Day -17 – The Big House

crandonIn off roading there are some places that call us home.  Moab, Utah.  Rubicon Springs, California.  Baja, Mexico.  Crandon, Wisconsin.  There are many others we love to spend time at, but if you are chasing mecca, these are the top four.

Moab offers a four wheel drive friendly environment, all the way around.  From the hotels and restaurants to the folks who live there, we may not all enjoy the same things, but we all want to be outdoors enjoying the beautiful red rocks of the area.  Easter Jeep Safari is my one, for sure, event there…and then we steal any other time we can get.

Rubicon Springs is a four wheel drive trail that has been around for a century, there is a way in and a way out.  Neither is easy, but if you have some skills, you can make the trail without breaking.  Each year in July we try to attend Jeepers Jamboree there and enjoy our time away from cell phones and all the other stresses of daily life.  It is really hard to stress when someone else if providing your meals and entertainment.  Great trail.

Baja is one of my favorite places, twice a year we find our way across the border to the streets of Ensenada and often times further south.  SCORE International hosts two races we enjoy, the 1000 in November and the 250 in early March.  It is awesome to be part of a race team in the wilds of Mexico, and the food!  I just can’t say enough about the fresh food we get to eat when we go.

Enter Crandon, a small northern town in Wisconsin, in the offroad race scene, it is referred to as The Big House.  2014 marks the 45th year of the Crandon race course, started and managed by a committee, we got to spend the day with them today.  These are the movers and shakers in this small town, they showed us everything.  I am so looking forward to going back there for a race day, what a trip that will be to finally make it to the Big House.

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Day 66 – Rubicon Springs

jeepersPart of the deal of my 50th year is that I get to try new things and go to new places.  The Rubicon is part of that.  Last year we attended Jeeper’s Jamboree, a great little camping trip, they provide three meals a day, a band, a raffle, in other words, a great party.  In 2012, there were 1700 people there for an anniversary year, it had been 60 years since the first Jeeper’s trip.  We were excited to attend, I had never been on the Rubicon before, but because we were traveling from Tennessee to get there, we were late getting there.  It was Friday before we arrived, so we snuck in the back way, down Cadillac to find a camping spot right near the helipad.  It was a great trip, but we didn’t have time to run the whole Rubicon trail.  Enter 2013, we planned better and only had to come from Washington this time.  On top of that, only 600 people were there, so there was a whole lot more room.

Of course, Rich still thought we were late, we ended up delayed for a day in Redmond with some repair issues, but nothing serious.  We got parked at Donner Ski Ranch on Wednesday night, packed the XJ and on Thursday morning we headed in to Georgetown, California to pick up our wristbands.  A quick stop in Auburn for groceries and we were on our way.  The first stop after Georgetown was Uncle Tom’s.  It’s a little beer joint at the end of the road, dogs are welcome, as long as they live there, people are welcome, as long as you can behave and have $3 to pay for a beer.  We milled around for a bit, talked to the locals and then headed to Loon Lake, the start of the trail.  Four hours later we found ourselves swimming at Buck Island, an hour after that we were pulling in to the historical Rubicon Springs.  The area has been traveled for a hundred years, it has been improved, but it is not a road.  Much of the area goes through National Forest, other pieces are private property, including the Springs.  There are many parts of the trail that are named, some still open, some not.  Little Sluice, Chappie’s Rock, Gatekeeper, Ellis Creek, Walker Hill, Soup Bowl, Thousand Dollar Hill, Indian Trail, Big Sluice.  Rich pointed them out to me as we passed either through or by them.

The weekend was great, just as last year was.  Lots of fun, lots of laughter, we swam in the river daily, talked with great friends, made new ones.  A recommended trip for anyone.  The best part for me was finally being able to check off The Rubicon Trail from my life list.  This was the first time I got to go through the whole trail.  If ever you are looking for a “wheeling” trip, this is one that you should consider.  Jeeper’s Jamboree takes care of all the hard parts, as a participant, you just need to come with a capable rig, a great attitude and a little bit of party spirit to have a good time.