The group started from an Instagram page I began back in 2017 when I purchased my first Baja Bug.  I was looking for inspiration with my build. I would search InstaGram (IG) and google and post the pictures I would find.

Followers  grew pretty quickly and about a year into it someone suggested I do a meet up on the desert. So, in December of 2018 we held our first meet up in Ocotillo Wells. Nothing fancy in mind, we just wanted to get a bunch of Bajas together for a weekend of fun.

The word got out and spread like wildfire! So much so that about 3 weeks before the event, i got a message from the Ocotillo Wells Park Rangers saying I needed a permit for my event.

“What event?” I said. It’s just some friends going on a ride”

“Well, we hear you have a large group getting together, sounds like an event. You need a permit if you’re hosting an event on state parks land”.

I went back and forth with them trying to convince them this was not an event but they were resilient in their ways. Then they said “if we see you guys out there without a permit, we will ticket you”

I didn’t want to cancel the “event” as I could feel the excitement from everyone who was looking forward to going so I started thinking creatively. – I needed to cover the cost for the permit which was almost $400. It looked as if the best way would be to get some sponsors to help cover the cost.

I called, emailed, messaged, and contacted every company and industry rep I could think of and eventually got the cost covered. In addition many of the companies  were happy to provide products for a raffle. Awesome!  At the time I was helping out with a 501c3 called “The Love Song Foundation” and thought this would be a great opportunity to help raise funds for our cause.

The weekend of the event was exciting! We had about 45 offroad VW powered cars. It had rained for like 2 weeks prior to the event weekend but the weather was perfect while we were there. The dirt was a bit muddy but it’s something some of us still joke about “I am Still cleaning mud out of my car from that event”

Afterwards the VW offroad community was buzzing about the event and everyone wanted to know when the next one was going to be.

One of the attendees, Matt Jackson, had recently purchased a small piece of land in the desert of Johnson Valley and approached me with the idea of hosting the event in Johnson Valley next time. He told me his property wasn’t big enough to host it but he knew a guy that had 40 acres just outside of Hammertown. I loved that idea! At the time it was called Rancho DQ. We hosted it here for a few years but it has since been sold and it is now known as ‘The Forty’

When it sold, we needed a new spot. Matt Jackson came through again and introduced me to Cody Wagner, the next door neighbor to Rancho DQ (now ‘The Forty’) and owner of Laser Town!

If you are not familiar with Lasertown, check it out online. It is a massive compound with brightly colored storage containers, huge metal cactus everywhere, a palm tree forest, coy pond, not to mention TONS of flat, perfectly groomed dirt. It is truly a unique place. I want to say it’s about 80 acres in total.

We still do a charity raffle but we are now raising money to support (California Off Road Vehicle Association) Our sponsors have grown to include some really great companies including Rugged Radio, Heatwave Visuals, Raceline Wheels, PrpSeats, Kartek Offroad, WeighSafe Trailer Hitches, many others. Each year this raffle raises several thousand dollars that we donate to CORVA. It also helps spread awareness of CORVA and why they play such a vital role in helping keep our desert areas open for OHV use.

We still do group rides, too, but we have also implemented a GeoCache style game we call the Chip Hunt. In this game we hide ammo boxes filled with different colored poker chips. Players are given GPS coordinates and have to find their own way, searching for these boxes through the desert, Collect a poker chip from each box they find, and then bring them all back to camp before time runs out.

Each box has several different colors inside, and each color is worth a different amount of points.  The player who makes it back in time and has the most points wins!

So that is the jist of it. Let me know if you have any other specific questions

I’m still gathering photos and will send those in a separate email. I need to get the few that I took off my camera. I’m also talking with a few people that had cameras and drones and trying to get their pics for you as well. I’m hoping to get those for you by the end of this weekend.

Donovan Carcioppolo