The Fall Classic 2010
High Desert Adventure in Central Oregon.
Editor: Eric Bewley Photo: G. Fuller, D. Arnold, B. Bagwell, B. Zeigler, G. Mikkelson
Fort Rock, OR – As stated by the immortal Bill and Ted, “Excellent!” would be the one word to describe this year’s event. There seemed to be a coming together of elements that made this adventure a real hootenanny. The weather as always was unpredictable but this year gave us a real treat by covering us in snow and staying cold enough so that we didn’t get too wet, the return of our good friend and Zukiworld Staff member, Zig, attempting and succeeding in one of his cross country road trips, the night-time adventures of Davey and crew, the geocache finding and the planting of new, and the land itself gave all who dared to join us a wonderful and memorable time.
There were a few distinct groups in their approach to the great central Oregon desert in November. While a couple of participants drove their campers out to the main camp, most chose to rough it and enjoy the adventure from a more primitive origin. Most were in tents and we had enough people this year that we had to have more than one campfire to keep the chill away at night. I’m sure that from a distance and by the full moon light our little camp probably looked like an Ewok village or possibly an encampment just out side of Barter town.
From our Friday rendezvous point in Lapine we always seek out a different route over the mountain to get to our camping spot. Most of these roads are graded gravel but if you search long enough, you can find quality two-track trails to get you there. Normally, this bit of travel is the only place we see a bit of snow but in the last few years and especially this year we had plenty of snow and that coupled with some spirited driving, caught a few participants off guard and landed them in the ditch.
No worries though, a tug strap and a bit of good-hearted ribbing gets you out in a jiffy.
Since we enjoy finding nifty geocache out on the trail, we decided to plant our own and hopefully share this fun pastime with others. If you’re out in the area look up our cache on Geocache.com at the link http://coord.info/GC2JNCH
We left some pretty cool stuff here in the Cache. People brought items from their neck of the woods to place in the can. Our youngest Geocache master Silas age 9, put something very special in there for others to find.
Traveling through the forest was a real treat with all the fresh snow. On most all of the trails we took we were making fresh tracks. There was quite a diverse group of vehicles participating to. The Fall Classic is the only “open to the lesser makes” activity we host and once in awhile you see some really interesting vehicles and modifications that get the creative ideas flowing. One such vehicle was this Samurai with trailer, while this is by no means the first time we’ve seen a Samurai pulling a trailer, this was one of the first times it made sense. They were able to bring a lot of gear and set up a nice camp while still maintaining a rough and ready ride for the tougher wheeling. There were also three Toyota vehicles ranging from a diesel powered FJ60 to a coil-over equipped solid axle 4Runner. A Dodge Dakota and Jeep J/K rounded out the ‘weirdo’ rigs. There were several fine Samurai specimens, a few 2nd generation Vitara and some Sidekicks to round out the field.
During this time of year there is just not much daylight, so we try to make the most of that time and then add in evening activities to fill out the days. This year we made all of our favorite high points such as Hole in the Ground where the show pack did make driving to the center quite enjoyable, Fort Rock which is always appreciated for it’s splendor and the heated flush toilets in the parking lot (Seriously – in the middle of nowhere a flush toilet?), and the Christmas Valley Dunes themselves which served up some pretty fun times this year as several tried to make their mark on a large dune climb.
Around the fire we held a chili potluck that hit the spot and started the weekend off right and continued to give all trip long. We were scheduled to have an outdoor dart tourney but due to a technical difficulty with the darts, this did not happen and everybody had to settle for an excellent meal at the Fort Rock diner. If you’re ever in this area, please stop by and say hi and order up some of there delicious food.
There was the obligatory night ride where the more adventurous souls travel out into the sticks at dark. This evening ride is shrouded in mystery and only those who do it know about what really goes on. But I was told there was something to do with a fox’s tail, a flash light, a stick of beef jerky, and candle wax… or not.
..No matter. As always this trip was a highlight for me personally and if you get the chance, please consider coming out with us for the ride.
For the most part, the weekend was trouble free… oh wait, that’s not true.
There was a lot of hood popping and small adjustments made as we went along our way. One of the Toyotas had rust-frame spring hanger failure but was able to limp home and another had some wheel bearings go out on the final day. Fortunately, they were close to Bend at that time and was able to fixed before a long drive home to Washington.
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