Camp Jeep California 2004 has come and gone but the good times and new friends will last a lifetime. The Bakersfield Trailblazers were well represented with Jon, Marge and Ashley Aichele, Rod and Lynn Brown, Mike Kunz, Ken and Judy Lollich, Jim and Jayne Rogers, and Randy and Sandy Worley as Trail Guides. The trails ranged from scenic to hard and were designed with those who have never taken their four-wheel drive vehicles off road or never even put them in 4WD. For the novice participants, Camp Jeep was a wonderful opportunity to learn what their vehicles could do and also gain confidence in their own driving skills.

There were a few mishaps on the trail but Trail Guides, Jeep engineers or the media, committed most of them. No rollovers but a couple of slow lay them on their sides. Surprisingly enough one of the tip me on my side events occurred on an intermediate scenic trail when a driver got in some real soft dirt coming into a real tight turn.

Even though the Trail Guides were kept real busy they did find time to enjoy some of the exhibits at Camp Jeep. Everyone enjoyed the concept vehicles on display. One of the favorites was the Search and Rescue vehicle and the cute Willy’s II. There was one exhibit devoted exclusively to the military history of the Jeep and another exhibit included famous Jeeps of the past including Nellie Bell II from the Roy Rogers and Dale Evans show.

Many of us tried out the Rubicon on a miniature course with rocks, water and hills. Some of us even left grease on the rocks. Test-driving the 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokees was a kick. We got to test out its new electronic anti-lock braking system by accelerating and then slamming on the brakes going about 50 mph. The car stopped straight as an arrow in approximately 100 feet. We then tested it on a slalom course at 30 mph with no braking. They new system was able to analyze what the braking needs were and apply them automatically to the driving system. Pretty impressive was the general consensus of those who had the opportunity to test-drive it.

Many of us enjoyed the music of Live and Los Robles and the sounds of several up and coming bands. If there had been enough time we could have learned how to grill seafood and try new summer desserts from well known chefs; learned how to make fishing flys and practice fly fishing or even tried our luck at geocaching. There was so much to see and do that the three days just flew by.

Those responsible for Camp Jeep have to analyze the success of the event but based on the comments we heard and the smiles on participants, we are looking forward to Camp Jeep 2005.