Molina Ghost Run
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Story by Troyce Severe


Molina Ghost Run, Clear Creek, CA

The Molina Ghost run is the second of five major California Association of 4WD Clubs runs held each the year. The crown jewel of these event's being Sierra Trek. All five CA4WDC Association runs are fund-raising events to assist with the Association's struggles to keep California trails open and available to off-road enthusiasts.

Although this trail is not known to be difficult, it does provide a means of testing improvements that may have been accomplished over the winter break. The trail head is "Clear Creek," a managed BLM area, 30 miles northwest of Coalinga. The trail used travels over "Goat Mountain," from the bottom of one side up and over to the bottom of the other side. This year's Molina Ghost Run had over two hundred rigs running on a single Saturday.

We arrived late Friday night to base camp where a friend and a member of the trail committee had saved us a spot for the weekend. Saturday morning would come early for us as we would be part of the first wave of locked and loaded vehicles. The CA4WDC trail committee had setup two trails, "HARD" for those having lockers, and "EASY" for those not having lockers. During the first year for our attendance to the Molina Ghost run we were part of the "EASY" trail run. This year Jim and I got to test modifications made to our rigs on the "HARD" trail.

Saturday morning, 6:00am and the lineup for the first wave had already started to form. We were running a little late and still needed to pass the safety inspection before we are allowed to join the first wave.

By 6:30am we had completed safety checks, packed our coolers full of food and drinks and were lined up and ready to go.

By 7:30am we had arrived at the trailhead at the base of "Goat Mountain." With a quick splash, we crossed a small stream and started our ascent upward, winding through thick brush and trees. The climb up the dirt trail was fairly steep at times, but within the first hour we had reached the first plateau without any problems. From the first plateau we could see back into several surrounding valleys and several local lakes and reservoirs.

We proceeded to the first check point and a fork in the trail where "EASY" and "HARD" took their own paths. Our first challenge was a short hill-climb over lose dirt and rocks. This worked out well, as we got to start off easily and progress to more difficult challenges as the day continued.

We took our time and checked out our new modifications. We both passed with flying colors and proceeded to a very special section of the trail. For those rigs with nice paint jobs this next section was to be their worst nightmare. There was no bypass and there is one guaranteed result when complete; Molina pinstriping.

Yes, Molina pinstriping is the result of over-grown brush and trees applied equally to both sides of your rig. Once beyond the thick brush cover you surfaced to an amazing 360 degree view of California's central valley.



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