This year the Lone Star Toyota Jamboree fell on Star Wars Day & Cinco de Mayo! I didn’t bring my lightsaber or a bottle of Tequila, but I still had a blast! (I did bring some cigars and a bottle of whiskey, though)
Thursday May the 4th (be with you) I got out of work at 2:30 pm and made a beeline for my meetup point with Brian. Right before arriving I got a call from Pablo at Tandem OffRoad. They were at their meet up point just 17 miles past where I was about to pull off the road. I phoned Brian and had him keep driving there, so we could all meet up.
As I pulled in, I got to photobomb the “Group” picture!
Since we were the last ones there, the group pulled out and hit the highway to Gilmer, TX. Home of Barnwell Mountain Recreation Area, where Jambo is held every year.
2 hours later we were pulling into Barnwell Mountain Recreation Area, home to the Lone Star Toyota Jamboree every year. We all registered and stopped by the main pavilion to collect our “swag bags”. The main pavilion is the hub of activity at Jambo. It’s where you meet for meals, sign up for group trail runs or classes and where they have the last evening’s raffle.
We eventually made our way to the campsite. I’m a member of ArkLaTex Offroad, and we have our campgrounds to the east of the entrance, right off of Louisiana Backroads trail.
When we arrived we found out we had some new neighbors, one of whom started drinking at 10am, right after the gates opened. We all started getting our camp set up and met the aforementioned neighbor when he drove his 2016 Tacoma into camp and into the guide poles on one of their tents. To make a long story short, he was one of those guys who had alcohol in his system and wouldn’t slow down. He was stumbling, talking smack, but energized and wouldn’t sleep it off. Eventually some of the event organizers got wind of the situation and removed him from the grounds. I understand one of his friends drove him home.
SO, with all that drama, it was evening time, dinner time and relaxation time. We met the rest of our neighbors who ended up being about as fun as can be! They were new to wheeling and had just bought a new 4 Runner they named “Fiona”. We all sat around the campfire that night telling stories, joking around and having fun. Me? I lit a nice cigar and had a few whiskeys before hitting the sack.
The next two days was full of trail riding, group meals, more trail riding and relaxing in the woods. This year we took it pretty easy compared to the last two. We had some beginners with us, also one of the wives also bought a new 4 Runner and was driving on her own for the first time. (She did spectacular!) I led a few trails Friday morning that were intermediate/beginner, Brian led some that were more intermediate/tough.
On Brian’s trails, I did a trail I’d only done at night (Spider Ravine) the year before, and another one I hadn’t done completely (Sierra’s Skyview) I think we had such a great group of wheelers AND spotters, that the new folks didn’t realize that they were on 3 and 3.5 diamond rated trails.
Also that day we got together and had a group photo with another set of bad ass wheelers I have the pleasure of knowing, Outsiders Offroad!
Outsiders was formed a year ago at the last Jambo, after a dustup between some members and the president of ArkLaTex. Both groups have some fine people, so I’ll let them work out their differences. I’ll hang with both.
That evening found us up at the pavilion meeting with vendors, drooling over the products (I almost bought a Snowmaster fridge!) and getting some of the best jambalaya this side of Louisiana! (Cooked and hosted by the Louisiana Land Krewsers!) We had planned a night run that evening, but somehow it never materialized... instead we went back to camp. Another evening of tales from the trail, joking and bonding with nature and each other. Nothing like winding down the day with friends, a good cigar and... yup, you guessed it, some whiskey.
Our last full day of wheeling found the group (Especially me) a little slow in the morning. I was taking my time getting my coffee and going over to the main ArkLaTex pavilion for a group breakfast. (Sorry I didn’t stay long guys, something came up, but thank you for the great breakfast tacos!!!) On the way back from breakfast at the pavilion, I received a text from Brian. Something had come up at home and he had to leave early. I hope everything turned out ok, amigo!
We spent part of the morning hitting some trails on the northwest side. I believe this was the morning that Pablo was guiding Adam in the new 4 Runner on Solihull, Omega and Any Sunday trails. After that run we all got together for the group photo.
This year seemed to take as long to get everyone together, but it seemed better organized. Dennis and Nikki whipped out their fridge for some great sandwiches for lunch, while we sat in line.
Right after I parked some friends found me and invited me to the back of their Tacoma for the photo shoot. Turns out they had a bottle of whiskey (or what was left of it) and I had to catch up to them, lol. I was feeling pretty good after the photo shoot for the next run.
After the boozy photo shoot, I led the group onto “Jeepy Hollow & Old Town Trio” trails, some 3 diamond trails, one of which the exit was labeled 4 diamond on the way out.
I got to use my winch for the first time to recover Dylan was in his new Tacoma. Both his front and rear tires got caught in the rocks on the way up. After multiple attempts it was determined we should winch him up.
Between Dennis and myself, we got him up with no problem. The rest of the crew in FJ’s and 4 Runners made it up with minimal fuss and trouble.
We ended up back at the pavilion in time to get the tasty BBQ dinner provided by the event organizers. Saturday night is the last big night of the event and consists of the BBQ dinner, some announcements and awards... then a giant raffle!
This years raffle prizes had some notable goodies: RTT’s, bumpers, sliders and all sorts of gear. After some technical difficulty with the sound system, the organizers kept things rolling along. Our new friends at camp won some bad assed sliders from Tandem Offroad!
This year I just so happened to win the Drivers Raffle! Each registered driver gets their own raffle ticket and they pick 3 drivers at the end of the night. Each driver picks a number and can steal from the other drivers as they come up.
Well good luck prevailed as I got the grand prize this year!
I won a 50 quart Bison Cooler filled with all sorts of swag! Vendor Tshirts, caps & coozies, a bad assed hawse fairlead with the Jambo logo on it... Patches from Trail Toys, Rad Rubber wheel well protectors, insulated tumbler with the Jambo Logo and tons of other goodies.
I probably had the goofiest grin that evening, it was a great surprise ending to a fantastic long weekend of wheeling and camping and socializing.
I think I made it back to camp at close to 11pm that night. I was starting to get a sore throat from all the dusty trails that weekend, so no cigar that night. I think we all hit the sack by 1am.
Sunday morning found us all waking up, making coffee and starting to pack up camp. This has been typical of me the last few years. I tend to take my time packing up and am almost always the last one out of camp. Part of the reason I was so slow is that sort throat got worse over night. Dennis & Nikki and Adam & Riori were the last ones out of camp, I think they did more trail runs that day.
I actually made good time getting home, unloaded all my gear and took a much needed shower!
Until next year, Jambo! Can’t wait to create more memories.