Each year, 65,000 people gather to kick up insane amounts of dust in super expensive rigs in the middle of the Southern California desert. It’s called King of the Hammers and is possibly the largest off-road extravaganza on earth. Think Mad Max meets Burning Man meets Monster Truck rally. Needless to say, we wanted in.
We loaded up the van with a cooler and enough hotdogs to feed a small army and headed south. We pulled into a relatively calm camping spot Wednesday evening about 3 miles away from Hammertown, the center of the chaos, and called it a night. We woke up at 8am to the rumble of diesel engines and found ourselves completely surrounded by off-road rigs as far as the eye could see. King of the Hammers was on and, hot damn, was it a wild experience. Here’s what we learned:
Once the van was parked, there was no moving it. The scene was absolute chaos in the best way possible. Everywhere you look, RV’s, trucks, dune buggies, dirtbikes, and people rallying. No rock or slope was safe. Hammertown, the impromptu festival center, was about the size of Santa Cruz. Just an endless expanse of vehicles in every direction.
We’re not sure what we would have done without our wheels. Since we couldn’t drive the van to Hammertown, Onewheels were our main form of transportation. The 3 mile trip over sand was no problem. Plus, we got a lot of hoots and hollers from four wheel folks as we carved past the backed up traffic into town.
People love their wheels. All kinds. Four wheels. Onewheels. Anything that gets people moving, gets them fired up. These folks' lives are their rigs. They pour so much into it and they’re proud to show them off. The Onewheels fit right into that culture. The fact that we could also do burnouts and kick up dust was bonus points.
It's essential to accept the dust. Everyone was in it together. It was the great equalizer. Once you accept the fact that you and everything you own will be caked in dust for the weekend, you’re ready to have an epic time.
People love a good Yog (bacon + hot dog). We brought more bacon and hot dogs than we knew what to do with, and it became one of our most prized possessions. It's the fastest way to make new friends.
If you're expecting anything from the Hammer, just forget it. It’s going to make you rethink your reality. For first timers, it’s so much more than you could possibly bargain for.