This Rocky Mountain Mogger made the 1000-mile (one-way) road trip to MogFest98, held near Big Bear, California, in the San Bernadino Mountains. Thanks to Alan Draper, Christopher White, and Klaus and Karin Schambeck for putting it all together.
After about 26 hours on the road, I arrived about 7pm Friday night. The now famous Gulash was already on the stove. It was a delicious feast, and we all had a good time finally being able to put a face to all of those names we've been seeing on the Unimog mailing lists.
The campground was at about 6500 feet, so the temperatures dropped pretty quickly after the sun went down. We had a great camp fire, and many Mogging stories were shared around the fire.
After a clear starry night, we had breakfast and got ready for the day's trail rides. There was a ridge behind the campground, and we picked one of the steep rocky roads up to the top of the ridge. We stopped in the pine woods for lunch. Then we took another trail down the other side of the ridge into Big Bear City. Through some missed communications, a couple of Mogs got lost in town, and the rest of us continued on up towards the John Bull trail.
When we arrived near the beginning of the trail, some folks decided to head back to camp to be sure to meet the dinner that was to arrive there. The rest of us decided to tackle the John Bull trail. It is a very steep, rocky, winding rock trail, with many large boulders in the trail. Some of the places I suspect a small 4x4 would be able to skirt around the boulders, but the Unimogs had no choice but to actually drive over the boulders. I ended up in the lead, and about half way up, we ran into 3 other trucks coming down the trail. Fortunately, there was enough room for them to pull aside, and let our fleet of trucks go by. After we reached the top, Tim managed to tear the sidewall out of a tire, so we stopped for a tire change. He pulled out the air wrench, plugged it in to the under-hood compressor on his Toyota, and made quick work of it. The only other damage for the day was the rear view mirror I broke off of my Unimog. Thanks to Tim for repairing that as well...
We continued on down the road, over many drop-off shelves, and large boulders in the road, as well as some obstacles created by trees that were close together. By the time we got back to town, it was dark. We stopped for fuel, and then tackled the paved 8000 foot pass over to camp. The catered dinner was excellent, and we were glad to park the Unimogs, chow down, and sit and rest around the fire again.
After a quiet night, we got up to another delicious meal provided by the kind Austrian caterer. There were eggs with cheese, sausage, bacon, danish and juice. He enjoyed seeing all of the Unimogs. After breakfast, most of the group headed out to Sledgehammer. Since it is a long drive to get there, some of us opted to do another trail ride near by. We found another trail up the ridge behind camp, but it was steeper and narrower than the one from the day before. I managed to rip the drip-rail off the side of my VLF. We eventually made it to the top of the ridge, and had lunch in the shade of the VLF. Then we played a little bit on a steep hillside before heading along the ridge to find another road back down to camp. The group that went to Sledgehammer didn't make it back to camp until after dark. I'm waiting to see the videos of that trip !!
Monday saw the rest of the folks who hadn't already left packing up and heading out. I left about 10am, and after another 26 hours of driving, arrived at home. The only trouble I had out of my Unimog in 2105 miles of driving was when it quit while climbing the Eisenhour Tunnel approach at the continental divide. It turned out to be the points. Filing them fixed the problem, and got me home.