July 29, 2000
The Ord Mountains, situated near Barstow, contain over 500 miles of OHV trails that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) closed in 1994. The BLM is now reopening over 190 miles of trails. Until August 15, OHV enthusiasts equipped with GPS', markers, notepads and trail maps are hitting the trails and providing comments about the trails that are proposed to be reopened.
Last Saturday, as the suffocating heat of a summer morning in the desert rapidly intensified, 35 members of various CA4WD clubs of the South District met in the dusty parking lot of the infamous Slash X Café. We were divided into four groups and the map was divided into four areas, each group being assigned a different area to explore. The RoughWheelers comprised one entire group and headed out to explore trails in the southeast area of the Ord Mountain range. High with the spirit of adventure to travel otherwise 'closed' roads were Montego & Louise, Santa Fe & Oreo, Lion, Casper & Scarecrow, and Cupcake & Pappy.
Montego and Louise were in the lead jeep juggling the aforementioned assortment of GPS, maps, markers, etc. trying to locate the proposed trails. Before us lay trails void of tire marks; instead small bushes, burro tracks and turds marked the road to take. Hardly a sparkle of a discarded bottle or can could be seen.
We had fun on a few dry waterfalls and really got in some good four wheeling on 'SJ29'. On the map this appeared to be a dead end after some distance. We never got as far as the dead end on the map, however, determining our own turnaround much sooner. This tricky trail clearly warranted a more challenging rank than the designated '2WD' the BLM gave it.
As much fun as we were having playing on I mean, evaluating and giving proper consideration to the 4WD merits of this proposed trail, we had many more miles to cover before our task and time was done.
Since we started early that morning, our lunch stop was also early and we enjoyed it near an open pit mine.
We were due back at Slash X with our completed reports at 12:30PM. It was clear we would not make this time and have our task anywhere near completion. The trails we drove after lunch revealed themselves to be generally suitable for 2WD. However, we could practically smell the possibilities lurking in the hills and look forward to returning to playing in this area - LEGALLY - again!
Rabbits lept along the trails in front of us, lizards darted about, a dove/pigeon looked a little out of place at one point and a hawk circled overhead. Somehow, Oreo spotted a big tortoise nestled on a shady ledge in a wash wall.
We reconvened at the Slash X to talk with the other teams and write up our findings for submission to the BLM. 'Thank You!' to those who came out and participated in this important mapping event. You spotted potential campsites, interesting vegetation and wildlife. Most importantly, you demonstrated your enthusiasm for four wheeling and ensuring we have more places to go to in the future.