Axial Travelogue: AWCC Finals 2011

Wors & Photos: Rodney Wills

With a few weeks of fever-pitch AWCC pre-event preparation behind us, we were excited to get out of the office! There is just something about traveling and getting out to see new landscapes that is exciting. We have our GPS coordinates set for Cisco Grove Campground located just below Donner Pass in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. With this being a road trip with opportunity to see old friends, make new ones, camp out in tents, drive R/C vehicles in the name of competition and get our G6 challenge on, all makes for a fun trip in store!

June 21, 2011, It was the Tuesday prior to the AWCC Finals weekend. Brad “Bender” Dumont and myself are loaded into the ADV80 like well rehearsed Mt Everest sherpa’s with a military CH-47 Chinook!
GCRad1's HWY 395 Trip to Axial West Coast Championships AWCC 2011 at Cisco Grove Campground
It’s just the two of us traveling in my rig, but we are loaded to the roof! I was avoiding the wind drag as I have a fully capable roof rack. But we are liable to pick up something on the way back and may need valuable cargo space!

GCRad1's HWY 395 Trip to Axial West Coast Championships AWCC 2011 at Cisco Grove Campground
Our route starts with the 91-FWY that sends the largest portion of Orange County residents from the O.C. Eastwardly. Our road-trip should be approximately a twelve hour seated endevor as we are choosing to drive up the more scenic HWY 395 to the Sierra’s.

No trip is without the potential for drama and or accidentals. Brad and I are just in morning motion as we drive along, the morning sun is starting to creep over the mountains. Everything is just clicking along serene and smooth as we making our way from the 91FWY and onto the 15FWY. The 15FWY has this section before the Cajon Pass that is rough due to the amount of heavy loaded trucks getting out of “Dodge” but more known more for 18-wheelers getting knocking over due to high winds, and while it may have had the smallest of breezes we witnessed this horrific accident first hand!
Motorcycle accident on the 15FWY - East Bound June 21, 2011

But wind did not strike this rider down as we where traveling east. He was struck by a tire that came from a vehicle traveling in the west bound lane. The tire struck the motorcycle diagonally on his front wheel at such speed that it knocked the motorcycle over and out of control. Look at the image above and note how the front fender is bent inward as this was the impact point of the car tire that flew from the other side of the freeway. We never saw the wheel coming from the other lane as the bike blocked our vision of the flying tire! I had to change lanes quick to avoid running over the motorcycle and rider as they slid from two lanes left of me. It was a horrific moment! The rider was coherent, but suffered a broken left arm from our observation. Police and peramedics where quick onto the scene. Another driver stopped along with a few others, but this particular driver was behind us and saw the tire come from the other lane. Brad and I looked at each other with grief and disbelief and we both knew at that moment, if it was not for the biker, that tire would have hit my rig for sure! Talk about early wake up!!! Once CHP & paramedics arrived and we update them of the situation I chose to continue on and chose to do so as I have seen and been involved in my fair share of motorcycle accidents. I can handle all of my own pain but get the “heebeegeebee’s” with other’s pain. All this gives me the flashbacks for which I have to count my blessings and I now always ride with the “jewelry” Leatt Brace!

OK, let’s get back to calm and serene:
GCRad1's HWY 395 Trip to Axial West Coast Championships AWCC 2011 at Cisco Grove Campground
GCRad1's HWY 395 Trip to Axial West Coast Championships AWCC 2011 at Cisco Grove Campground
AND SCENIC! Cool old ghost town in-them-there-hills!
ATK 605 First Outting to the DESERT! July 2010
In “desert season” you will see hundreds of off roaders from from all vehicular aspects hanging round the ghost town of Randsburg. Especially the General Store and they serve food and AWESOME MILK SHAKES!
Randsburg General Store in Randsburg, CA. ATK 605 First Outting to the DESERT! July 2010

GCRad1's HWY 395 Trip to Axial West Coast Championships AWCC 2011 at Cisco Grove Campground
Jeff and Brent are traveling in the AXL Motorhome as we meet up along the freeway.

GCRad1's HWY 395 Trip to Axial West Coast Championships AWCC 2011 at Cisco Grove Campground
It’s June and still signs of snow on the mountains as we skirt the Sequoia National Forest.

Refuel time:
GCRad1's HWY 395 Trip to Axial West Coast Championships AWCC 2011 at Cisco Grove Campground
GCRad1's HWY 395 Trip to Axial West Coast Championships AWCC 2011 at Cisco Grove Campground
GCRad1's HWY 395 Trip to Axial West Coast Championships AWCC 2011 at Cisco Grove Campground
Brent’s girlfriend hooked him/us up with some cupcakes!!! WOW! Talk about refueling!

GCRad1's HWY 395 Trip to Axial West Coast Championships AWCC 2011 at Cisco Grove Campground
Back on the road and next stop is Bishop with a purpose!


GCRad1's HWY 395 Trip to Axial West Coast Championships AWCC 2011 at Cisco Grove Campground
The main purpose to stop in Bishop is for the Meadow Farms Country Smoke House! This was tipped off to the Axial Crew by Scott Hughes as this has been a family traditional stop off. It must be his squirrel activity keeping his slim stature if this is his eating spot!

The door at Meadow Farms Country Smoke House…

All kinds come through here!
And all kinds of cool vehicles come through the parking lot too:
GCRad1's HWY 395 Trip to Axial West Coast Championships AWCC 2011 at Cisco Grove Campground
My ADV80 will get the overland expedition treatment one day! Things to add and check off the list:
__ Snorkel
__ Winch
__ Suspension
__ Rear Mounted Spare
__ Gas / Water Can
__ GET A/C FIXED FIRST!!!

GCRad1's HWY 395 Trip to Axial West Coast Championships AWCC 2011 at Cisco Grove Campground
GCRad1's HWY 395 Trip to Axial West Coast Championships AWCC 2011 at Cisco Grove Campground
Back on the road…

GCRad1's HWY 395 Trip to Axial West Coast Championships AWCC 2011 at Cisco Grove Campground
Co-piloting and cupcakes make for nap nap time. Bender bending time – teleporting himself to the rocks already…

GCRad1's HWY 395 Trip to Axial West Coast Championships AWCC 2011 at Cisco Grove Campground
Snow coverage is a bit thicker as we traverse north.

GCRad1's HWY 395 Trip to Axial West Coast Championships AWCC 2011 at Cisco Grove Campground
Got any more of those cupcakes in there? Just put one on the stick and hand it out the window!

GCRad1's HWY 395 Trip to Axial West Coast Championships AWCC 2011 at Cisco Grove Campground
Mono Lake

GCRad1's HWY 395 Trip to Axial West Coast Championships AWCC 2011 at Cisco Grove Campground
She will be coming around the mountain when she comes… How does that song go? The AXL-MH rolling into the big metropolitan city of Bridgeport, Ca.
GCRad1's HWY 395 Trip to Axial West Coast Championships AWCC 2011 at Cisco Grove Campground
Where they watch paint dry for fun:
GCRad1's HWY 395 Trip to Axial West Coast Championships AWCC 2011 at Cisco Grove Campground
GCRad1's HWY 395 Trip to Axial West Coast Championships AWCC 2011 at Cisco Grove Campground
GCRad1's HWY 395 Trip to Axial West Coast Championships AWCC 2011 at Cisco Grove Campground
The all-mighty ADV80!

More scenic views as we are making our way to the “big mountains!”
GCRad1's HWY 395 Trip to Axial West Coast Championships AWCC 2011 at Cisco Grove Campground
GCRad1's HWY 395 Trip to Axial West Coast Championships AWCC 2011 at Cisco Grove Campground
GCRad1's HWY 395 Trip to Axial West Coast Championships AWCC 2011 at Cisco Grove Campground

Hey, what are those things called again?
GCRad1's HWY 395 Trip to Axial West Coast Championships AWCC 2011 at Cisco Grove Campground
SIGNS! Oh yea, almost forgot! And we get to make a navigational change too!
GCRad1's HWY 395 Trip to Axial West Coast Championships AWCC 2011 at Cisco Grove Campground
Just up and over that little hill and we will be looking down onto Lake Tahoe!

GCRad1's HWY 395 Trip to Axial West Coast Championships AWCC 2011 at Cisco Grove Campground
It’s been over fifteen years since I have seen this lake!


And back to Southern California in the blink of an eye! Did Brad take over this thread? Did he teleport himself through the event and back home already?

No… Just some good ol’ Lake Tahoe road construction…

More climbing and we know we are getting close!
GCRad1's HWY 395 Trip to Axial West Coast Championships AWCC 2011 at Cisco Grove Campground
Coming up on Donner Pass and I get a history lesson!

GCRad1's HWY 395 Trip to Axial West Coast Championships AWCC 2011 at Cisco Grove Campground
Now we know we are close!

GCRad1's HWY 395 Trip to Axial West Coast Championships AWCC 2011 at Cisco Grove Campground
Check in time and sort the details… Pink floaties or purple raft?

GCRad1's HWY 395 Trip to Axial West Coast Championships AWCC 2011 at Cisco Grove Campground
Camp is made and time for some quick dinner from chef Brent Brammer. Have you seen his cooking show? The one with the BBQ and pork chops… oh, sorry, they had to take that one down too!?

Brent fires up the quick stove:
GCRad1's HWY 395 Trip to Axial West Coast Championships AWCC 2011 at Cisco Grove Campground
GCRad1's HWY 395 Trip to Axial West Coast Championships AWCC 2011 at Cisco Grove Campground

This would be my first experience with Brent in the woods…

His cooking is simply AWESOME!!!

GCRad1's HWY 395 Trip to Axial West Coast Championships AWCC 2011 at Cisco Grove Campground
Night:30 and good night! It was a long day! Time to crawl into my sleeping bag.