Suzuki 4×4 Hi-Desert Adventure
Editor: Eric Bewley Photo: B. Bagwell, D. Arnold, K. Anderson, E. Hupp, S. Caudle
CENTRAL OREGON – Bigger and better than ever best describes this year’s Fall Classic. A bigger crowd combined with more snow and lower than usual temperatures created a memorable and we think “better” experience for all Fall Classic participants. Excitement ensued even before we started as extremely treacherous road conditions forced a couple of participants into the ditch before the rendezvous point in LaPine. Dennie and Carolyn received the worst of it as their two door hard top Sidekick ran afoul of the icy roads and ended up on it’s side. Not to have their spirits dampened by the crash, they flipped their rig back over on the wheels and continued on and were not even late to the meeting spot.
Around the campfire the first night while we were enjoying our chili potluck, the stories of the trip over started to come out. You see, the day before and the first day of the event so heavy snow fall and rough conditions over the Cascade range for which most had to pass through to even get to the Fall Classic. For example our group was in bumper high snow just to get over the pass and many of the small bands of travelers saw so many slide offs and mini-wrecks they lost count. With a start like this, the weekend has to be good. Right?
In short, the answer is yes. Besides a great adventure and company, we also added a raffle this year to help raise money for pro-OHV causes. This year, donations were raffled off from Calmini, Rocky Road Outfitters, Low Range Off-Road, 4WD Hardware, Zuks Off Road, Suzuki, and the Zukiworld Online Outlet Store.
We revisited our geocache and are happy to report that we’ve had some visitors since planting it last year.
If you’re in the area, please be sure to check it out.
Saturday morning came early to many in the group. We warmed up after a 5 degree night, got breakfast in our bellies, and lined up to head out and start our adventure. Unlike Friday, today was clear and sunny so all the fresh show and the sun made a glorious canvas for us to paint by the numbers. First, our geocache followed closely by the homestead / well geocache and photo op we visit each year. I think this year’s winner may be Steve’s LJ in front of the well in a “old meets older” sort of juxtapose. Next was to head towards the Green Mountain lookout and Crack in the Ground. Traveling was a bit slower than expected so after we had lunch at Green Mountain we decided to skip Crack in the ground and head right for the dunes.
Sand dunes are always fun but when you add snow drifts, the result can be really fun. This is where the Suzuki Equator really shined. The 4 liter V6 and rear locker made for some fun sideways action and, for lack of a better word, drifting. The Equator we’ve had since the ‘Zukfari continues to shine. Although initially skeptical of it’s abilities (coming from a ‘hard core’ wheeling background), we have really been won over by it’s performance. We can definitely see why it was voted ‘truck of the year’ in 2009 and we thoroughly enjoy driving it on the trails as well as to the grocery store.
We made it to the Ft. Rock diner well into the dark. Let’s say it was six p.m. or so and as usual, the place was empty but our group filled the whole place up and we all enjoyed a nice hot meal before it was back to camp and a night run for those that were so inclined. I decided to take part in this and was really glad I did as Davey took us up to a small mountain where it seemed we could touch the stars. Driving in the snow covered woods at night can be quite invigoration and it was. The group rolled back into camp around one in the morning and most hit the bags by two or two thirty a.m.
Sunday morning we broke camp and some travelers headed home early while the bulk of the group took the scenic route due north of camp up and over Pine Mountain via the hi-tension transmission lines. This is a great trail that can take followers north or south many miles right through the heart of Oregon and with a bit of planning and short jaunts off of this main line, one can see a lot of great things. One being Derrick cave. A previous standout for the Fall Classic we returned for a visit. Three brave souls trouped through the snow to find a local geocache while the rest went into the cave. The cave was found; the geocache was not but the day was still off to a great success. Next we headed toward Pine Mountain and enjoyed that trail out. There is always new things to explore and we didn’t get to do some interesting stuff we saw on the way out. Next year already has some new things to see!
As darkness fell, we got to the highway, said our goodbyes and broke off into travel groups as some were heading to Seattle, some to Bend, and other to Salem and points thereby. Another great year in the books. Please join us for next year’s adventure as we’ll visit some old favorites as well as explore some new territory.
Information for next year’s Fall Classic, pictures from participants, and discussions about the Fall Classic right here.