Winch installation

So, it’s been a long time coming but the winch is finally mounted.

So this is the ‘project’ Jeep. I thought a simple project like getting the winch mounted would be quick and easy and a good motivator for the next step, replacing the leaking freeze plug.

It’s a Warn HS9500i. I got a screaming deal. Sneavy’s Off-Road was the source for the winch line. It’s mounted on a Warn winch plate with a modification. I’ll need to get out and re-wind the winch under a load to get it tight.

Winch 2

With it being a high speed winch, and looking to double the capacity of the pull, I often use a snatch block. On the current trail rig, there is a standard hook that I connect back to on the winch.

On this install, I decided to upgrade to a D-ring. I had to cut down the face of the winch plate for better access to the D-ring. I cut a 1/2″ plate to size and bought a D-ring mounting point online.

I outsourced the welding because although I can weld (sort-of), I didn’t want to have second thoughts every time I used the D-ring.


This project took WAY too long, but don’t they all. Although it looks like a stock bumper, It’s actually a 1/4″ plate bent to look stock. I cut down the bumper to 46″, that’s like 4″ off each side of a stock bumper. Then I had it powder pointed.

For those looking REALLY close at the details, yes, I still need to snug up the frame bolts.

Not sure where the front license plate will mount, if it gets mounted. Maybe just a magnet mount somewhere for to and from the trail.

Now to move on to that freeze plug.


Rubicon Ronin


Rubicon conditions


I’m continuing to follow the saga of the stuck rigs on the Rubicon. An effort was made this past weekend to reach them but it fell short due to mechanical failures. But they got to in quite a ways considering conditions.


Yes, that is the staging area and the two twelve foot tall pit toilets!

I’m assuming the photo below is the creek at water bar number eight, the first Arizona crossing on the trail.


That would be a cold, deep crossing on a Quad!

Please remember that this will be a very late OHV season. All trails will be very wet and probably not open on time. One can be cited for damaging the forest even while on an OHV trail. Always Tread Lightly!

Be patient, summer will get here.


Rubicon Ronin

FYI – Lake Tahoe has already risen three feet this year! And Spring isn’t here yet!


Snow at the trailhead

For those of you following the saga, the past practice of Placer County piling snow at the Tahoma entrance to the Rubicon should have stopped.

Unfortunately, not everyone got the memo. This was today, 1/4/17.


Now we don’t know who piled the snow here but I’m working on it.

For the record, the Rubicon Trail doesn’t close during the winter.

If you are prepared enough and brave enough to try the Rubicon during the winter, realize there may still be issues at the trailhead this winter.

On your way in, feel free to break-down any piled snow or shovel the snow away all together. Do not throw that snow in to the street. If capable, drive over the berm.

Remember that there is no street parking from November through May. A sheriff in a bad mood may try and cite you if your rig is in the street as you work the berm. My advice is be polite and don’t fail the attitude test.

On your way out, make sure the berm has not been altered. Get out and check before driving off the edge.

On a side note, there are currently two rigs stuck on the Rubicon. A recovery team is going in on Friday to get the vehicles out. All the people are safely out.

The first rig is near Miller Lake, in a water hole, on the trail (35″ tires). Please do not go off trail to get around this vehicle.

The second vehicle is almost to Observation (40″ tires). It lost one tire off the rim. They plan on bringing out a spare, swapping it on to the rig and driving out. That rig is off to the side of the trail.


Rubicon Ronin

New trailer hitch

For those of you following my website, you know of my issues with off-road hitches. Here is a link to the two previous postings:

The “Lock N Roll” Great Lake Forge hitch didn’t seem to like the tight turns and difficult terrain of the Rubicon Trail. I bent two of them! Though I must admit, I did roll the trailer twice with that hitch.

So I’ve moved on to the Max Coupler hitch by Kilby Enterprises:


After unbolting the previous hitch, I inserted a 18″ ‘receiver’ tube and drilled two vertical 5/8″ holes to mount the receiver tube to the trailer. A third horizontal hole mounts the unit in the receiver tube and trailer.

FYI, the wheeled trailer stand gets removed before hitting the trail.

I lucked out and the first hitch configuration I used to mount the unit to the Jeep got the trailer pretty level. If I hadn’t bent the stock Jeep ball hitch, I think this would be dead level.

Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll get a chance to test the new set-up this season. Although I will be out on the trail, I don’t think I’ll be needing the trailer. I’ll post up again after I test it out.


Rubicon Ronin


Trailers on the Rubicon

A few years ago, the Lake Tahoe Hi-Lo’s, working with FOTR, moved more than 70+ cubic yards of rock to fill “The Mud hole”.

Loading trailers

Last weekend, a group of volunteers moved 16 cubic yards of gravel (with road base and a binder), up the Richardson Lake Trail. Many projects in between have used trailers.

Just about everything you can imagine have been hauled along the Rubicon with a trailer, okay, almost everything. Even people down the river…

Hi-Lo's in the trailer races at Jeepers Jamboree!

Hi-Lo’s in the trailer races at Jeepers Jamboree!

Trailers are so important to the Rubicon and its maintenance that RTF used an OHV grant to buy six of them. They were featured in a previous post. (RTF Trailers)


Over the last few days, FOTR moved 90 bags of concrete to Cadillac Hill for a project they did this morning. I helped out a week earlier by taking a trailer load of concrete to just above Morris Rock.

The trip started okay. I stopped by Steve Morris’ cabin, where the concrete was being staged and loaded up 12 bags in to my trailer. I have an old highway lighting trailer that was gutted and sold at auction. I bought it from a guy who had a bunch of them from that auction. I cut down the front panel to match the sides and welded up and installed some channel tubing for a slide in tailgate. As pictured before, I used it to haul in the new sign for the Long Lake Trail (16E12).

Bringing the new trailhead sign in for TKS-11

Bringing the new trailhead sign in for TKS-11

After loading the trailer with 12 bags of concrete, I headed for the staging area. I thought it was going to be a quiet Thursday morning drive in to Morris Rock but it was Friday morning and the Auburn Jeep Club and the Dirty Dozen Jeep Club were both getting ready to hit the trial. I aired down as quick as I could to get in front of them. But some got out in front of me. It was a slow drive even for a guy hauling a trailer of concrete.

The drop went okay and I left the trailer and checked out the Long Lake Trail at the bottom of Cadillac Hill. Still a fun side trip. Coming back up Cadillac, I got hung up at the hairpin turn.  Even with 35″ tires, there is an undercut just past the halfway point through the turn while you’re trying to climb on to the slab on the left while avoiding the stub of a rock sticking up on the right.  I had to stack a few rocks but got through it.

I picked up my trailer and headed home. After getting to Observation I breathed a sigh of relief, grabbed another gear and speed up down the trail. That was a mistake. I wasn’t 50 yards past Observation and felt a good, quiet, tug on the Jeep. As I looked over my right shoulder, I saw the left tire of my trailer sticking straight up in the air. The trailer was on it’s way over and I couldn’t do anything about it. While the trailer was loaded, it towed fine. Unloaded, it was bouncing off every rock in sight. By speeding up, I was now applying enough force to flip the trailer. The left tire hit a rock and up and over it went.

Story to follow...

Story to follow…

The point of the large rock in the picture put a small hole in the bed of the trailer and then broke out the tailgate as I couldn’t stop in time. I figured I didn’t have much time before someone was going to drive by so I had to get it righted and quick. Being alone, I had to double time it.  I pulled my recovery gear bag, and the winch line.


A snatch block off the tree in front for a change in direction. And a second snatch block off the tree at the trailer to actually pull it back over.


A quick run of the winch and it was back to the rubber side down. I was able to get it righted before anyone came along.

Now I had to replace the tailgate before I was to haul gravel the next day.  John Briggs helped me out by pulling out and old piece of plywood and 2×6 to get me back in the game for the Richardson Lake Trail project the next day.


Here I am pulling “doubles”. We had left the trailers at Miller Lake Saturday night. I had run up to Miller early Sunday morning and hauled both back to the staging area for Sunday’s effort. What a noisy run down that trail.

Lesson learned, don’t be in a hurry while towing a trailer on the Rubicon and always carry enough gear for a self recovery.