Offroad Trip Report: Truckhaven Hills, Borrego, CA

The_Roadie

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Nov 19, 2011
9,957
Portland, OR
The plan was to explore for the first time a section of BLM land to the northeast of the main part of Anza Borrego Desert State Park, called the Truckhaven Hills, Freeman Property.

Sunrise on my descent into the valley

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Waiting for Greg to arrive:

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It's mostly his trip plan, so I'll follow him to the entrance, about 15 miles east of Borrego Springs

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Map of the vicinity. Mostly all east-west washes with dried mud badlands in between. Very few north south trails connect the main washes, and they're almost all unofficial and unmarked and most are at the limits of what we can handle. Many knife-edge ridges. Lots of cul-de-sac humpy lumpy playgrounds for ATVs and bikes. We saw a few bikes, 4-5 Jeeps, and two quads all day. One quad was ridden by a woman with a bloody eyebrow area and no helmet. Her riding partner was carrying her helmet. But they seemed to be making good progress toward pavement so we didn't insist they stop and get first aid from my med kit.

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In we go:

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The_Roadie

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Would you believe we're aiming to get to the top of that far plateau, 7-8 miles away? Not this way, we're not.

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Steepest descent EVER. No way to get back up it without winching. Had to make sure we could escape from the bottom.

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The_Roadie

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Nov 19, 2011
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Can you spot yourself through a squeeze with 1" clearance to the sandstone? Oh, this was in REVERSE, after the canyon dead ended with no room to turn around. :wink:

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Greg took the harder line, and turned into a teeter-totter for a reward. 60 seconds for a tug - on the road again.

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Narrowest, nastiest, off-camber section with sidewall puncturing hazards on both sides. THIS is where rock sliders are not an optional part of your kit. They're mandatory. This got much worse in a hundred yards, but we were able to turn around and go through without major spotting. Videos will be up later today after I do some honey-do chores.

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The_Roadie

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Nov 19, 2011
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Portland, OR
Then on the way home AFTER all this extreme fun, his driver's side front tire flops inwards at the top, and he barely gets to the side of the road. Broken UCA. My spare is at home, not with me. :hissyfit:

Back to my house by 10PM. Repair completed 10:10-10:40. Greg confirms he got home to his house (maybe 25 miles south) and it drove OK.

First off - the failure was in the cast (or forged) part of the ball joint mount. Not sure if his former habit of driving on ocean beached contributed to the problem, or if previous strut experiments caused ball joint jamming and accompanying cracks to the mount. Anyway, they were OEM and very old (2002) UCAs.

Two huge bullets we dodged by it finally letting loose on pavement:

Any distance off pavement and we would have had to leave it there and drive 2 hours to my house to get the spares or a welder. AAA only works if you're on pavement. (Yeah AAA Premier! 200 miles free!) Turns out that might have been faster anyway. And if I had only decided to bring along the UCAs I had in spares, it would have been a half-hour inconvenience on the trail. Ahhh, hindsight.

BUT, we were on a lot of dead end trails, and if anybody fails on a narrow section with no bypass, the far truck isn't going to get by go get help. Ick. Yet another worry.

Plus the minor safety issue of losing steering control on a knife-edge ridge trail or 45 degree downslope. :o

First the carnage:

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Flatbed took about 4 hours to arrive. We were pretty far from the dispatched station.

Airing up. We had plenty of time waiting for the flatbed, so we just used compressors for free instead of my Powertank that takes only 30 seconds a tire, but costs $1 per.
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HARDTRAILZ

Moderator
Nov 18, 2011
49,665
Definitely looks like a fun area to play around in.
 

djthumper

Administrator
Nov 20, 2011
14,955
North Las Vegas
Looks like fun. I think I definitely need a rear locker before going there.
 

fishsticks

Member
Nov 21, 2011
433
Perhaps someday I'll be down in CA without a wife-imposed itinerary... and with enough notice to plan something like that.
 

Regulator

Member
Nov 20, 2011
2,496
Looks like alot of fun. That is certainly a huge difference in the scenery from what we have East of the Mississippi.
 

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