Venturing East To The Massachusetts Jeep Jamboree
If you were to ask us, "How was Florida?" We would have to respond with big smiles and say, "The foliage was beautiful. There was frost. It was wet and muddy. An axle broke, and a truck rolled over."
Now, without a reference to any cartoon characters, oranges, or sun-drenched beaches, you might have guessed that we're not talking about that popular East Coast winter getaway farther south. We are referring to this year's Jeep Jamboree in the lovely hide-away location of Charlemont, Massachusetts.
If you have not had the chance of attending a Jeep Jamboree event, please try to make room in your schedule next season. The people we got to meet made the event exciting and pleasant.
Charlemont, Massachusetts, is a two- to three-hour drive west of Boston, depending on what you're driving and whether or not you have a top and doors. The Charlemont area is a great destination for a weekend trip. Besides the cool country and the beautiful rivers, there is one unique feature that was definitely a bonus: a state park with cabins. Yes, we must admit it; we did not lay down in the dirt like the tough guys of our youth. We slept nice and cozy in a tiny log cabin for hire.
The hoards of Jeepers began to amass early on a frosty Friday morning. The folks who were lucky enough to have hardtops got a chance to chuckle at the brave souls scraping off ice - not off the outside but off the inside of their windshields. An icy driver seat was not an uncommon sight among the topless Willys that morning.
All of us had registered at the Charlemont Inn. It hadn't been hard to find this spot because the parking lot had been filled to the brink with every Jeep product ever conceived. Our little Land Rover looked a bit out of place - soon to become the butt of many jokes. This was going to be fun.
Just like all the drivers, we were faced with a decision: What trail should we take? There were several options to choose from, but only having time to explore one trail, we had to see for ourselves what all the hullabaloo was about. We had to check out Old Florida Road and put our names on the list.
Outside, the Jeep horde began to work its way down to the local fairground. This provided a large, grassy area for all the Jeeps to stretch out and line up behind their respective colored flags.
A stake and a flag marked the line for each trail. Directly behind each stake was parked a trail leader. The Old Florida Road trail was going to be headed by a battle-tested, springover CJ-7. The monster V-8 had supposedly delivered its owner over hill and dale for the past 13 years, and, remarkably, the truck looked no worse for the wear.