The Rocket Run 2021

The Rocket Run requires Whip It Light Rods and rock lights (Photo by the author)

About 10 years ago, Chuck Coble told me a story from his motorcycle days in the 70’s. He and his buddies would go out into the desert at night and one of them would go hide. That person would shoot up a flare or a rocket and everyone else would race to see who could be the first one to find the person. Then somebody else would take a turn. As Chuck told the story, it became apparent that they were lucky to have lived through some of those nights. It sounded like an awesome time!

I couldn’t get this idea out of my mind and soon The Rocket Run was born. Chuck and I got the idea off the ground a year later and now Idaho Off Road has been doing this event for eight years. It has been adapted — it isn’t a race, we use 50" LED light bars on 20-foot towers, and we try not to have people go too fast and take too many chances.

However, the idea is kind of the same — you drive around lost in the desert and mountains all night looking for lights. It’s a great time.

Thursday and Friday

The Rocket Run has become an all-weekend event. Many people camp the night before and the night of the event, so the parking lot takes on a life of its own. This year, I went out on Thursday so we could get some stress-free camping in before the event.

After a good Thursday night of motor home sleep, Lynette and I took a nice drive. We left Hemingway Butte, drove up and around Black’s Mountain, and down to Murphy. We saw lots of little Mormon crickets, already sprawling out across the roads. They are tiny now — but come July — they will be acorn-sized bug guts smashed on the road.

Thursday night calm before the storm (Photo by the author)

Friday night, more and more campers came into camp. When we started The Rocket Run, hardly anybody came out and camped the night before. Now, there were a least a dozen campers by dinner time on Friday night. After a great dinner of steak and potatoes, it was time to get to bed in anticipation of Saturday.


Saturday, Dan came around wanting to go run some rocks. At first, I declined because I had my blue Jeep and didn’t have rock sliders, but I was soon talked into it. Don’t threaten me with a good time; I don’t know how to say no!

My blue TJ and Chuck’s yellow TJ before “the incident” (Photo by the author).

About 20 rigs went to run Carnage Canyon. We didn’t make it very far. On the first obstacle, Chuck ripped his rear link mounts off the rear end of his TJ. Soon, people were headed back to camp for a Ready Welder and parts. We spent the next couple of hours welding and getting the rig out of the canyon. Right as we cleared the top of the canyon with the broken TJ, the rain unleashed an absolute downpour like only the desert in the spring can do.

I was ecstatic to have the blue Jeep with a top and doors on this trip. We made it back to camp in time to hunker down in the motorhome and wait out the weather.

After a dinner of tri-tip and potatoes, the raffle was slated to start at 6:00 PM. At about 5:45, another squall came through. Fifty mile an hour winds, rain, and lots of dust blew everyone back into whateve