Wednesday, January 4, 2012


For the past ten years I have been making the trek each January down to Occotillo Wells on Highway 78. It's a tiny burg in California's southern desert about half way between San Diego and Palm Springs. For things to do, it Rivals Nevada's "Loneliest Road in America" for variety.Why do we go? It's one of the few places left in the state where you can go off-roading almost completely unhindered by Nanny State regulations. Most of the guys on the Run will bring dirt bikes. A few will haul dune buggys. Me? I enjoy hiking the barren hills.

The Desert Run was started by my buddy CAPT. Mark Schwartzel lo, these many years ago. He wanted a way to get out of the city and go camping with his sons. Ocitillo Wells is Hard Camping--Grapes of Wrath Camping. We have to haul in everything we need including water. This is not some flossy, Holiday Inn, Lets-go-across-the-street-to-the-shopping-center-and-spa camping. This is the real He-Man Right Stuff.

Seriously, it's a great time to get away and just be a guy. We throw rocks at cans, explore wind caves, sit around the campfire telling lies... I mean, "stories." We get filthy dirty. We use a latrine. We leave the deodorant at home. We sometimes get accused of doing this to keep women away. But, c'mon, most women turn up their noses at the lack of amenities anyway.

The highlight of the trip is Saturday night. The boys spend two days building a huge bonfire which is lit after dark. The leaping flames provide illumination for the dreaded "Yahoo Ceremony" (no, it has nothing to do with the internet) Since the trip involves rocks, high speed machinery, and males, (Thank GOD there is a prohibition on alcohol) Somebody is bound to mess up. The "Yahoo" is the biggest goof--safety wise--of the Run.

Inspired by the fine old Navy practice of hazing sailors who cross the equator, International Date Line or the arctic circle, the Yahoo Ceremony involves hilariously unpleasant things. Lets just say it inspires a desire not to be a Yahoo again.

Loading up the car today. I can't wait. Blunoz, if you're ever in California in January, come on down.

1 comment:

Don the Baptist said...
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