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2015 Jeepers Jamboree Throws A Party On The Rubicon Trail

Posted in Events on October 4, 2015
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Photographers: Josh EnglandChad WheelerSean Ingalsby

Dubbed the "Grand Daddy of Them All," Jeepers Jamboree 2015 lived up to its reputation of wheeling, camping, floating, dancing, and fun. It was nothing short of adventure and entertainment! On a scale of 1-10, we would give Jeepers Jamboree an 11, and if you have never been to this pinnacle of Jeep trail events (or its counterpart, Jeep Jamboree), you should put this on your bucket list as a must!

Be forewarned, Jeepers Jamboree is not for the faint of heart; it offers an adult atmosphere and no kids under 14 are allowed. Why? Shenanigans and raucous fun occur at Jeepers Jamboree. There may be a few hundred gallons of libation consumed, you may be awake far past your bedtime, and up at daylight to do it all over again. Don't worry though, if 91-year-old WWII veteran Norman Gilliam could handle the 2015 Jeepers Jamboree, plus the drive in and out in his JK Unlimited, you can too. Thank you to Wheelers for the Wounded of California for escorting Gilliam and Scott "MF" Jackson into Rubicon Springs.

Jeepers Jamboree 2015 marked the 63rd annual trek to Rubicon Springs from Loon Lake via the Rubicon Trail. You must pre-register for the event and pick up your wristband in Georgetown, California, at Jeepers Jamboree/Jeep Jamboree headquarters. Don't worry as it's not just a stop to pick up your swag and wristband; you also get to wander through all of the 4x4 equipment vendors that have set up in town along Wentworth Springs Road to show off their latest and greatest items. Don't forget to venture into the local shops and restaurants for food and drinks while you're there. Patience is essential during your trek into Rubicon Springs on Thursday. There are approximately 400 vehicles trying to get to the same place at the same time. You may be stuck in traffic, but fear not, if there are breakdowns ahead of you, the fine staff of the Jeepers Jamboree will help get them off the trail and may even have parts available to get them back on their way. What else is cool about this event? You can expect experienced spotters at all the obstacles to keep the flow going. If you are an early bird, get up and get going; Jeepers Jamboree opens the trail at 6:00 a.m. and has a breakfast and lunch ready for you as you pass through the entrance of the Rubicon Trail.

Once at Rubicon Springs, we suggest you find your campsite, as it will get crowded as they day goes on. This is when you can crack open a cold one, but remember, for obvious reasons, there's no adult beverage consumption allowed on the trail. Now it's time to relax because you're not driving anywhere for a couple of days. However, you can walk through camp to check out all the different rigs, go for a hike, float the springs, and enjoy the live band at night. This year's featured band was Tragically White, and they were awesome, playing everything from rock, pop, and even a little country.

Here are a our "rules of thumb" when attending Jeepers Jamboree:
Rule #1: Make smart choices.
Rule #2: Have FUN! You're there to party. Don't be Debbie Downer or the one that needs an IV because you drank until your Check Liver Light was on for hours. When in doubt, refer to Rule #1.
Rule #3: Pack plenty of adult beverages. However, if you don't, there is a full bar in Rubicon Springs, so bring cash to pay your tab. Oh, and make sure you check out the bar top—It's entertaining, to put it mildly.
Rule #4: Pack plenty of water and Gatorade. You'll need hydration and electrolytes.
Rule #5: Apply sunblock frequently or you will get burned.
Rule #6: Don't forget to eat. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served at main camp daily. Bring snacks if you like something in between meals, but otherwise your food schedule is set.
Rule #7: If you like a certain kind of music, don't forget your stereo or boombox. The gang from GenRight had music at one end of the main springs and others had it near the waterfalls, but you may want your own tunes in camp.
Rule #8: HAVE FUN! You're on the Rubicon at Rubicon Springs with 400 other wheeling buddies floating on the springs and being adults doing adult-ish things without the kids. Let loose but don't be a jerk.
Rule #9: Again, when in doubt, refer back to Rule #1.

The 2015 Jeepers Jamboree was held August 22-26, so if this sounds like your kind of fun, be sure to register early for the 2016 run, as spots fill up fast. If this is not your idea of a good time, there is a tamer option called Jeep Jamboree a week later that is more family oriented and includes "Camp Rubicon" for the kids.

Oh yeah, we almost forgot Rule #10: What happens at Jeepers Jamboree stays at Jeepers Jamboree!

The drive to Loon Lake at 5:00 a.m. can be a bit cold and dusty. Bring a coat, and you might want to pack goggles too.

Welcome to the Rubicon Trail! The sunrise is spectacular as you begin your adventure. This is about the time you will be glad you packed that thermos of coffee.

Tony Pelligrino piloted his Jeep called Terremoto and led his group of 21 vehicles from Loon Lake at the start of the Rubicon all the way into to Rubicon Springs.

The El Dorado County Sheriff had two of these well-built JKs on the trail and at Rubicon Springs to make sure everyone enjoyed themselves, within the legal limits, of course.

For the first time in several years, Jeepers Jamboree used Jeeps and trailers to transport all food, beverages, and equipment into Rubicon Springs. No helicopters were flown this year, but they were on hand in case of an emergency.

You can expect to see all types of vehicles on the trail during the Jeepers Jamboree. Everything from a tricked-out JK Unlimited to a well-built CJ conquered the rocks this year, as well as flatfenders, Ultra4 cars, and everything in-between.

Take some time to check out the scenery on the way to Rubicon Springs. This gorgeous scene is just after the dam at Buck Island.

You will no doubt see some trail repairs being performed on the Rubicon. Hopefully, it won't be you, but if it is, there are plenty of people to help you get to your destination.

Rubicon Springs is a welcome sight after a hard day's wheeling. Tahoe may only be 7 miles away, but after a couple days of rest, it will take nearly another to get there. Relax and enjoy your time in camp.

Parked front and center at Rubicon Springs were Wheelers For The Wounded of California. The group escorted special guests Scott "MF" Jackson and Norm Gilliam as they four-wheeled during this year's Jeepers Jamboree.

Tragically White played an acoustic set during dinner on Saturday night, aka Steak Night. The evening was filled with great music, delicious food, and excellent libations.

The classic neon Jeepers Jamboree sign was back after a brief hiatus and graphically tells all who are present that it's an all-adult 4x4 affair.

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