Yesterday, a group of four Jeeps and seven people headed out to do a little maintenance: Dean, John, Doug, Dean, Gary, Carlos and Don.
Our goal was a general clearing of trees and branches encroaching on the trail, draining some water, removing a large tree from the trail and shoveling down a huge snow berm.
Well, my thanks go out to whoever got out and shoveled the snow. The berm was gone by the time we got there.
We got everything else done and then headed up the Buck Lake Trail to clear more downed trees. Well, again, someone got there before us. So thanks to whoever that was.
So, for the most part, the Rubicon on the Tahoe side is clear of trees and major snow. There is still a lot of water on the trail. Please tread lightly and stay on the trail.
Thanks again to John for putting yesterday together and all of those who were there to help out on very short notice.
Just did a quick run up the Buck Lake Trail. It’s the first right turn out of the staging area.
It still needs a lot of trimming…
Some of the trees were soft enough to drive through…
Others, not so much…
Now, I did have a saw with me but a hand saw for getting out, not a chain saw for clearing trails.
Bottom line, be prepared for late winter or early spring conditions. Bring a saw and shovel. There is still a lot of snow on the trail. I’ve heard of five foot drops.
Headed out today to get a better idea of what’s going on further up the Rubicon.
Turn Around, Don’t Go Around.
As people are just now breaking through and running the entire Rubicon Trail, some of us are still just getting our Jeeps out of hibernation.
At a recent club meeting, talk turned to the RTF trailer. We all loved that it was available for trail maintenance, but we didn’t like, or use the air of hydraulic system. Most of the time we hand pumped the trailer to dump.
I did a write-up on it years ago when it first came to the Tahoe side…
One of my buddies asked about converting it to electric over hydraulic. I wasn’t opposed to it but it wasn’t mine to make the decision. So, I reached out to ERTF to ask if we could convert it. With RTF off the hook for costs, they said go for it.
Thanks go out to Tim with the Hills Angels 4wd Club of Reno Nevada. Tim did all the fab work on the trailer. Between he and the club they covered the construction costs. For now, I’m on the hook for the cost of the parts.
Superior Hydraulics in Sparks, NV really stepped up and worked with Tim to get the hoses and fittings dialed in: www.superiorhydraulic.net/
So here are the guts. The original hydraulic cylinder was swapped out for something that would work with for us. In hind sight, the original cylinder might be able to be converted to use with the new system. Battery, electric hydraulic pump and reservoir.
A battery was added to run the electric pump. It is charged off the 7-pin connector. If you don’t have a charge on the battery, it will still do a dozen or more dumps before running low. The manual handle is no longer usable. I’m going to add a Battery Tender connection to be able to keep it charged while not in use, or just before it goes out for a day of use.
Protection is always important. Tim had some old (new old stock) Toyota skid plates around and they worked great.
Tim even went so far as to weld rings to protect the mounting bolts.
Tim has always been bothered by the noise of these trailers as they go down the trail. So, he added some rubber padding along the frame rails and a rubber bushing to hold down the bed brace rod so it won’t make noise.
We’re working on getting the official list of parts together, so if RTF wants to convert the other trailers, they have a head start. There are things we’d change if other trailers are converted but overall, we’re happy. The cost should be under $400, maybe even down to $300 if we can reuse the original cylinder.
When it’s all said and done, the trailer is faster, easier and safer to use.
It’s almost as fast fully loaded, but I’m having trouble uploading that video.
Rubicon Ronin – 6/18/19
Okay, that probably got your attention.
Well there will be paving, but only the staging area. This is being done to prevent erosion.
The plan is not finalized but it looks like we might lose one or more of the trees in the center of the staging area. The strip between the Rubicon and the staging area will be thinned, hopefully giving us another parking spot or two.
Here’s an overview of the staging area. The three structures in the lower left of the staging area are the two pit toilet and the oil spill depository. The depository will probably move and the NEW kiosk will be placed in that area.
The area below the structures is a seasonal pond. And in case you’re wondering, it would be very difficult and expensive to expand the parking area.
There was talk of putting down stripes in order to bring some order to the way people park in the staging area. But by putting down stripes, the number of parking spots would probably be reduced. I think the final agreement was to not put down stripes this year and see how it goes.
There will be a handicap area painted in front of the pit toilets. And there will be a few no parking areas in front of the NEW kiosk and in other places to maintain flow through the area.
Speaking of flow, there is talk and some agreement about making the first entrance to the staging area (coming from 89) a one-way exit only, again to improve flow through the area and to encourage better parking.
Here’s a set of photos to remind you of the area. Yes, they are old photos but the area hasn’t changed much.
Wow, as I posted those pictures I realized how old they are…2009!
The old Hi-Lo’s sign is gone. The two FS kiosks have been reconstructed in to one. I sold that Cherokee years ago.
And I don’t care what day you visit the trail, you never pull in and find only one vehicle parked there.
“This is the Trail. Tahoma, CA. I work here…I’m a volunteer. The story you are about to read is true. The names have been changes to protect the innocent.
On January 27th, me, Wheeler “A” and Wheeler “B”, arrived at the entrance to the Rubicon Trail. Wheeler “A” had brought a piece of commercial snow removal equipment. The objective: Remove The Berm.
The berm had gone up over the course of the winter season. It’s appeared every season for years. Dumping snow anywhere but from the lot it came from is illegal. The berm is illegal.
We thought Placer was doing it. I’d heard several second hand accounts from witnesses who saw Placer dump and pushing snow at the trailhead. Nothing first hand.
Placer denies dump or pushing snow at the entrance. We’re now thinking it’s a local snow removal contractor. We don’t need to catch him and charge him, we just want the dumping to stop. But if it doesn’t stop, we will catch him and get the county to fine him.
It was time to take action in to our own hands.
Wheeler “A” unloaded his rig and got to work. I stood on the berm, off to the side, and made sure anyone coming off the trail didn’t get a snow shower. Wheeler “B” stood in the street and talked with anyone walking by.
Wheeler “B” approached one neighbor who came out and took pictures but she ignored him and went back inside. Later, a Placer County sheriff stopped by after a complaint had been filed by someone in the area.
The sheriff had no issue about what we were doing after we explained that Placer County had given us permission to clear the entrance.
It didn’t take long before Wheeler “A” had cleared the entrance to the Rubicon Trail. We figured three hours, including travel time.
Not five minutes after heading to our rigs to leave, a stock Toyota Tacoma and F150 pulled up to the entrance. It was in 2wd and didn’t make the small rolling dip left at the entrance.
That gave me time to walk up and talk to him. I encouraged him not to try the trail without a winch and a better equipped rig. He said he wouldn’t go too far. I gave him two of my trail brochures with a map and wished him well. He put it in 4wd and headed in.
Please remember that there is no street parking this time of year.
For those of you too young to catch the wording of the intro, it’s from Dragnet, an old cop show from the 60’s. You Tube the opening scene for every show.