Jeepers Jamboree: Verifying Dreams on the Rubicon Trail
Special to the Sun
The French have a saying that “we travel to verify our dreams” and the fabled Rubicon Trail is where Jeep lovers travel to verify theirs.
The trail snaking through the High Sierra Mountain Range will be the site of the 61st annual Jeepers Jamboree, a multi-day event with trail ride, camping, entertainment, great food, and ample time away from it all in the middle of absolutely spectacular scenery. The four-day event starts Thursday.
“The Rubicon Trail is the mecca of trails for the Jeep world and a perfect spot to get away from everything,” said Jamey Paine, product manager at 4Wheel Drive Hardware. “You spend your whole day wheeling on this scenic trail. It’s indescribable.”
The Jeepers Jamboree describes the annual event that kicks off July 25 as “the most grueling 17 miles of off-roading you’ll ever experience.” The experience runs the gamut because between bouts with vehicle-punishing terrain, 4×4 drivers are wined, dined and pampered. The Jeep Jamboree is the more family-oriented trip for 10-year-olds and up, with a mellower atmosphere, tamer music and a vendor show.
The night before the Jeepers Jamboree, Wednesday, there was an informal party at the Georgetown Hotel saloon in Georgetown. Paine describes it as a cool little mountain town brimming with character.
“It’s something like out of a forever ago movie and the town is overwhelmed with both vintage and brand new Jeeps,” he said. For him, meeting other Jeepers and hearing their stories was one of the highlights of his Jamboree trip.
Roughly 600 vehicles are expected to run the various Jeepers Jamborees events that include three and four day options. Over 20 trail guides are on hand to help with navigation and if breakdowns occur on the trail, a helicopter flies in necessary parts. The Trail has a grip on the imaginations of veteran wheelers who’ve been there and holds intrigue for those who have yet to take it on.
“I’m looking forward to wheeling on more serious rock crawling terrain than I’m used to in Texas,” said Buddy Cabaniss, senior sales representative for the Houston/Louisiana branch of Dealer Services International. Cabaniss will be putting a 2012 Jeep Wrangler with a Rubicon Express 4.5-inch express lift through its paces. “We’re gonna see what the Rubicon does on the Rubicon,” he laughed.
Among the items included in the price to make the trek are three meals a day, vehicle and camping fees, wilderness permits, and the use of guides. On the relaxation side are entertainment, drawings, and games.
“I’m a diehard 4×4 enthusiast and I’ve heard amazing things from friends that have done the trail,” said Dan Haynes, Dealer Services International representative for Georgia. “I’m a gearhead and when I found out the logistics of camping it really got me excited. I can’t wait.”
Platinum sponsors include 4 Wheel Parts, G2 Axle & Gear, Smittybilt, and Trail Master. Vendors will be at the Jeep Jamboree campsite with products like winches, apparel, and Jeep hardtop hoists.
Jeepers are readying their rides and dreaming about conquering the legendary Rubicon Trail.
The Jeepers Jamboree is ready to help them verify those dreams.