The Rubicon Trail - 50th Jeepers Jamboree

Party Hearty On The Oldest Trip Around

David FreiburgerPhotographerRick PewePhotographer, WriterC.J. MccullenPhotographer

There's no doubt about it. The Rubicon trail is the granddaddy of them all. Sure, there are tougher trails, longer trails, more scenic trails, and so forth. But none combines all the good stuff with the nonstop hard-core wheeling of the true original trail, made popular by the Jeepers Jamboree way back in 1952. Back then, a few Jeepers decided to hold an event to revive the economy in Georgetown, California. The Jamboree was born along with the Rotary Club and a few other organizations.

After 50 years of guiding novices and old-hands alike, the event is a well-oiled machine that somehow manages to get more than 1,000 Jeeps across the 8-mile trail in two waves over two days to Rubicon Springs, where the party continues. This trip isn't for those who can't stand waiting, can't wrench on their rig, or don't understand the party atmosphere of relaxing on the trail. It's a trip for adults and children over 14, and the four days of fun last well into the wee hours of the morning.

Since we've covered the trail in many ways over the years, we decided to take an original jeep across in bone-stock form. That's how the Jamboree got started, and even though the trail is tougher now than in the beginning, we knew that our '43 Ford GPW jeep could make it easily. This jeep had made the 10,000-mile trip to Alaska and back to Arizona two summers ago and is a paragon of semireliability. We even asked for special dispensation from the Jeepers Jamboree committee, since we don't have the required rollbar on the rig. Remember, we said bone-stock (except for 11-inch brakes and a 12-volt electrical system).

Each year is an experience on the Jeepers Jamboree, and this was no exception. If you want to tackle the trail with a fine group of wheelers, contact the Jeepers Jamboree at 530/333-4771 or on the Web at

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