Rip to the Strip
We’d all been looking forward to this trip for a while. 2 days of offroading and a layover day hanging out in Vegas. When the day finally arrived we were a bit concerned if we’d be able to proceed as planned. First, a fire had broken out on the Tejon Pass on the 15 Friday evening. This would was going to make it very difficult for a large number of our group coming from SoCal. 2nd, a storm had moved in. Yes, a storm in the middle of July in the desert!
The plan was to meet in Barstow at 1pm for a 2pm departure. Saturday started off good as I got from Gordon & Matt that Tejon Pass had been re-opened overnight. They had headed out at 6am to avoid any traffic and shoot some video.
They ended up getting some pretty amazing shots:
I finally reached Barstow around noon and it was pouring. We were all getting flash flood alerts on our phones. This did not bode well for us. However, the weather forecast claimed it would clear within the hour. We decided to grab lunch and then reasses. Well, sure enough, by the time we were done eating the rain had past and the sun was poking out.
We headed to the trailhead to meet up with the rest of the gang.
We said our hellos, aired down, and had a quick drivers meeting. A couple of guys had gotten caught up in some nasty traffic so they could catch back up with us in Cima. And we were off!
First section would take us across a dry lake bed which we were worried would be a muddy mess. Luckily it was dry and passable!
Next we started making our way through Fort Irwin. We were a bit surprised to find that the place was active with some sort of training place taking place. We probably should have turned around but we pressed on.
What was really funny is we would slow down to be respectful and not dust them but every time they’d wave us on wanting us to come blasting by. I think they were as excited to see our convoy as we were to see theirs.
As we neared the highway, which would take us into Cima, I noticed this “race car’ just sitting out in the desert. I figured the best thing to do would be park a tire on the trunk :)
Once we reached Cima we gassed up and decided to wait for the rest of the guys who’d been caught in traffic. We ended up waiting for about an hour which was fine since we were surprisingly ahead of schedule. The storm had actually made conditions great as there was no dust.
We headed out for the Cima Lava Tubes. This section of trail was a lot of fun. Somewhat sandy with terrain perfectly suited to work our suspensions but not past it’s limits.
We made quick work of this section and arrived at the Cima Lava Tubes. This would be my first time checking them out and they were very cool!
After spending about 40 minutes checking out the tubes, jumped in our trucks and moved out. It began to drizzle which was refreshing. I rolled down my windows to enjoy the fresh desert air which was so refreshing. Not something I’d anticipating. Figured I’d have the AC blasting all day with the windows up.
As the sun began to set we fired up the auxilarry lighting and continued on towards Vegas.
Soon the trail would we’d reach one of my favorite sections of trail. It’s pretty rough but it really works the suspension. A lot of technical driving where you are swerving side to side. The Icon suspension really shined through this section.
The group made quick work of this section and we reached the highway into Vegas. It was an amazing day. The weather turned out to be a blessing in disguise and we didn’t have any mechanical problems...not even a single flat!
After hanging out for a bit at the highway we headed into Vegas. It was pretty cool rolling down the strip with 20+ Raptors. The crowds seemed to thing so too as a lot of people paused to take photos.
Once we all checked in, most of the gang headed down to a sports bar where we hung out into the wee hours of the night.
Nikos decided to ride the bull...he didn't last long haha
Sunday was a day of relaxation. Many of us spent the day down at the Paris pool while a couple of our crew rented a Lambo. Got to love Vegas!
Monday we all gathered at the trailhead at 8am. We had a bit of fun watching Gordon and Matt doing some fly by’s in the Lambo.
Whoever had rented it the day before they were scheduled to returned it late so the rental company let them keep it for another half day. We had some fun taking some pictures with Gordon's prerunner.
Matt asked me if I wanted to drive to which I replied, “hell yeah...if I can fit!” As you can see it was a tight fit haha.
It was finally time for us to get moving. The group was much smaller, I guess a couple of guys had to much of a Sunday Funday. We made quick work of the first half of the trail. We decided to head back through Fort Irwin because there were a couple of neat spots we wanted to get video from. Unfortunately, we had to turn around. Apparently they were doing live fire drills this day!
We hopped back on Powerline Rd. and made our way into Barstow.
Other than a minor electrical issue on Nikos’ truck, there were no issues.
All in all it was an amazing trip. Got to see some cool sites, offroad, and party in Vegas. Can’t ask for much more than that!
Thank you to all that came out and made this a truly memorable adventure.
Jeremiah - EXO3