(Warning: This page is rather graphics-intensive and will take hours to load. The pictures are 300KB total. I have a T-3 line to my desk, so it doesn't bother me.)
Click here to go directly to my notes from the engineering roundtable, or here to go directly to the notes from the accessories session (including some good info on lift kits).
I've spent plenty of time four-wheeling in the woods of Wisconsin and mountain biking around Minneapolis-St. Paul, but who wouldn't jump at the chance to do the same things in the mountains of Colorado? So, late last July I loaded up the Jeep with plenty of gear, threw my mountain bike on back, and headed for Camp Jeep near Leadville, Colorado.
Here's a view of the Gore Range as seen from the trail.
After passing through a muddy stretch, we got to the top and found the
benchmark for which the trail is named. The cloths on the ground are apparently
there so helicopters can find the site. The flags are there for no apparent
|The object of our trailriding.
|Don't get so close to the edge! You're scaring me! (I didn't realize
I would be looking down on Interstate 70 when I drove in on it.)
After that, I headed for the grounds of Camp Jeep and joined the crew of Dirt Camp for a guided mountain bike ride. They spent time doing lessons for people who have never ridden before, so I may have been wasting time (after all, I was the only rider with SPD's there), but it was nice to have them lead us to the singletrack. The fun part was that I was wearing a Dirt Camp jersey, so I had to explain to people that I wasn't a staff member.
|Here I am crossing the first creek. Terry Howe, the editor from off-road.com's Jeep Tech mailing list watches to make sure I don't drown.|
|A blue TJ finds its way up the rocky step section of the trail before me.|
|Here I am crossing the second creek. I should have gotten a picture of myself climbing the steps; I made it look easy.|
|You can't see meadows like this without a Jeep.|
|Here's our happy band of adventurers at the end of the trail, where snow made it impassable. (Yes, in August.)|
After that, it was time to get on the bus for the whitewater rafting
trip down the Arkansas River, featuring Class III rapids (on a scale of
Class I to Class VI, where Class VI is unrunnable places like Niagara Falls).
Despite images of the "Land of the Lost" show that came to mind ("Marshall,
Will and Holly, on a routine expedition, met the greatest earthquake ever
known..."), we had a safe and enjoyable trip. At one point, we went over
a rock wrong and three people fell out, but we got them back in thanks
to the safety lesson.
|Here's an image from the "Pinball" section of the river.|
|...and our capable guide, a man named "Mongo". Or was that an alias?|
|Believe it or not, there were cows grazing along the side of the river. (Just these three, anyway.)|
|The D&RGW Railroad figured that the river was an easy place to put a railroad track, which is still in use today.|
|Here's the start of a fun downhill singletrack named "Crazy Kangaroo", featuring an incredible view of the Gore Range.|
|...and here's a more difficult singletrack, "Bad Simba". I think the name comes from the Lionshead area of Vail, where everything has a lion-related name. "Lion Down" stretched this concept a bit, but that was also a fun trail.|
|If you look carefully, you can see the log bridge in the center of the picture. If you look not-so-carefully, you'll see my bike on the right.|
Anyway, I had a lot of fun at Camp Jeep. It was fun being able to meet other Jeep owners, some of whom said they read my FAQ and enjoyed it. It was also nice to be able to take my Jeep on trails that reached an actual destination, not just a trail built in the forest for the purpose of breaking 4x4's. I'll have to plan on going out there next year.
By the way, Jeep is a trademark of the Chrysler Corporation.
The obligatory links back to:
Todd's Jeep Page
1997 Wrangler FAQ
The Information Singletrack (my glorious home page)