Toyota Jamboree 2021

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Having such a busy work schedule and finding time to work on the 86 so I can go racing next month, it’s hard for plan for camping trips. After work, I would work on the motor of the 86, and then start prepping for Toyota Jambo. In the end, its all about the experiences you have. Time doesn’t wait, and if you want to do something, you make it happen.

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For anyone that isn’t familiar with Toyota Jaboree, its an 4×4/camping event only for Toyota/Lexus makes. Free dinners, and venders showcasing products. Then you can hit the trails wheeling with friends, or join the group runs. The 4 day event is hosted at Barnwell Mountain in Gilmer,Tx. Northeast Texas is more forestry then the typical desert land in West Texas.

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I was looking forward to this trip, because I’ll be seeing friends whom I haven’t seen since covid started last year. A lot of events were canceled including Jamboree due to covid.

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The weather forecast showed it was going to be highs of 70s and lows of 60, with chance of rain. This was going to be another muddy weekend. My kind of party. I love the look of a dirty 80 series. Some people doesn’t like the cleaning their rigs, but I just wait for the next rain storm and it’s a free car wash.

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Originally we where supposed to leave on Thursday but had to finish some errands before we could go. My wife and I left Friday morning around 10am. The rain storm seemed like was following us. The drive was just rain. Our Land Cruiser was getting a good wash before the muddy trails. One gas station, I met a fellow attendee that drove all the way from California. I know how those long drives are, and props to him.

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We arrived at the check in gate, and thankfully we were the 2nd one in line. The event showed 300 plus rigs registered and glad I went before it got really busy. At the check in entrance, I was able to radio to my friends that arrived a day early where they set up camp. I installed a GRMS radio in my Land Cruiser this year. The range on antenna has been pretty impressive, and been able to radio my friends miles out.

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When I arrived at campsite, it was kinda tight with all the trees but most of the campsites were taken by Friday afternoon. I do love camping because I get to spend time with my wife, dogs, and friends. Just good times with great company.

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We set up our awning, and unpacked our camp gear. Once you start coming for awhile you have a routine on what to bring and leave behind. Since this was a 4 day trip with lots of friends coming, we didn’t pack a lot. I just made sure we have enough alcohol for the weekend plus recovery gear.

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We hit some trails on Friday afternoon, nothing to crazy. We did notice the park trails received some repairs from the last Toyota Jamboree event. Nice to know the owners maintain the park very well.

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After wheeling in the afternoon, it was time for Friday night dinner. Toyota Jamboree provides free dinner, and the night menu was Jambo-laya. Very fitting for the event name. I got two bowls. I was pretty stuffed. We walked it off by checking out the vendors.

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We eventually headed back to camp to get the party started. We made a campfire and started drinking. Some of my other friends that was camping at other spots came by. I was able to test out my snow peak camp oven for some wood fire pizza. We had an awesome night, drinking, then getting hungry from drinking. Hanging out with friends in the wilderness. I did get pretty drunk that night, and slept like a baby.

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Saturday morning, I woke up to a hangover, but my wife and I come prepared. I took some Motrin, and drank some coffee. By time my friend got done cooking breakfast, my headache was reduced significantly.

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Saturday we plan to watch the rock crawling, and stampede competition. Last time we didn’t get to see it because we wheeled during the events. The rocking completion got pretty rowdy, with one FJ almost flipping. In the stampede event another FJ got too much air and airbags deployed when it landed. Seems like the FJs owners love to send it. All in good fun, and no one got got injured.

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After the event, we headed back to camp and cooked a quick lunch. I was using my new dual burner stove. The wind deflectors was a nice touch that prevented the fire from dying. Tony brought over some sausages, and we provided the beers. German October fest going on here.

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I didn’t drink too much since I was going to hit the trails till dinner time. We did hit some traffic, and stuck vehicles but it’s all part of the adventure. Thankfully no body damage or broken parts. It’s always fun wheeling with friends because you can all help each other.

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Saturday night dinner was BBQ! My favorite Texas cooking. Fortunately we just made it right before they closed. Texas always makes good BBQ. Saturday night, Toyota Jamboree does the raffles, but I didn’t stay too long because I didn’t buy raffle tickets.

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I left the raffle a bit early and headed back to camp to start a campfire, because it was starting to get chilly. Ryan told me it was going to rain later in the night.

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As soon as I lit my fire starter, it started to rain, then pour. A lot of the people that stayed in the raffle were making their way back to the camp sites. My waterproof Northface jacket, putting in work and keeping me dry.

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It rained the whole night, but I wasn’t giving up on my campfire. I put my firepit under a tarp and the tarp was high enough, it wouldn’t catch on fire. That did the trick and got the fire going to where the rain didn’t douse the flame.

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Couple my friends had their birthdays this weekend, and we celebrated that night. We drank whiskey and had filipino BBQ. Pretty good combo. This time I didn’t get too drunk and I remember the night. The rain did stop around 1am, but the forecast called for more rain later in the morning.

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Sunday morning I woke up to a rainy morning. I was up at 8am, but I stayed in our tent till the rain died a bit at 10am. Our Roofnest kept us warm and dry. Almost one year and has been great. Worth the investment if you plan on camping often.

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When I got out of the tent, everyone was out and about. I came late to breakfast, and most of the breakfast tacos Allan cooked was gone. I love breakfast tacos and Allan fries his tortillas for the extra crunch.

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After breakfast the rain stopped and we started to pack up. Anything that was left outside got soaked. We didn’t have the time to let it dry out, but you made sure to do that when we got home. Number one rule after a wet camping trip is to let the tent or anything with fabric dry out. You want to avoid mold.

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Once everyone packed up we had a group photo and headed back to Houston. It was a great weekend, and thankful I was able to join. Work can get stressful and get too busy you don’t have time to spend with friends and family. Camping allows me for that, and I’m thankful for the experiences.

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Photo credit: Me and Ryan

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