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Winter Solstice Campout Dec 17th-18th 2023

The Winter Solstice campout is part of our quarterly campout series that will coincide with the seasons, particularly the solstices and equinoxes. Each campout will be in a different location and somewhere along or close to the Stagecoach 400 route.  

For this years Winter Solstice Campout we are driving back out to Borrego/Ocotillo desert to stay at our favorite (kind of) secret  campground: Bow Willow

The Campground: Bow Willow Campground
-Pit toilets
-Water **Non potable**
-Fire pits
-Covered picnic tables
-Grills (only at some sites)

***We have AT&T and had little to no cell service there so be prepared***

This is a remote campground with limited amenities but spectacular views. We are planning to drive out Saturday the 16th after we close up the bike shop, so probably around 4pm if anyone wants to caravan.  However the official campout night is Sunday the 17th. It's first come/first serve for the sites so if people want to get out there early and grab some sites we are happy to reimburse. It is a small campground, so finding the group will not be a problem. The campground is off a dirt/sand road that is manageable with most 2-wheel drive vehicles, there can be sandy/washboard sections so if you're concerned about your vehicle please reach out. Last year everyones 2-wheeled vehicles didn't have any problems.
CAUTION: There are two possible entrances to Bow Willow and if you are driving in from the south the first road is A VERY SANDY WASH and for 4-wheel drive vehicles only, we do not want any stuck vehicles since we are pretty remote with extremely limited cell service. Another thing to consider: the only water there is one non-potable spigot, so definitely make sure and bring enough water, probably about 3 gallons per person, per day. 

Location of campground: Click Here

The Routes:
This year we are offering two routes through two different washes, one being significantly shorter so there are options for different skill levels.

See routes here:

Short Route Ride leaders: Andrea and Chuck

Long Route Ride leader: Jesse ***Stay tuned for possible route edits***

We want to try and roll out all together by 8/8:30am on Sunday morning. The drive out there is about two hours so you're welcome to come camp Saturday night and make it a two nighter with us. We are leaving from the shop on Saturday after close and hoping to get to camp around 7pm. If you want to head out there earlier and grab some sites please let us know and we'd be happy to coordinate with you.

These are both truly beautiful routes through the desert washes and temperatures can definitely vary between very cold (High 20s at night) and pretty warm (70/80 degrees during the day).  This is a 100% self-supported ride, you must have your own tools, tubes, food, water, etc... Be sure you and your bike are up to the task. This is a party pace, no drop ride, however it is your responsibility to keep up with the group's pace. Don't let the milage/elevation fool you, desert riding can be very slow and very taxing and so we STRONGLY recommend at least 2.5" tubeless tires. There is also ZERO WATER on these routes so bring enough water for up to 6 hours (especially for the long route). Also BRING LIGHTS, you will start and end both loops on the road and the long route could be out past dark 

If you've never ridden sand or washboards, don't let the campout be your first, do a recon ride (see suggestion below). 

Recon/Practice ride in town: Proctor Valley Road usually has lots of good wash boards and some sand to practice on.
You can park at the Proctor Valley Road Trail

Monday's Activity:
Last year we did about a 2 mile hike (out and back) from the campground to the Mountain Palm Springs Pygmy Grove, it was a beautiful little oasis and would love to do that again this year. Hopefully others would like to join again.

Food and Beverage:
We will not be providing full meals, but will have a limited amount of food and beverages to share with the camp and we invite you to bring some of your camp favorites! Last year we all kinds of goodies including a refried bean collab with El Camino Bike Shop :)

Shuttling Gear and Carpooling:
Since this is a drive to camp and ride we aren't offering gear shuttling. If you are looking to carpool please let us know if you have room in your car or if you need a ride. Most of you know each other but we can try to help link people up.

***There is a signup sheet in the shop or call and let us know you're coming***

Highlights from the event...