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.