2018 FOTR Meeting

The annual FOTR meeting took place this morning at the Metal Cloak facility in Sacramento.

There was a good turn out; a couple of speakers; elections; food; etc.

Important to the Tahoe Side, Eldorado County is looking to get in to a memorandum of Understanding with Placer County to mange the Placer County portion of the trail. Vickie Sanders, with Eldorado County Parks, has always been there for the Rubicon Trail. She has now formally stepped up to help manage the Placer side.

Let’s hope that goes through.

The agreement would allow Vickie to write a single grant that would cover the entire trail. The debate of why can they do that on their side and we can’t argument would be gone as the trail would be managed by one agency. FYI, the LTBMU is onboard with the new management possibility.

The Rubicon Trail Foundation is looking for a caretaker to manage their property this coming season. I believe I heard it will only be open on weekends June through Sept. This season might bring two cabins on the property which would allow a caretaker to stay throughout the week and keep the property open seven days a week. The property swap agreement to allow a road to the property requires a caretaker in order for the property to be open to the public.

Tahoe side to do were discussed. Priorities are going to be set and volunteers will be needed. Please contact the newly re-elected Trail Boss, Shannon Chard at LaughingPlace76@yahoo.com if you would like to volunteer to work on the trail.

If you did work on the Rubicon within Placer County last year, please document your hours and get them to Shannon or Kansas with Placer County. If you do work this coming season, again, get your hours to Shannon or Placer County. Your volunteer hours count as cash for matching funds the counties need to come up with in order to get grant money.

Work on Cadillac Hill has already been scheduled at the lower Hairpin. Jeepers Jamboree is leading that project.

John Briggs has stepped down from the Tahoe Side Lead position after three years of service. FOTR is looking for someone to take over this position. John and others will be helping out who ever takes on that position.

 

Rubicon Ronin


Chinese/Japanese Rig Solid Axle Swap

I’m going to write this generically as I don’t want to bias anyone against any specific brand of rig based on my bad experiences.

Like most people, I started with what I could afford. Unfortunately, that got me a rig with an independent front suspension.

 After some quality time off road, I realized some of the downfalls of an independent front suspension: ground clearance under flex, uneven tire wear, steering alignment, strength, complicated and thus expensive repairs, etc.

So, I finally decided to make the swap. I was going to pull out all the independent stuff and replace it with a solid axle.

Sourcing the solid axle was pretty simple. Pulling out the independent suspension was flat out going to be fun! The hard part was going to engineer the new solid axle into a rig not designed for it.

A before picture clearly showing uneven tire wear and the difficulty of keeping the steering aligned.

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Off I went, out with the old, in with the new. I started by getting the rig up on jack stands for safety and all the old independent suspension parts were unceremoniously removed.

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Here are the old parts next to the new solid axle that will be going in. I’m going to try and use as much of the old steering parts as possible.

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The new solid axle doesn’t look much different from the side. But do note that I was able to use the old adjustable ride height system from the previous system.

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But from the top you can already see the better alignment of the tires.

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Underneath, where all the magic happened. It clearly shows the new solid axle and how much stronger it will be than the old independent system.

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Here is an after shot after quite a bit of time getting everything just right. Measure twice, cut once. Back on all fours and ready for some off road travels.

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So far the rig is night and day different. I goes straight with hands off the controls, it doesn’t pull at all when you initiate a turn. Once I get new tires for it, I expect the tires to wear evenly and last much longer.

After all was said and done, I would highly recommend this swap for anyone with an independent front suspension.

 

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Rubicon Ronin


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.

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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.

THIS IS NOT THE ACTUAL KIOSK GOING IN.  I JUST PULLED THE IMAGE OFF THE INTERNET TO GIVE VIEWERS AN IDEA OF WHAT COULD BE BUILT. THE ACTUAL KIOSK WILL HAVE MOSTLY METAL CONSTRUCTION. 

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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

 

 

 


TNF open house for 2018 OHV grants

The Tahoe National Forest will be holding an open house for users to voice their opinions on what needs to be done to our TNF trails. I’m going to try and make this one but I won’t stay the full three hours.

I encourage everyone to stop by and talk OHV with those that manage our resources. It’s a great time to et to know those involved.

 

U.S. Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region TAHOE NATIONAL FOREST 631 Coyote Street Nevada City, CA 95959 www.fs.usda.gov/tahoe/

News Release

Contact: Joe Flannery 530-478-6205 or 530-587-3558 jflannerye@fs.fed.us February 5, 2018

Open House Planned for Tahoe National Forest Off-Highway Vehicle Program Grant Application

NEVADA CITY, Calif. – The U.S. Forest Service has scheduled an open house in preparation for an annual application to the California Department of Parks and Recreation, Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division, to request funding for trail maintenance, restoration, development of facilities, law enforcement, and planning for off-highway vehicle (OHV) access.

On Thursday, February 15, 2018, the Forest Service will host an open house from 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. for individuals and organizations to provide input and review proposals for the application.

“I encourage anyone interested in the OHV program to drop by this informal open house to discuss their ideas on these proposals,” said Joe Chavez, Tahoe National Forest Trails Program Coordinator. Written comments are encouraged by February 23.

These annual grants provide important funds for the Forest Service to develop and maintain trails and trailheads, repair winter storm damage and restore trailside environments, as well as provide patrolling and monitoring of these areas. When finalized, the grants will be available for public review and comment on the State of California’s website (http://ohv.parks.ca.gov) from March 6 – April 2, 2018.

What:              Open House to discuss off highway vehicle grant proposals

Where:            Tahoe National Forest Headquarters

631 Coyote St., Nevada City, CA 95959

Upstairs conference room (enter from upper parking lot behind building)

 When:             Thursday evening – February 15, 2018

4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Questions, comments or letters can be directed to:

Joe Chavez, Forest Trails Program Coordinator

Tahoe National Forest, 631 Coyote St., Nevada City, CA 95959

Email: joetchavez@fs.fed.us

(530) 478-6158

 

 

 

 


OHV grants available to clubs

Extreme Terrain has a program for helping clubs with projects on their local trails. They call it the “Clean Trail Grant Program”. They will award up to $250 to a club doing trail maintenance on a public trail. There are very few requirements and the grant application is (pardon the pun) extremely short and simple to fill out.

Along with awarding grants to clubs, Extreme Terrain has donated to the Lake Tahoe Hi-Lo’s raffle that we hold every year at our annual Poker Run. Here’s a link to our Poker Run if you haven’t signed up yet:

https://www.laketahoehilos.com/gamblers-poker-run-registrati

This summer, I’m hoping to use this grant program for local trails in the Lake Tahoe Basin area. The Hi-Lo’s will go through the process and I’ll report back on how smooth it works out.

If you’d like more information on the “Clean Trail Grant Program” click the link below and go to the Community Support section and click on the “Clean Trails” photo.

https://www.extremeterrain.com/clean-trail-initiative-program.html

It’s free funding for the projects you’re already planning to go out and do. Why not let Extreme Terrain help with the funding?

 

Rubicon Ronin