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Trails to Flood Plain in No Time

Front Passenger Side View Car Climbing Rock
Verne Simons
| Senior Editor, Jp
Posted March 1, 2001
Photographers: John Cappa

ASA4WDC’s 27th Jambo

Step By Step

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  • This dried-up waterfall stopped plenty of Jeepers on their way up Axle Alley. We wish we could have seen what it was like after the floodgates opened up.

  • Jeeps ranging from early Willys to like-new TJs were on the trails searching for a challenge.

  • This flatfender carries a big-block built for a blower that has not yet been attached. The hood and front fenders were stretched to accommodate this monster motor, while the body tub was also stretched to help its owner get a little extra legroom.

  • We got to see this CJ creep up and over the Fire Hole an hour or two before it became a raging rapid.

  • You can’t see it too well, but the majority of this Jeep’s tires were putting on a low-altitude air show, making forward movement rather tough.

  • Todd Hoffman showed up on Axle Alley in his ’88 Cherokee, and despite some tire problems, it gave more evidence of the ability of these popular Jeeps. Grand Cherokee front springs help clear 35-inch BFGs attached to a Dana 44 front and 60 rear. Homemade bumpers and severely trimmed front fenders helped this XJ stand out from the crowd.

  • Forty-two-inch tires and full-width axles on a Scrambler meant that Clay Forrester needed to add 4 inches of width to the frame to keep everything lined up correctly. His ’83 sports a fuel-injected 350, and check out the nifty bungee-cord cooler holder.

  • Steve Porter’s ’80 CJ-5 was creeping up the rocks despite the fact that a light rain had just started. Little did we know that we would soon be heading for the hills. Carrying the CJ down the trail are two Currie 9-inch axles, a Howell-injected 304, and a T-18.

  • Splashing through puddles is fun! This little creek went from trickle to torrent in a matter of minutes, providing lots of entertainment for the retreating Jamboree goers toward the end of the day.

  • It’s nice to have a solid leak-proof top when the Arizona desert becomes a water park. We saw quite a few blue tarps being held down with spare hands and duct tape after the sky began to fall.

Because Arizona is mainly a desert, and monsoon season is generally in August or September, no one expected the Arizona State Association of Four Wheel Drive Clubs’ 27th annual jamboree to be wetter than a Mississippi flood plain. An unexpected rainstorm decided to confuse the hell out of all of the cactus as well as all of the Jeepers who showed up for a fun, dry Arizona weekend of ’wheeling.

Saturday morning went great with a few light sprinkles here and there, but nothing more than a splash to keep the trails exciting. An hour or two after lunch was scarfed down, the real interesting stuff started. The bottom dropped out of some wayward rainstorm which left many a CB call going out for Noah and his ark to come along and save them from a series of rocky gullies filled with rapidly moving toilet-colored water sweeping Jeeps and Jeepers alike down the drain. Well, not really. To our knowledge, no one got washed away, but it sure seemed like we were all in for an exciting evening of wading through the muck.

Most of the trails are located in dried-out washes that twist and climb through the hills near Florence, Arizona, so you can imagine how the driving lines changed when 8 to 12 inches of water were carving their way down what most thought would be a dry dusty trail. Those who forgot their tops were pulling on jackets and super-modified garbage bags while the people with bikini tops on their Jeeps found out that sometimes rain can fall sideways. Cherokee owners rolled up their windows and hit defrost with a smirk, as we all got doused. To see what kind of fun we had despite the unexpected weather, check out our pictures. Oh, yeah! It probably won’t rain next year, so if you want in on the action get in touch with the ASA4WDC at 602/258-4BY4, or check out the Web site at Bring an umbrella and a raincoat just in case.