Playing in Kentucky - 24th Gateway to the Cumberlands - Jeep Jamboree Event - Fall 2017
Day 1 and 2: Hitting the Road
Wednesday early evening I hit the road. Had a long journey ahead of me to get to Williamsburg, Kentucky. I was heading to the 24th Gateway to the Cumberlands Jeep Jamboree event! This was my last jeeping event for the year, well maybe, and I was crazy excited to get to Kentucky! I have heard tons of great things about this event over the months jeeping. But before I can have any fun I need to crank out around 13-14 hours of driving, if I didn't stop lol. Good thing I love the open road!
Got about half way before I had to called it quits. I was somewhere in Indiana. Instead of going into Chicago like the GPS wanted me to, I cut down Illinois on 39. Then cut over into Indiana. Next morning, I work up in the back of Lana with a smile on my face. Today is the day I make the last push to Kentucky! Trying to get there at a decent time so I can pick the trails I wanted. But before that I need to meet Amy (good friend) at our hotel we are sharing with Marty! He was kind enough to let us take the extra bed he had, one of his friends backed out. This was awesome! Nice and close to checkin, morning meeting point, and anything else we needed.
I ended up getting there later then I wanted. So we didn't have many options for trails, my bad. But there was still room on Bridge Rock 1 and Area 51, which both sounded like a good time. All the Jeepers met on the foggy morning for the drivers meeting. All sorts of important people were there to show their support of the Jamboree events. Great to hear from them and the positive impact all these Jeepers bring to their town. Boost in their economy for sure. Anywho, we got a police escort to the trails! No stop lights, stop signs, or anything just cruising one Jeep after another. It was a site to see!
Was awesome panoramic views on the top of the mountain. Didn't take many photos of the views because you just need to see them for yourself :) Plus I was to busy enjoying them and talking with the Jeepers in my group. Pretty fun so far but I am looking forward to the next part of the trail. It's where this obstacle call it V Rock is located.
I struggled like a mofo to get up this one... We could not figure out why it kept kicking me right into the place I didn't want to be. Maybe because I was second to last in line and others tore it up, my lack of experience (like 5th weekend Jeeping), or what. Either way, we strapped me up and pulled me through, thanks buddies! Every day I learn something new Jeeping. But we are all hungry at this point and continued onward. Made it to a natural bridge rock to post up for lunch.
After lunch we moved onto the next section. Ran into some issues with a good size down tree almost right away. Had to bust out the chainsaw! Got it cut up and pulled out of the way. Later on, we did some hill climbs, creek beds, and some other fun obstacles.
On one the last major hill climbs I hear my passenger tire deflate. Fuck.... Trail guide and I agreed I just had to finish getting up the hill, which I did like a boss I have to say, to get up on the top to fix my tire. Trail guides hopped on it instantly like a Nascar team! Guess a rock slammed into my valve stem bending it into the core. Had to break that off, pull out the bent core, put in a new one, and filled her back up! I was ready to finish out the trail!
What an awesome group of Jeepers! Trail guides were super helpful and I picked their brains, like always, to learn as much as I can. Feel like I am really starting to get the hang of this whole Jeeping thing. Anyways, I am ready for a shower, cold beer, and relax for the night. We have another full day of Jeeping ahead of us!
Day 4: Ripping Up Area 51
New day, new trail, new group of Jeepers! Some I actually just rode with yesterday so that was sweet. Others I am meeting for the first time. Was excited for the Mud Mile, which is the first section of this trail. But first we need to have the morning meeting, group up, and get to the trail, 10-20 miles away I want to say.
One of the Jeeps went a little to deep in one of the previous mud pits, so we had to wait a bit since his Jeep was acting up. Once it was ready we hit the trails for more fun. Given it was still having issues on and off this whole next section. Finally, we disconnected his battery and reset all the computers, which fixed the problem. Game on!
We have come to the end of trail time... Now to get back on a great twisty road. Had some fun taking cruising photos along the way. Once back, we got in line to has the Girls Softball Team power wash our Jeeps. Pretty dirty at this point so Lana was looking forward to a good cleaning.
Now for some dinner, giveaways, speeches, and all of that. Filled up our bellies and headed back to the hotel. Was a great time on the trail today, tad on the slower side for my taste, but still had some fun out there. Meet some awesome Jeepers and trail guides!
Day 5: Going Underground!
Jeep Jamboree has come to an end, but the fun did not! Given first I needed to air and gas up. Found out the fix we did does not allow me to add more air in, because the trail guide was using a Powertank, which kicks out a higher PSI then a typical compressor. So I had to get my value stem replaced before continuing onward. Amy and I were heading to Mammoth Cave for a tour!
I've got to say that was one beautiful drive to Mammoth Cave! Non stop amazing views, leaves turning, and just cruising windows down music up! Amy and I signed up for the Dripstone and Domes tour, since the one we really wanted was booked out. Make sure to order online prior to getting there. That is totally ok because I knew I was going to come back either way. Grabbed my GoPro and we headed to our tour.
Pictures turned out a little blurry, but that was expected using a GoPro and holding it by hand lol. Given I like they turned out that way. One needs to truly see it in person to get the full experience! Get there, take a tour, and be amazed what Mother Nature can make! After the tour, Amy and I parted ways... Was fantastic to see a good friend, since she moved to Nashville form Minnesota a year or so ago. But now for the long drive home. Taking a different route this time to see what the backroads have to offer.
I woke up in the back on Lana again. Had to crank out some work before I could start my day. Got out of Lana and noticed one of my D Shackles is gone. Some POS stole it! ARRRRRR that is 2 in two months. I am so not keeping these on when I don't need them. Stupid me but at the same time that's that bull shit. Anyways, I wanted to make a few more stops on my way to break up my drive, plus this allowed me to take a different route home. First stop, Great River Bluffs State Park in lower east corner of Minnesota.
After a super quick visit, I cranked out some more work. Got that all finished up before heading to my last stop, John A Latsch State Park. Just a nice straight up hike to get to the top of the bluff. Something like 450 ish stairs that get steeper and taller as you climb. Hammered my way up, took a 20 minute time lapse, snapped some photos, and hiked back down. I then finished out my drive home :)
I've got to hand it to ya Kentucky. You are a beautiful piece of country! I has a blast at the Jamboree event, seeing Jeepers I've road with, meeting new Jeepers, and just get some trail time. Not to mention, seeing Amy and Marty again! Sounds like we are planning on getting back next year, which I will try to get there earlier to get different trails, want to mix it up. Overall, just an awesome time start to finish! Really showcased how much I do love Jeeping and traveling like this. Need more of it in my life! Also, I am very proud for how many people were blown away by my driving, for only being my 5th weekend Jeeping. Yeah I have been out every month since June, but still pretty new to Jeeping. Maybe it is because I drive a shit ton or maybe because I am a driver through and through. Not just someone that drives a Jeep, if you are a "real driver" you get what I am saying. I work on my own Jeep and know what she can do. Plus know when to step it up or when to back off. Always have to keep in mind she is my daily driver, but I don't want to not progress my driving skills. So it's always fun to balance it out and see what I can do. Sad this was potentially my last weekend Jeeping for 2017, but makes me excited for what 2018 will bring! See ya on the trails!