This past weekend, Taylor and I packed up a bunch of camping gear and headed down highway 6 towards Tillamook. Our destination was the basecamp for the 2009 Jolly Jeepers “Back to Basics” Rally. This annual gathering of off-road enthusiasts brings people from all over to the Tillamook State Forest’s OHV recreational area for two days of fun. This was our first time, but definitely won’t be our last. We had a lot of fun, met some nice people, and definitely committed ourselves to return next year.
We took our 2006 Jeep Unlimited Rubicon, still in mostly stock form. Everyone assured us that we would be surprised what it would do in its showroom configuration and they were right! We crawled over some crazy rock obstacles, snaked through dense bits of forest, and climbed steep and rocky slopes. The pictures don’t come close to conveying the extreme nature of the trails.
We quickly became aware of what a few inches of suspension lift and larger tires would do for you. We also came to appreciate even the stock rocker guards and recently-installed rock-crawling bumpers.
While I certainly didn’t do everything the trails had to offer, I did almost all of the trails that the big boys did, and a couple of the obstacles. At the end of the second day, we came to a trail rated three black diamonds and labeled “severe”. I wasn’t about to venture down there, so I took the bypass with several others and then hiked down to the main obstacle to watch. An impressive show was waiting for me, where an XJ (one of my all-time favorites) was making it up a killer hill. I grabbed just a small bit of video of the trouble spot and it’s truly amazing, IMHO: