The run to Calico started for me around 5:30 PM on Friday when I decided to get any early start for the camp area near Calico up Mule Canyon. When I got there around 8:30PM, Hector and Ginny, Gary and Cathy, Andy and Cathy, and Victor were already there. Later, Bob and Rhonda, Pappy and Nancy, Lauren and Stephanie, Chris and Shane, Montego, Dennis and friend, Steve and Carol, and Mike (Carol's brother) and Jennifer and Jamie.
The next day (Saturday) at 9AM we took off for Duran Canyon. We started with 12 vehicles, but picked up a guy with two girls in a new TJ. It took nearly two and a half hours to get everyone through the first canyon. I spent a great deal of time waiting in my vehicle since I was able to get near the front of the pack and got tired of walking back to watch those who had trouble, but what I did observe was Montego bashing the hell out of his Montero, Lauren getting experience in her new jeep, and various others working their way up the rough rock barriers. At one point we waited for 2 hours and ended up eating lunch before the group finally got back together. We finally got to the top of Duran at 4PM. Seven hours to do a run that should have and had in the past taken 3 hours. Bob had planned to explore some of the mines in the area, but we were so tired that we just headed back to camp which we reached around 5:30PM. We had our usual good time cooking around the fire and having fun. We even had a Christmas tree to expand the circle for a while.
Next day (Sunday) we got ready to go over to Calico Ghost Town for our usual play and horseshoes. We had heard there was some kind of festival going on that included a horseshoe tournament, so we knew we would not be able to have our yearly private contest. Unfortunately the team of Bob and Keith did not have to defend their crown so they remain the champs based on the last no competition games they had.
Thinking it would be crowded, I went over early to find almost an empty parking lot. The reason for that was that all the contestants parked in a parking lot up on top near the town. The rest of the group showed up shortly and ribbed me over my early start. On thing that was evident to me was that our horseshoe attempts are strictly amateurish if that. These guys (and women) were good. We also found out that Keith is a member of one of these clubs, but obviously hasn't benefited from it. During our pizza break, I mentioned that Chris's new hat looked like "Roadkill" and at Steve's suggestion, a new handle was born. Moments of inspiration can come at any time. It wasn't difficult to dub Lauren "Strapper", but I'm not sure it will stick. I spent a large part of the day watching horseshoes while other watched various other contest like climbing the greased pole and finding the nickel in the haystack. The crowning end to our visit was watching Steve and Montego compete in the egg toss. I felt they had a good chance, but some jackass tossed his egg way out of line and his catcher ran right in front of Montego just as the egg got there from Steve. Montego still managed to get a hand on it, but it apparently already had a small crack and when Montego dropped it from about 3 inches, it broke; not fair, but the judges said nothing.
We aired up around 1:30PM and started back home. We made one stop at McDonalds for Rhonda to do what she does and had some ice cream and then went the rest of the way without incident. A fun run, but I'm sure that Bob and Keith were happy we couldn't play horseshoes since Keith wasn't there.
Those new 1997 Jeep TJ Wranglers are supposed to be so great. Hector was stoked to be the first Roughwheeler to tow a stuck one. We met this guy & his friends in Calico Canyon. They followed us, and it was good for them they did. Hector drives a highly modified seventies Toyota Land Cruiser that has almost no original parts. Although it did require pulling a few times, the TJ did better than expected, considering it was still new & unimproved. Remarkably, Hector didn't break anything this trip.