With the camper loaded and our Wrangler (Rubi) in tow, Alan, Scout (our Labrador retriever), and I headed for Hot Springs, Arkansas and the Ouachita Jeep Jamboree. A short seven hours later, we pulled into the Superlift ORV Park in Hot Springs.[Not a valid template]
This beautiful park has all the amenities. With a full service repair area and a small gear and sundries store, they have left eager off-highway adventurers nothing to want. The park has a large modern restroom and bathing facility so those who decide to do the tent thing don’t have to rough it quite so much. They also have a large pavilion which easily held our 180+ group. The draw (of course) is the miles and miles of off-road trails with levels from beginner to extreme. We couldn’t wait to get started.
The park staff had reserved us a spot close enough to the action to stay involved, but not so close as to be disturbed by all the Jeeps
arriving throughout the night. After settling in, we headed over to the pavilion to check in and sign up for the different trails. There we met up with the Jeep Jamboree representatives, Clint Rounsavall and Shawn Gulling. Both of these guys worked long and hard all weekend to make sure all the little details were in place to run an event of this size. From Thursday evening to the Saturday night giveaways, Clint and Shawn seemed to be all over the place. We can’t say enough good things about those two. As the rain started up, we quickly scurried back to the RV. A set of ear plugs and the light rain assured us a good night’s sleep.
Saturday morning we woke to the sound of traffic. A peak out the door confirmed the masses were already lining up for the ride. The sky was overcast and the temperature was in the low forties. Alan hurried off to pull the Jeep into the Orange group and we gulped down our breakfast eager to get in on the action. The beauty of the RV parking is we were able to simply walk across the road to get to the staging area where four different trail groups waited. With Scoutie on his leash, we made our way to where Rubi was about halfway down a line of twenty-or-so assorted jeeps, including modified old rigs, new JKs, and even a stock Grand Cherokee.
Our first encounter with our day’s trail guide, Mike McGee, was when he walked up to our Jeep and started rubbing dirt on the Armor-All shiny tires. I knew I was going to like him. With a quick word of advice about airing down our tires, he headed off to the front of the group to an old highly modified Jeep. It had what looked like a deer stand on the back holding a cooler full of bottled water. After a brief driver’s meeting in the pavilion, we were back in our Jeeps ready to go. Our CB radios tuned to channel eleven, we all followed Mike and his buddy Norm across the main road to the West off-highway area.