Jeep Jamboree 4/24/03 Pre-Run 2

Mike comes back

4X4 ICON 2000 - 2008 The DVD! - Click here for details!

4X4 ICON 2000 - 2008 The DVD!




After the first pre-run, I began a waiting game.  I was a half-dozen slots out of contention for being a Trail Guide.  On the eve of this pre-run, I had matriculated into a slot as trail guide, and the person next down on the list had moved into position as well.  I packed light with only changes of clothes for the days I would be out, my electronics and new digital camera.

I had decided that I'd had enough of shooting film for these types of activities.  Also, shooting for eBay had gotten tedious since my dual-purpose Video/Digital still camera was malfunctioning.  So with one night to go, I did what conventional wisdom tells you not to do - I bought a new camera with no time to learn its operation, and no time for trial and error. 

Sony CD400 Mavica

It would be a trial by fire this time out.  I didn't have any worries because it looked intuitive enough, and I had purchased spare batteries and CD's, and brought along the cables and instructions.

In an effort to avoid being late like the first pre-run, I got up and left home by 4:55am with plans to arrive in Oak Ridge by 8:00am.  I was surprised by the traffic at this early hour until I recalled that it was only Thursday and that it would be a regular commute.  Oh Joy!

After I had driven about 1/2 an hour, I realized that I had forgotten my GPS cable and my spare battery for the camera.  I was not happy about it since this would prevent me from saving my GPS tracks (or loading old ones) and I would probably need more battery power than one battery would provide for my camera.  At least there I could pace myself and recharge the one battery I had each night.

I got to the Haymarket Sheetz by 5:40am, took on fuel and supplies for the day, then continued down Route 15 to Route 29, where I turned south for Charlottesville.

I reached Charlottesville by 7:14am and caught a little bit of their rush-hour traffic.  But I still made the Liberty gas station in Lovingston by 7:50am.  When I opened up the passenger side door, I discovered the cable and battery that I thought I had left behind.  Good News!  I packed them in their rightful places.  I took advantage of the pavement to air down and disconnect while my gas tank filled.  Then I headed for the muster field.


A much smaller group was assembled than the first pre-run.  Only the confirmed Trail Guides and a couple alternates were present.  I expected this to make the trail run go a little faster.  It also turned out that those present were for the most part driving modified Jeeps.  That never hurts either.

Drivers MeetingJeepsJasonMikeJeeps

The drivers meeting was held and we learned that the weather for the weekend was not expected to be good.  This meant that we would probably have to revise the trail routes as necessary, and face the possibility that if it rained badly enough before we hit the trail, that we might not even be able to go out.


With the meeting out of the way, we formed a column and headed out for Trail 3, AKA Bobs Creek.  During the last pre-run we had abandoned this trail due to various problems.  This time, we went in to the corduroy road, past the tight trees, then up the hill, bypassing the drop to the rock obstacles, and instead heading straight up the hill.  


This was not particularly difficult but there were a couple of rocks that made it interesting.  The rest of this trail was uneventful, and soon we reached the exit.

Up the road and around a couple corners and we met the entrance to Trail 7.  We drove in through the erosion, which seems less severe than last year, and down into the first little loop.  


Trail - Click to Enlarge

It was interesting but not challenging.  I can see where it will get nasty once it rains.

Out of the loop we continued in and up the mountain to follow the ridge line to the turn around and then back out and down the mountain.  Some light trail maintenance was done to remove fallen trees.

TrailTrailLyle and saw

Next came Trail 2 with the stream crossing and climb out onto the bank.  The water was deeper than last year, but the crossing was still very passable.

Crossing onto Trail 2
TrailPaulCrossing onto Trail 2Crossing onto Trail 2

Once up on the trail, we drove along and passed the optional hill-climb.  It has deteriorated to the point where it is no longer accessible to stock vehicles and could be classed as an extreme obstacle that only experienced drivers with built rigs would be allowed to attempt.  And then only if the trail was dry and time allowed.

We drove up the main trail and eventually got to the turn off for Findlay Ridge.  While I like this trail, it is very tight and winds around trees so tightly that anything larger than a Wrangler has to make multi-point turns.  Along the way, there are some obstacles that aren't that hard, but compound the challenge of climbing the steep hill and threading through the trees.

Rough Spot
Rough SpotRough SpotRough SpotRough SpotRough SpotRough SpotRough Spot

One spot, where I winched last year, was the worse for wear.  The upper rock obstacle was pretty much impassible, and the lower one was much more difficult that last year.  One by one, we made our way up the obstacle, with some folks having better luck than others.

Interior of CJ-8Winching

At one spot, we had a little carnage when a tight spot reached out and touched a Jeep.  He got winched out of the pinch and we continued.  As we drove along, Jonathan called out that he was having clutch problems.  We stopped and soon learned that his clutch slave cylinder had been damaged and would need to be replaced.  Jonathan drove on on his own, shutting the Jeep off and turning it on where needed.

Jonathan's Clutch Slave blood
TrailKennychecking the damage

More Ouch!Trail

By this time, it was getting late and so we bypassed the rock garden, and made plans to bypass CJ-5 Hill.  Instead, we took a ride down to the crossing on Trail 5 to see how well the repair work had been done.  On the last pre-run, this crossing had kept us busy winching and reseating tires.  On the way, Dan and Lyle spent some time playing Choo-Choo train with their straps in the mud ruts.  

TrailTrailBreak TimeTrail

Once they were fished out, we continued on to the crossing.  Mike Ball crossed the stream and found the climb out to be more than his Jeep could handle.  It still was not passable for the average Jeep.  

Mike gets hung upMike comes backMike

So Mike winched himself out and crossed back.  We doubled back, with me leading to the meadow.  Once again a couple Jeeps got stuck in the meadow and were retrieved.

From the meadow, we took the Trail 4 loop.  I made a wrong turn and came out on the downhill side of the log bridge.  So I went back and ran the loop the correct way and caught up to the group.  We stopped to move some fallen logs out of the way, then ran the rest of the loop, crossing the log bridge after coming off a slightly off-camber side-hill.

Back on the main trail, we followed Trail 4 to the exit.


Once we got back to pavement, we headed for the muster point.  There we got directions to the motel and went our separate ways.  I went and checked in, and unpacked my stuff.  Mike came by and gave me a Trail Guide flag.  I also made some phone calls with pretty lousy cell coverage.

The Jeep Jamboree staff (Merlin and Dwain) came by with pizza and we talked about plans for the event.  After eating some pizza, and cleaning up my stuff, I went to the car wash and cleaned up the Jeep.  Even though I would be going right back on the trail first thing in the morning, it seemed like a good idea to start out the official event looking fresh.

By 11pm I was making my notes and soon hit the sack.  Tomorrow would be a long day!

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Oak Ridge is Private Property.  Trespassing is vigorously enforced and prosecuted.

At the request of the Jeep Jamboree local coordinators and site owners, GPS coordinates are not being posted for this trail report.

GPS Track Legend

GPS Track Legend


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