A few months ago, Dan and I bought a new toy. We are now the proud owners of a 2014 Jeep Wrangler that we have named Nemo for its orange and chrome coloring. We had a Disney Nemo antenna topper, but he lost his tail the first time we took him out on the trails in Big Bear. A tree branch sliced it right off. We have quickly learned that it's a lost cause to keep Nemo looking pretty. We've embraced the scratches, dents and missing fish tails!
Last Saturday, we went to our first Jeep event, the CORVA Family Fun Run in Hungry Valley. CORVA ( California Off-Road Vehicle Association) is a group that fights to preserve land for recreational vehicle use. Prior to joining CORVA, just a few weeks ago, I had no idea that the scope of this issue was so large. It seems to be a constant battle to keep access open and many areas, like Pismo Beach, are on the brink of being shut-down for off-roading. This is a new hobby for us, but it looks like with as much fun as we will have with our Jeep, that we must also take an active role in both the political side of it and with trail maintenance. I'm happy to do it, but admittedly, this was not something that even crossed my mind when we purchased Nemo! Luckily, everyone we met through the CORVA event couldn't have been nicer or more welcoming. We are in good company.
Saturday was an early start, with Dan waking me up at five-thirty AM and us hitting the road before seven. I'm a bear in the mornings! We found our way to the Honey Valley Campground by eight-thirty and check-in was a breeze, literally. The high winds made for a bitterly cold morning and I kept sitting in the Jeep to keep warm. Dan braved the cold to lower our tire pressure before we hit the course.
At ten-thirty, we started. At registration, we were given a poker card, which we took to check points along the course.
What is a poker run? At each check point we hopped out of our Jeep and pressed an electronic poker game picking a card, which was stamped on our score sheet.
The second half of the check point included carnival-style games of skill. Here is a pic of Dan attempting to toss bean bags into buckets at check point three.
We ended up forming a caravan with three other Jeeps. This was really fortunate, because not only did we make new friends, but at one point we needed to be winched out of a tight spot! I felt safer having people looking out for us on the trails. We drove over big rocks and up steep hills. It was a lot of fun, but more adventurous and technical than we had anticipated! We have decided that we are not rock people.
Here's a video that we took of our drive through a very tight space! This was one of my favorite parts of the course.
We took a break before hitting all of our check points, when a member of our group had mechanical problems. Truthfully, I was ready for the hot dog lunch that CORVA members had prepared, at three dollars, it was a bargain. It surprised me how much we built up an appetite from trail driving.
Here is Bob, fixing his Jeep.
As we bumped over rocks and scraped against tree branches, I was certain that our Jeep would sustain some major damage, if not mechanical problems. However, Nemo is tough and he survived with only some minor scratches underneath the thick blanket of dust. Apparently there is some damage underneath, but I'm too scared to look and he's still running!
The festivities continued into the evening, with a dog show, a delicious tri-tip dinner and the biggest raffle that I've ever seen. Look at all of the prizes!
We won a a bag that included a set of lashing straps, a sweatshirt from Off-Road Vixens, tons of stickers and this DVD...
A big thank you to all of the CORVA volunteers for putting on an amazing event and to all of the members for being so nice to us newbies and making us feel like part of the group. We met a lot of wonderful people and learned a lot about Jeeping. We are looking forward to many future events.