Sunday, March 16, 2008

Floor it, Baby!!!!!!

Last weekend I went on an "Off-Road Adventure" trip with 15 other guys from church. About 3-4 times a year a group of guys go out to the desert with AWD or 4-wheel drive vehicles to drive crazy, eat manly food, and enjoy time away from reality. I had been invited to come on one of these weekend excursions several times but was never able to make it. Boy was I missing out! It was a blast. Myself and three other guys (Pat, Sam, and Mike) made our way out to the Mojave National Preserve on Friday evening after work to meet up with the rest of the group who had left earlier in the day. We drive in Sam's Jeep (which is 4-wheel drive).

Funny story... we stopped for gas and I said I would pay. So I put my credit card in to pay, while Sam took off the gas tank lid. Then both of us proceeded to do other things (throw the football around, go to the bathroom, etc.). When Sam came back, the lid was still off, so he put it back on thinking I left if for him to do. When I came back, I couldn't find the receipt, but thought Sam had taken it. We all piled back into the Jeep and went on our way. About 15 minutes later down the freeway, Pat noticed the gas gauge was still at half-full. We then realized that neither of us had filled up the tank! Sam thought I had filled it, and I thought Sam had filled it! We were all laughing hysterically when we realized what had happened. Luckily there was another station to fill up at just a few miles down the road. It was a great memory and funny story to tell our wives!

Ok, back to the trip. We made it out to our campsite (we were some where off I-40 many miles past Barstow) around midnight, set up our tents, and crashed. The next morning I awoke to clear blue skies, rocky hills, and quiet! Pat and I made breakfast which included pancakes in a can (picture a whip cream can full of pancake batter), sausage, juice boxes, and fruit (my bananas did not travel well which everyone heard about the whole weekend!). After breakfast we had a short devotional by Mike, packed up, and then got into our vehicles for a journey across bumpy dirt roads in the middle of no where. Of first stop was at "Hole in the Wall." It was a short hike through tight quarters. After our hike we ate a hefty lunch provided by Mike - sub sandwiches, chips, and more fruit. Then it was time for some serious off-roading; and when I mean off-roading, I'm talking about hitting your head on the roof, fish tailing, and getting stuck in the sand! Sam let me drive the Jeep for a few hours in the afternoon and it was quite the adrenaline rush, especially when I had to drive up a sandy hill that a few people got stuck in. I made it though with the help of Mike and Pat yelling at me to floor it! We made it to our final stop at the Kelso sand dunes where we were wind blasted by sand. Pat jacked his back up when he took a dive off the dunes (this is not like the beach). It was funny until we realized he could barely walk or sit. Our camp site was a bit random but we circled the vehicles in small gorge trying to avoid the wind, which ended up being impossible. Everything was drenched in sand including the dinner that Sam made - Carne Asada, veggies, and tortillas. Hey, a little grit never hurt anyone! After some time around the camp fire and a fireworks show, we turned in early. The next morning we packed up quickly so we could get back home for Sunday afternoon commitments. I have to say it was one of the better weekends I've had in a long time. Just pure fun with guys tearing up their vehicles in the middle of no where! When I was driving my red truck the next day, I even thought about how I could turn it into something that could survive an off-road trip. That dream died quickly when I remembered I was driving a 1991 mazda two-wheel drive, four-banger that makes a constant high pitched squeaking sound. I think I'll just stick to being a passenger and substitute driver! Here are some picture
from the weekend.

Our campsite the first night


Football time while we waited for other vehicles to catch up

Sam on the "Hole in the Wall" hike

Me, Pat, Sam, and Mike

Backside of the "Hole in the Wall" hike

Lots of wide open spaces

A steep incline in the road that required "flooring it" to ascend with success!

If this truck can't make it, then my truck will NEVER make it!

The Kelso Sand Dunes - a place Pat would like to forget!