Fort Mill, SC – July 18, 2012 – So you have a weekend off and are ready to jump in your four-wheel drive vehicle outfitted with General tires for a little off-road adventure. Keeping with the spirit of “Anywhere is Possible” and looking to exceed the limits, your quest to tackle sand, gravel, riverbeds, mud, and other natural terrain leaves you wondering…where should I go? Well look no further. With millions of miles logged across the Southwest deserts of the United States and the Baja peninsula of Mexico, Team GT’s professional desert off-road drivers revealed their favorite spots for a weekend getaway (in no particular order) and now we’re sharing them with you. So check it out:
Black Rock Desert – Jim Riley
Location: Located about three hours north of Reno, Nevada.
Notes: Away from the general population and rich in history, Jim Riley favors this spot for its old wagon trail roads and battle fields and claims it’s a great spot for Indian arrowhead and lost cities. It’s also home to the annual “Burning Man” festival (www.burningman.com). Riley notes that it’s a camping only location and that there are some great hot springs in addition to spectacular wild life viewing. “The best time to go is in the beginning or end of summer,” says Riley. He also warns, “Don’t get caught on the playa during a rain storm or you will be stuck forever!”
Vehicle/tires utilized: Ford Raptor with red letter Grabber’s.
Glamis Dunes – Rick D. Johnson, Justin Lofton
Location: One hour east of San Diego, California.
Notes: Rick D. Johnson says, “There are sand dunes as far as you can see.” While mostly sand, Justin Lofton also likes the fact that venturing northeast from Glamis will take you to more desert ground. Lofton notes that the best time to go is after a windy day or after a rain storm as the terrain is stunning. As you’re driving down highway 78, in Westmorland, Lofton recommends a steak house called Town Pump. He says all the beef served comes from local feed lots in the valley so the steak is some of the best you can find. And if you are a NASCAR fan, check out Glamis on Thanksgiving weekend when Lofton says, “We go out with quite a few NASCAR drivers to relax after the long race season.”
Vehicle/tires utilized: Rick D. Johnson takes his General Tire pre-runner with 37” General Grabber’s. Justin Lofton takes his Jimco 4-Seater with 37” General Grabber’s although he’s also in the process of building a custom tube chassis UTV with a 1000cc GSXR with 27” General Grabber AT2’s.
Lucerne Valley – Mikey Childress, Justin Davis
Location: Located in the Mojave Desert of Western San Bernardino County, California, it’s about 1.5 hours north of the Inland Empire and 45 minutes from the 15 Freeway and the high desert town of Victorville, California.
Notes: Mikey Childress points out that this particular spot has it all including fast roads, technical signal track, dry lake beds, and mountain roads. Childress also likes the fact that it’s not super busy and due to that says, “We do a lot of testing in this area.”
Up-and-comer Justin Davis also enjoys the Lucerne Valley and its mix of terrain from the hills where a lot of people go rock climbing, to the sand dunes, to the numerous trails that can lead you to undiscovered places. As an interesting side note, Davis says, “This is where I learned to drive my first race car and raced my first race.” He also likes that it’s an area where he can get away from the seriousness of racing and enjoy time with friends and family.
Vehicles/tires utilized: Mikey Childress takes his Ford Raptor with 35” Grabber’s.
Justin Davis takes his Truggy pre-runner that has 37” General Grabber’s.
Barstow – Jerry Zaiden
Location: Positioned about half-way between Los Angeles, California and Las Vegas Nevada.
Notes: Jerry Zaiden takes his Camburg testing vehicles to Barstow for high speed testing and setting up shocks. “The terrain is very brutal with huge holes and whoops,” shared Zaiden. He also notes that there are a lot of rocks and very challenging sand washes. The location makes this a perfect site for a weekend jaunt. According to Zaiden, there are no shortage of great places to eat in Barstow. Site of one of the largest In & Out Burgers and one of the first Del Taco’s, Zaiden says, “The Del Taco here is like no other in the world.”
Vehicle/tires utilized: The Camburg race truck with General Grabber’s. The pre-runner trucks use General Grabber’s or AT2’s.
Mike’s Sky Ranch – Rick L. Johnson
Location: Located in Northern Baja, Mike’s Sky Ranch is about a one hour drive from Ensenada, Mexico to the turn off.
Notes: This is a great location for the weekend off-roader looking to experience challenging but manageable terrain. A safe, but less traveled destination, Rick L. Johnson says Mike’s is known for its hospitality, phenomenal steak dinners and a place to sleep for the night. Situated in the high mountains, but an easy drive, Mike’s is used by many off-road racers as a stopping point for the night during their pre-runs for the famous Baja 500 and Baja 1000 race courses. Johnson says, “This is a good place to put your General Tire AT2 all-terrain tires to the test.”
Baja – Kent Kroeker, Colton Udall
Location: Far south of San Felipe to secluded beaches on the Sea of Cortez including Gonzaga Bay and Punta Finale.
Notes: Always up for an adventure, Kent Kroeker will travel hundreds of miles of dirt roads to find the perfect spot then mark it with a GPS. He recommends setting up camp on a remote white sand beach followed by free diving for fish in the Sea of Cortez. “The Sea of Cortez is filled with life and the farther you get from civilization, the better the spear fishing is,” exclaims Kroeker.
Vehicle/tires utilized: Ram Runner (a highly-modified Ram 1500 4×4) with 35” General DOT Grabber’s.
Location: All over Baja, Mexico.
Notes: Motorcycle specialist Colton Udall is a fan of the Baja desert and its wide-variety of terrain. Through city streets, on sandy beaches next to the ocean, a fun single track in Tecate, fast fire roads, and if you’re feeling up to it, the huge sand whoops and rocky washes of San Felipe, Baja has it all. As for his favorite Udall says, “Roosting on the beach. It’s a beautiful feeling to ride your dirtbike right next to the ocean.” For the Baja rookie, Udall recommends going on a Tim Morton Baja Bound Tour (www.bajaboundmoto.com) where you can rent a bike if you don’t have one and have the experts help you plan a fun and exciting trip. Udall’s favorite hotels in Ensenada include The San Nicolas, The Desert Inn and The Corona. If you’re hungry, Udall encourages people to try Carbones or Broncos Steak house for dinner and Baja Fruit for breakfast or lunch.
Vehicle/tires utilized: Udall uses the Honda CRF450x for riding and to get to Baja, Udall takes his Dodge Sprinter with Grabber HTS’s for great fuel mileage, traction and strength on the rough Baja terrain.
Tell us about your favorite places to do a little weekend off-roading on Twitter (@teamGT) or Facebook (facebook.com/generaltire). Located about three hours north of Reno, Nevada.