The 2008 Palo Duro Jeep Jamboree USA...
Twenty Years of Red Dust and still going Strong!
The Palo Duro Canyon has to be one of Texas', if not America's, "most" hidden gems. The large and scenic canyon located to the South of Amarillo is the site of the 20th Palo Duro JJUSA. Looking at the JJUSA website, this looks to be one of the longest running events that are offered, and I can understand why.
If you have never been to a Jeep Jamboree event before, the Palo Duro, TX event offers a great experience. Not only are the people that run the event great, but also the people you meet at the event make it that much more of an excellent experience.
This marked my fourth year of making the journey to Northern Texas for the event. Each year seems to be better than the last.
Seeing familiar faces waiting in line at the trail sign up was uplifting. I ran into Greg, John, and Bill while waiting in line at the hotel. They drive each year from Minnesota hauling their old Willy's Jeeps. This year they had both of them, the 1946 and 1949 Willys to traverse the land in. Greg's son, Rick, flew in later that evening to join the group. These are the type of guys that want to have on the trails with you. I would swear that they are distant relatives of MacGyver. The stories they told about their adventures were excellent.
More familiar faces I ran into later were Kenny & Kevin, John & Sarah, and Gary all from the Oklahoma City, OK area. We were all on the same trail last year and again this year, which made it fun. John had made some upgrades to his Rubicon and Gary's Rubicon still showed some dents from last year, but we call those "badges of honor", right? Kenny & Kevin had their lifted TJ which didn't seem to get stuck at all, except for when Kevin stalled out I believe 6 times. Sarah just wanted to see some stars in the evening through her telescope, but unfortunately the moon was too bright to use it much. Ed from the Dallas/Fort Worth area was back this year with a more modified version of his Rubicon from years past.
We all ventured in the Red Trail group lead by J.D. and Tim. J.D. got to experience being a trail guide for the first time with our group. They both did a great job in leading our group through the trails in the canyon.
The weather held up both days, with only a little bit of rain the second day making some areas slick. Palo Duro canyon offers a great variety of trails, from the beginner to the most extreme. When it starts to rain, it only raises the levels of difficulty on the trails that much more. Our trail tour took us through some familiar areas in Coyote Crawl, Cripple Creek, Broken Window, and driving by Mike's Rock. Each of these provided a great place to get photos and have a great story to tell at the end of the day. There were some difficult areas along the trails, but nothing too extreme that could not be handled by the people on our trail. Some obstacles we noticed that provided problems last year were not an issue, and there were new obstacles to tackle.
Meals, as usual, are one of the best parts of the whole experience as well. The workers/owners of the ranch really do a great job in providing great meals and hospitality.
I've heard the Sunday morning sweet rolls are to die for, but have not had the chance to experience them yet. Maybe one day I will stay for them.
At the end of the weekend, everyone had a good time and I'm sure were already thinking about making their plans for a return trip on this Jeep Jamboree. I know I am.
Hats off to all the people involved in organizing, participating, and run the Palo Duro JJUSA, you all do a fine job!
There is no doubt in my mind as to why this is one of Jeep Jamboree USA's longest running events; if you have never had to opportunity to attend make sure you mark your calender for May of 2009. I know I plan to be there and I hope to see all my familiar buddies next year and a few new ones too!
I'll see you in the trail again soon,
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)