Reno Motorsports Expo – cancelled due to Covid-19

Due to concerns about the Corona Virus, the Reno Motorsports Expo, along with the other shows (home, boat, RV and pet), has been cancelled. Because of that, the planned Rubicon meeting on the morning of the 28th has also been cancelled.

There is a possibility that the Expo will happen later. I hope to get information out to the users in a different manor. I might try and schedule a local Rubicon meeting in early summer.

Please stay tuned here and check the El Dorado County web page about the Rubicon Trail: https://www.edcgov.us/Rubicon/

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Rubicon Ronin


Rubicon meeting tonight 3/12 — CANCELLED — due to Corona Virus Fears

Update, I just received word from Placer County that the scheduled MAC meeting for tonight has been cancelled due to Corona Virus fears. When the meeting does take place with the Rubicon on the agenda, I will let you know.

I just received notice (last night late) that there will be a Placer County meeting tonight that has the Rubicon on the agenda. They will be discussing the snowberm and winter use of the Rubicon Trail.

MAC meeting, 6:00 PM, Thursday, March 12, Tahoe City PUD, 221 Fairway Drive, Tahoe City, CA

On the agenda is:

Rubicon Trail Winter Usage and Trailhead Update

County staff will provide an update on Rubicon Trail winter usage and the trailhead in the McKinney Rubicon neighborhood.

Presenter: Peter Kraatz, Department of Public Works

I will try and attend to represent the interests of OHV.

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Rubicon Ronin


Running the entire trail, in winter!

Another great source of Rubicon information is the “Rubicon Gazette” Facebook page. That is where I found this story and all of these pictures. El Dorado County frequently posts there to keep the users informed.

Just recently posted are the adventures of a few brave soles who traveled on the the Rubicon in the dead of winter. Ok, yes, winter is sort-of dead right now but it’s still brave to wander on to the Rubicon this time of year.

They started from Tahoma and found a few obstacles…

But they made it to Observation…

Believe it or not, they met some rigs coming up Cadillac Hill and out of Rubicon Springs. A group had just driven through the entire trail in March.

The group that entered from Tahoma camped for the night. I don’t know if they checked the weather or not.

They woke up to almost a foot of fresh snow…

Everyone made it out.

Any time of year, please be prepared for the possibility of spending the night. These guys knew they were spending the night and prepared. Not everyone expects to spend the night out there but things happen.

Remember to check out the “Rubicon Gazette” Facebook page for news about the Rubicon Trail.

Enjoy your trail but be safe.

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Rubicon Ronin


The TJ gets rocker guards

So you buy a new rig and just have to change it up a little bit to make it your own by putting your touch on it. Well, for a first step, I went with rocker guards.

The Jeep is a Rubicon model so it came with basic rocker guards but I wanted something more stout and something with a step that will keep the body a little further from the rocks.

I went with A to Z Fabrications. I liked the square tubing that matches the spare tire carrier and the fact it runs the entire length of the body, not just between the fender flares.

Here’s a first look with the guard running under the flares. Note how tall the guards is in this picture.

The 1/4 plate of the guards goes well under the rig.

I decided I wanted to keep the flares stock so I moved forward with altering the guards to accommodate the flares. It was too tall for me so I cut down the height 1 1/2″.

After lots of blue tape and measuring twice…

Realizing that I had probably weakened the guards, I added support under each end. The guards came with the bar to prevent bending with the tightening of the bolts but I added the cut tubes. The block fills the space between the guard and the under side of the body for a snug fit.

In the front, there was too much room to fill the gap so I welded a thick piece of angle iron to strengthen the leading edge.

In my haste to get these installed, I failed to get a picture of the powder coated guards before I installed them.

While I was at it, I took off the front bumper and welded up the unneeded holes and had someone else weld on a d-ring mount. I still need to reline the winch. I made a bracket for the airline as well. You can barely see the rock light on the outside of the bumper.

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Rubicon Ronin


Spider Excavator Work on Cadillac Hill by TNF

Here we go..

Last week, El Dorado County voted to approve an MOU regarding maintenance and management of the Rubicon Trail. The Tahoe National Forest also signed on. I do not know the date the TNF signed on.

In that Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), all the agencies agreed to:

A. Coordinate in the planning and management related to the Rubicon Trail.
B. Coordinate efforts to provide maintenance, interpretive, educational, and outreach programs with consistent messaging to the public and recreational users on the Rubicon Trail.

On Monday, just days after this MOU was signed, Joe Chavez, of the Tahoe National Forest, contracted a Spider Excavator to go out to Cadillac Hill to perform trail maintenance.

The Tahoe National Forest did not coordinate their planning with the other agencies in the MOU. The TNF did not coordinate that maintenance and did not do outreach to the public before starting this work.

Days in to this agreement and Joe Chavez, the head of the TNF is already breaking the rules!

Even thought Joe Chavez asked for and was given my contact information to get my input or cooperation, he never contacted me about this work. Fortunately, I was made aware of the work and decided to show up and watch the “show” as this is an extraordinary piece of equipment. Bob Sweeney of Jeepers Jamboree was also on hand Monday.

The work started just above Morris Rock as there wasn’t time to get the equipment down to the ‘swamp’ area west of Miller Creek. And that’s a good thing. Here’s the before shot:

The TNF directed the Spider to dig up hardened dirt to create a loose dirt berm to prevent erosion. Bob and I were not on board with what the TNF was doing.

Unfortunately, the work done I in the shade and hard to see, but it’s a berm of loose dirt that will get pushed down the trail with vehicle traffic and rainfall/snowmelt.

Although the lower creek crossing was deepened, the berm was not hardened.

Loose rock was placed at the upper hairpin and a drain was created off to the lower left of the photo. This material will end up down the trail, maybe all the way to the lower creek crossing.

This was typical of the rolling dips installed by the FS. I was able to talk Joe out of a few of these claiming there wasn’t a lot of running water on the trail. But he snuck in an extra in a few places he hadn’t planned.

If I weren’t there, the FS would have started moving the boulders around above this creek crossing! The crossing was deepened. The two logs were left in place below that dirt berm so even if the soil washes away, the logs will stay.

Another rolling dip/drain with loose soil.

You can see another rolling dip in the far distance. Joe is shown rolling a rock off the trail. A side trail was obliterated here (before I showed up Tuesday morning) as Joe wants to eliminate all side trails. I was able to talk him out of obliterating several longer sections but he wants to revisit those closings in the spring.

This rock was sticking up out (about a foot) of the middle of the trail enough to scare drivers to go around it, thus widening the trail. Joe wants to narrow the trail where he can. He left a hole in the middle of the trail that will grow and grow.

Some good work was done. The Spider moved around and half way buried a few of the larger rocks here to harden this section and to make it more appealing to users. I think the go around will stay but I know Joe doesn’t like it.

A decent place for a rolling dip but again loose soil and not hardened. Below Observation.

The before just west of Barker Meadow OHV Trail and east of Hummer Bend, looking east:

Looking west after blocking the very short side trail.

I was able to talk Joe in to 4-5 drains to get standing spring water off the trail. He was unaware of these issues on the Placer side. So there were some wins.

Potato Patch, before. The plan was to make this step a little easier, moving some of the stray boulders out of the center and create a ramp:

I think it worked pretty well but it won’t hold for more than 100 rigs. More rock needs to be placed to lock in the larger boulders.

The before on the hard line at Potato Patch. Many DEEP holes:

Some of the boulder from the ‘center’ were place in the holes of this section. It’s better. At least doable by more built rigs but will need more work in the spring.

That was the last work done by the spider. I skipped over many, many more things it did: questionable rolling dips, closures and really good drainages.

Obviously, we had a little snow moving in on us around noon.

Not all of the agencies are on board with this work. There will be some heated discussions moving forward regarding what gets done, how it’s decided and who leads the charge.

I will do everything I can to get in to those rooms and I will keep you informed.

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Rubicon Ronin, aka Doug Barr