mendo_recce
Joe Lucas Not-a-Rallye XXIII

27 April 2017 – 1 May 2017
Mendocino National Forest, California


In April 2017, I attended a Land Rover event that’s long been on my to-do list, the mendo_recce rally in the Mendocino National Forest in California. Mendo is an email list started in 1994 as a functional list to discuss a one-off gathering of Land Rover owners in the Bay Area and Northern California. That event happened in April 1995, and everyone had so much fun that they decided to keep the list around. The event has continued since, meeting annually at Cedar Camp on the fourth weekend of April, and this year the event was held for the 23rd time, making it one of the older Land Rover events in North America.

I have been active on the list for a few years, and decided this year to join my friend Ben in the journey west to the event. He’s a founding member of the group who moved back east to New Jersey about 15 years ago and continues to go almost every year as a fly-drive rally. We flew into San Francisco on Thursday evening, and drove up to the event Friday morning, staying until Sunday and our very late red-eye back to Newark.

It was absolutely one of the best Rover events I’ve been to; laid-back, low-key, with great wheeling and great people. It was my first time in the inland reaches of California, which contrasted in many ways with my prior coastal explorations. After years of identifying people as email addresses and Google+ profile photos, now I got to meet them in person.

The largest adventure I had was going up the Lovelady Ridge trail, a very steep ascent to a stunning vista over the Coast Range. During this adventure, one member of the convoy suffered severe vapour lock on his Series IIA 109, leading to some very adventurous winching exploits.

It was a truly great event, and it’s firmly placed on my Land Rover dance card. I’m already looking forward to going back in April 2018.

The Journey West

Destination SFO, UA418.
Destination SFO, UA418.
Continental retrojet, N75435. Remembering a great airline.
Continental retrojet, N75435, at EWR. Remembering a great airline.
United ship N596UA preparing for departure from EWR to SFO.
United ship N596UA, a Boeing 757-222, preparing for departure from EWR to SFO.
Over the west, United 418.
Over Point Pelee, the southernmost point of Canada, United 418.
Touchdown SFO.
Touchdown SFO.
Over the new Bay Bridge the first time.
Over the new Bay Bridge the first time.
The Real San Francisco Treat.
The Real San Francisco Treat.
A good omen at the supermarket.
A good omen at the supermarket.
A good omen on I-505.
A good omen on I-505.
Into the forest.
Into the forest.

The Main Event and Lovelady Ridge Adventure

Inspecting Ike's 109 Series I pickup.
Inspecting the 109 Series I pickup.
Chris heads into the river crossing to Lovelady Ridge.
Christopher heads into the river crossing to Lovelady Ridge.
Exiting the water crossing.
Exiting the water crossing.
Blair ascends the ridge.
Blair ascends the ridge.
Rigging Del's 109 up for one of the tugs up the ridge.
Rigging Del’s 109 up for one of the tugs up the ridge.
Recovery discussion.
Recovery discussion.
20170429_132020-1
Diagnosis.
On the move.
On the move.
Nathan's Range Rover atop the ridge.
Nathan’s Range Rover atop the ridge.
Lunchtime lineup.
Lunchtime lineup.
WGF_9400-1
Posing on the ridge.
Tinkering with vapour lock.
Tinkering with vapour lock.
The breach of the M5 road from recent flooding, which curtailed exploration somewhat.
The breach of the M5 road from recent flooding, which curtailed exploration somewhat.
Return to the ridgeline for the Great Chair Expedition of 2017.
Return to the ridgeline at sunset for the Great Chair Expedition of 2017.

The Rangies.
The Rangies.
John and Nathan tinker with the detached exhaust.
John and Nathan tinker with the detached exhaust.

Homeward

Farewell to camp.
Farewell to camp.
Returning via Napa.
Returning via Napa.
Back over the Bay.
Back over the Bay.
Long-haul Boeings at SFO; Qantas 747-400, Korean 777-300ER.
Long-haul Boeings at SFO; Qantas 747-400, Korean 777-300ER.
Morning over Ohio.
Morning over Ohio. United 1919.
Back at EWR, journey's end.
Back at EWR, journey’s end.