Updated RTF Trailer

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…

https://theotherrubicon.com/2014/02/22/new-rtf-trailer-for-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


Still snow more falling

So, I visited the entrance to the Rubicon the other day to check on conditions. Yes, I rode my bicycle.

Although there was snow on the paved road, I’m sure access to the staging area is easily doable.

Unfortunately, as I write this, there are chain restrictions on 80, 50 and 431. So, assume there is snow falling on the Rubicon.

Some of the side trails are approaching their opening dates. Please tread lightly as damage can be done.

The current weather system demonstrates that you should be prepared to spend the night every time you go out on the Rubicon: food, shelter, clothing, water, medications, means to stay warm, etc.

Summer is coming, but it’s not here yet.

Rubicon Ronin


Get your ham license

Ham radio use has come a long way on the Rubicon over the last decade.

The Rubicon Trail Foundation, driven by Dennis Mayer, has made sure there is a year-round repeater system in the Rubicon valley. This allows any Rubicon Trail user to use a ham radio to reach out to Sacramento and the Tahoe area with a handheld radio.

This system has literally saved lives since it’s installation.

Do you have your ham license? Do you want to get it?

July 19-21, at the Boomtown Casino in Nevada, the Nevada State Amateur Radio Convention will be held. Website: NVCON.org

On Saturday, July 20th, you can do a one day ham cram. The class is from 8am-3:30pm with the test immediately following. This is the quickest way to get your license.

Also at the convention are vendors, forums and a ham swap meet.

If you have the time, check it out.


Paving the Rubicon -the staging area anyway

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.

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