Unimog Gathering and Off-Road Show

Event Report 20080209

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Ford Explorer rolled over on the grade behind our house. The driver was "distracted" during a lane change, lost control and rolled. She suffered severe head injuries.

The Experience

The photo above was taken from my back yard, literally. We live on a cliff and have a view of the high volume road at the bottom of the canyon. Upon returning to the house the previous morning, we were diverted by police. When we arrived at the house after a 15 minute delay, we went to the lip of the cliff and saw this view through my 300mm lens. It was clear that one would not walk away from this accident. I worked as an EMT for years and saw terrible things and this was as bad as any of them. Since the "A" columns of the roof were collapsed, I had to assume that the roll was fatal or at the least debilitating. The next morning, I saw the item below in the local newspaper:

Rollover accident on Genesee

San Diego police say a 46-year-old woman suffered serious head injuries when her sports utility vehicle rolled in an accident Friday on Genesee Avenue just south of state Route 52.

The woman was driving north on Genesee in a 2001 Ford Expedition shortly before 10 a.m. when she tried to change lanes, police said. She noticed another vehicle in the lane, overcorrected and crossed a raised median. The SUV rolled on its roof and landed against a guardrail.

The woman was the only person in the car, police said.

This stretch of road is straight with no obstructions. I can only imagine the circumstance that caused the accident. My suspicion is that the driver was on the cell phone and not paying attention to driving. Only the police know for sure.


Several days earlier, we were at the local off-road store and became aware of an off-road equipment show at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Since we were headed to north county anyway to attend a "mog gathering" of some of the local folks, we decided to stop by and check it out. The intent of the mog gathering was to get a number of the local truck owners together for a few beers and some lively conversation. And, since there were a bunch of able-bodied men available, we were to remove, and attach, a big-ass winch (BAW) to our host's truck.

The photos below are what we saw.

I have a couple of sand toys, quads to be specific. But, these rigs were over the top. I did not check the price tag on all of them, but the one in the photo above was $35K. Pretty steep for something that you will have to trailer to and from the play pen and will only use a few times a year. There were tons of these buggies.

More nice hardware. Note the trick tires on this one.

This one was bad ass. Note the big engine and gas shock system on the back. It seats 4 brave souls.

Disc brakes as an art form. I am used to seeing round rotors, not ones that look like flower petals.

Another trick rig.

In addition to a nice paint job, this one has a big engine as well.

These buggies come in many sizes, from small to large, this one being on the small end.

Note the complex geometry of the front suspension and steering.

Four wheelers like bumps, so Kathleen fit right in.

Speaking of bumps, several of the "Charger Girls" were working one of the booths. Needless to say, they were getting tons of attention from the mostly-male crowd. Look at the smile of that fellow in the rear. The blonde "gets" working a crowd, the other one less so.

Even though she wasn't smiling, she signed the calendar anyway. I wonder if those are aftermarket or original factory equipment?

We left the noise and commotion of the off road show and went to our Richard and Jackie's place in nearby Rancho Santa Fe. There were perhaps 20-30 folks that showed up including wives and family members. One of the group flew all the way from Seattle to attend. Toby drove all the way from LA with his family in his "Dino Hunter" 2450. This rig was in the movie Jurassic Park. But, according to him, the movie's art department did not do the truck any favors as it took many months to undo their handy work: paint and modifications.

To provide a sense of scale, that is a normal height person at the left. I am guessing that this rig is at least 2 feet taller than my truck, excluding the A/C box on the roof. My 1300 is in the back and you can see both the camper and the roof rack.

Kurt's massive MAN 8X8 off road motor home. Since the last MogFest, he has addressed the mechanical issues that he faced due to the truck being stored for so long. This rig is huge but highly capable. Both front axles steer.

A view of the entrance to the living area in the rear. Kurt built the cabin himself.

Normal trucks that belong to the San Diego crew. Here are 2 1300Ls and a U900 in the rear.

The second objective of the gathering was to amass sufficient manpower to remove a BAW from the front of John's 1450. To do that requires an engine hoist, but since it came in a box it had to be assembled. Here the crew applies collective wisdom to get the job done (that means one worker, 3 supervisors and several beer drinkers).

The BAW before removal. This fellow is big, perhaps 1,000 pounds including the cable and hoses. John brought the winch from Georgia from Sean Philyaw, a well-known and respected supplier of Unimogs.

The guys made short work of removing the BAW.

Kai and John move the BAW to the host's truck.

Mark removes the mounting hardware. Sadly, the dimensions of Richard's 2450L were not the same as the donor 1450L, so we could not attach the winch. The mounts will have to be modified to take into account the wider frame rails. This, I am sure, will turn into a big project. They always do!

A parting short of Kathleen next to the Dino Hunter. The top of her hat does not even come up to the middle of the door!

This was a great gathering and it was good to see the local moggers. We had a great time. Richard and Jackie have an outstanding place and were great hosts. Thanks to both of you and all who attended.

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