Seven AM and one end of the Washington County Fair Ground parking lot, is filling up. SUV's vans, pickups, loaded with ATV's and Side-by-Side's. Unlike the two jamborees we participated in last year, we had to transport the RZR to each trail head. The longest transport was almost to Kanab. We didn't do that run, but I'm thinking next year; we will.
Our first jamboree of the year was offered by the Tri-State ATV club in Hurricane Utah. The ride dates were from Thursday thru Saturday. The participants gathered at the Fair Grounds, formed up groups and headed out to various trail heads. There were seventeen separate rides this year, graded easy, intermediate, and advanced. We picked three intermediate rides, and had a blasting good time on two of them. This is better than our experience in last years rallies.
By far, the most enjoyable ride for us, was Saturday, in the Sand Mountain Area; a hop skip and jump from the fair grounds.
Sand was a new experience for us. I wasn't sure how the RZR would make it through the deep sand; we would encounter on the dunes. Before we started on the trail our guide came by and made sure we were in 4x drive, and our tire pressure was less than six pounds. My pressure gauge registered six pounds; I thought I would try that to begin with. I could always lower the pressure if I had to. The sand was firm from rains a week before, so six pounds worked all day.
Running around over sand dunes can be loads of fun. And Sand Mountain offers every thing from deep sand, slick rock, and challenging rock piles that require some skill and nerve to get over.
The day was over cast, with wind gusts up to thirty mph by late afternoon. Half of our group was from up north in the Logan area, and with heavy snow forecast, they decided to head for home. Our group was now down to about ten riders. They wanted to hang around and watch an air show being held at the St. George airport. The Blue Angles were the featured attraction and from Sand Mountain, we would be able to see their routines, although, at a distance. Our guide thought they would start their portion of the show at two thirty, but they didn't take off until three thirty. By then, we were tired and the wind was beginning to get irritating, so we all agreed it was time to quit for the day.
This was a rewarding and fun ride. We'll definitely go back to Sand Mountain and tool around some more. And this ride will be at the top of our list next year.
Our ride on Friday, was called the Low Mountain Lookout Loop. To get started, we transported the RZR to a staging area by way of the Black Rock Exit near the Utah-Arizona border. From there we crossed Purgatory Canyon up some rocky, bumpy roads, to an impressive overlook of the Virgin River Gorge. These were the roughest roads we encountered for the three day jamboree. But if ranchers get there stock trailers up there an ATV can make it easily. Well ...it was one jarring ride. I'm always amazed at how resilient, and robust, ATV's are. Nothing seems to break them.
Overlooking the Vigrin River Gorge. Way at the bottom is an area called Cedar pockets.
Lunch break on Friday. It snowed the week before, so it was on the chilly side.
Since the start of every ride began in Hurricane, we left Dammeron Valley around 6am. Breakfast was served up at the fair grounds, beginning at 7am. Each day's menu was a bit different but all the food was ok.
By 8am, groups were forming for the days ride. We had all signed up for our preferred rides and the guides had a list of riders to check in. After roll call, and a bit of safety and procedural info was gone over, we formed our groups and set off for the trail heads.
Jamborees take a bit of organizing, and the Tri-State ATV Club did a creditable job. One bit of organization, for all the jamborees we've participated in, is forming the right size group of riders. It seems that 20 to 25 is optimum. Our Saturday guide told us, in his experience, that when he moved along at 30 miles and hour, the tail end of a 25 rider group, was almost at a standstill. And because of BLM and National Park rules, rides were limited in size. Our Saturday ride was very popular and perhaps 40 riders had signed up, so two groups were formed. There were about 15 riders from Ogden, which formed the core of one group, with everyone else making up another group. However, somehow, the Ogden bunch wound up being integrated with everyone else so the final group consisted of more than the max of twenty riders, snaking over the sand dunes.
It was all great fun and we have at least three more jamborees lined up for this summer and fall. I'm beginning to like this mode of travel quite a bit. We've seen a big part of the US and Canada dragging the fifth wheel, and we have great memories from that, but this seems, at least to me, a more immediate experience.