Much earlier in the year we decided to go up to the Canadian Jeep Jamboree in Osoyoos in early June. We couldn't go back to the Nachees Jamboree in July because Tina was due around the same time.
Before the Jamboree came around though, I wanted to get a which. I looked around at the swap meet but didn't really find anything. About this same time Al was thinking about selling his LandCruiser. He was now driving around his parents Grand Cherokee which he eventually bought from them so he had to sell the LC. I talked him into selling me his winch before he sold it though.
Don and I installed it one afternoon in his barn. Everything went smoothly at first. But at one point we were holding the winch in place to mark holes and stuff. Somehow we got our signals mixed and we both let go of the winch and it went crashing to the ground. Luckly the only thing that broke was the outside case on the spool which didn't do anything structurally. Now when people ask me how it broke I tell them it broke when I winched this 20-ton semi out of the ditch.Along with the new winch I had to get a bigger alternator and ended up getting an 80 amp high output one. I still had my little wimpy battery in the box though and part two will be to add a second battery somewhere. That's part of the problem, with the 307 in the engine compartment, there is very little room for other things. The passenger compartment is rather small as well so I will have to be a little more creative if I want to add another battery.
The jeep was finally coming along. I had bigger better tires, great transmission, rebuilt engine, and now an 8,000lb Warn winch. It is actually a model 5780 or something. I guess the predecessor to the model 87?? but it works fine and had about 150' of line on it.
Anyway, back to the Jamboree. At first I wanted to go up with my brother and tow the jeep behind his Cherokee. Well, Scott had to work and his jeep was not working very well so I ended up driving the 6 hours to Canada by myself. My uncle lives up near Osoyoos and was going to ride with me on the second day of trail riding.
Don, and Dale and their families were going up for the whole week. The jamboree was actually a Friday-Sunday event but Don and Dale wanted to take the whole week as a vacation. They went up to Osoyoos on Monday and I followed on Tuesday.
Earlier in the year I met Rob Bryce via e-mail. Rob lived on Vancover Island and had been to the Jamboree the previous year in his Comanchee pickup. He was also going this year so we would be able to meet person to person. Rob said that if I showed up early in the week I could probably go on some preruns of the actual trail. That sounded like fun so I showed up on Tuesday ready to roll. Rob didn't show up until later on Wednesday.
The organizers of the Jamboree, Rob Mathews and crowd showed up late Tuesday night. I think it was Tuesday...somewhere in the early part of the week I went up the road to Penticton to visit and stay with my Uncle and Aunt for the night so I think that was Tuesday.
The actualy pre-runs before the Jamboree were more like driving around trying to find the trail and was pretty boring the first day. Later that night when we got back I met Rob Bryce and checked out his Comanchee. Damn that thing is long but he has it set up pretty good. It's nice to have that extra cargo space too.
During the Jamboree I also met Shane and Deanna from 100 Mile House. Shane had a propane powered CJ-5 and ended up breaking an axle the first day so they went along with Don and Dale the second day. Another Canadian couple I meet during the lineup for the first run on Friday, Keith and Jennifer, came down from Quinel which was a pretty long drive. They had a YJ (Wranger) with big mud tires on it.
During the pre-run the second day I meet Pam and Dave Hansen from Vancouver. Dave had a Grand Cherokee that was pretty well setup with mud tires, lockers and such and Dave was not scared to "put some pinstripping on it". Pam was driving a YJ. They had been to a number of jamborees and were really fun people. I brought a copy of this story to hand out to people and Pam got a real kick out of it.
The pre-run on the second day was up to Baldy mountain which turned out to be a pretty good trail. Part of the problem was that up near the top there was still a good deal of snow that we had to plow through which took a good deal of the day.
I was able to use my winch for the first time to pull myself through the snow in some really deep parts. We had a really hard time pulling Dave's Grand through some snow banks. At one part near the end we had Pam with her 8000lb and Rob Mathews with his 12000lb winch both pulling Dave out of the snow.
The weather in the Okanogan valley was usually really nice and sunny during that time of the year. But for some reason it was cloudy and rained a good part of the week. This wasn't that big a deal but Don and Dale really wanted to relax in the sun, swim, etc. and there really wasn't that much to do when it was raining. I even asked my Uncle what there was to do in the area when it was raining and he said not much.
The first "offical" day of the Jamboree was Friday. Don and I rode alone, Dale took Joy, Ashley, and Aaron. There was really not much in the way of trails to choose from. Baldy was the hardest run and we decided to save that for Saturday so we choose a more mild run for Friday.
I don't remember the name of the run but it was really not anything special. There were a few places where there was some mud and ruts and some people got stuck. One thing I remember well was the approach the trail leaders took to get people unstuck. Instead of pulling up a jeep with a winch and pulling them out they opted to get out a tow strap and try and yank the stuck jeep out. It was either this or try and go through the mud really fast which really didn't work either. I'm really surprised that nobodys tow hooks got ripped of the way they were jerking on the things. I didn't have any problems for the day other than some more weird wiring shorts.
The run to Baldy the next day was probably the worst organized run I have even been on. The people who went on the Baldy run the first day got stuck in the snow again and it took them a long time to get back to town. Rob Mathews had also said if you go on the Baldy run you might get your jeep scratched.
Let me step back a second. A very large majority of the jeeps at the jamboree were either brand new Grand Cherokees or new YJ's. I was the only Flat Fender and there were only a few older CJ5's and 7's. Most of these jeeps were very stock with AT tires, no lockers and pretty inexperienced drivers. So back to the second Baldy run.
Everyone heard stories of stock YJ's and Grands making it through the Baldy run so practically everyone signed up for the Baldy Run the second day. The grand total was something like 35 vehicles. This was a huge mistake.
The first part of the run was pretty basic but with 35 jeeps the going was still pretty slow. Once we got up to the actually Baldy run it got really bad. This trail got pretty rutted and rocky in parts and without a lot of suspension travel and or lockers some parts were really hard for a stock vehicle to make it up. We would drive through some tough parts, then have to stop and wait for other vehicles to try and make it up. Again the going advice to people was to give it more gas and go bouncing up the ruts. I'm really surprised nobody broke anything. At one point I think we waited about 40 minutes, getting bitten by mosquitoes, for this one Grand to get up this 20' rutted section. Shit, you should get 2 or 3 tries, then get out the winch. My Uncle was riding with me this day and was not enjoying himself at all at this point.
The next little interesting part was further up the trail. I was second in line after Rob Mathews. We came up to a little sink hole that had developed sometime overnight. Rob went in it. It was only about as long as a jeep so by the time your rear was going in your front was going back out again. The problem was getting back out the other side. Rob couldn't do it and went around the hole. I tried and didn't do any better. I think a few other people tried including Keith but he didn't have any luck either. Then Rob Bryce came up to the hole in his looong Comanchee. No way. His front went in and rammed against the other wall before his rear wheels even came close to entering the sink hole. So Rob backed up and started to go around. By this time the path around the hole was getting pretty soft and Rob sunk into it and buried himself up to his axles and was stuck really good. What to do? You guessed it, get out the tow strap and try and yank his bumper off. Well, of course the tow strap di
The rest of the run was pretty much the same, dragging 35 vehicles through stuff they never should have been on.
As for problems with my jeep, a little later in the day I pushed in my clutch and heard a pop and my clutch peddle only came back half way. Turns out I almost broke the cable and I really shouldn't push it in any more so I started it in gear and syncro shifted back to town. I also did the same thing all the way back to Seattle, there was really no easy way to do a temporary fix.
My general impression on the whole experience were two fold. One, I meet a lot of really fun people who I have continued to keep in touch with and go on other trips with. Two, I will never go to another Canadian Jamboree. The whole thing seemed to be about selling jeeps and proving to dealers who where there that they could take these Grand Cherokees anywhere. Well, that is fine and dandy but the whole thing could have been organized a lot better. There was not a very good selection of trails, I really don't think the trail leaders were doing a good job of showing new people the correct way of doing things, and I really think that taking 35 jeeps on a run is a stupid thing to do.
Anyway, I chalk it up as a learning experience. On to bigger and better things...