Who Decides?

Who Decides?

It has recently come to my attention that an alteration has been made to Cadillac Hill. Although I’m good with individuals and groups doing trail maintenance “as needed”, it should only be done “when needed”.

Although I have not seen it for myself, it is reported that the ‘alteration’ to Cadillac Hill was the removal of the rock in the middle of the trail just below V-Rock. This rock had caused the Sheriff’s, in their Razor, to negotiate the obstacle on the low side. Very dangerous as the soil is loose just off the trail and it’s a long way down if you go over. The rock in question is hidden in the shadow in the picture below.

Approaching V-rock

The rock was tall enough that you would scrape your axle or get hung up if you straddled it. It was surrounded by smaller rock and thus had not grown over the years due to erosion. It had been there forever. Going up Cadillac Hill, the common line was to put your low (right) side tires on the rock and allow the left side to climb the granite slab. Those with narrow axles didn’t experience much lean. Those will full width axles had to climb further up the slab and would experience much more lean. This rock was part of Cadillac Hill and although not a ‘named’ obstacle it added to the experience that was Cadillac Hill and added to the ‘stories’ of Cadillac Hill being one of the tougher obstacles on the way out.

I’m disappointed that a group or individual made the decision to remove this rock. My concerns are how do we prevent this type of thing from happening in the future?

2nd Update (9/16)

Here is a good “before” photo:



I was out there yesterday and took these photos.

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It looks like they topped the rock and flipped the top over in to the middle of the trail. I guess this is better than pushing the entire rock of the edge of the trail but still not cool.


Last month, I came across a new bypass further up Cadillac Hill. It went around the tree at the rock out cropping / creek crossing with the log anchored to the ground as a water bar:

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From a few conversations I’ve had, it was concluded that the side-by-sides didn’t like the clearance issues going over the step right about where my trailer hitch is in the pictures. So, they drove off trail, going around the tree and dropped back on to the trail above the tree.

I took the time to block the new illegal bypass:

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I’m not holding my breath that this block will last.  Volunteers will have to go back and drag some larger trees and either tie them together with bailing wire or anchor them to the ground with rebar.

It’s disappointing that there is still an educational gap. How do we educate those wanting to ‘help’ out on the trail before they make alterations? How do we prevent people from going rogue and pioneering new trails? With two counties, three forests and numerous 4wd organizations overseeing the Rubicon, who should be leading this effort? Can we get one organization to step up and lead?

I don’t know.

New RTF Trailer for the Tahoe side

Christmas came late!

John Briggs, the Placer County liaison for FOTR, just received a brand new trailer for maintenance efforts on the Tahoe side. It belongs to RTF (Trailer RTF-06), obtained through OHMVR grant funding, and is on a “permanent loan” to the Tahoe side. If it is needed on the Eldorado side, we’ll bring it over.


I got a chance to check it out today. It was made by Varozza 4×4 Outfitters (www.Varozza4x4.com) out of Diamond Springs, CA, just south of Placerville. The basics: 2/3 of a yard capacity with a built in dump feature (air/hydraulic); 360 degree “Lock N Roll” rotating hitch (all you need is a 2” receiver); two piece swing out tailgate all on 35” BFG Mud Terrain tires. Another feature is the offset axle. It is offset up about 4” between the leaf springs in order to gain more clearance.

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There is a standard air chuck intake like you would find on an air tool. There is a valve on the trailer to control the lifting of the trailer. Supply air and the bed tilts up, in order to lower the bed, you need to use the orange handle to turn the release on the hydraulic jack under the trailer. There is a latch to hold down the bed. In case you are out of air, there is a manual override by using the orange handle on the side of the trailer to pump the hydraulic jack under the trailer; quite awkward.

The trailer weight is low enough that it does not require fenders, nice! And the trailer paperwork is in a holder on the front of the trailer to prove that to any officer that tries to ticket you.


  • Hitch height – 24″
  • Bed dimensions – 60″ long, 40″ wide, 12″ deep (16 cu. ft./0.62 yards)
  • Overall width – 70″
  • Wheel pattern – Toyota 6 lug (I think)
  • Weight – 1100 pounds (empty)
  • Electric brakes – (needs 7 prong RV connector)

The trailer now has a mounted 7 to 4 adaptor. So, you can use the 7 prong connector (if you have one) to get the benefit of trailer brakes or plug the 7 prong in to the adaptor and use the flat four connector to get lights only.

7 to 4 adaptor



Before tilting the bed, open the dual tailgate doors and secure them with the small chains on the sides of the trailer.  The trailer has a small square tube on each side to hold the chain to prevent it swinging and being noisy and chipping the paint.

To dump the trailer, you need to supply it with compressed air. Before opening the valve to supply air the trailer with air, unlatch the tilt bed from the trailer frame at the front of the trailer, if you don’t the bed won’t go up. (Trust me on this one.) The air to hydraulic pump surges, it sounds and feels like it’s giving the jack small bursts of air.  Empty, the bed bounces and jerks a little bit. This operation uses quite a bit of air to operate.

There is a support brace under the trailer if you need to have the bed up for an extended period of time. Jack up the bed, reach under the bed and hold up the brace while you lower the bed on to the brace. This will provide a safer means of working on the trailer.

Speaking of working on the trailer, along with adding the electrical adaptor, I purchased and swapped out the air line from the valve to the pump. The original hose was not on all the way, so I reattached it.  Then it blew, three times! I went and bought a steal braided reinforced 4000psi hydraulic line with threaded connectors on both ends. The hose will not leak or blow.

An example of how this will be used on the Tahoe side would be to finish the culvert removal project John Briggs headed up last summer. We still need to rock line the seasonal crossing to prevent any erosion and this will save some backaches, at least during unloading.

The trailer will be stored in a central location with a combination lock so arrangements can be made to let groups doing maintenance access it as needed. I’ve purchased a combination lock and John Briggs donated some chain. We’ll lock the trailer and provide the combination when someone needs it.  The combination lock has a changeable combination so we’ll change the combination with each use.

This will be a huge help toward keeping the Rubicon Trail maintained and thus open for year ‘round motorized public use.

Thank you RTF for getting the grant and sending a trailer to the ‘Other’ Rubicon.