This is a rather lengthy trip report about my experiences at the 1st Badlands Jeep Jamboree. No boredom intended. :-)
I e-mailed the JJUSA organization several times between the time I registered and the actual event, just inquiring about what they had in store for the Jamboree, considering it was being held in an offroad park that can be accessed much cheaper than the typical JJUSA registration fee. They had mentioned that a lot of it would be held on private land not normally accessible to the general public. Sounded like the best of both worlds - an established playground combined with some private land wheeling.
I didn't take nearly as many pictures as I usually do. Not really sure why. I'll include a link to all the pics near the end of the report.
Also, anyone else who was there, please feel free to add your own here if you'd like.
This is Owen, my trusty copilot over the last 2 years, and ready for his 3rd Jamboree, standing by what would end up being the shortest (height) Jeep on the trip - my '96 XJ with barely 2" of lift and BFG AT KOs (235s). I have engine, transmission, and transfer case skids. I had rocker protection on order and was hoping to have them by the jamboree, but conflicting schedules meant that the rocker protection wouldn't arrive until sometime the week after. Only missing one thing - a gas tank skid. :-0
Registration (check-in) was Thursday evening from 5-7 pm, and we were given a chance to pick which trails we wanted to run. I had planned to run with the Orange group for day one (intermediate trails) and Green for day 2 (a little harder than Orange). Blue was the hardest, and yellow was the easiest. As far as I know the group colors do not correspond with the trail divisions in the park... Anyway, the green group filled up just as I was ready to sign up for day 2, so I stuck with the orange group for both days. Glad I did - a great group of trail guides to hang around with.
Friday morning Owen and I showed up at the gate by about 7:30am, just to be sure we had plenty of time to get his Badlands pass. We were in some pretty big company.
After a short drivers meeting lead by Eric from the JJUSA org, and comments from Kyle, owner of the Badlands, we were underway!
We took off through what I think are referred as the dunes, the intention being to play around a little before heading to the private land. Not 10 minutes into the Jamboree we heard a "POP!"
The airbag popped on a '93 Grand Cherokee while we were slowly going over lots of whoops in the dunes area. He was as surprised about it as we were, though he did have a sense of humor about it.
Never say Jeepers aren't a creative group.
After a liberal application of duct tape, we're back on our way.
We climbed a couple of hills and then headed over to the private land. It happens to be owned by the former Badlands Owner Troy Myers (think I spelled that correct). Many thanks to him for allowing us to use his land!
At first we started out doing fairly simple trails, winding through trees and going up and down some reasonably small hills. As the day wore on, the trails got a little more complicated, hills getting steeper, and lots of creek crossings. Fluid changes are in order after this trip.
As I've mentioned before in other posts, one of things I enjoy the most about Jamborees are meeting people who are wheeling for the first time. We had an '04 Rubicon behind us for most of the first day. It was piloted by a couple from Missouri who had brought their 1 year old along for their ride (I suspect he was probably 18-23 months old). Their son did an amazing job on the trail, dealing with the heat, humidity, and bugs better than you'd expect (you parents know what I mean).
You'll notice he had a set of street tires on the Rubi. I mentioned to him a few times that most of what he had trouble with would have been a breeze with more aggressive tires.
YouTube - 2010 Badlands Jeep Jamboree USA - XJ recovers Rubicon
Tire choice turned out to be the Achilles heel for several people in our group. We followed a JK Sahara around for a lot of the first day, and they proved the Jeep was incredibly capable in completely stock form, but struggled up a few obstacles solely because the stock tires weren't grabbing as well as ATs or MTs.
We had one particular obstacle that really frustrated me. The XJ was just the perfectly wrong size for the obstacle, as you'll see in the video. It was humbling to get winched out, especially as several poeple commented that they were impressed with all I was able to do so far (given my, uh, low stance). First time for everything...
First, watch the JK in front of us descend into nothingness...
YouTube - 2010 Badlands Jeep Jamboree - steep hill for a JK
Then, watch us from halfway down...
YouTube - 2010 Badlands Jeep Jamboree - XJ Stuck
Day 1 ended up with an incredibly tough climb out of the creek, one that required most to get pulled or winched out. The following video is a compilation of what I was able to shoot before I got involved in helping push out a stuck golf cart downstream and then assisting with a tire repair. Yeah, golf cart. Don't ask...
For perspective, this is the stock JK ahead of us trying to climb up out of the creek.
YouTube - 2010 Badlands Jeep Jamboree - Trouble climbing out of the creek
About the time we finished getting everyone through, the skies opened up on us. We finally wandered back through the park and to our respective post-ride destinations. We had a great day, but were exhausted and ready to go home, clean up, and get some rest.
Since I live relatively close (40 minutes away), I limped home on a questionable right front tire (not holding air courtesy of the sand and dirt around the bead), washed up, prepped the XJ for day 2, and then collapsed.
Stay tuned for day 2...