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Spots in Many Off-Road Treks This Summer Still Are Available

July 31, 2002|John O'Dell

Off-roaders who've opted to stay at home in this year of economic and geopolitical uncertainty have created opportunities for those whose late-planning habits often leave them locked out of popular events.

Jack Raudy, chief executive of the California Assn. of Four Wheel Drive Clubs, said many off-road programs, which usually are completely booked by the time summer starts, still have openings.

"I guess people are watching their money" in a year that has turned the dot-com, energy trading and telecommunications booms to busts for many, Raudy said.

Among those with openings are several of the trips--some for experienced rock crawlers, others for families with unmodified sport utility vehicles--held during the association's annual Sierra Trek. It is being held Aug. 8-11 at Meadow Lake, north of Truckee, Calif.

Bob Reed, registration chairman for the events, is taking registrations for a pair of one-day runs Aug. 10 on the challenging Fordyce Creek Trail.

One trip is for short-wheel-base vehicles such as Jeep Wranglers, the other for four-wheel-drive vehicles with long wheel bases, such as the Ford Expedition.

There also are openings, Reed said, on two trips designed for sport utility vehicles and their owners.

The first SUV trip is scheduled for Aug. 8 and will take participants to historic sites and places of interest near Lake Tahoe.

The second SUV tour, on Aug. 10, will include stops at gold rush mining camps. SUVs must be four-wheel-drive vehicles with low range.

Sierra Trek, the largest all-volunteer four-wheel-drive event in the country, is expected to draw 1,500 participants. In addition to the various four-wheel-drive trips, the Meadow Lake base camp plays host to trade shows and family and children's events and provides evening entertainment.

The cost for the short- or long-wheel-base runs is $95 for adults and $30 for children ages 7 to 12, with children younger than 7 admitted free. The cost includes all meals.

The fee for either SUV trip is $105 for adults and $30 for children ages 7 to 12, meals included.

A specially discounted four-day program that includes both SUV trips also is available.

For more information on the Sierra Trek or to register for any of the trips, call Reed at (925) 447-3142 or e-mail sierratrek@attbi. .com.

For information about other four-wheel-drive programs, the association, reachable by phone at (800) 494-3866, lists member clubs' events calendars on the Internet at www.cal4wheel.com/ingear/igindex.htm.

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