The little things go wrong

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.

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Rubicon Ronin


Steve Morris 1930-2019

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.


Steve Morris in Hall of Fame

Steve Morris has been elected in to the Offroad Hall of Fame!

The above picture is of Steve at a recent Jeepers Jamboree. Every Saturday morning during Jamboree, he gives a history lecture in Rubicon Springs about the history of the Rubicon Trail .

Steve has been giving back to OHV since the 50’s when he helped found Cal and a local Sacramento 4wd club. In 1966 he helped found the Lake Tahoe Hi-Lo’s.

Steve has been on more than 60 Jamborees. He and his late wife Betty would leave Rubicon Spring late Saturday night and set up camp above the last difficult obstacle going up Cadillac Hill. He would spend all day Sunday winching people or guiding people up that section. What was once known as “The Steps” is now referred to as “Morris Rock”.

I consider it an honor having known Steve. We have had a few memorable times together that I will never forget. Here’s a picture of Steve (and I) measuring the wheelbase of the Cadillac on Cadillac Hill to make sure it’s not a LeSalle:

Looking forward to seeing him honored in Las Vegas on November 3rd.

Congratulations Steve!

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Rubicon Ronin


Placer County is out!

Regarding maintenance of the Rubicon Trail, Placer County has taken the position that they are not responsible. They are out.

The first question that comes to mind is, then who is responsible?

Well, it falls to the property owner, who is the US Forest Service.

Thankfully, El Dorado County has stepped up and is working on paperwork that would give them the authority to perform maintenance on the Rubicon through the Tahoe National Forest and the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit.

This would give one ‘government agency’ control over the entire trail. This was the dream of Del Albright when he first formed FOTR and started the drive to save the Rubicon Trail.

El Dorado County, specifically, Vickie Sanders, has been knocking it out of the park regarding maintenance since before the Clean-Up and Abatement order. Although some my not like what has been done, if it wasn’t done, the trail would have been closed years ago due to water quality issues.

Vickie has brought in millions of dollars in grant funds to harden the Rubicon Trail, prevent erosion and thus keep the trail open. Unfortunately, the way the grant cycle works, she won’t have funding for Tahoe side work until the end of the summer.

RTF has decided to step up and hire a contractor to start in on the rebuilding of the rolling dips within the LTBMU. El Dorado will do the paperwork and engineering, LTBMU will approve all work done and RTF will pay for it.

It is not know what level of volunteer work will be needed during this initial phase. Most of the work will be done with heavy equipment.

Getting back to Placer County, they still recognize the public ‘right to pass’, which I think (hope) will keep the Rubicon Trail open year round. If the FS had taken over control of every aspect of the trail, there would be a seasonal closure probably from Nov 16th through May 31st.

Rubicon Ronin


Not yet Spring

Okay, so it is officially spring but you wouldn’t know it by looking around Tahoe.

I snapped a few pictures of the Jeep trailer I left at my cabin at Tahoe.

Yeah, that’s it under the mound of snow in the back.

I’m pretty sure it will be okay as there was never that much snow on it. Only about five feet.

Spring is coming. Time to dig out our rigs (and trailers) and get them ready for the trail. Remember the trails will be very wet for a long time. Tread Lightly!

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Rubicon Ronin