The COVID-19 virus and social distancing has affected everybody.. thankfully, club members have found ways to stay together and stay active! Below are some of the stuff that we have been up to recently.
One of our members — Brent, his wife, and dog — took the opportunity early on to escape and take social distancing to the extreme with a trip to Carrizo Plains. Other than a few Colorado ZR2s with roof top tents that they saw on the road in, they never saw another vehicle or human being from Friday through Sunday. Lots of wild life, though – including a family of coyotes with 5 pups that they were able to watch with binoculars for about 45 minutes. The pups and Dad were playing raucously while Mom kept a watchful eye on a large Golden Eagle that was perched near by. It had them wishing for their DSLR camera and a big lens….
Like many others, the club had their first with a virtual meeting for the April club meeting. We met at the same time, and went through the typical agenda.. as expected there was multiple comments of, “how we wish we could be together.” There was one unexpected perk of the virtual format though; people were setting their background of campsites or popular 4wd areas, and we had fun with that for quiet a while. We don’t normally have the ability to share all the photos from our computers to everybody, and we definitely took advantage of the moment!
Shortly after the club meeting in April — what initially started as a conditions check-in over the club e-mail list about West Camino Cielo, turned into a real run for a small group. The plan was to drive West Camino Cielo from the 154 to Refugio Rd. The road meanders around the mountain-top, with spectacular ocean views along the way. A group of 3 rigs ended up meeting up near the Winchester Gun Club Shotgun Range at 9:30am, and headed over all the way to Refugio pass road. Total moving time was 1h40min at a slow, easy pace.
It began to rain lightly just at 9:15 and a light rain continued the entire time with a foggy/drizzly wind blowing in from the SE obscuring the views, especially at the ridge tops.
Early on, the group stopped while they checked in with a guy in a disabled VW crossover. He had damaged his trans and couldn’t move forward. Thankfully, he had a friend coming with a truck so we left him there to wait, since it wasn’t practical for one of us to try to tow him out (and unnecessary). It was weird not being able to say “hop in and I’ll drive you up to the road head” though.
The streams of water washing the trail made for extra interest, and there were enough washouts that they said the road could deserve a “high clearance vehicles recommended” sign.
It was rocky, so for comfort most aired down but 4WD wasn’t really necessary. At the time, the entire road probably could have been done in 2wd.. even in the mud and rain. All in all, the group enjoyed the day out on the road.
Last, but certainly not least… we have a new rig in the club. Bryan and Tiffany added a Jeep Wrangler JKU to their garage, and affectionately named it “Chub Chub”. They wasted no time getting the “trail rated” certification with a lift, 37″ tires, some big rocks, and mud.
During these strange times, we are grateful for each other and we’re grateful to still have the ability to stay social and active. We are looking forward to some sort of normality and the first club trip after all this, but until then we are making the best of the situation. From our family to yours, stay safe.. we’re alone together.