San Diego Proper: Stuck between a rock and a hard place.
Lacking the ample amount of time involved in taking a trip to the desert, my friends and I faced the conundrum of locating off-road trails locally. This process requires a rather creative strategy and many hours of browsing construction sites and housing developments via Google Earth. More often than not, potential trails remain blocked off to non-vehicular traffic. Access to those select few accessible trails usually involves ignoring a “No Trespassing” sign or two, but that simply adds to the sense of adventure involved in our so aptly termed “Adventures in Urban Off-Roading.”
One of our favorite mud-running tracks serves as a power-line access road for San Diego Gas and Electric. The relatively flat dirt trail situated in a small, vegetated basin in Sorrento Valley doesn’t command much interest until the winter months. For a select few days, rain hits the San Diego area. Drainage in the canyon is sub-par at best and water from the bordering creek-bed tends to overflow onto the dirt track, creating a nearly one hundred-foot long mud pit. Coming across such a gem, my friend and I decided that we simply could not pass up the opportunity.
With our first run-through, the car plummeted into the depths of the pit of standing water nearly two feet down, barely carrying enough momentum to blast out the other side of the berm. Our return attempt would ultimately prove less successful, as our truck sunk deep into the depths of the abyss. Mud enclosed all four sides of the car, leaving the sunroof as my only exit. Admittedly, we came rather unprepared in that we never thought that we would actually get stuck. We scavenged for rocks, pieces of driftwood and even discarded street signs to lodge under the tires to gain enough traction to exit. Nothing seemed to work. I simply decided to take my shoes and pants off, wading into the depths of the disgusting standing cesspool. I pushed with whatever traction my calloused, bare feet could grasp and my buddy put the pedal to the floor. Slowly the truck started to inch forward! Suddenly, the rear tires gained traction, launching a street sign over my shoulder-at which point I decided that I should probably move.
Aside from the casual mid-day mud bath, we exited the situation virtually unscathed with yet another urban off-roading adventure under our belts and a story that I still tell to this day.