The Curries Take on Jeep Jamboree 2019
Jeepers and Jeep Jamboree are fully supported off-road trips through the Rubicon Trail in Northern California. So, what’s the difference between the Jeepers and Jeep Jamboree trip? Jeepers Jamboree is a three or four day trip that offers a more adult-oriented atmosphere with more vehicles and live entertainment. All attendees must be 16 years of age or older. Jeep Jamboree is a three-day trip that is all about families. There’s a family educational program for kids 6-16, fewer vehicles and family-oriented live entertainment.
The Curries (Casey, Cody and their families) went to the family-oriented Jeep Jamboree. Here’s a recap of their experience at this year’s event.
An early wake up starts the day. We make the short trip from Auburn to Georgetown, our last opportunity for fuel. We quickly fill up and make our way towards the trailhead. We roll into the entrance of the famous Rubicon Trail around 7:00am. The crew aired down our Nitto Trail Grappler tires, grab a complimentary lunch, and onto the trail we went. We quickly found ourselves behind a long row of Jeeps. A couple of us hiked ahead to find a 4Runner turtled on a boulder. Struggling to get off the boulder, a winch line was thrown to the front bumper. With some rookie maneuvering the driver snapped a front axle shaft. With many onlookers now, event coordinator Bob Sweeney was in route in his yellow TJ to free up the traffic jam. A quick tug from Bob freed the 4Runner and the trail was open again.
At the beginning of the trail there were a few massive granite slabs to climb.
To keep people and vehicles safe during Jeep Jamboree there are spotters at every obstacle to help guide everyone through the trail.
Multiple lakes create incredible scenic backdrops all along the trail.
One of the most difficult obstacles on the trail is Big Sluice. A steep decent with VW Bug sized rocks scattered make a challenge for every Jeep. With some good guidance and the help of our 40-inch Nitto’s we made it through with ease. The flex it put the Jeep into was pretty awesome to see. What these vehicles are capable of is beyond impressive.
An awesome bridge crosses over the creek that leads to the spring.
The last obstacle was a tight squeeze for our widened Jeeps. Some precise movements and a close call due to a trailer. We were through and on our way to the spring.
“Jeep Jamboree is a fantastic family event. The guides helping on the trails, the excellent staff serving food, the entertainment and the kids entertainment is top notch. Such a great way to spend a weekend with the family.” - Casey Currie
Cody trying to be funny went to send a wave towards me and nearly put the hood of his JK under water.
We arrived into the springs around 5pm, we made the water crossing to our usual campground. We set up camp with tents, hammocks and roof top tents and headed off to dinner. Rubicon Springs is completely decked out with everything you’d want. A full-fledged kitchen, bar, stage and to top it off an ice cream bar with hot fudge sundaes. Dinner was pork chops with Thai chili sauce, rice and a Chinese salad. Free popcorn was being handed out in preparation for movie night. The classic film “Goonies” played for a sea of fold out chairs. As the movie came to a close and One-Eyed Willy’s treasure was found we made our way back to camp by the light of our flashlights. As we climbed into the tents the stars were shining super bright.
With the sound of the birds chirping and smell of fresh air it was time to wake up. First step of the day was breakfast. The crew made the trek to the Springs for a delicious pancake breakfast with ham and eggs. Several pots of piping hot coffee were there for the campers still trying to get their eyes open. Back at camp a surprise was waiting for us in the form of a nice hot shower. Designated overland expert Justin has one of the most decked-out setups, including trailer tent, tent heater, sink, fridge, MTB rack and aforementioned shower. Cold water is pulled from the nearby creek by a pump, ran through the radiator through a hose to a shower nozzle for a perfectly warm shower.
For a ‘lil midday fun the crew filled up their preferred inflatable tube and we headed to the water. The water was brisk but a nice complement to the blazing sun. Little fish and a couple water snakes made up our surroundings as we lounged on the water. With multiple tiers of pools in the campground, there is plenty of room for everyone.
Noon was approaching and our second trip to the spring commenced for lunch. Along the path we caught glimpses of everyone else’s rigs. It’s awesome how no two vehicles are alike. Today’s lunch was a delicious pastrami sandwich with swiss cheese and pickles with a couple peanut butter cookies to top it off. During lunch, Rugged Radios was handing out hand held radios to every kid and giving them lessons on how to use them. Each kid was so excited to get their radio turned on and start chatting to one another. Throughout Jeep Jamboree there’s a plethora of activities going on for the kids from hikes to RC car races to free giveaways. They also teach the kids about treading lightly and how to respect the outdoors to preserve our natural surroundings.
Casey and his younger son Evan tested out a Life Straw. It filters nearly any water into clean, drinkable water.
After lunch it was time for a quick siesta and then a hike up the mountain that adorns Rubicon Springs. The views at any moment on the Rubicon are breathtaking and make for a great family photo opportunity.
A juicy steak with Cesar salad and corn on the cob waited for us after the hike at dinner. One of the family members of the staff always has his birthday on the trail and this year decided to share it with the rest of the kids by bringing two piñatas for the kids to take turns swinging at until candy was scattered everywhere.
Following that was a kids only raffle. Seeing the excitement on their faces was priceless. After the raffle it was time to take a step or two back as a crazy fire dancing show commenced. Dancers took turns twirling, spinning and hula-hooping fire as they got closer and closer to one another putting on an amazing show. As the flames dimmed the live band came on stage, our group slowly snuck away to get our younger members off to bed. On the way back to camp we couldn’t help to stop and take in some star gazing. The Milky Way was so crisp and easy to see. Finally making our way to our tents as we had an early morning to pack and get back on the trail and up to Lake Tahoe.
While we slept, we had a visitor get into our camp. In the middle of the night a bear came into camp and rummaged throughout the trash that accrued from the past couple days. It was just another reminder that we’re in their territory out here and to respect nature. After we picked up the scattered trash, we packed up our camps and headed for Cadillac Hill and Lake Tahoe. Cadillac Hill is named after an old Cadillac LaSalle, the old remnants of the car used to lay at the bottom of the hill where it had came to its final resting place after an accident. Now, the trail is lined with chain link and filled-in cement pockets to keep rocks in place and improve traction. The rock path is located on the side of an insanely steep hill where every driver wants to steer away from the edge into the mountain side.
Casey helped guide a driver up one of the off-camber and more terrifying obstacles of Cadillac Hill. A couple different off-camber steep rock climbs are staggered along the hill keeping everyone on the edge of their seats.
At the top of the rock climb is a scenic overlook. A great spot to take one last photo and then it’s off to Lake Tahoe and on home to prepare for the next adventure.