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The 2007 Palo Duro Jeep Jamboree
was worth every bit of a 23 hour drive...

Here it was, the year long wait was over. Palo Duro, TX JJUSA was once again upon me. This would be my third year in a row going to the remote area of Northwest Texas with my Jeep Wrangler. This is one of the trips I look forward to each year now. Being from the Detroit, MI area, it is tough to explain to people the beauty that is Palo Duro Canyon, it is one of those places you just have to experience.

The trip down in total is over 1,300 miles and took me about 23 hours to complete, minus a few gas & sleep stops along the way. With this being the first time I had come on this trip alone, I was hoping to run into people from previous years and catch up with them. It did not take long until I recognized a familiar face... Jerry. This old Texan had a look you can spot from a mile away, trademark cigar hanging out of his mouth as he stood in line waiting to register. We made sure to say hello to each other and I wanted to make sure I was on the same trail as him again. His Jeep made some of the tougher spots seem easy. I knew from that point on I would have fun once again on the trail rides.

Another tradition I have done each year is have a nice meal at The Big Texan. There is no way you can miss this place off of I-40. Definitely a tourists delight. My meal was delicious, as usual, and set the tone for the weekend. Nice and relaxed. Only once have I seen anyone attempt the 72 oz. steak in an hour there, and they were unsuccessful. There is no place like The Big Texan where I am from, so it is fun to go there.

Day One: Black Trail. Our trail leaders were Danny & Cal. Some of the nicer guys I've met down there. One of the reasons I enjoy this Jamboree is that the trail leaders seem to always be there to help you out in tight spots and give you guidance. Danny & Cal are no exception to that. The black trail had 17 Jeeps on it to begin with. The most noticeable was the 1949 Willys driven by Greg & Bill from Minnesota. That Jeep looked like it had been through a war... literally. On the drive down to the canyon I had to make sure I made some "pit stops" throughevery mud puddle to get my Jeep prepared for the adventure ahead. Needless to say I had my Jeep covered in mud before we even hit the trail head. The weather cooperated and was a gorgeous mid-80 degrees during the day with plenty of sun. This makes for great picture taking in the canyon with all the different rock/dirt colors coming through. The Kodak moments came when we were at Iron Dog Rock. This is a big rock that you can drive you Jeep onto and take a picture. It looks like something that belongs in a Jeep commercial... hmm, I wonder if DaimlerChrysler knows about this? There were some hang-ups along the trail the first day that slowed us down a bit, but everyone was having fun and getting along great.

Day Two: Black Trail. This day had a lot on the agenda, Cripple Creek Crossing, Okie-Brokie, and Coyote Crawl. Once again the weather was great out. Unfortunately a lot of the mud puddles were drying up, so no playing in them for me this day. Our entrance into the river beds started off interesting. In what most people on our trail describe as "soup" we entered the dry riverbed. There was a nice thick mixture of water & sand that awaited the Jeeps. The next obstacle was a larger rock that was immovable. Our group essentially had to thread the needle between the rock and the side of the riverbank. The '49 Willys left it's mark on the rock in the form of some green paint. At Coyote Crawl, this provided some of the better photo opportunities for the weekend. The off-camber trail section let us see just exactly what the Jeeps can do. Some of the Rubicon's had to stop just to pose & show off their skills at this section. The rest of the trail ride was excellent with the beautiful scenery of the canyon. Later on in the day I think a new section of trail was named. I could be wrong, but there was discussion of re-naming a section "Okie-Rolly" after the slow roll-over that Gary from Oklahoma had in his white Rubicon. No one was injured and there was almost no body damage to his Jeep. The official time of getting them upright and driving again was seven minutes. I know the brothers from Oklahoma, Kenny & Kevin, got a charge out of being able to use their tow strap and winch within a matter of minutes. They had to use the tow strap to pull me up a hill where I was getting hung up. At the end of the day we were able to get a group photo of a very good trail group. Everyone agreed that we had a good group of people that got along great together.

So ended the weekend with the traditional steak dinner and raffle. Even though the wind was kicking up and a storm was coming, most people stuck around to tell stories of the weekend around the campfire. I knew that the long drive home would be upon me soon so I retired to my tent. I was just hoping that my tent would make it through the night due to the high winds and rain that started later in the evening. The high winds just about ripped my tent from the ground... with me in it!

All in all a great weekend that I look forward to every year in Texas. Palo Duro Canyon provides great trail rides, scenery, and many friends. I hope to make many returns back.

See you on the trail soon, Joe Behl

If you have pictures or video to share from this event, email info@JeepTales.com and we will send you a link to upload your images.

Podcast (audio files)


Photo Galeries

Alan Weatherly-Blue Trail
Alison Johnston-Green Trail
Bill Schubert-Black Trail
Bobby Simpson-Red Trail
Carina JJUSA
Connie Blish-Yellow Trail
Ed Misuraca-Green Trail
Gary Cotton-Black Trail
Greg Havlik-Black Trail
Greg Malarkey-Red Trail
Hal & Marissa Caplinger-Blue Trail
Harvey Melcher-Blue Trail
Jim Ulbrich-Black Trail
Joe Behl-Black Trail
Justin Kalemkiarian-Black Trail
Kenneth Burns-Red Trail
Larry Roberson-Red Trail
Larry Roberson-Red Trail
R.E. Campler-Red Trail
Rodney Patton-Black Trail
Stacey Blackgrave-Red Trail
Steve Dickey-Black Trail
Brad Cook-Orange Trail

Todd Baker-Yellow Trail
Orange-Tracy Watson
Mike Freeman & Adam Scott - Orange Trail


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