For Cindy and I, there really is no better way to kick off the new year than to do it in a Jeep, out in the middle of the Mojave Desert and most importantly, do it with a bunch of your friends. For 2017, we decided to make our annual WAYALIFE Kick Off Run an epic 108 mile trek across the Mojave National Preserve and do almost 80 of those miles all off road. Along the way, we made stops at historical destinations such as the Mojave Cross, an old coral known as Thomas Place, a massive iron mine known as Vulcan and the beautifully restored Kelso Station. Of course, we also got to see the towering Kelso Dunes rise above the desert floor and even made a stop to hike and explore the geological wonders of Hole-in-the-Wall. Below are a handful of photos that we took from all the fun we had and we hope you enjoy them.
The morning of our big drive down to SoCal.
Thanks to all the rain we had been getting the day before followed by a good amount of snow that followed later in the night, the drive down was slick as snot and slow going.
Fortunately, we arrived in Barstow safe and sound and we even had a few of our friends meet up with us for dinner.
To good friends and good times ahead of us - CHEERS!!
Before the crack of dawn on the day of our New Year Kick Off Run - Looks like we'd be getting a bit of dust control.
Meeting up with everyone at the starting point of our epic trek.
Always nice to see old friends again.
After everyone topped off, we made our way south for just a bit and made our very first stop over at the Mojave Cross.
Back in 1934, John Bembry, a medic and veteran of WWI moved out to the Mojave Desert and built a cross high on top of a rocky outcrop near Cima Dome. The cross was to serve as a memorial to those who fell in the war and it stood there for over 60 years before someone decided that it was offensive and had it covered it up. For 13 years, the cross had become a source of controversy and litigation and it was eventually cut down and stolen in 2010, after the Supreme Court determined that it could remain standing. Thanks to a lot of hard work and the dedication of those who fought for this memorial, the National Parks Service eventually paid to have the land surrounding the cross sectioned off, had signs put in place to indicate this was private property and established a plaque to identify it as an "official war memorial". On Veterans Day 2012, the 1-acre parcel was officially commemorated as much and handed over to the VFW. Here's what the memorial looks like today.
A BIG THANKS from all of us to all those who have fought or still fight for our freedoms.
Making our way through the Joshua Trees, we made our next stop over at the historic corral known as Thomas Place. Up until the National Parks Service bought them out back in 2000, corrals like this were needed by ranchers who had been grazing their cattle out in the Mojave Desert for well over 125 years.
You will not find a greater concentration of Joshua Tree anywhere in the world outside of the Cima Dome area and ironically, a big part of that was due to the cattle that grazed in the area for over a century.
All that remains of the old garage that stood once stood here.
The only structure that's still standing is an old dugout which most likely served as a cold storage room.
After working our way further to the south and through the Mid Hills, we made our next stop over at the Hole-in-the-Wall.
Of course, there's no better way to see this geological wonder than to get right up and into it.
Millions of years ago, volcanic lava and ash blanketed the area and over millions of years, erosion from water and wind exposed the gas bubbles trapped inside.
Looking back out.
Years ago, someone installed a set of metal rings to assist would be hikers to climb their way up what is now known as, the Ring Trail.
Up on top and looking down into the Hole-in-the-Wall.
After our nice hike and a bit of lunch, we were on the move again.
Our next stop was over at an old iron mine that was once operated by Kaiser Steel to help the war effort during WWII and it was known as, the Vulcan Mine. Here's everyone hiking their way into it.
Shot looking down into it.
Heading west and down the mountain, you get an impressive view of the Kelso Dunes rising above the valley floor.
Our next stop was over to the old town of Kelso.
Established in 1905, the town served as a simple whistle stop for steam locomotives to fill up on water and pick up a helper engine to make the long trek up Cima grade. During WWII, the town grew to well over 1,500 people as the Vulcan Mine went into full swing but the end of the war left the town vacant again. Diesel technology would eliminate the need for crew members needing to eat or stay overnight and by 1985, the Union Pacific closed the only real thing making it a town at all, the Kelso Depot. Narrowly missing being erased from history, the BLM gained ownership of the depot and by 2005, it was fully restored and re-opened to the public.
Moochie having some fun on one of the many displays.
I didn't do it I tell ya!
One of the few remaining original buildings in Kelso is the old L.J. Packard General Store and Post Office.
Back on the trail, we started the last leg of our long trek along side the Kelso Dunes.
Working our way through the Bristol Mountains.
Off the trail before dark and under a beautiful sunset - what a way to kick off a new year of great wheeling!
To all our friends who were able to join us out on the trail and kick off an awesome year of wheeling to come - CHEERS!!!
I'd like to give a BIG THANKS to everyone who was able to join us for the 2017 WAYALIFE New Year Kick Off Run. Cindy and I had an awesome time with all of you and we so look forward to getting out on the trail again with you and with any luck, sooner than later. We hope you enjoyed this trip as much as we did and if you have any pics that you took from the trip, we'd be grateful if you could please post them here.
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RENNY / 2015 Colorado Red BU Renegade Trailhawk
RUBICAT / 2012 Dozer Yellow JK Rubicon Unlimited
MOBY DICK / 2007 Stone White JK Rubicon Unlimited
CALAMITY JANE / 1974 Jetset Blue Metallic Jeep CJ-5 Renegade
RUSTY / 1972 White/Blue Jeep J2000 Pick-Up Truck
EMMA / 1969 Tan Kaiser Jeepster Commando C101
PAPPY / 1954 Yellow Willys CJ3B
A few pics from the run today. Thanks Eddie and Cindy for sharing some cool places, great time as usual!
Sent from my SM-G935V using WAYALIFE mobile app
Great pics. Looks like you guys had a great time.
WIFE'S GIRLY BUILD: http://wayalife.com/showthread.php?3...-of-Compromise
WJ PROROCK44 SWAP: http://wayalife.com/showthread.php?4...roRock-44-Swap
Strong work! Looks like a cool hike. I always wonder what people think when they see all those Jeeps lined up in a parking lot.
Build thread: http://wayalife.com/showthread.php?t=32769