RD’s Adventures – Final Destination… of 2012

Earthdate: 12/30/2012
Location: Big Bear, CA

Feeling the need to get away from the city for a few days we, my family and I, decided to head up to Big Bear, CA  for a relaxing vacation of snow and playing. After spending time with my kids in the snow and playing family games…. IT WAS TIME TO WHEEL!!! We met up with a couple friends Chris and Steve and headed out for a mellow/moderate adventure to the back roads of Big Bear. I planned out a route that consisted of running Gold Mountain Trail, Little John Bull, and the Jeep Squeeze. As we arrived at the trail head the snow barely started to come down but by the time we were up and over Gold Mountain the snow was really falling. The snow was not too thick to make the adventure really difficult but it was enough to give us a good time. After running down Little John Bull we paused for a photo-op and then headed over to Jeep Squeeze where we found fresh un-tracked snow. One of the challenges of snow wheeling is losing your way and missing the trail. That is just what we did half way through Jeep Squeeze finding our selves hiking around looking for the trail. We quickly found our way using a GPS system and wheeled on through. Here are a few pics that we took along the way. Happy New Year!!!

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20th Annual Big Bear Jeep Jamboree USA – May 10-12, 2012 – Recap

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

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

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree Day 1

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree Day 1

Day 1:
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.

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree Day 1

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.

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree Day 1

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.

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree Day 1

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.

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree Day 1

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree Day 1

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree Day 1

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree Day 1

It is great to see how perfect strangers get comfortable and become friends on the trail as the day goes on.

Day 2:
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.

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

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.

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

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.

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

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.

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

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.

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

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.

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

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.

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

For additional information, check out these sites.
Website: http://jeepjamboreeusa.com/
Event Schedule: http://jeepjamboreeusa.com/forms/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jeepjamboreeusa
Inland Empire 4 Wheeler’s: http://www.ie4w.com/

Join Us at the 20th Big Bear Jeep Jamboree USA – May 10-12, 2012

Big Bear Jeep Jamboree Decal

The 20th annual Big Bear Jeep Jamboree is coming will take place on May 10-12th and we are looking forward to participating this year.
2011 Jeep Jamboree USA

If you own a Jeep, of any kind, you should look into attending one of these events that Jeep Jamboree puts on in conjunction with various 4X4-Clubs all across the country! They are fun, informative, family friendly and sure to provide a good time.
2011 Jeep Jamboree USA

Here is a brief History about Jeep Jamboree USA:
Jeep® Jamborees are off-road adventure weekends that bring together the outdoors, down-to-earth people, and their Jeep 4x4s. These treks have been a tradition since 1953 when 4×4 pioneer Mark A. Smith organized the first ever Jeep Jamboree and voyaged across the Sierra Nevada Mountains by way of the old Rubicon Trail. In 1954, Willys Motors – then manufacturer of Jeeps – became involved and Jeep Jamborees have been an off-road tradition ever since.

This year I personally will be acting as a Trail Guide for Jeep Jamboree USA with the hosting Jeep club of Inland Empire 4 Wheeler’s, this will be my second appearance as a Trail Guide to this event. Last year’s event brought me great pleasure and excitement as I was able to use my off-roading experience and skills to help others in attendance get through the challenges and broaden their off-roading skills. Some of the attendees have never put their Jeeps in 4-Lo or even been on a dirt road.
2011 Jeep Jamboree USA
2011 Jeep Jamboree USA

Go to these websites for more information.
Website: http://jeepjamboreeusa.com/
Event Schedule: http://jeepjamboreeusa.com/forms/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jeepjamboreeusa
Inland Empire 4 Wheeler’s: http://www.ie4w.com/

If you’re going….See you on trail.

RD’s Adventures – 4th of July

The weather was starting to heat up in So-Cal giving way to one of the few seasons we actually experience here: Summer! The 4th of July holiday weekend was fast approaching and the itch to lock into 4wd and hit the dirt was overwhelming. The Johnson Valley ‘Hammers’ were sweltering at 115 degrees so the decision was made to retreat to the cool comfort only Big Bear Lake could provide. At seven thousand feet in elevation our camp site, The Green Spot, was a comfortable 80 degrees. With camp set up on Friday night and the rigs prepped the stage was set for what we hoped would be some epic wheeling.

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During the week prior Randall kept talking about this ‘secret’ trail only he knew of that was sure to provide a ‘Hammer’s’ like challenge but in the forest of Big Bear. Little did I know he had run the same trail in August and even blogged about it: RD’s 1:1 Offroading. In retrospect had I seen that blog I may have been a little more apprehensive about running it. This trail offered up a variety of terrain from boggy marsh-like creeks, with almost overwhelming amounts of overgrowth, to super slick rock and even ‘Hammer’s’ like sections of waterfalls and large boulders. At 1.2 miles in length it wasn’t very long but to get 5 rigs through took upwards of about 6 hours.  You know you’re on a good trail when you have to bust out a machete to blaze through an area to get to the next challenge. With its abundant tight turns long wheel based vehicles were a little tough to squeeze through in areas. The waterfall by far proved to be the biggest challenge of the weekend. Most sane individuals would get to the base of it, call it the end of the trail, and turn around having still run a challenging trail. Not us! This is where the fun began not ended.  Two out of the five rigs made it up without needing a winch. Randall, being the most experience on this trail, went first and after making it ¾ of the way up decided to take a winch. A slightly bent passenger front fender and a minor encounter with the top of the roll cage and he was through. Getting my rather large 4Runner on 33’s up it was a different story. The RV/Camper, as Randall so aptly named it, suffered some body damage nearly taking out the back window and a few side windows on the passenger side. After a half hour with 2 different winch lines attached and some careful planning I escaped with only one large dent in the tailgate and a bruised ego. While the remainder of the traill still had its challenges, and in my case more body damage, nothing compared to that waterfall. Been there done that, thanks Randall!

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Having run the ‘secret’ trail the day before we decided on milder trails for Sunday July 4th.  We set our sights on a few classic trails: Gold Mountain and John Bull. Both trails are well known in the area and offer some spectacular views and photo opportunities along with a few challenges but nothing extreme. One of the coolest places I have ever wheeled was the ‘Rock Garden’ on Gold Mountain. It’s a very large open area in the middle of the forest but covered completely in medium sized rocks. The grip was astounding and the noise the rocks made when crawling over them was truly unique and quite loud. It was a virtual playground for us and almost any line you took worked due to the grip on the unique terrain. After that trail we took a short jaunt down some fire roads before arriving at John Bull. We stopped to have lunch and even ran some AX10’s; and SCX10’s;. There were endless places to wheel the R/C vehicles and both kids and adults took advantage. Afterwards we discovered a great picture opportunity (The group vehicle shot below…) before starting on the trail. Upon arriving at the first obstacle we noticed a large group of fellow wheeler’s congregating at the base watching the ensuing action. As I watched Randall and the rest of our group tackle the trail, waiting for my turn, a young kid approached me with his R/C truck in hand. He had an AX10 ARTR; with some customization done to it but was in need of a steering servo horn. Unfortunately he had different steering servo and we didn’t have a horn that would fit. Regardless it was very cool to meet him and see an Axial crawler in such a remote area.  After John Bull we decided to return to camp and get ready for the fireworks show at Big Bear Lake. Once the sun set we loaded up in the trucks and tootled up the dirt road a few miles to watch the show. Although we viewed the show from the side it was quite an extravagant fireworks display and an excellent way to celebrate a truly awesome weekend of wheeling fun. In the end everyone left with at least one new ‘war wound’, or in my case 5, but it didn’t matter compared to the memories!

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