LAND OF THE SUN

4 Wheel & Off Road - - CONTENTS - Verne Si­mons BY EDI­TOR@4WOR.COM PHO­TOG­RA­PHY VERNE SI­MONS

Cool rigs we saw at TDS Desert Sa­fari.

SOME­WHERE JUST EAST AND south of pretty much any­where in Cal­i­for­nia you’ve ever heard about is a strange place we love to go. It’s dry, des­o­late, and fore­bod­ing to most. Why do we love to go there? Well, we of­ten ask our­selves the same ques­tion, but year af­ter year we re­turn. The area just west of the Sal­ton Sea is a unique area filled with his­tory, ge­ol­ogy, amaz­ing views, un­pre­dictable weather, and some awe­some off-road­ing. The his­tory of the area in­cludes ge­ol­ogy formed by an an­cient seabed, Na­tive Amer­i­can sub­sis­tence in the area, a dry lake that was ac­ci­den­tally filled in 1905, the ru­ins of a failed cen­trally lo­cated desert lake re­sort, and more.

The off-road his­tory comes from the world’s old­est off-road event known as Tierra Del Sol’s Desert Sa­fari. The Sa­fari, gen­er­ally known as TDS (the ini­tials of the off-road club out of San Diego, Cal­i­for­nia, that puts it on ev­ery year), is un­like just about any off-road event mainly be­cause of the area that hosts it ev­ery year. With mud hills and sand stone ledges as far as the eye can see and trails criss­cross­ing the area, the ter­rain is a great test of any off-road ve­hi­cle’s prow­ess, and a great place to meet up with friends to have fun in the desert.

This year’s Desert Sa­fari was the 56th such event, mean­ing the event it­self is prob­a­bly suf­fer­ing from knee aches and get­ting let­ters from AARP, all while con­tem­plat­ing tak­ing more fiber pills. It’s great place to see 4x4s and off-road ve­hi­cles of all type and sorts. From mud trucks to sand rails, stock Jeeps to decked-out side- by-sides, one (if not more) of just about ev­ery­thing is on hand to play in the huge sand box (mostly dirt) that is this area of the South­ern Cal­i­for­nia desert.

One of our fa­vorite pas­times, be­sides play­ing in the dirt hills of the area, is to look for unique rigs to share with you. Check out what we saw this year at the Tiera Del Sol Desert Sa­fari. For more in­for­ma­tion on TDS 2018 and next year’s event, the 57th Desert Sa­fari, check out td­s4x4.com

We have al­ways liked the looks and util­ity of the first-gen Toy­ota Ta­coma dou­ble-cab trucks. We saw this one near the train­ing cen­ter and had to snap a pic. With just the right bal­ance of go-fast good­ies, 35-inch tires, and a cou­ple of lock­ers, this thing could be a ton of fun just about any­where in the desert.

Tierra Del Sol’s Desert Sa­fari is a great event to check out all kinds of unique rigs. The mud hills and notches are the place to twist up your sus­pen­sion, find the lim­its of your trac­tion, and have fun, but the washes al­low for high speeds, es­pe­cially with the right rig. We saw (and heard) this cool desert-prepped square-body Chevy in one of the washes near the

Ocotillo Wells Train­ing Cen­ter. We don’t know what pow­ered this retro-tas­tic pre­run­ner, but it sounded healthy.

Is that the most an­noy­ing sound in the world? It’s not ev­ery day you see Lloyd and Harry cruis­ing the sheep dog at your fa­vorite off-road event. It’s good to see these guys are still friends af­ter all those ad­ven­tures and many years gone by. In all se­ri­ous­ness, we think that’s a late-model Geo Tracker un­der that brown car­pet. What­ever it is, see­ing it wheel was al­most as much fun as the guys driv­ing it were hav­ing!

Vin­tage iron in use is al­ways fun to see. How about this rowdy-look­ing 1960s Chevy C-10 truck or the late-’50s Ford on Bog­gers be­low? Where’s a mud hole when you need one?

A Subaru wagon with skid-steer di­rec­tional tires? Sure, why not. Why bother with trim­ming fend­ers when you can just re­move the whole stupid things? What­ever it takes to have fun in the dirt!

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