Onboard Air, on the TJ

Okay, new rig new upgrades. You’ve got to add and change a few things when you buy a rig to make it your own. Yeah, I’m hearing the ‘build it don’t buy it’ but it was a deal I couldn’t pass up.

Having taken the rig out a few times, it got old “borrowing” air to fill up my tires. So, I ordered up a few parts (thanks Amazon) and headed out to the garage.

The first issue was finding a place to mount the pump. There’s not a lot of free room in a TJ like I’m used to in a CJ. But, I found room behind the windshield fluid container. After a few cardboard cutouts, I built and painted the steel mounting plate. It mounted without drilling any holes.

The blue hose on the right is for the filter on the intake. It’s so close to the fender, the filter wouldn’t fit on the pump, so I went remote. Even the 90 elbow had to be cut down in order to screw it in to the pump. Yes, I should have screwed it in before mounting the pump. The second blue hose runs down to the bumper.

This winter, when I remove the bumper for more upgrades, I’ll build a bracket to hold the hose better. I’ve run an switch to the dash so I don’t have to pop the hood in order to fill the tire.

One of my pet peeves was having to continuously check the tire pressure when filling tires. So, I installed a regulator on the discharge side of the pump. Now, the most pressure I’ll ever get out is 28 pounds (it actually adjusts from 0-60). No more tire gauges!

Okay, this time I’m just lazy. I built a filler hose to fill all four tires at once. With this and the regulator, I hook up the hoses, flip the switch and wait. Once the tires get to pressure, the regulator no longer draws and the pressure switch shuts off the pump, once the pressure gets to 115 before the regulator.

It’s a small diameter hose, and I need to shorten them both for quicker fills and easier storage. And when filling all four tires at once, it seems to take forever. But you hook it up and walk away. Fourteen minutes later, all the tires are full an all to the exact same pressure.

Feel free to use this idea as imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.


Rubicon Ronin

Roundabouts in Tahoe City

So, this isn’t really Rubicon specific but you should know what’s happening on your routes to and from the Rubicon.

Two of the three roundabouts, and the bridge between them, are finally finished and open for use in Tahoe City. The reason for the two new roundabouts and the new bridge over the Truckee River is to reduce traffic congestion in the area.

Above, the roundabout approaching Tahoe City from 89 south.

Above, 89 north approaching Tahoe City. The bridge on the right goes out to 89 bypassing Tahoe City.

By bypassing Tahoe City summer congestion, your drive time and your stress will be reduced!

There is still one more roundabout planned for where the traffic signal is in downtown Tahoe City. They should be able to knock that one out next summer.

Let’s hope they do actually reduce traffic delays.

Control of the Placer Side

Control of the management and maintenance of the Placer County side of the Rubicon Trail is being decided right now. Literally, right now.

Until recently, Placer County has denied any authority over the Rubicon Trail. Lately, they have decided they want or have a hand in it but don’t want the day to day responsibility of applying for grants and to manage the maintenance of the Rubicon Trail.

Placer County and El Dorado County are currently working on an MOU (memorandum of understanding) that will allow El Dorado County the full legal authority to manage the Placer County side of the Rubicon Trail. To be clear, this will give El Dorado County authority over the entire length of the Rubicon Trail. My understanding is that they are very close to making this a done deal.

On the surface, this is a good thing. Placer has failed to apply for and receive steady grant funding and really has been hands off for years. Read as no maintenance has been done on the Placer side for years. El Dorado County has been extremely successful in getting grant money for the Rubicon Trail.

The down side is the lack of transparency. El Dorado County is currently working with Placer County, the Tahoe National Forest (TNF), the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit (LTBMU) and who knows who else, in order to decide what maintenance gets done and when.

The Rubicon Trail Foundation (RTF) had been the representative for the users for 15 years. Lately, El Dorado County cuts ties (probably not the best term) with RTF. I’m not sure, but I’m betting that RTF is not in the room when these negotiations are being made. I do not know of any user representative that is in the room.

Worse, projects that had been on the books to take place this summer season have been cancelled. The LTBMU cancelled the installation of a new kiosk at the Tahoma staging area along with cancelling the paving of the staging area. They literally waited until the last moment to inform some of the users. Note, the funding for these two projects ahs been in the LTBMU’s control for years. The RTF had scheduled to bring in a contractor to rebuild the 28 rolling dips within the LTBMU this fall. Again, at the last moment, the project was cancelled. They didn’t tell anyone until I went asking about it.

Friends of the Rubicon (FOTR) who normally had worked closely with El Dorado County on trail maintenance projects has been dropped as a close partner and relegated to just another volunteer, ignoring their 20 year history of maintaining the Rubicon Trail.

I have been asking for information on what’s going on, where we’re going and who’s involved in making these decisions. I was told to call Vickie Sanders of El Dorado County. I replied that I didn’t want information for me but for all users. I asked that any and all information be posted for the public to view 24/7. El Dorado County and RTF have pushed back and said if you want information, call us.

El Dorado County is about to control our trail.  All I’m asking for is for them to explain how that process is going to work, how they will keep the users and volunteers informed and how they will allow the users in to the decision-making process.

I don’t think I’m asking too much.


Rubicon Ronin

A move to the dark side…

It happened. I have stepped in the direction of the dark side, I bought a TJ.

So here’s the current fleet: the TJ, the 1984 CJ-7 and the 1985 project CJ-7.

The TJ is a 2006 Rubicon, 5″ lift (Nth Degree), 35″ tires, aftermarket bumpers, Warn winch (I had to swap over to synthetic line), rear tire carrier.

Not too much to do. I removed some of the towing equipment as it was towed behind a motorhome all of it’s life.

Better rock guards are in it’s future as are ham radio, upgraded stereo, re-painting the bumpers and tightening up the tire carrier. I hate rattles.

So now I have a year-round wheeler. The top will come off next summer. But let me tell you, cruise control and AC are really nice on a long drive to the trailhead.


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.