Hello dear reader(s)!
Do you know what boonie bashing is? It isn’t a bunch of people looking to beat up people called “boonies” for being different, but it does involve quite a bit of violence. Only the violence is against the vehicle you are bashing in, your body from getting thrown around, and the land (or the boonies) that you are actively bashing.
In other words, boonie bashing is off-roading. Not so much rock crawling, or driving in dunes…boonie bashing is going out into the boonies and being stupid behind the wheel of a vehicle. You see, in the middle of the high desert, cops don’t really patrol at night (except the popular areas we avoided) and therefore, DWI wasn’t really an issue. In boonie bashing, there are no dirt roads to follow, no people or traffic to worry about, and also no way to get help if something happened.
This is how dumb we were in high school.
My friend Amy had a Ford Bronco II, unless it was Katie’s, hell, I don’t know, we all hung out together. One night after looking for something to do, we decided to go out to the desert and party. (It wasn’t that long of a drive.) Being that there were all of 5 of us in the car, and we couldn’t really get a hold of anyone, it wasn’t much of a party. But we had our bottles, had a bit of something else, and my friend Kevin decided it would be a good idea to go boonie bashing. In a vehicle like this…
Now, if you look at this vehicle, you might be thinking to yourself, “But Josh, do you really want to drive drunk and more through the desert with sagebrush and rocks and no dirt roads at high speeds in a vehicle like this?”
Well, if you asked me that today, the answer would be, “Not bloody likely!” But this was high school and we were all invincible. Now I want to make this very clear, just because I am posting about this does not mean that I condone this in any way, shape or form. I also want to make it clear that just because I don’t condone it, doesn’t mean it wasn’t a hell of a lot of fun, even if we were lucky to have survived.
So we all hopped in the Bronco II again and left the party spot and drove a bit further out on the dirt road until a break in the barbed wire fence and what seemed to be (in the dark) a relatively flat piece of desert with sagebrush that the little SUV could likely clear, or spaced far enough apart that it could be avoided. And so with Kevin behind the wheel, we pulled onto the field and floored it. All you could see for about 30 seconds was a huge cloud of dust with the beams of the headlights reflecting off of it. Then for the next 30 seconds you could see sagebrush flying by and the desert out in front. Despite the seat belt, I was still bumping my head on the roof, and I’m not that tall. I was beginning to realize that if I was getting bounced around like that, the suspension probably wasn’t going to stay intact much longer. A couple more minutes go by and we start to bug Kevin to pull over so we can have our turns.
He reluctantly agrees but just as he said, “Alright”…BAM!
We are stopped. The girls in the back are crying. I dig the seatbelt out of my skin and look back to check on them, and they are fine, but freaked out. Amy was especially freaked out because the realization was setting in that her car was likely destroyed. I look over at Kevin and he has his head down against his chest. I thought he was unconscious and shouted, “Wake up, man! Wake up! Are you okay?”
He lifted his head up and said, “Dude, I’m fine, I just…I think I broke the car.”
At that we get out to check and see a massive dent in the front bumper, but whatever caused it is gone. Then I notice the left front passenger tire is slightly off the ground. I look under, and directly back from the dent, underneath the truck, was a pretty descent sized rock, that wedged under the axle and lifted the truck up.
Amazingly, everything looked intact. There was a nice gouge on that piece of the axle, but everything seemed to still be put together. So we grabbed out the jack, jacked up the front, threw it in reverse and backed off of the jack and the rock, and drove S-L-O-W-L-Y back to the dirt road and back to the original spot to hang out for the rest of the night so as not to be driving where anyone might be while intoxicated.
I’ve been sober boonie bashing, in big lifted four-wheel drive vehicles before and since, but that was the first and last time I’d ever go intoxicated and/or in a 1990’s Ford Bronco II.