Years ago, a misappropriated street sign arrived in the desert marking someone’s favorite campsite. The sign is long gone but the name remains and can be located on multiple mapping software. This made it easy for all the rigs to find camp.
If you spend any time off the pavement at all, you will notice that Toyota owns a significant percentage of the 4x4 vehicles hitting the trails today. One such vehicle gets its classic styling from Toyota’s rich history creating 4x4’s for the US market since 1958. The FJ Cruiser was one of the few Concept cars to ever become reality. Built on a robust chassis using many similar parts from 4Runner and Prado, the FJ Cruiser went on sale 2006 in the US and sold limited numbers until 2014. The low volume of sales helped keep the collector’s value up and attracts other FJ Cruiser owners to band together and discuss limited options and features.
Nestled in a remote sandwash in Anza-Borrego State Park (ABSP), there is a campsite known as Hollywood & Vine. Years ago, a misappropriated street sign arrived in the desert marking someone’s favorite campsite. The sign is long gone but the name remains and can be located on multiple mapping software. This made it easy for all the rigs to find camp.
Friday’s Meet and Greet
As FJ cruisers arrived from all over the state of California, the San Diego FJ Cruisers & FJCZone had members on standby to welcome drivers into camp. The oddly shaped Toyotas rolled in late into the night. Each personalized with everything from Star Wars themed rigs to overland kits. The hosts of the event set up a small watering hole so weary travelers could unwind around a campfire. Embellished stories of vehicle purchases and rare models chatted into the night.
Saturday’s Trail Ride
7am SDFJC started preparing breakfast burritos so the FJ Cruiser drivers could leave camp on a full stomach. Everything in the cooking area was well lubed with bacon grease but the food was on point. Just after 10AM 12 rigs rolled out on the trail ride. This included a few strays (F150 Jeep TJ and a series 80).
With 500 miles of trails, the Anza Borrego State Park never disappoints, huge views across vast landscapes, historic sites time forgot, and a few hard obstacles thrown in to test the piloting skills of the FJ drivers. Our first obstacle would be a soft sandwash called Bow Willow. This would get us back out to the pavement and shake down all the rigs. After a quick stint on the road, we arrived at Mortoro Wash. This would lead us to the Dos Cabezas water tower. Since the train station closed in 1957, all that’s left now is a water tower and a few short walls of the original structure. Next, we would follow the railroad tracks north. The group would eventually come to the first place we would need 4 low. PiepKorn Slot is a little-known connector that gave access from Mortoro wash to Jojoba wash.
Once the group navigated the tight boulder patches and sandstone ledges, the armada of FJCruisers arrived at a Mesa overlooking Jojoba wash. There was no easy way into the sandwash. Steep descents littered with large holes and loose football sized rocks heightened all the driver’s senses as they lined up to the drop off. One by one we spotted the rigs off the ledge and the vehicles would sleigh ride to the bottom in soft sand. Once in the sandwash the hard part was done. the next hour was scenic 2 tire tracks through Sin Nombre Canyon and Vellecito creek connecting up to Arroyo Tapiado wash. Our last stop on the trail had the team exploring Arroyo Tapiado mud caves carved out of the badlands. The caves ranged from small holes to large caverns with through travel in some places up to a mile. With a few hours of daylight left, the group headed back to camp. FJCZone had dinner waiting. Baked potatoes cooked on the campfire and a stroganoff style chili loaded with all kinds of goodness.
Sunday Morning Bug Out
With rain threatening Sunday, the group broke camp quickly and headed to the other end of Anza-Borrego State Park. The route would travel down Diablo drop off and head east into Fish Creek. Each of these sections provided its own set of challenges but is always a fun way to cross the park. Once to the pavement, the team would air up, convoy on the tarmac to explore some cool artist sculptures in the town of Borrego springs. The Sunday trail ride ended with roughly 70 miles of dirt for the weekend. The Anza Borrego FJ Cruiser event turned out to be a really fun experience. Great people, cool rigs, clever mods, and awesome scenery.
How Can I Go Next Year?
I’m pretty sure your next question is, how can I get invited?
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