It is an absolute honor to be invited to join the Inland Empire 4 Wheelers club as a trail guide for the 20th Annual Big Bear Jeep Jamboree USA. The club has been the host of this event since the first ever Big Bear Jeep Jamboree 20 years ago and still has active members that were at the first event. The event keeps getting better every year and the attendance keeps growing. This year with just a few vehicles shy of a sell out it was sure to bring some large trail groups and a lot of smiling faces. You could tell by all the participants that were at the drivers meeting Friday Morning that they were ready to hit the trails and get their adventure on.
Everyone that gathered for the meeting was able to enjoy the insightful comic, George “P-Diddy” Biddlecomb, educate them on treading lightly and other helpful 4-wheeling tips, like proper tire pressure and proper tire placement, for the first time off-roaders.
Blue Group Trail Leader: Mike Moore
Mid-Gunner: Rob Rogers
Tail Gunner: Randall Davis
I made it a point to get a group shot of everyone in our Blue Group so that we could look back and reflect on the new friends we met and the good times that we were about to have on trail. This picture is at the Old Baldwin Mine as we were on our way too run Little John Bull and John Bull 3N10.
Some rigs are so big they just don’t need a spotter’s help. I took this opportunity to get a drink of water and watch Trail Guide, Rob Rogers, run over the rocks at the John bull Rock Garden.
Axial’s VP, Jeff Johns, was able to get after the rocks as well and make some quick work of the entrance. And then the others followed.
Here’s a few pics from a spot that used to be a tree squeeze. You can see that the tree on the passenger side of the vehicles has fallen…. This line used to be a Jeep top biter… but now… not so much.
It is great to see how perfect strangers get comfortable and become friends on the trail as the day goes on.
On our way to the next trail of the day, Holcomb Creek 3N93, we stopped by the dam to hear a little history from our Trail Leader, Mike More. He is well educated about Big Bear history and it was great to hear what he had to say about the area and it’s history.
Another group shot, but this time I tricked them all into playing a little Simon Says, I never said Simon Says. It is great to see how we develop friendships from Day 1 to Day 2. And it is even better to be able to share the good times and smiles with each of the participants.
Getting on trail of Holcomb Creek is a nice little drive from Fawnskin, CA out the 3N14 to the turn off for 3N93. The first challenge you get to is a dandy of a right hand turn into a bed of big boulders. After a good bit of spotting for each of the rigs we were all though and moving on.
The best part of Holcomb Creek Trail is the rock garden that is about half way down the trail. Back in 2006 this was one of the most picturesque places on Holcomb Creek…. but the fires of Big Bear left this area ravaged and desolate looking. It is still a challenge to get through and the trickle of water has kept it just muddy enough to prevent any real good traction. There are plenty of challenging rocks to choose to drive over or around and it makes it perfect for all levels of drivers to step-up and test their skills a little more than normal.
The bottom of Holcomb Creek has the last big challange we would face, again, and choose the rocks we want to drive over…. we found one that was a pretty good rock for posing and some of the participants chose to to do just that.
And what would a day of wheeling be without breakage!!! We we had our fair share this time. One participant broke a sway-bar mount, another broke T-case shifter linkage, both were fixed. We also had control arm mount failure and Front Axle U-Joint failure a snapped rear track bar. The day was full of mechanical hardware challanges but not one of them left us discouraged….. we were determined to continue to have a good time and raise the bar for trail adventure. With the major breakage occuring to my rig and the fortunately prepared participant, we were able to see first hand how awesome and benifical the Hobert protable welding system is to have on trail. And then later got to witness it in action again making a brace for the rear track bar that broke on another rig. We were able to handle all the repairs on trail and get everyone back to the the Elks Lodge safely…not really in a timely manner, but in-time for dinner.
With another Jeep Jamboree in the books and another experience under my belt, I am excited and delighted at what I was able to be a part of. The response we got from every participant in our group was positive and they left with more Jeeping knowledge than they had before.
For additional information, check out these sites.
Event Schedule: http://jeepjamboreeusa.com/forms/
Inland Empire 4 Wheeler’s: http://www.ie4w.com/