If you’re anything like us, we bet you spent late fall pushing your rig to its limits. After all, you knew there was an entire winter season to fix it up just right for spring. 4×4 shops like Liquid Iron Industries in West Berlin, NJ, Off Road Innovations in Winchester, VA, and All Terrain Outfitters (ATO) in West Chester, OH were slammed with driveline repairs, axle strengthening, bridging and replacement, differential and frame work, custom fabrication, ring and pinion, gear swaps, and air lockers. Now it’s the time we’ve all been waiting for— off-road season.
We’ve covered a number of upcoming events in full here, here, and here. But, really, why stop there when adrenaline to overcome every trail obstacle across the country is running rampant through our veins, right?
57th Annual Tierra Del Sol Desert Safari: March 1 – 3, 2019
Tierra Del Sol is the host of TDS Desert Safari, the longest running off-road event in Southern California. It also happens to be one of the area’s largest not-for-profit, family-oriented 4×4 clubs. “Tierra Del Sol offers 4-wheeling, camping, and other events suitable for the entire family. From scenic trails appropriate for stock and novice drivers to ultra-crazy, hardcore trails for the very experienced, TDS has something for everyone,” says the group. Event proceeds are used to fight land closures, keep trails open, and donate to worthy charities.
The event is held in Truckhaven, a desert area sitting just west of the Salton Sea off SR-22. These badlands offer plenty of steep hills, plateaus, and washes to test the limits of your rig. Even better, everyone who attends gets a free raffle ticket for a 2019 RZR Turbo S Velocity donated by Polaris, as well many other prizes totaling over $150k.
Camp4Lo Baha Expeditions Northern Baja Tour: March 21 – 25, 2019
Camp 4Lo Baja Expeditions is your very own guided tour through the Baja California Desert—specifically running the same trails used in the Baja 1000. “You bring your own rig and we show you the way,” says the organizers. The Northern Baja Tour is led by highly experienced off-roaders and desert racers, some of whom participated in the Baja events themselves, and is limited to 10 rigs. As you can see, Day 1 sets the tone for the entire journey ahead.
“We meet at the Tecate border crossing at 7 am. After introductions, rig check, and some announcements, we escort you through the border, caravan through town and hit the Compadre Trail. We off-road through the pine forest, south along some of the Baja 500 race course. Lunch stop in Valle De Trinidad for some tacos and cool beverages and back on the road for a short highway run onto the top of the El Diablo dry lake. You can really open it up here and see what your rig can do. After the shenanigans, we set up camp on the edge of the dry lake. While you relax, we prepare a carne asada dinner with all the trimmings. We enjoy some campfire and bench racing.”
Does it get any better than tacos and 4x4s?? Click here for more information on this and other upcoming trips for the Camp4Lo off-road season.
53rd Annual “MOAB” 2019 Easter Jeep Safari: April 13 – 21, 2019
This event requires zero introduction, but here’s a little fun fact. Started in 1967 by the Moab Chamber of Commerce, the first EJS trail was “Behind the Rocks Trail” with “Moab Rim” added the following year. And according to Red Rock 4-Wheelers, who now run the event, “In those days, individual ice cream packages were dropped by airplane to the trails at lunch.” Talk about manna from heaven during a desert trek!
Back then, there were no fees to join and the trail-riding only lasted for one day—Saturday. Then by 1982, the BLM began requiring permits and insurance, and the Chamber could no longer organize the event. Red Rock 4-Wheelers stepped in and the rest is history.
Obviously, the event has grown quite a bit over the years, now encompassing 40 trails over 9 days. But in honor of its humble roots, “’Big Saturday’ still remains the highlight of EJS on the Saturday of Easter weekend.
Here’s what’s new for 2019:
- All three days will be utilizing a portion of the Tip Toe Behind The Rocks Trail. Two Skills Days will include spotting and recovery techniques, with a third day as an introduction to winching and Hi-lift jack usage.
- New trail: Buttes and Towers, rated 3 on difficulty scale
- More than 200 exhibitors will be in attendance. During the Safari, there will be indoor and outdoor displays of 4-wheel-drive products on Thursday, April 18 and Friday, April 19 for those enthusiasts interested in doing a little shopping.
We recommend that you register online and request the safari magazine for comprehensive updates on trailheads, departure times, and other information.
16th Annual Daytona Jeep Beach: April 22 – 28, 2019
Currently, it’s the single Jeep-only annual charity event in Daytona Beach, Florida. In 2018, Jeep Beach saw a 60% increase in attendance over the previous year and continues to generate impressive tourism revenue for Volusia County.
This year, Daytona Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep, RAM has been named the official sponsor. And with five days, a slew of activities, and a vendor show with over 200 exhibitors? Attendees can expect a helluva good time beachside this off-road season. Celebrations begin with a Jeep Beach Tailgate Party & Sound Competition, with The King of Motorsports, Richard Petty. That is followed by off-site trail rides, an on-site obstacle course, a ShadeBrigade Tiki Party and Beachside Main Street Party, as well as a Show N Shine.
“Come to the Daytona International Speedway for the Largest Jeep Vendor Show in the country! Enjoy the new shopping-friendly layout and the new KidZone activities. Check out the Jeeps on the upgraded Obstacle Courses. Enjoy more food & beverages, including the addition of FanZone” says the group.
5th Annual Wake the Squatch: April 26 – 28, 2019
Held in Bonners Ferry, Idaho, Wake the Squatch is hosted by Mountain Mafia Entertainment, a group of experienced off-road competitors. It serves as a season-opener and qualifying event for a mega-buggy “havoc-style” racing competition, known as Mountain Havoc 4×4. Friends, this is open wheeling at its finest.
Born from a desire to reinvigorate this style of racing in the US, the people behind Mountain Mafia Entertainment established this competition “under enthusiast’s terms,” according to Four Wheeler Network. The group purchased the Purcell Trench Ranch to be used exclusively as an off-road season venue, going as far as building the courses themselves, setting up areas for visitor camping, and establishing spectator areas around the property.
“Four main events to kick off the season! Open wheeling for the public. Bring your own rigs and wheel the whole weekend. NMRA Racing: Side-by-side straight tracks and Hill n’ Hole. Mountain Havoc 4×4 Madness Last Chance Qualifier. $1,000.00 Bounty Hole for the mud trucks. Bring your own truck or watch the biggest and baddest battle it out for a spot in Havoc. Family-friendly, excellent spectating, great camping, and fun for all!” says Mountain Mafia Entertainment.
Today, it’s the largest mega-buggy event in the world, with a spirit that even inspired a television show on Velocity/MotorTrend TV. Click here to check out some episodes.
As our friends at WARN say, “Wherever you go, go prepared.”
Gearing up for a trail adventure requires a little time, a lot of tactfulness, and a helpful off-road checklist. Overpack and you’re sure to weigh down your vehicle and the experience. Underpack and, well, get comfy with your surroundings. Striking a balance will help you avoid unnecessary stressful moments with excessive profanity. Here are just a few of the key things you should have packed on your next off-road adventure.
The concept behind UpDownAir Systems is rooted in shattering a manually inefficient, time-consuming task while off-roading. The company’s on-board air delivery system is unlike anything else on the market and allows users to inflate or deflate all four tires simultaneously, at the flip of a switch. It removes all guesswork and delivers results quickly and accurately.
A Helping Hand
TrailFX recovery straps and rope shackles, a WARN recovery kit, and an ARB Speedy Seal Tire Repair Kit ensure those wheels are pointed toward home instead of awaiting a tow. That means you can get in, get out, and get going—enjoying a worry-free good time.
As for lighting that path, own the trail with the Rigid Industries’ RIGID Reflect advanced lighting solution. The “first LED light that not only illuminates the road ahead but also allows you to see what’s behind,” RIGID Reflect is a versatile light and side mirror all-in-one. Originally designed for the UTV and powersports market, this product is ideal for off-road enthusiasts.
Itching for a more modern look? Vision X offers one of the most powerful light bars on the market, ranging in size from 6″ to 51″. Like the cannon lights, they have daytime running backlit halos that double as handy camping lights. The Rock Light Pod Kits are available in multiple colors.
Whether one prefers off-road season or overland adventures—there is always a need for battery packs in today’s world of constant connectivity because, God forbid, we go without a charge. Redarc Manager30, NOCO charging solutions, CTEK fully automatic battery chargers, and Weego premium portable jump starters are an ideal solution for the inconvenient dead battery—and they make great stocking stuffers too.
Wherever this off-road season takes you, enjoy the ride and remember to share your personal experiences, tips, techniques, and product choices with us right here on The Engine Block!