Behind Tierra Del Sol
It wasn’t until after World War II, where the military jeep had proved so sturdy and utilitarian, that adventurous souls became enamored with its use in our mountainous back country and desert using old Indian and white man trails. Thus, a new type of recreation was being born in the late 1940s and 50s, embraced by a small group of hardy men eager to see what our challenging countryside had to offer, and the term “ jeeping ” became the definitive name for” Four Wheeling”.In those early years a “Search and Rescue” team of local men with citizen band radios gained an intimate knowledge of the local back country thru their rescue work. Some decided to forego “Search and Rescue” and concentrate on adventure and exploration. Two of these men were Roy Pruitt and Bozzy Willis. Bozzy had always worked closely with the Bureau of Indian Affairs where his father had been employed. Bozzy’s knowledge of the Indians, their trails, culture and history made him an instant leader of the small band of early four wheelers. Eventually the membership evolved into a club named Tierra Del Sol.Tierra Del Sol 4 Wheel Drive Club was incorporated in August 1962 as a non-profit organization and some of the early names are still part of the TDS roster: Albrecht, Arnold, Branch, Collins, Fertig, Londo, Nielson, Rappold, and Stough.
Or maybe not
Big sand tires were the vogue and the vehicles were largely Toyota Land Cruisers, Nissan Patrols, military Jeeps and Jeep station wagons. For emergency repairs , baling wire, duct tape, even a wad of chewing gum were considered basic necessities along with spare axles, chains, shovels and axes. It was a far cry from those early 4-bangers to the current powerful computerized engines.
Camping was mostly with tents, though one early member had an old Greyhound bus that had been converted into a “motor home“. These days off-roading has become so popular that motor homes and trailers are now in the majority with their conveniences and privacy. Open land and Trails were plentiful in the 60’s and 70’s. Davies Valley gave a glimpse into our mining history. Meyer Valley too, had a past which included mining, archaeology and even its own legend of a hermit who once lived in a cabin hidden away in a secluded palm oasis. Hauser Mt., Pine Valley, Coyote Canyon, Rattlesnake Canyon and the Carrizo Wash were explored with enjoyment. Many of the old haunts are no longer open to use. Finding new places has meant going further afield, but the challenge is being met and opportunities are opening up.
Bring the kids
Children have always been a part of TDS family activity, and some of the those former youngsters are now sharing this outdoor experience with their own off springs. That says a great deal about the cohesiveness and quality of the club when it’s leadership is extended into a second and third generation of the club’s members.
That is a wonderful aspect of Tierra Del Sol where so many different personalities can work together, as in the Safari, and form close personal relationship even though we have seen one another at their worst, sunburned, dirty, mad, disgruntled, embarrassed, worried, and bone tired: and yet we can still laugh, share stories of our problems and look forward with anticipation to the next set of experiences on a trail. That is friendship at its best and exemplifies TDS- Past and Present!
Politics were not part of the 4-wheeling in the 60's - but the hints of governmental trail closure and restrictions were beginning to grow.
Off-roading policies at state and national levels are now serious concerns in preserving what we once took for granted. In spite of these problems TDS has never been more active, nor scheduled such an abundance of runs per month with more individual volunteerism.