The Desert is a Special Place

57th Annual Tierra Del Sol Desert Safari – March 1-3, 2019

It’s Thursday, Feb 28, 2019, and I’m wide awake thinking about the upcoming days at the 57th Annual Desert Safari hosted by Tierra Del Sol Four Wheel Drive Club of San Diego staged in Ocotillo Wells. The safari is the longest-running off-road event in the nation.

At 3:30 am there’s quiet stillness. The world is just waking up and I’m eager to get on the road. While most people load their gear the day before, I, however, always seem to load in the wee hours of the morning under the moonlight stars all while trying not to alarm my neighbors. I’ll like to think there’s something about being stealthy or maybe I’m just a big procrastinator.

My morning goal was to get to Ocotillo Wells early and rope off a large enough area to accommodate up to 8 rigs. The highway was wide open and I got there in record time. However, I was not able to get our desired location, yet it all worked out with our second choice location. Without knowing it, I set up right next to another group of local Overland Bound members whom I’ve never met. This is why I enjoy these events—you just don’t know who
you’ll meet.

Over the next few days, we played at Truckhaven 4X4 Training Area. The area consists of 22 colorfully named obstacles spread across 30 acres. The obstacle difficulty range from beginner, intermediate to advanced with names like the Little Twister, Log Jam, Little Wupdido, Get-er-Done Gulch, Little Rubicon, Get Tired, Chutes & Ladders, and Gage Keeper to name a few. The training area is a great safe place to get to know your rig, test yourself, and know your limits.

With so many trails, washes, and offshoots, we spent most of our time in Borrego Badlands and Four Palms Spring areas. One could spend a week here and not take advantage of all the trails. With so many options and directions, one could surely stretch their rigs and test their own limits with each new trial.

There were no major issues on the trail, with only one trail maintenance when a rock got between Cliff’s brakes and the dust shield cover, of his GMC which was an easy fix. I myself got hung-up on a rock waterfall in which the max tracks came in handy for the recovery.

As for the details of each run, I personally had a few pucker factors moments. I hope you would make time next year to attend this great event with friends and family because the desert is a special place.

Member Dominic Moschetti