheered when Juan crested the top of this hill. He did a great job climbing it. Little did we know what was happening on the other side...After we got the last of the vehicles up to our vantage point we started around the hill that Juan had climbed only to find him stuck in the middle of two trails leaning precariously to his left. Once Juan started down the other side of the hill he couldn't decide which of two trails to descend. So instead of making a decision he got stuck between the two. In order to keep Juan's truck from rolling I drove up the hill towards him. We then anchored the back of his truck with my winch cable. He was then able to point down hill and towards his right. The rear end slid, but the winch cable kept him safe.

By the time we got Juan free we only had about 20 minutes left before we were supposed to meet back at camp. I found some high ground with a few trails leading away and told the group to just have some fun on their own for the little time we had left. Once again a call came through on the radio, this time it was Tom's turn. Tom had slid off the trail in his Navajo and trying to get back on the trail put him at a pretty extreme angle. Juan came to the rescue as well as Rick Gamboa. Rick had only recently arrived on the scene. He missed most of the days activities, but was just in time to help extricate Tom. When I got to the scene Juan had a pull strap on one side of Toms rear and Rick had a strap on the other. It was decided that I would take Rick's place, so I backed up towards Tom, they attached the strap to my clevis and I pulled him out while Juan's truck stabilized him on the hill.

Tom's Navajo 

That was it for Sunday; 2 pulls, rain, one broken starter, and one lost Explorer. That was enough for me for one day!

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Copyright 2000 Rick Horwitz Photography
All Rights Reserved