I’m not going to bother rewriting what has already been posted. Let me be lazy and send you to the source:
The Rubicon Gazette Facebook page is a great source for what’s happening on the Rubicon Trail. So far, this is the only report and photos I’ve seen of last weeks efforts.
Both the Eldorado National Forest and El Dorado County have declared the Rubicon and the forest open as of 8am this morning. The Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit has also reopened.
The reopening of all things Rubicon and our nearby forests does not reduce the extreme fire dangers within our forests. Open flames of any kind are still restricted.
Be fire smart.
I have owned four different CJ’s over the years. I still own a 1985 CJ-7. They are the vehicle that defined Jeeping. I love them. But I’m thinking about letting my CJ-7 go because I fear it’s not safe.
This is not a lecture. I’m taking an opportunity to tell a story and to get you thinking about what you drive and where you drive it.
My neighbor’s name is Mike. He’s a machinist and CNC operator at work. He’s a really good fabricator and a great neighbor. He finally got ahold of a CJ-8 and has been building it up to do some overlanding in the Nevada desert. He was prepping his CJ-7 to sell.
On May 27th, just before 5am, Mike was driving to work in his CJ-8. He got cut off and the two vehicles collided sending Mike’s Jeep off the road, rolling over and crashing in to a tree. The Jeep caught fire. Mike was caught inside. A near-by Sheriff’s deputy was first on scene and pulled Mike to safety. But Mike wasn’t alright. He suffered head trauma, crushed C5 vertebrae, broken foot and more. Everyone who has saw the accident site says the roll bar saved his life.
Although it had a roll bar (not a cage), it did not have any air bags or crumple zones. It wadded up like stepping on an aluminum can, with Mike inside.
Miraculously, Mike is up and walking with a walker. His spirits are very high. He came home the other day and has a long road to recovery. But Mike is selling his CJ-7 and will not replace the CJ-8. He’s selling his 60’s era Ford Falcon wagon. Mike’s plan moving forward is to buy a newer Toyota Tacoma, with multiple airbags and several crumple zones. He’s swapping rigs because he wants his family to be safe driving with him. He’ll build up the Tacoma to do overlanding across Nevada.
The CJs are great rigs for wheeling. I would love to see them continue wheeling forever. But I’m thinking we should avoid driving them on the road if we don’t have to. That would include to and from the trail.
I’m thinking, if I keep my CJ-7, I will set it up to flat towing. I’ll pull it to the trail, wheel the heck out of it and tow it home. But I’ll no longer use it to drive across town to go to the hardware store or to swing by Super Burrito. It’s just not safe in a high-speed collision.
Mike’s family has set-up a ‘Go Fund Me’ account in order to deal with the medical costs associated with Mike’s accident. I didn’t write this article to solicit funds but if you can spare $20 please do. I wrote it to get those who own older rigs to think about not driving them on the street. I don’t want to see any wheeler lose their life. I want them to wheel forever.
Go Fund Me link:
Please be safe out there!
While trying to keep my social distance, a group of wheelers went out yesterday. There were eight rigs, 12 people, beautiful day, tough trail. We understand this was a social event but we were keeping our distance and for the most part, those sharing a rig were living together as well.
I’ll tell the full story when I get pictures back from my friends. It was a tough trail. I actually broke and axle but drove out!
At the end of the day, when I went to air up at the end of the day, I couldn’t unscrew the cap on my valve stem. Actually, the whole valve stem was spinning in the steel rim.
I had just put on a fancy set of machined aluminum caps with the rubber liner so they wouldn’t rust to the valve stem. I did it right.
Well, this trail was so tough that the wheels were along the rocks all morning. At one point, I must have pinched the valve stem cap between a rock and the wheel and crushed the aluminum cap, just a little.
I had to use two pairs of pliers to unscrew the cap. One to hold the valve stem and one to unscrew the cap.
So, no more metal valve stem caps, I’m going back to plastic.
It is with a heavy heart that I must report that Steve Morris has passed away.
On Saturday, July 27th, Steve Morris was in Rubicon Springs, as a property owner and working with the Jeepers Jamboree, attending his 63rd Jamboree! That morning he had given his short historical lecture to those wise enough to attend. Later that afternoon, Steve collapsed. The people around him could not revive him.
As reported before, Steve helped create the California Association of 4wd Clubs, later renamed the CA 4wd Association. He also started the Lake Tahoe Hi-Lo’s, the Sacramento Jeepers and I think the Joaquin Jeepers.
Thankfully, he had been aware of the honor that the Off-Road Hall of Fame had bestowed on him as one of the Class of 2019 inductees. Steve shies away from such attention. I’m sure his acceptance speech would have mentioned others’ accomplishments and downplayed his role in the four wheel drive world. Steve was a humble man, a gentleman to be sure.
Steve’s dedication over the years to the four wheel drive world will forever be a part of four-wheeling, especially in the northern Sierras, specifically on the Rubicon Trail.
Rest in Peace Steve.