Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Tri-State Jamboree Ride Review - 2017

Low Mountain Overlook
We took three rides this past Jamboree.  Here’s the scoop on these rides from a more experienced perspective.

#11 Low Mountain
This 55 mile intermediate ride took us into the Arizona desert.  Guides Reg and Ken piloted us through a 2-mile stretch of lava rock, which riders in previous years really disliked.  They reported that the BLM had done some work on this stretch this year, which seemed about right as the road was not that bad.  When we reached the top, we recognized a couple of signs and realized that we had been on the south side of the road previously – traveling up from Mesquite, NV.  Now we know.

We hit a long stretch of mud on this ride – an added challenge courtesy of our much needed snowfall this year – and came off the ride with ATV, boots, and pants splattered with the stuff.  All part of the fun.  There were no “intermediate plus” surprises on this ride – or maybe we’ve just become better riders.  The trail was fun and the scenery was great. 

#23 Diamond Valley
When we signed up for Jamboree we agreed that we’d take a Beginner ride on the Friday so I could do most of the driving and give Paul a break. 
World's Largest Laccolith
When we saw that Diamond Valley, one of the new rides of 2017, was listed as a beginner ride of only 35 miles, I jumped in line to sign up.

The guides told me as I walked up that “this is not a Beginner ride.”  When I asked how difficult it was, they told me “Intermediate minus.”  Hmmmm.  I signed up anyway.

It turned out I was the only one who signed up.  When we reported for the ride, guides Dale, Fred, and Lee were happy to take out a single machine.  This broke two Jamboree records in our book – the only ride we’ve ever been on where we were the only riders, and the only ride we’ve ever been on where the quads outnumbered the side-by-sides.

I drove.  I learned that 1) driving an ATV on paved roads is difficult, especially without power steering (oops); 2) I hate being off camber (major oops); and 3) I’m not a very fast driver (thanks to Dale, Fred and Lee for putting up with the slow pace). 

The ride featured an up close view of the world’s largest laccolith.  (Laccolith: noun; geology.  A mass of igneous rock formed from magma that did not find its way to the surface but spread laterally into a lenticular body, forcing overlying strata to bulge upward.)  It also featured a significant stretch of mud.  Paul got to drive that section.  One advantage of fewer machines – not nearly as much mud splatter!

All in all a fun, albeit slow, ride.  I recommend they reclassify it to at least Beginner Plus if not Intermediate.

Top of Dutchman's Draw
#25 Dutchman’s Draw
Our third ride was the exact opposite of the Diamond Valley ride – it was full!  Twenty machines – not including guides, tackled the very dusty road toward the more beautiful trails through the Dutchman’s Draw.  And when I say dusty, I mean “can’t see ten feet ahead of you” kind of dusty.  I think I may have preferred the mud.

Guides James, Rulon and Jerry took us through the amazing tree-filled trails at the top; then stopped for lunch on a flat, sunny plain with no trees at all.  Really?  How do you expect the ladies to heed nature’s call when there’s not even a tree to hide behind?  Thankfully there was a ditch about 100 yards back, and the gentlemen on the ride were kind enough not to watch.

The description of the ride was accurate; 50 miles of intermediate level terrain.  It was quite popular as it was a new ride, but again, worth taking.

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