Gobble, Gobble, Gobble!
(Thanksgiving, 1999)

Well, once again we all gathered in the desert for Thanksgiving. Every year, we all make excuses and try to explain to co-workers, family members and friends just why-in-the-hell we'd go out were the sand blows and its cold at night. But they don't know nothin'! And this year, Thanksgiving week couldn't have been better. We were all real careful not to mention the ìWî word and "Thank God!î, this year the weather couldn't have been better. In fact, in all the years the Roughwheelers have been celebrating Thanksgiving together, I'd say the weather has never been better!

Toni and Dave had their new motorhome out on its maiden voyage. Except for a hub cap and a couple of scraps, it made it through the wash in fine shape. I don't want to say its big, but they were kind enough to park it so that the entire camp would have shade in the afternoon. Iceman was out a week before Thanksgiving, and was still there when I left. He may still be out there for all I know. Rhonda and Bob came out the weekend before, and were staying until the Monday after to avoid traffic. It must be tough being retired!

Some of us even made two trips to Grave Wash. I HAD to drop off Diane and Sean the weekend before because THEY had the entire week off. After a little wheeling on Sunday, I drove the Jeep back to town and worked for 3 days. While I was out there the first weekend, Patti and Orejano showed up, spent the night, and went home. They had to leave early Sunday because they had more packing to do.

The first Sunday I was out there, we managed to squeeze in a little trail running. Mostly Iceman and myself looking for a little trouble to get the club into later in the week. We found a neat little hill to climb with a nasty step at the top. After I took a few tries, Gary walked right up. In the past, I've had a little fun at his expense, so I probably deserved that. I modified my line a little and followed over. We would revisit this step later in the week. Next, we found the slide that leads down from Dusty. Problem was, we were at the bottom. Going up was worth a real giggle, but not according to Diane. We'd been measure the fun by the amount of squeaks that Diane and Barbara gave out. The prior little hill with the step was a two-squeaker. Going up the slide must have damaged the squeak meter because all I got was a glare after she opened her eyes. Sorry honey! We took a break at the top of Dusty and then headed down the front side. More giggles here the hillside below the trail liked to crumble a little bit every time a vehicle went over it. I was leading, but somehow managed to be the last one down.

Thursday, we cooked. Diner was superb as usual (way to go Toni and Dave!). A few more stragglers wondered in, include the Cari and Brett caravan. They'd had a flat in Indio. Cari's mom, Anella had just bought a CJ7 (Fresh meat!). After diner we had some pies. Friday, we went on our rough run. Several people asked me where we were going. My answer was simple "There!î (I'd point to the rise next to camp). We spent an hour or so running a few of the notches up there. I think that spending the first hour or so next to camp really works out pretty good. People were walking back to camp to get forgotten supplies and it wasn't hard to get the broken vehicles back to camp. Later, we stopped for our now traditional battery welding demonstration and then continued on. We had lunch back at the top of Ol' Dusty. A few members managed a couple of giggles getting up there. From the top, we had a great view. There were several other clubs out there to watch.

Saturday, was another rough run, and instead of messing with success, we did about the same thing. We wondered over into Coral Wash and found the Bee Hive, which isn't looking too active these days. Pappy and Lauren's guest broke a u-joint on a neat little hill, so we headed down the wash to take them back to camp, or at least some of us did. Really, I wasn't going to just stop the run at that point! Well, Iceman was tired of nursing a spent throw out bearing, so he and some others went the easy way back to camp and I looked for the rest of the group. I found them trapped on a ridge with Louise leading them. I'd like to claim that I rescued them from dire straits, but after I arrived, Louise just lead them down and we continued on. Louise managed to find some interesting stuff and even found that slide again on the back side of Dusty. They went up and then came back down. Now that's getting the most giggle out of the slide.

We returned to camp to find the Sandoval's partly out of camp. One of the trailer tires needed fixing and it was time for a tire R & R demonstration. I pulled the old tire off the rim, and then let Hector put the new one back on. They were then able to continue their trip home.

After diner, we sat around the campfire and eat more pie. The week was over, but what a week it had been. We got up early then next morning and threw everything onto the trailer and made it out of camp by 9:30. We managed to beat most of the heavy traffic and had a nice drive home.

This Thanksgiving was perhaps one of the best ever