Camp Jeep 2007 - Highs and Lows

Date 2007/8/1 7:36:50 | Topic: Miscellaneous

ScramberKen just got back from Camp Jeep and was kind enough to write some stuff up for us. Over the next few days, we'll be posting Ken's dispatches so everyone can get a feel for this year's premier Jeep owner's event. Today's episode covers Ken's impressions of the highs and lows of this year's event. Take it away Ken...

Last year I wrote a couple of articles regarding Camp Jeep in Wisconsin. Once again, I was fortunate to go again this year, and I thought I would fill everyone in on some of the good and bad that occurred at the 13th annual event.

Last year there were rumors that Camp Jeep would be dropped or just become an occasional event. Letís face it; the $295 price tag for admission does not pay for this event, especially considering that this is for existing owners. The good news is that Jeep recognizes the best Jeep sales people they have, the current owners of Jeeps.

This is now the 6th time the event was held in Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, and for good reason. The area is one of the few that can hold such a large event with a wide range of trails right near by. Sadly, this location deters some from the West coast, and for some, having the event at the same location can get a bit dull. Fortunately, the scenery in the Blue Ridge Mountains is something you have got to see.
Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate. In my past experiences of Camp Jeeps, the weather is usually hotter than blue-blazes, and this was no exception. The worst of it was that on the last day of the event when we are given a free dinner and live entertainment, Camp Jeep had to close early. The big issue is lightning, and when this is in the area, they have no choice but to close down.

Ok, now for some of the Highs and Lows:

If you have ever wanted one of the classic Jeep CJ8 Scramblers, the Scrambler Owners Association is raffling off a completely restored 1982 White Scrambler. This vehicle was up by the staging area where many of us were while waiting to go out on our trails. This little truck looked great, and tickets are only $5, and it is for a good charity.

Unfortunately, the drawing is not until next year, so Iíll have to wait a while before I win (well I can dream at least!). If you are interested or just want to see all the work they did to restore this classic, take a look.

The trails were fun, and my hats off to the trail guides, who were put thru the paces. Most of the guides were very helpful and gave good advice to the Ďnewbiesí and experienced drivers as well. The bad news is from the amount of vehicles that were either pulled out or limped out; I think some training for some of the owners was needed.

In the old days, there was the classic Jeep 101, where you could take a brand new Jeep along a course and actually get some real instructions on what to do. What we have now is some nice guy or gal that was hired for the event to ride with you in a new Jeep. Most of them did not own a Jeep, let alone know anything about Jeeps, and they had no clue what 4WD stands for.

Donít get me wrong, many of the attendees needed little help, and most of us took the Rubicon Challenge or other test drives of the new Jeeps just to play with the new Jeep toys. What regular Camp Jeep attendees need to remember is that Camp Jeep is the first off-road experience for many new Jeep owners, and from the number of vehicles in the repair pit, I think the return of the real Jeep 101 is needed.

Now for the experienced Jeepers, Camp Jeep has the Ďplay groundí. This was a great way for those that wanted to get real muddy. Now you had to sign up for this, and Iím glad I did not. I saw quite a few Jeeps either get pulled out or became disabled after they tried to play submarine commander in the mud pool. That Virginia clay is like glue when it gets on your Jeep, and the local car wash in town got a lot of business. They had a wonderful big sign on their roof that read ďGot Mud?Ē

This is another high point I want to make, and that is a big thank-you to all the locals in the area. I know having Camp Jeep there gave many of the businesses a big boost to their economy, but it was nice the town folks were pleasant and helpful. Having to put up with a bunch of crazy Jeepers for 3 days is a bit of a challenge. How many of you have dealt with several thousand adults acting more like 2 year old kids?

On another high point, those needing service had the Jeep engineers right on hand to help. During one of my trail rides, a Commander did not fair too well after trying to cross one of the creeks. It was unclear as to why the vehicle would not start.

A quick call over the CB, and we were getting some advice from the Jeep engineers. Iím happy to report the Commander was re-started and able to complete the journey. Having access to the Jeep engineers is one of the best things offered at Camp Jeep, and in my next article, Iíll give you some information of what might be in our future.



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