Jeep Jamboree Pre-Run

Ken Smith on the first obstacle - Click to Zoom in!


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Waypoints | Items Used



The second of two required pre-runs, I forced myself out of bed at 3:30 AM with only four hours sleep.  I went in to the day with a long running sleep deficit that would ultimately cause me to end my trip early so that I could manage the long drive home and a good nights sleep.

Late the night before, Rob Landrum posted on the board that he'd be driving down with me so I wrote back with my departure time (range) and itinerary.  Knowing that I might get started late, I expected to be in the Rt. 66 and Rt. 29 area at about 5:30 in the morning.  As it turned out I was a little bit later than that but Rob was there patiently waiting.  I re-loaded my GPS track from the last trip so that I would know where we were in relation to the rest of the plantation.  It was nice to be able to see in advance the turns and intersections.

On the Road with Rob LandrumOn the Road with Rob LandrumOn the Road with Rob Landrum
On the Road with Rob LandrumOn the Road with Rob LandrumOn the Road with Rob Landrum

We drove straight through down to the Exxon and McDonalds that are located on Rt. 29 right near Lovington.  We stopped to gas up and so on.  Several others were there and headed for the muster area.  In my haste to get going, I left without Rob (who had not been down to Lovington before).  Fortunately he went looking for me in the right direction, and the CB kept us in contact.  Right about when I realized I had left him behind and stopped at the turn to wait or go back, he came through on the CB and was in sight less than a few seconds later.  I'm glad I didn't leave him behind.

Around the first bend on the turn-off, things were looking dead.  But at the second bend in the road, the muster field opened up ahead and there were several dozen Jeeps lined up and rarin' to go.  This must be the place!



This time around the drivers meeting was held face-to-face instead of over CB CH4.  Instructions were brief and mainly oriented to the confirmed and high-listed drivers. But general guidelines were also put out there for the guests of the day (that would be folks like me).  Once all the business had been taken care of, we broke off into trail groups.  It doesn't look like I am going to be on the list of trail guides as I am so far down the list that it is unlikely they will have enough registrants to need me.  It's hard to say if I would have come this far, as tired as I was, knowing this in advance.  But since I was here, I decided to make the best of it.

Our group was basically the same bunch as last time.  

  • Mark L.
  • Steve J.
  • Ken S.
  • James A.
  • Jason N
  • (white TJ driver and companion)

Zen did not return to entertain us today.  The weather shined on us cool, and dry. I could almost breeze through our trail ride by saying that it was nearly the same as the first time out except you subtract the rain (and the difficulties it introduced on the last round), run the trails in just under two hours.  We also found out that Zen had gotten his Jeep started again after we left him, and he promptly made another failed attempt at the mud hole!


Ken Smith at the Carriage House
On the trailOn the trail

This time around, we went out to the first trail loop, ran it the correct way around and doubled back to the entrance where we then went up the same hill and the loop at the top as before.  It seemed a little harder than the last time we went but of course it was the same trail.  There wasn't anything really difficult about it except that with my tires aired down a little more than I am used to, the Jeep seemed a little bit more tippy.  It was probably all in my head.

We went back down the hill to the main dirt road, tracked around the entrance to the other trail segment that comprises this Jeep Jamboree "trail ride".  After skirting the edge of a field and crossing a creek, we came to the mud hole that kept Zen so busy on our last trip.  The one element that got just about everyone was the bypass around the mud hole that involved threading through a stand of small but stout trees.  There were some roots, ruts, and holes that conspired to make it difficult to just drive through.  Just about everyone had to work their way through with a couple of us tweaking our roof-racks.  I came through with just an ever-so-slight scratch of the powder-coat and no dents.

I was very happy that there was no rain since right beyond this minor obstacle was the hill that caused me so much grief last time.  I really had no interest in installing another bumper this weekend... But of course, without the rain, this hill was no challenge at all - we all went up it like it was a flat field.  About halfway up, the trail turns and goes back down to the foot of the hill.  From here the trail forks in two:  One fork to the left leads up a sheer rock face; to the right is the "bunny" slope with another fork - the left fork leading up the hill with no obstacles and the right fork leading up the hill with a small rock step part-way up the hill.

Ken Smith on the first obstacle

As I was coming down the hill to the first fork, I had the pleasure of seeing Ken making a run at the optional rock face that Steve had tried to conquer on our last trip. 

Ken Smith on the first obstacle

Ken's Jeep was pointed straight up at the sky and the engine was stalling.  Sucks to be Ken right at that moment! 

Ken Smith on the first obstacleKen Smith on the first obstacle

Ken Smith on the first obstacle

He got it back on 4 wheels and gingerly picked his way backwards down off the rock and then out of the grasp of the trees waiting at the bottom. 

Ken Smith on the first obstacle

I am not sure how many times he tried it but finally he crested the top, only to get his rear diff. snagged on the rock, with some holes below his tires.  He just worked it until he got off the rock and went up the rest of the hill.

Ken and Steve
Mark Long on the first obstacleMark Long on the first obstacle
First obstacleFirst obstacle

After that, everyone in front of me went up the rock in one swipe.  I was taking pictures and realized it was my turn...  My turn to take the bypass.  The driver behind me also opted for the bypass and then the rest of our group went up the rock.  I think if I hadn't seen Ken get so out of shape I might have tried it, but I really didn't feel like getting part-way up and then have to come back down...  Instead, I took the same route as last time and climbed the ledge as before with no problem.  Then I took the remaining difficult route to the top of the hill that I had bypassed last time.  It was interesting.  The ground was loose, there were ruts and little pebbles and gravel.  I had no trouble making it to the top but it was only because I kept moving and didn't spin the tires.  I think that route would get nasty if you had to stop because you probably couldn't back down the way you came.

Steve Johnson on the second obstacleSteve Johnson on the second obstacleSteve Johnson on the second obstacle

With everyone to the top of the first hill, Steve from Xtreme once again made an attempt to climb the other difficult obstacle.  He worked it and worked it until he was well positioned and then tromped on up.  It was fun to watch, glad that it was not my Jeep!  No one else attempted it.  Steve gets the award for the most difficult challenge completed!

Line on the road
Trail lineTrail lineTrail lineTrail line

From there it was a dirt road back to the carriage house.

Line-up at the Carriage HouseLine-up at the Carriage HouseLine-up at the Carriage House
Line-up at the Carriage HouseLine-up at the Carriage House

Then the blindfolded obstacle course was run for those expecting to guide at Jeep Jamboree.

Blind CourseBlind CourseBlind Course


At that point, my four hours sleep was leaving me a little worse for wear so I aired up, connected my sway bars and got ready to hit the road.

There has been some discussion about the Lev-O-Gage.  Comments about it's accuracy and whether or not it is really useful.  It is obvious that it is not a true precision device although it should be accurate enough for its intended use.

That one cannot drive and look at it at the same time is true but to me does not diminish its value.  When the Jeep is stopped, you can look at it and get an idea what your tilt is.  This weekend I found another good use for it - determining if I am level so I can reconnect my sway bar.

You might think that being level is pretty easy to detect.  On pavement it is, but if you must reconnect on gravel or grass, it can be a little bit harder.  And if there does not seem to be any level ground, how are you going to get level enough to make connecting as easy as possible?

I had the same question in my mind when it was time to connect.  Then it occurred to me to find a level looking spot and then adjust the Jeep until the gauge showed level.  And sure enough, when the gauge told me the Jeep was level, the sway bar connectors went right on!

Mark Long at Carriage HouseDrivers in FieldThe JeepThe Jeep

One of the guys generously gave me some KC light covers - Thanks!  I loaded my short CB cable so he could tune an antenna for one of our group.  Then I said my good-byes and hit the road.   Later, at the car wash, I ran into Mark L. who was on his way out as well and we drove back on Rt. 29.

Mark on the RoadMark on the RoadMark on the RoadView from the Road

It was a great day if a bit long on pavement and short on trail, but the weather made up for that and the company was worth the drive by itself. I have some photos that will be up later this week.  I got home about four hours later, went to bed around 4pm and didn't get up 'til the next 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 Part 1 | GPS Track Legend Part 2


Items Used on this Trip

I have added this section to keep track of items carried along routinely are that are used on the trip, and any special significance to this use, if appropriate.  This may help to emphasis the importance (or lack thereof) of these things.  In most cases, the inclusion on this list suggests that the item was "essential" to the trip.  In some cases, this merely indicates a matter of greater convenience or personal preference; in other cases, the trip would have been difficult, impossible, or nightmarish without the item.  The trip report will certainly reflect the severity of need for each item.

There are two classes of items - those attached to the Jeep more or less permanently that did not come with the Jeep;  and those "readiness items" that I carry "just in case".   I will only mention those items that were actually used and made a difference.   I will also list items that I carry that may have been used by others (they too carry these items and may have used their own instance of this item - the point being that someone had this available).

In this way it might be possible over the course of several trips to determine what the incidence of use of these items, and from that to suggest what items are most important to add to a mod list first.

This list is not comprehensive - it is a summary of what was used on this trip.  I carry considerably more items in the event of more difficult circumstances.

Air Chuck & gauge Air Down/Up Fittings in container
Quick Disconnects Disconnect sway bar New
Camera & film photos Pentax
GPS locating trail head and obstacles known in advance, coordinates shared with other members of group Dash Mount
Maps survey of the area prior to trip Navigational Aids
CB, Weather Radio & Antenna road and trail communication CB
Engine Skid ramp to transfer case skid on one obstacle Engine Skid Plate
Steering Box Skid protection at various rough spots steering box skid plate
Gas tank skid protection at various rough spots gas tank skid plate
Springs clearance and load balancing Old Man EMU Springs
air tank, hose and compressor air up tires Viair 2.5 Gallon, 150lb Air Tank and hardware
rack carry tools, Hi-Lift, water, protect roof Garvin Wilderness Rack
leather gloves remove and replace disconnects  
Jacket warm up from wind chill Paul amd Tomi
Sun glasses glare and bright sun protection
hat wind protection
snacks and food eating
pencil and paper record waypoint notes for later  
credit card, cash gas, dinner and snacks  
278-968 2 Ft. RG-58 Coax Cable Assembly to connect SWR meter to CB tune trail buddy's CB Antenna  
Lev-O-Gage get  Jeep level to re-connect Sway bar Lev-O-Gage




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