• By the time you read this, a good part of the whole roster of KOH Week off-road racing is moving into the record books. Once again, we have seen every sort of vehicle on Scenic 247 – trucks, campers, RVs, and big trucks hauling race vehicles, supplies, and equipment into the Johnson Valley OHV Area.
(Reminder, stay very alert when you come this way. This event draws a lot more traffic than we are accustomed to seeing. Some folks get too impatient to drive safely. And anyway, we have encountered a lot of drivers lately who evidently have no familiarity with two-lane, twisty hilly roads, or, simply do not know that a solid center stripe on their side means DO NOT PASS.)
The qualifying races we watched online for the UTV Side-by-Sides and the Everyman Challenge showcased the incredible capabilities of both groups, pursued by expertly-flown camera drones. The short Power Hour contests for best pole position for both those events were just spectacular.
The drones also zoomed around the brightly-lit nighttime Shootout between rock bouncers and rock crawlers. Several crazy people raced for the best time in the first section, then faced a two-step cliff climb. Only two made that second section, the rest were forced to back out or rolled, and the crowd cheered them all.
As of this writing on Thursday, the UTV side-by-sides are battling boulders. The main event, the 2022 King of the Hammers race, runs this Saturday, February 5. Start time: 8:00 a.m. Finish 10:00 p.m. Alternating high-speed racing on sandy trails with more rocky sections than ever before, through the hard rock obstacles in the Hammers canyons, including the originals Sledgehammer, Jackhammer, Clawhammer, and Wrecking Ball.
Log on to www.ultra4racing.com for spectator information, and connections to live-streaming.
Know before you go; be prepared for any kind of desert weather and big crowds; pack it in and pack it out. Enjoy!
• By the way, the fatal accident near King of the Hammers reported on January 29th did not involve racers.
A couple in a Polaris RZR, both 27 years of age, drove up a steep sand dune. When the driver turned to descend, the Polaris rolled, ejecting both.
Neither had strapped themselves in with their 5-point safety harnesses nor were they properly wearing their helmets.
The driver was killed. His passenger evidently had minor injuries; she declined medical transport. So far as the CHP knows now, neither alcohol nor drugs were involved.
• So, what’s on your calendar for this Saturday evening, February 5th, between 5:00 and 6:30 p.m?
Maybe you have a dinner date at the Johnson Valley Potato Bar with your own do-it-yourself baked potato decorated with whatever you choose from lots of toppings. Add dessert to that, and it’s all only 4.00 per person, kids 12 and younger, 2.00. Doors open at 4:30 p.m. hot potatoes at 5:00.
The announcements and the meeting after the Potato Bar begin around 5:45-6:00 p.m.
Everyone welcome. In case you haven’t been here before, the Johnson Valley Community Center, 50567 Quailbush Rd., is easy to find, on paved roads all the way to the parking area. See directions below in FAQ.
HVCC IN JV
• The Monday, February 21st meeting of the Homestead Valley Community Council will be held in the Johnson Valley Community Center at 3:00 p.m.
The public is always welcome to HVCC, which represents the unincorporated communities of Landers, Johnson Valley, Flamingo Heights, and Yucca Mesa to local, state, and federal officials; remember, you are the public.
• The Johnson Valley Saturday Breakfast continues every week between 7:00 and 10:00 a.m.
The Large Breakfast plate (your choice of four entrées, plus eggs plus bacon, ham, or sausage), the Breakfast Burrito, or the Omelette (yum) are each only 8.00; the Small Breakfast plate is 6.00 (one egg, smaller portions). Hot coffee included. Order in advance if you wish at 760-792-4555.
While there, shop for some of our JVIA fundraising specialty items. Also, the 21.5-inch-square Sidekick Bandana Map depicts the Johnson Valley OHV Area trails and topography plus GPS Coordinates of the original Hammers trails, silk-screened on washable fabric, 8.00.
You also can pick up your “Heart Bar and Johnson Valley Neighbors” book, by homesteader and historian Martha Coutant, 20.00 each.
Cash, check, or credit card accepted.
FREQUENTLY ANSWERED QUESTIONS with updates
JVIA, the COMMUNITY CENTER, and the FIREHOUSE
The Johnson Valley Improvement Association has been active for 63 years. Founded by homesteaders, this all-volunteer non-profit association was responsible for bringing electrical and telephone service out here to the back of beyond. They donated money and material and built the Community Center, and later expanded it.
Members began the Saturday Breakfast to raise money to build the fire station behind the Center in 1980. They leased it for 1.00 a year to the San Bernardino County Fire Department. JVIA members became volunteer firefighters and first responders until County Fire discontinued these operations. They abandoned the firehouse in 2017; it now serves JVIA with storage rental income.
After the 1992 Landers earthquake (epicenter on the Johnson Valley fault line), JVIA opened the Center for refugees. Volunteers cooked and served three meals a day for over two weeks. Road closures kept any emergency services out for three days, then a beer truck brought in canned water. This experience led JVIA members to begin lobbying for a community well. Finally, a federal grant made it possible. The well was operated for ten years by Bighorn-Desert View Water Agency; then it was given to the agency.
JVIA ADDRESS & DIRECTIONS
• To new readers of the JV NEWS who have not visited the Johnson Valley Community Center:
From Hwy 247, turn onto Larrea Rd, go 1-3/4 miles to Quailbush Rd. The building is on your left at the corner.
The mailing address is
50567A Quailbush Rd.
Johnson Valley CA 92285
The Paul Van Hook Desert Dreams Garden is next to the parking lot, open to all.
Donated to JVIA in 2015 by former president and treasurer Paul Van Hook, the garden preserves a 100-yard stretch of the original Old Woman Springs Road as it crosses the property. Beside the old road lies an oasis, surrounded by flourishing palm trees and flowering shrubs, with a tall fountain as its centerpiece.
The “town center,” three former trailers now used for garden storage, sits on the south side of the old road. They have been redecorated as “Cash’s Golden Falcon Cantina,” “Hotel California,” and the Sheriff’s office. More donated trailers await donations for similar whimsical refurbishing.
All artifacts, the vintage wagon and tractors, the airplane wind vane, the early dirt bike, the former JV water pumper truck, the homesteaders’ water tank, the fountain, the tables and benches – all have been donated by the community. Court Prittie and Don Minnix, the garden crew, donate their time for landscaping, planting drought-tolerant trees and shrubs, and laying out the garden railway. (Please help keep kids and dogs from entering the railway layout; the tracks are easily pushed out of alignment and the trains won’t run if dirt and debris have been kicked up onto the track.)
You may order a memorial brick for the walkway to the garden pavilion (donated by Jim Weishaar). Proceeds from the purchase of these bricks are divided between the Community Center and the Garden; see a sample brick and order form at the cashier desk in the lobby.