Trailers on the Rubicon

A few years ago, the Lake Tahoe Hi-Lo’s, working with FOTR, moved more than 70+ cubic yards of rock to fill “The Mud hole”.

Loading trailers

Last weekend, a group of volunteers moved 16 cubic yards of gravel (with road base and a binder), up the Richardson Lake Trail. Many projects in between have used trailers.

Just about everything you can imagine have been hauled along the Rubicon with a trailer, okay, almost everything. Even people down the river…

Hi-Lo's in the trailer races at Jeepers Jamboree!

Hi-Lo’s in the trailer races at Jeepers Jamboree!

Trailers are so important to the Rubicon and its maintenance that RTF used an OHV grant to buy six of them. They were featured in a previous post. (RTF Trailers)


Over the last few days, FOTR moved 90 bags of concrete to Cadillac Hill for a project they did this morning. I helped out a week earlier by taking a trailer load of concrete to just above Morris Rock.

The trip started okay. I stopped by Steve Morris’ cabin, where the concrete was being staged and loaded up 12 bags in to my trailer. I have an old highway lighting trailer that was gutted and sold at auction. I bought it from a guy who had a bunch of them from that auction. I cut down the front panel to match the sides and welded up and installed some channel tubing for a slide in tailgate. As pictured before, I used it to haul in the new sign for the Long Lake Trail (16E12).

Bringing the new trailhead sign in for TKS-11

Bringing the new trailhead sign in for TKS-11

After loading the trailer with 12 bags of concrete, I headed for the staging area. I thought it was going to be a quiet Thursday morning drive in to Morris Rock but it was Friday morning and the Auburn Jeep Club and the Dirty Dozen Jeep Club were both getting ready to hit the trial. I aired down as quick as I could to get in front of them. But some got out in front of me. It was a slow drive even for a guy hauling a trailer of concrete.

The drop went okay and I left the trailer and checked out the Long Lake Trail at the bottom of Cadillac Hill. Still a fun side trip. Coming back up Cadillac, I got hung up at the hairpin turn.  Even with 35″ tires, there is an undercut just past the halfway point through the turn while you’re trying to climb on to the slab on the left while avoiding the stub of a rock sticking up on the right.  I had to stack a few rocks but got through it.

I picked up my trailer and headed home. After getting to Observation I breathed a sigh of relief, grabbed another gear and speed up down the trail. That was a mistake. I wasn’t 50 yards past Observation and felt a good, quiet, tug on the Jeep. As I looked over my right shoulder, I saw the left tire of my trailer sticking straight up in the air. The trailer was on it’s way over and I couldn’t do anything about it. While the trailer was loaded, it towed fine. Unloaded, it was bouncing off every rock in sight. By speeding up, I was now applying enough force to flip the trailer. The left tire hit a rock and up and over it went.

Story to follow...

Story to follow…

The point of the large rock in the picture put a small hole in the bed of the trailer and then broke out the tailgate as I couldn’t stop in time. I figured I didn’t have much time before someone was going to drive by so I had to get it righted and quick. Being alone, I had to double time it.  I pulled my recovery gear bag, and the winch line.


A snatch block off the tree in front for a change in direction. And a second snatch block off the tree at the trailer to actually pull it back over.


A quick run of the winch and it was back to the rubber side down. I was able to get it righted before anyone came along.

Now I had to replace the tailgate before I was to haul gravel the next day.  John Briggs helped me out by pulling out and old piece of plywood and 2×6 to get me back in the game for the Richardson Lake Trail project the next day.


Here I am pulling “doubles”. We had left the trailers at Miller Lake Saturday night. I had run up to Miller early Sunday morning and hauled both back to the staging area for Sunday’s effort. What a noisy run down that trail.

Lesson learned, don’t be in a hurry while towing a trailer on the Rubicon and always carry enough gear for a self recovery.




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