ANNUAL APRIL TREKS
The Mendocino National Forest is a beautiful mountainous area which is the venue for many activities of the Northern California Rover Club, including an annual rally. Winter storms regularly block the trails with fallen trees, and the club organizes at least one trail clearing expedition every winter to help the Forest Service remove them. Many of the Mendo trails are really off-highway motorcycle trails, and the motorcyclists are always amazed that Range Rovers can make it over their steepest and most challenging routes. Every April the local Rover enthusiasts (informally known as the "Lazy B___rs") gather at Cedar Camp for a weekend of four wheeling and festivities. This tradition was started by retired forum moderator Granville Pool, the spiritual leader of the local Rover community and one of the most knowledgeable and longest-serving Land Rover owners in North America.
Events at this venue have often illustrated how amazingly capable Range Rovers are as trail vehicles. For example, the photo below left. kindly taken by Alex Cooper, shows the author's 4.0 climbing "XCL Hill" on a muddy day during a trail clearing expedition in January 2000. After climbing this particular slope, the Range Rover was pressed into service to help a Defender 110, equipped with the renown Michelin XCL mud tires, up the hill with a towstrap. After this, Granville's Range Rover effortlessly cruised up the hill unassisted on bone stock tires. The photos below depict some of the other official and unofficial Range Rover expeditions in the Mendocino National Forest over the years.
A few years ago Granville graduated from his trusty Series Land Rover ("The Snark") to a Range Rover Classic (named "Ziggy"), which he kindly purchased for his wife Melanie, on the theory that he would continue to use The Snark for his serious four wheeling. I assured him that a Range Rover would run circles around the Snark on the trail and he soon would not want to mess with those old cart-sprung vehicles any more. Sure enough, it only took a short stretch of time for Granny to be converted fully to the all-round use of the Range Rover as his prime trail vehicle as well as his daily driver. He has done the Snake Lake, Rubicon, Slick Rock, Deer Valley, and other challenging trails. The photos above left and below show Granny's Range Rover at work.
Both Classic Range Rovers and Mark II/P38 Range Rovers have acquitted themselves well on the challenging routes in this forest. Although the Land Rover Defender models have the advantage when ultimate ground clearance is the limiting factor, most of the time this is not the case and the Range Rovers can easily keep ahead of the other Land Rover models. There has been more than one incident in which a Defender has had problems but a Range Rover sailed effortlessly through.