Havasu Sidewinders Event
March 18, 2010
by Judy Turner, photos by John Howell
We left Denver Sunday afternoon in a snow storm, which continued even as we crossed Raton Pass into New Mexico. The Turner' s camped and the Howell's found a Comfort Inn for the night.

We decided to delay starting out Monday because the road report said the road was closed. We did have snow and slushy roads off and on all the way to Albuquerque. Finally the warm weather set in and all was well, no more coats. Yea! We spent the second night in Holbrook, Arizona.

Tuesday we arrived in Lake Havasu just in time for two for one steak night at Sugrue's. We have to keep up the "Jeep n Eat" tradition. John and Susan Matson and three friends from Illinois, Ceal, Tom and Don, met up with us.

Thurs we registered for the jeep trips. Our choices were Snake Eye, Boulder Gulch, Diamond Back, Python and Blue Berry Jam. We though Gold Springs and the Maze would be fun too as they sounded safe.

The Sidewinders had a nice facility at the Agua Center for meetings and trip line up. There were about two hundred and fifty jeeps registered. Most of the local jeeps were fender-less and had a fair amount of body damage. They had ten or twelve trips each day with everything from easy to severe body damage. All trails lined up at the same time and basically headed out for the same area about eight miles south of town.

There were eighteen jeeps on our first trip, including a Suzuki Vivitar. Most were comparably equipped. We followed the leader down into one raven and back up the other side as the leader gave us information about the many cactus we saw. Everything had a thorn, some big enough to puncture a tire.

Because of a wet winter the desert was coming alive with a blanket of green. We were pleased to enjoy toasty 80 degree days and comfortable nights.

The Maze continued up and down small ravens with a few water fall climbs. With good spotting, everyone made it up on the first try. All of the trails were on BLM land. The Sidewinders had worked with the BLM to GPS every trail and they were confident that the trails would remain open. Like Colorado many trails originated with miners looking for gold. During World War II the area was used as a shooting range.

Havasu is a meca of recreational toys. With every garage over flowing with Jeeps, ATVs, Boats and Wave Runners. They have hot rod shows every week. Its easy to get an octane high.

Spring breakers were enjoying the beaches of the river doing the things spring breakers do. The seniors were watching from the other shore. It was a diversion we haven't witnessed before.

On day two we lined up with the other jeeps to do Golden Springs. Our leader warned that the most dangerous part of the trip was the left turn across the highway to the trail. As we drove the eight highway miles to the trail we were passed by multiple emergency vehicles. Just before the turn off we could see a multiple car hauling trailer jack knifed off the side of the road. It had been forced into the on coming traffic when the car in front of it had slowed. The jeep in the on coming lane was forced to take to the bar pit after just kissing the eighteen wheeler. That night we learned that the occupants fo the jeep were Ceal and Tom who we had dinner with on Tuesday. Praise God they were not seriously injured. The jeep was totaled and at last report the drive shaft had not been found.

We continued our planned trail, which over lapped the Maze several times. We enjoyed another warm Arizona day with the desert at its best. Havasu trails are many and either basic with a few obstacles or jeep destroyingly difficult.

They call it rock crawling not Jeeping. There are multiple over lapping trails that without a knowledgeable leader it would be hard to find the right one or the way out.

Friday night we were served a rib and chicken dinner with all the sides. John and Kathy Howell won a tow strap and tow shackle in the door prize drawing.

There were only two trips on Sunday and we decided to hand out in town. The Sidewinders put on a very good event and everyone seemed to have a good time. Tuesday John and Kathy returned to Colorado. After a few more days of sun we moved to Moab for the Easter Jeep Safari.