On Friday, April 26, 2002, the Roughwheelers gathered for an almost annual run to the Calico Ghost Town area. This report is compiled from the best of my memories. If some of the names are changed, itıs not to protect the innocent; I probably just forgot them.
Some of the non-working members (and some members still working) of the club had the luxury of leaving early to beat the L.A. traffic and set up camp in Mule Canyon. They were Steve & Carol Long, Dave and Toni Telenko (in their motor home of all things), Rhonda & Bob Hughes, Dakota, Thumper, Oreo, Lion and guest soon to be member Don. The rest of us left Winchellıs at the usual 8:00pm, which amounted to Bustop and me. We picked up Chris and son Lane at Green River and 10 Ball in Victorville. We also picked up a guest, Khan, in Victorville who had just driven in from Denver to join us and ride along with 10 Ball. After we established camp in Mule Canyon after midnight, we did our best to wake the early birds. An old member known as Red Barron pulled in just after midnight. We also had two guest Toyota Land Cruisers camped up the wash from us, one know as Mudlord; I donıt know why.
On Saturday, we set out at 9:00am across some mud hills on the way to Doran Canyon. Red Baron got stuck on a rock and he and Lion took a by-pass. The rest of us snaked down the narrow wash and found our way to Doran Canyon, where the plan was to get everyone through and on to Bismarck Mines by lunch. Ha! Something was different about Doran this year. Bustop got stuck in an interesting almost vertical position and required a winch to extricate himself only to become high centered on a large boulder several yards up the pass. This one required a winch and a high lift jack. Next to try was Oreo, who got almost on his side. After many attempts with no progress he was voted off the rock. Then Dennis did almost the same thing and voted himself off the rock. Steve crawled over the obstacle in fine fashion with air lockers, an automatic TJ and the accurate guidance of Bustop. Next to try was one of the Land Cruisers, who also encountered trouble and had to back off. Those two were all who were to make it through however, as the rest of the club opted for the by-pass. We continued up Doran with out incident when suddenly what sounded like ³Bob you broke your axle² came across the CB. Hughes and I both jumped out of our Jeeps to check. It was really Dakotaıs Grand Cherokee with a broken axle. The progress of the group was delayed for two and half hours while theories about repairs were exchanged and Dennis, as usual, saved the day by finding the correct wrench to get to the Cı clips. Somewhere during this time Thumper returned to camp with a broken hub. After the axle was fixed, Bustop headed the group back down Doran, where Dakota managed to pop a bead going down a step. Bustop also managed to blow a u-joint at the same spot. Three mavericks (Steve, Dennis and I) split off the back of the group and went up Doran to the Bismarck Mines. Dennis and I eventually found Odessa Canyon and followed it down to the highway and back to camp, while Steve took off somewhere else. Later, he was heard complaining on the CB that he was all alone coming down Odessa? Go figure! Some how he showed up at camp later on towing a motorcycle, which belonged to Donıs son. Odessa was fun and looks like a good place to go up some other time.
Saturday night was the usual fun and talk around a fire that was very smokey at times. Pappy showed up in time for dinner looking like a figure from the Wild West, but missed the run. He was convinced that we were all a bunch of wimps for not getting through the lower part of Doran, but used the excuse that he couldnıt afford breakage right now to prove that we were wimps. Ha! Sunday morning arrived with a discussion about whether to go to Stoddard Wells as planned or go to Calico Ghost Town to play horseshoes. I had to leave early so I donıt know the final outcome.
Bigtop Bob Baker