The first weekend in May, Dan and I attended our second Big Bear Jeep Jamboree. Learning from last year, we planned to arrive early for the Thursday night check-in. Home base for the event is at the Elks Lodge, located right on the edge of the village. Our vacation home is still under construction, so we booked three nights at the Northwoods Resort, which is just across the street from the Elks Lodge. It's also across the street from our favorite local business, the Le Dolce Vita Tasting room. Our plan for the weekend- Jeep, Wine, Bed. Repeat.
We parked our Jeep Wrangler in the inspection queue and had an hour to kill. The weather was starting to turn cold and we heard rumors of rain and possible snow. Luckily, the Elks opened their doors, so that we could get out of the cold. We had coffee and caught up with friends from the previous Jeep Jamboree.
We were near the front of the line for inspections and as soon as they got started, we breezed through. Last year, we had a brand-new, stock Jeep and went in the intermediate group.. It was a challenge enough with no modifications, but we wanted more. Immediately after the last Jamboree, we took it to Rebel Off-Road and got modified. We wanted to tackle the toughest trails, so we joined the red group.
Advice for anyone who is thinking of doing a Jamboree; some of the groups fill up fast. This year, there were a lot of people trying to get into the beginning groups and some of them had to be pushed into intermediate. The guides are great and they will not allow you to be in a group if your vehicle can't handle it, but to truly get what you want, arrive early to registration. When we finished, the line for the vehicle inspection extended out of the parking lot and wrapped around the block.
We woke up early the next morning to this view from our hotel room window.
Snow in May!!!!
Dan was an excellent husband and he let me stay warm inside the room, while he tackled scraping ice off of the Jeep. The Los Angeles girl in me, actually thought that the event might be canceled. Oh no, the snow only makes it more fun. Snow = Mud.
It was too chilly to have the morning driver's meeting outside, so they held it in the lodge. This is the same room where the evening dinners are held.
Our Friday trail was Mottino Wash and Rattlesnake Canyon, which is only accessible by driving through a privately owned ranch. Luckily the owner is very cool about letting Jeeps access the trail.
We aired down in Big Bear, where the weather was just beginning to ease up.
The landscape and weather changed as we drove away from Big Bear and into the desert.
We saw a cow family!
At first, Mottino Wash didn't seem like a big deal, but very quickly the trail narrowed and the rocks turned into boulders. We had the Jeep with the smallest tires, only 33 inches, but thanks to great guides, Dan's skillful driving and winches, we still managed to make it over all of the obstacles.
We finished Mottino Wash and made it back to the Elks Lodge in plenty of time for the BBQ Rib dinner. The Yellow group, who was doing the same trails as us, but on alternate days, was late returning from John Bull. The snow created problems for them. After our Jeep survived Mottino Wash, we were ready to attempt John Bull, the toughest trail in Big Bear and our destination for the second day of the Jamboree.