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Imperial Sand Dunes - December 21, 2003
(Southern California and Southwestern Arizona)

We had 11 trucks show up over three days, including four for the night run Friday night. Only a couple of H2's but a large showing of H1's including four early NA Hummers and one painted HMMWV. You could tell the NA hummers as they often (but not always) didn't have the power to climb some of the larger dunes. The HMMWV did great, even with its NA engine, because of the light weight. One couple camped out of their '96 Hummer, and another brought their motorhome and H2. We met some familar faces and made some new friends - all in all a great time!

We had quite a few stucks, but no incidents other than some scary sideways stucks on a dune face. A quick yank with a strap and they were back in business. I am proud to report that I had to be the first to be recovered when I went down into a bowl surrounded by very soft sand - I couldn't quite get out without help. The next largest group was being high-centered going over the crests too slow. Of course if you go to fast, you tend to launch down the backside - which isn't always wise depending on what is there or isn't there.

Several of the owners had invested in the VHF commerical band radio's, so we had great communication for miles across the dunes. It came in quite handy when one of the quads that was brought along, broke several miles out - the driver got on the handheld VHF and called for a tow back to camp. /BEGIN RANT Every time I had to use the CB to talk to someone, it reminded me how much I hate AM transmissions and the CB band for its noise/poor audio quality. /END RANT

We had only one mechanical problem the whole weekend - a sheared pitman arm after coming down a dune too hard. Something that I had never seen before. Thankfully we had a spare, and could get the truck back on the sand again with a quick swap.

Pictures are being uploaded to my Club Photo Website as I type. You can find them at www.clubphoto.com, enter "AZHummer" into the alias search. There are about 153 photo's total.

There are more photos HERE and HERE.