Placeholder text, please change

Ride In The Rocks: From Bike Trail to Science Camp

LUCERNE VALLEY, Calif. — When mountain bikers, runners and walkers participate in the annual Ride in the Rocks bike tour event on November 3, their efforts will go toward more than just testing their own strength and endurance. Their entry fees will help pay for local 5th-graders to enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime experience — science camp.
Every year all 5th graders at Lucerne Valley Elementary School are invited to attend the annual camp in Big Bear, which this year begins on Monday, October 15 and ends Friday, October 19. Nearly 60 students are expected to attend. They will enjoy all of the fun that camping offers, and more. Throughout the week, campers will participate in science-oriented projects and learning sessions, all of which affirm the school’s dedication to STEM — Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.
The camp is run by High Trails, which has offered outdoor science camp to elementary- and middle-school students since 2000. With an extensive “dirticulum,” the camp teaches adventure, environmental and evening classes. Classes include “Steller’s Jays: The Birds You Hate to Love,” “Replenishing The Water Cycle,” “Archery in North America,” “Over The Moon … Cycle” and many more. Activities include archery, climbing a rock climbing wall, line dancing and nature walks.
Teacher Vici Miller, who has serves on the “Ride in the Rocks” committee, has been helping with the camp since 2006. The experience is a top-notch learning experience, she says. “The students learn a lot about nature, environment, recycling, astronomy, survival, snakes and teamwork,” she said. “The food is spectacular, it’s all home made and healthy."
Not only will Ride in the Rocks participants help to pay campers’ way — it costs $500 per camper — but a host of sponsors are making a difference too. Leading the pack is the Mitsubishi Cement Corporation Educational Foundation. For decades the MCCEF has been donating thousands of dollars annually to the Lucerne Valley Unified School District. Their donations help Lucerne Valley teachers with projects or programs through “mini-grants” and graduating seniors to pursue college or vocational training through an extensive scholarship program. The annual Ride in the Rocks is the foundation’s centerpiece project — and lots of fun for participants — with Mitsubishi making a sizable donation to local schools and the science camp.
On September 6, the Lucerne Valley Unified School District hosted a dedication ceremony for the Bud Biggs STEM Lab at Lucerne Valley Elementary School. The lab, which is providing hands-on science, technology, engineering and math education to students in all grades, was named in memory of the longtime Mitsubishi Cement Corp. plant manager Bud Biggs, who passed away last year. Biggs was the singular choice for the lab’s name by the Lucerne Valley Unified School District Board of Trustees due to his immense generosity and dedication to Lucerne Valley students and teachers.
Other Ride in the Rocks sponsors include Butcher’s Block, Cervantes Grill on Wheels, Lions International, Lucerne Valley Community Church, Chuck Bell, Baghouse, Diamond Power Services, Hammer Nutrition, Lone Valley Solar Park, Gresham Savage Attorneys at Law, High Desert Party Rentals, Hi-Grade Materials, ICR Staffing Services. Others have indicated they will soon be joining the cause as an event sponsor.
As the annual event gets closer, a committee that includes Mitsubishi employees, Lucerne Valley residents, school district staffers and others from the region are meeting every few weeks to coordinate plans for making the 2018 Ride in the Rocks event the best ever. On September 11, seven committee members met to discuss trail grooming and cleanup, signage, sponsorships, T-shirts and volunteers.
Former Hesperia Mayor Thurston “Smitty” Smith was in attendance. Smith also serves on the committee for the Victor Valley Bike Tour, which will be held on October 27, and shared his knowledge and insight freely. Brian Riddle and Millie Rader and Mitsubishi Environmental Manager David Rib, all avid mountain bikers, talked about grooming old trails and the pre-ride, which is tentatively scheduled for October 6. Teacher Vici Miller and administrative assistant Joanne McGinnis discussed contacting volunteers and student volunteers.
Later in the week, Victor Valley photography instructor Sarah Alvarado, who also is a highly competitive mountain bike rider, took interview footage of Lucerne Valley 6th graders sharing their experiences at last year’s Science Camp. After Alvarado edits the video clips, the final product will appear on Facebook and the Ride on the Rocks website as a promotional video.
For more information on course maps, entry fees or to volunteer for this year’s Ride in the Rock’s event, visit For more information on the camp, visit
• October 6 — Trail pre-ride
• October 9 — Next Ride in the Rocks Committee Meeting
• October 20, 9 a.m. — Trail cleanup
• November 1, 5:30 p.m. — Volunteer meeting in Room 9 at Lucerne Valley Elementary School
• November 3, 9 a.m. — Ride in the Rocks Bike Tour Event

A Lucerne Valley student, left, is interviewed by professional photographer Sarah Alvarado for an upcoming video to help promote the upcoming Ride in the Rocks event in Lucerne Valley.
Millie Rader, left, a Ride in the Rocks committee member, discusses a promotional video with professional photographer/teacher Sarah Alvarado, right. Alvarado is volunteering her services to help promote the bike tour event. When completed, the video will contain interviews of Lucerne Valley Elementary School 5th- and 6th-graders who discuss attending the annual Science Camp in Big Bear Lake. Ride in the Rocks will be held on November 3.