Snow, Maps, Paving & Kiosk

20180323_085600_resizedOn Friday, March 23rd, the FOTR Tahoe side lead (John Briggs) and I had two Rubicon meetings with local government agencies.

The first was meeting Placer County at the trailhead to discuss the snow being piled at the entrance. (The lead photograph)

When we got there, Lindsay from the county was already there. Looking around the area, it was obvious that there was more snow at the entrance than elsewhere in the neighborhood. Lindsay explained that she had talked with the plowing supervisor and that this was ‘normal’ for a “T” intersection as there was extra snow that needed to me removed from the intersection.

20180323_090242_resizedAfter some discussion, I pointed out that this was not a “T” intersection but rather a “4-way” intersection. We agreed that what needed to happen was to move the pile 40 feet to the left. It would take no extra time or effort but would prevent piling snow on the Rubicon Trail.

20180323_090305_resizedNow to be clear, the county will not be plowing the Rubicon Trail nor will they be removing the berm but hopefully, if the plow supervisor agrees, the pile (in the future) will be placed further left and if someone wants to play on the Rubicon, they will just have the ‘natural’ or ‘normal’ berm to deal with.

In addition, we discussed putting in two very tall snow stakes documenting the entrance so the plow drivers know where not to dump.


The snow had a very hard top layer after having rained several inches, then below freezing temperatures.

The second was meeting Mike Gabor of the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit (LTBMU) to talk about the new map they are developing and the new kiosk for the staging area, among other things.

This is a draft of the map under construction:

LTBMU Map_cropped for website

The new kiosk will have a 4’x8′ center panel for nothing but the new map. A 4’x4′ side panel on each side will hold additional material. It will be made out of mostly metal for longevity, not wood, and should last a very long time. If all goes according to plan (remember this is a government agency we’re dealing with), it could be up by the 4th of July.



There is an approved grant that will allow the LTBMU to pave the staging area. Before this happens, the Basin will be reaching out to the users for input on how to mark parking spots (size, spacing, direction), how to improve (harden) the border, how to best protect the trees within the staging area, signage, how to design an actual “staging area” for rigs coming off the trail or preparing to go out on the trail, etc. Figure the planning, design, layout, engineering and such will happen in 2018 and the actual paving will happen in 2019.


Rubicon Ronin




2018 Reno Motorsports Show

So, last weekend was the Reno Motorsports Show. It also held the boat show, home show and pet show. All for just $5!

I had my regular booth set up to discuss the Rubicon and all the local 4wd clubs. The map on the left of the display will be the new map for the kiosk at the Tahoe side staging area.


I had information on the Lake Tahoe Hi-Lo’s, North Tahoe Trail Dusters, the Tahoe Donner 4 Wheelers and others. As well as information on state and national pro-OHV groups: Blue Ribbon Coalition, CA Off Road Vehicle Association, CA 4wd Association, the NV 4wd Association and others.


Some of the local clubs came out including the Hills Angels (of Reno) and the Sierra Stompers (of the Minden/Gardnerville area). The Nevada 4wd Association has there booth under the blue tent in the background.


Al Lockett, the show producer, brought out his own rig to show to the crowds.


Jeepers Jamboree was there and had a great interactive display to promote their Camp Rubicon events for kids. The bridges and bar were very accurately reproduced. I was told this is just part of the full recreation of main camp at Rubicon Springs.


Attendance was down on Friday due to the weather but Saturday and Sunday had good crowds. The vendors were about the same as last year, which had grown over the last few years.

Hope to see you out there next year as a attendee or a vendor!


Rubicon Ronin




Drivers needed: Camp Nejedly

Hello everyone,

I’d like to let you all know about a very special event that happens almost every year. Last year it got cancelled due to the excess amount of snow in the Sierras.

Camp Nejedly is a camping experience for physically challenged kids. It takes these special kids out of the cities and in to the forest, miles from civilization.

The one challenge the organizers need help with is getting the kids, counselors and equipment 11 miles in to the forest and then back out again. There are two camping weeks, so twice in and twice out.

Several different 4wd clubs regularly step up to help out. The Hills Angels and the Tahoe Donner 4wd clubs are two of the local clubs that have helped out in the past.

The Tahoe Donner 4wd Club is reaching out to local 4wd owners to help bolster their number on the day they are scheduled to transport the kids and equipment, August 11th. I don’t know if the other groups need more vehicles.

If you think this is something you’d like to participate in, please contact Jay below. I have helped out on this and it was a blast. It’s not a difficult trail but it gets you in to territory you wouldn’t normally drive.

Jay’s full email is below.

Thanks for your support!


Dear group leaders and 4×4 drivers,

It’s time to plan for rounding up the rigs and hauling some kids to and from camp.

This is an opportunity to offer your time, talent, and rigs to help put smiles on the faces of those less fortunate than us – some physically challenged kids.

Camp Nejedly is looking for a bunch of 4x4ers that would be willing to transport kids and their wheelchairs and gear plus counselors and their gear on a two hour trek to and/or from camp in the High Sierras. The campsite is a bit remote so you need a capable 4×4 with a little clearance and 4low, a KIA Sportage made it several years ago.  Most of the trail is easy with just two really challenging spots.  The trail is only 11 miles but we take it really slow to keep them safe, so if you are looking for a thrill, please not with these kids.

The dates for the treks are as follows:

July 28, Saturday at 11:45 am Graeagle Community Church – inbound.

August 4, Saturday at 10 am at Hawley Lake – outbound.

August 5, Sunday at 11:45 am Graeagle Community Church – inbound.

August 11, Saturday at 10 am at Hawley Lake – outbound.

If you would like to participate, please have space available in your rig for at least 1 camper and 1 counselor and maybe some gear. We would like to make sure that everyone that participates has a great time, so we are asking for a little cooperation and a little information beforehand so we can plan. If you really want a camper in your rig, just say so and we will try our hardest to make it happen, especially for the first-timers. If you have been one of the very valued transporters in the past, maybe you can reach back in your memory banks to remember the special feeling from those huge smiles to make sure a newbie has the same experience.

Now for the tough part, group leaders you are an awesome part of this program. We need space for 47 campers and counselors and their stuff on the opening inbound trip, July 28 and the closing outbound trip, August 11. All of the people and gear go in or come out on those days. The middle weekend, August 4 and 5 are a little lighter since some of the counselors will stay in camp over the weekend.

I know it seems like a lot to ask for a commitment for a volunteer outing, but these kids need us and our rigs to get them to and from camp. The payoff is huge. These kids get such a big kick out of being like regular kids on an off-road adventure. The smiles you put on their faces will stay with you forever.

So, leaders and any 4×4 enthusiasts out there, please circulate this information to get the word out to come and help some kids that really need our help.

The first inbound trip is pretty full with Diablo 4 Wheelers and Hills Angels groups. And the middle weekend is covered by Grass Valley 4×4 club and some folks from RV West.  The last day of camp has been the FJ Norcal and Tahoe-Donner groups plus some locals.  For individuals that email me to sign-up, please be flexible and patient as I need to fill- in large groups first then add you where needed.  I am hoping that several locals will participate helping take the kids out of camp. But we still need some folks from down in the valley or beyond just in case the bus is overloaded with gear.

To recap our needs:

July 28 – 30 vehicles

August 4 & 5 – 25 vehicles each day

August 11 – 30 vehicles

We will need a list of the vehicles, color, opened or closed, number of extra passengers, and if there is room for gear.

And a little suggestion/hint – get a cb radio and preferably a ham radio to communicate in the wilderness.  Cell phones don’t work and cb’s are spotty.

We also want to make sure we alternate experienced drivers with rookies and keep the driver behind you in your rear-view mirror to make sure nobody gets lost.

See you on the trail,

Jay Fukushima

Transportation Coordinator

Camp Nejedly


P.S. It really won’t hurt my feelings if you don’t respond until after April 17th.

Please!!  I am a CPA.

If you don’t want to receive this notice each year, please let me know.  Thanks.

Major snow dump in the Sierras

We just got through a series of major storms. Honestly, the biggest of the season. The summits got more than six feet of snow. The Homewood Mountain Resort claims about five feet over the last the last week. That means the Rubicon is buried.

So, I drove past Monday (March 5th) and took a few pictures of the entrance. I was up there just before the storms and took some to compare:

Last Monday the 26th: really no berm to speak of…


Again, this was before the storm just 100 yards up the trail:


After the latest storms: now the neighborhood probably got two feet of snow but notice the snow is piled higher than my six foot tall truck.


Compare that to berms around the neighborhood, maybe three feet tall. I have already sent an email to Placer County letting them know this is unacceptable (dumping snow on a county right of way) and that although the County probably didn’t do it, they need to remove it as they would a load of rock dropped on any county road. Don’t hold your breath.


Looking over the berm, where no motor vehicle has driven, yet; it looks like a good place for a fun day of snow play.


The berm will need to be taken down. Right now you could get a quad or snowmobile through the slot but not much else.


Let me get on my safety soap box…

I can’t say it enough but travel prepared. Figure something will go wrong and you have to spend the night, or two. Have food, water, clothing and shelter for multiple people and many nights.

Believe it or not, some people still don’t get it.

Rig near Miller 1

(Photo stolen from a post on Pirate4x4 by “The Fixxer”.)

This rig has been stuck on the trail for a few weeks now. It’s just east of Miller Lake at the water hole. There was room to go around but not much. Now think about this with 4-5 feet of snow burying it.

You might be wheeling along just fine and not realize the rig is underneath you. Honestly, it’s probably still visible but there is a greater chance of sliding in to it if you try and go around.

Some fellow Hi-Lo’s are reaching out to the authorities and the owner to see if we can help get the rig out or at least off to the side for the safe passage of others.

I’ll keep you posted.


Rubicon Ronin