Jolly Jeepers 16th Annual Back To Basics Overnight Tour
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Oregonthe land of logging trucks, triple trailers, yellow Dodge pickups, and Geo Metros of all colors. At least thats how we perceived it en route to the Jolly Jeepers 16th get-together in the northwestern part of the state. Yes, somehow this was our very first venture into the Pacific Northwest. Of course, as one would expect, given the annual precipitation, either side of the blacktop, Oregon is primarily green.
On the numerous trails near our base camp at the Flying M Ranch, we realized it was a good thing that each group had a knowledgeable trail leaderso green is this part of Oregon (southwest of Portland) that theres moss on the trees for at least 370 degrees. No using them as a clue for which way is north should one get disoriented in the virtual maze of trails, which range from simple but scenic to passable by most. Rain, which the Jolly Jeepers claims hits this mid-July event only every six years or so, would make all trails a real challengeor impassable. Being used to relatively barren Southern California, we found most everything around scenic, some sections more so than others.
For some reason, we never ran into a tree or dropped off any of the steep slopes, so we mustve missed seeing a fair amount of the vast views, or the ol CJs self-preservation instincts are stronger than we thought. Either way, it was easy to spot us as the tourists at this event, because everybody elses vehicle had a top of some sort (or at least a windshield) and mud tires.
After the groups were back in camp, a hearty dinner was served and sign-up for Sundays runs started, followed by a raffle and entertainment. Sunday morning breakfast was served at a reasonable 6:30 a.m., after which trail leaders began to depart with their groups for the second day of wheeling.
Jolly Jeepers was founded in 1962 (as was Four Wheeler magazine) and is a club that promotes sensible fun. In fact, its list of suggested equipment for off-road trips includes a sense of humor, a good attitude, and common sense, and it seemed everybody in attendance took that suggestion to heart. While there was no written rule about generators, they werent left running during the night, making an already very pleasurable event a little nicer.
For information on the 17th Annual Back to Basics Overnight Tour or the club itself, write the Jolly Jeepers (Dept. FW02, 115 E. Arlington, Gladstone, OR 97027) or check out its Web site at www.jollyjeepers.org. Registration is limited to the first 101 applications (sorry, weve already reserved our spot, so there are only 100 left), so dont wait too long to register if this kind of run sounds like your kind of fun. Good trails like the ones used for Back to Basics may not grow on trees, even in Oregon, but mushrooms sure do. Did we mention that the area is lush?