I just got back from a wild and crazy road trip to San Diego, CA. We started in San Antonio, TX, making "pre-trips" to Austin and Corpus Christi to pick up surfboards and supplies. Along the way, I saw a number of Defenders and thought that I'd post them here to see if they belong to any group members. I saw:
- Yellow D-90 in Austin, decked out with roof rack, lift, ARB front bumper. I think it was #2610 or close to that. Parked outside of small apartment building.
- Green D-90 in Austin with series-style taillights. Spotted outside of REI.
- Green D-90 in Austin, outside of what might have been a Jaguar repair shop
- White 110 in San Diego; appeared to be stock
- Yellow D-90 with surfboard, topless, near Cardiff Reef (or was it near Swami's?). Very cool.
- Yellow D-90 somewhere near Cardiff, with soft top on
Can anybody claim one of these? I also saw a very, very sweet (and HUGE), cherry red Mercedes truck, which I think was some sort of MOG. It was gigantic and in very nice shape. Lucky bastard, whoever owns this...
Read on if you are interested in our crazy road trip antics...
Most of the trip was spent driving and we vowed to avoid interstate highways and major highways as much as possible. We started in San Antonio and after side trips to Austin and Corpus Christi, we drove to El Paso, where we exited the Interstate and took back roads most of the way from El Paso to San Diego. Along the way, I scouted many potential spots for Rover future expeditions. We took a southern and very remote route along the border near Columbus, NM. We cut across the southern New Mexico border and headed to Douglas and Bisbee, Arizona. After a mildly disappointing visit to Bisbee--we foolishly expected it to look as depicted in the recent season finale of Curb Your Enthusiasm
--we drove through Sierra Vista/Fort Huachuca (hooah!), and on to Tucson. We took I-8 out to Gila Bend, and Yuma, stopping to take a walk out in the deserts east of Tucson. Once again, we exited the Interstate and attempted a dirt road the Imperial Sand Dunes
. My cousin (a Disco owner) was at the helm of our rented minivan and managed to take off the rear bumper when he drove through an arroyo
at 30 mph. In retrospect, we should have signed Hertz's loss/damage waiver! We abandoned the dirt road and took pavement to the Dunes, which were really awesome. I stripped to my skivvies and took a flying leap off a high dune, like a mad man. I can't wait to make it back to this place with my Rover. After shaking sand from our hair, we drove on to Brawley, CA, where some very kind folks at an auto body repair shop fixed our bumper and laughed at our stupidity. Happy to be back in one peice, we abandoned our plans to drive to the Salton Sea and, instead, made a beeline for San Diego. We spent the next two days at various surf spots between Cardiff and San Onofre. The insane 15' swell on Wednesday was way too much for us Texans and we spent most of that day hanging out and watching the hardcore guys ride triple-overhead waves at La Jolla and Swami's.
On the return trip, we turned off of Interstate 8 and headed for Julian, CA. From here, we drove down a very steep and windy desert back road, towards the Salton Sea. It was so wild and crazy that we decided to stop and pull out the road bike (bicycle) that we'd brought along and do a 1:00 AM version of a Tour de France hill descent.
After swinging through the town of Mecca, we headed into the Joshua Tree National Park. Once in the park, we decided to take a back route called Old Dale Road
. Like our previous off-pavement adventure, this also turned out to be a mistake. We made it 20 miles on this dirt road (at 3:00 AM now), when we came upon a rocky section of road that our Toyota Sienna minivan could not negotiate. Cursing our luck and longing for our Rovers back in Texas, we turned around and took small highways from Twentynine Palms, through insanely desolate country to Parker, Arizona. I absolutely must come back to this area with my Rover. We stopped the car in the middle of the night and walked out into the desert about a mile or so. It was very, very neat out there. Do any of you Southern CA folks ever head out here? Well, back to the road. After sunrise outside of Prescott, AZ, we pushed on through Cottonwood and Sedona. After a long night of driving, Sedona was a bit of an unpleasant shock, so we kept driving along the beautiful highway between Sedona and Flagstaff. We stopped for breakfast/lunch in Flagstaff before heading to the Grand Canyon for the afternoon. After some hiking and gawking, we pointed the car east on I-40 and hauled arse for Albuquerque. We made it in around 2:00 AM. This was the end of the trip for us. I flew home to San Antonio this morning, while the rest of the crew stayed in ABQ with family.
All-in-all, it was an awesome trip. The driving was all done continuously, stopping only for food and exploration. On the way out there, we drove for over 36 hours, taking only one 30 minute nap. I can't wait to do this again, but this time at a relaxed pace and driving my D-90.
Hope to post the pics and videos soon.