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| Josh Epstein, Cal4Wheel President | Latest News

Update from the president - October 21, 2022

Yes, I’m still here. I profusely apologize for not getting an update out before now. It’s been a whirlwind of events, meetings and general life stuff and I have been pretty busy. I had every intention on getting this out earlier but every time I started, I wanted to get more information out and alas, here we are. The older I get, the faster time seems to go by.

High Sierra Poker Run

With my last report, I spoke about leading a run, more specifically, leading the Mirror Lake run at High Sierra Poker Run this year, well, I did it. HSPR was a phenomenal event this year and had zero fires! Almost started a fire leaving but I’ll get to that in a few.

Being from here in the south, our off road`ing is a little different than up north where you have trees and large boulders and the like. The Mirror Lake Trail is a relatively easy trail that has tremendous amounts of beautiful scenery — all up to a point where the last 100 yards or so is pretty difficult, as far as rocks, trees, some more rocks and few awesome placed trees (insert sarcastic tone) all of which you go down (the easy part) and then meander around some more trees to a campsite where you come into Mirror Lake proper and my, what a sight to behold. I could have stayed there all day but had to work my way back out and that’s when I found out my lockers were not operating and luckily, there were some strategically placed winch points where I used the holy hell out of my winch and eventually got up that hard part and headed back to camp. After trying to find the issue with my lockers and not feeling confident that I had in fact fixed the issue, we decided that I would still lead the run, however, I would stay at the top of that hard part and David Rocha, along with other support would take the group down and bring them back up (thanks Davey!) the day of the run.

I want to thank all the volunteers that went above and beyond to put on a great event! I want to thank Paul Brady and Steve Peckham for chairing this event for putting on a great time! The raffle turned out awesome. Ben Burr from Blue Ribbon Coalition came and even provided a little speech – thank you for coming Ben! Our very own Natural Resource Consultant Rose Winn attended as well.

I left early Sunday morning to hang out with the family that I haven’t seen in a while and on my way out, with my 40’ motorhome and 20’ trailer, I didn’t pull wide enough on the first bridge leaving base camp and almost lost my trailer in a creek. Luckily, I saved that somehow and continued down the road where I met up with my nemesis, the ‘4-lane’. For those of you that know, you know. For those that don’t, the 4-lane coming down or up sucks. It’s steep, it’s long and I found out that even at 35-ish mph, slight tapping my brakes with my engine brake on is still no match for the brakes on my motorhome as I started to see smoke coming out of the rear of my coach. As I contemplated abandoning ship with whatever I could grab not knowing if I was on fire or the brakes or? I finally stopped in a turn out and ran back to find it was only brakes and it was about that time I made friends with the local Sheriff and fire department since they were on their way to up the hill, saw me coming down, couldn’t see behind me and decided I might need help to put out the creek fire #2 I was potentially setting. Couple of fire trucks later, two Sheriffs, some nervous laughter from all of us on scene and some time to cool it all down, I continued down the road at a blistering 10-15 mph where the rest of my trip was uneventful.


I attended a slew of Zoom meetings for AAT, OHMVR, post Sierra Trek meeting, Coastal Commission, foundation meeting and others. I recently was up at the Central District meeting in Bakersfield hosted by the Bakersfield Trailblazers where they presented Vice President Mark Cave a donation in the amount of $2000! Thank you, Jeremy Rowell, president of Bakersfield Trailblazers for the hospitality and thank you to the entire Central District that either made it in person or via Zoom — I’m starting to see more attendance at the meetings, and I love it! During this meeting, David Rocha was nominated for Central District Vice President. Nominations will open back up in January for all districts, so, if you are looking to run, or looking to vote for Davey, this will be your time.

Operation Desert Fun

I’m just now getting back to normal life after spending the past few days in Truckhaven/Salton Sea California for the 20th Annual Operation Desert Fun! Man, what a weekend of stories to tell, however, I’ll keep it simple here. Angela Cook, Chair of ODF for the past 20 years was apprehensive moving the event from Ocotillo Wells to Salton Sea but after the event, it seems like we should have done this years ago and everyone seemed to have a great time, well, other than the 100-year flood (maybe not that bad) that started early Saturday afternoon and lasted into Sunday morning. Luckily, our new digs had a clubhouse to keep everyone undercover during the rainstorm ensuing outside. I will say, it was a little weird to be inside, with adequate lighting to check tickets and no weather/wind to contend with. I want to say thank you to Angela Cook and David Mauer who chaired this event and to every volunteer who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to go above and beyond to have a spectacular event. As always, the raffle did awesome, and the Paralyzed Veterans of America Cal-Diego Chapter will have quite a bit of money to help paralyzed veterans. Thank you to all who contributed to the raffle with either prizes or just buying tickets. I also want to thank Debbie and her husband for all the great food, the great atmosphere and for going above and beyond for us in any manner they could.

District meetings tomorrow

As I finish this update, I’m getting ready for the South and North district meetings this coming Saturday, both of which will have open nominations for district vice presidents. I’ll be at the South District meeting in person and plan to be at the next North District meeting in person — maybe Jim can choose a date that doesn’t conflict (just poking the bear...)?

Panamint Valley Days

PVD is right around the corner, and they are looking for your support! I personally plan to bring most of the loot I won at ODF to PVD’s raffle, and I hope you can both make it to the event and help support the raffle. I hear that Bonnie Ferguson has ordered better weather than ODF and I am excited to go to my other favorite event in two weeks. If you have not registered yet, there is still time to call in sick and get ready for a fantastic weekend of runs, unbelievable scenery, and an awesome raffle! Last day to register online is October 26 — I hope to see you all around the campfire sooner than later as the weather cools off and the official Jeeping season down south starts!

‘Til the next update…


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