V-Rock now U-Rock

So, I made it down Cadillac Hill this past weekend and noticed that quite a bit of work has been done. Cadillac Hill was easier than I can ever remember.

As you all know, there are several ‘famous’ obstacles along the climb up Cadillac Hill. One of those is V-Rock. V-Rock is (was) a granite slope from above the trail down to the edge of the trail with a large boulder outcropping at the edge. The angle between the granite slope and edge of the boulder created a “V” that users needed to navigate.

So here are two before any work was done. Unfortunately, not all from the same angle. The granite slope on the right slopes up more than the photo implies.


Special nod to Randy for posting a picture of his rig the last time it was running. Note the deep “V” at his front right tire.


Some work was done over the last few years to get the condition below. The “V” still has loose rock so the depth can vary. Drive it as is if so equipped; fill in a bunch of rock if you’re lower or limping out broken.

29 V-rock

But now, after a whole bunch of concrete and rock were placed in the “V”, the “V” is now a “U”. And it’s concrete so no chance for a difficult line.


I asked before on a public forum “Who Decides?” That thread was started about a rock on Cadillac that was drilled and split, without any formal permission. The answer was if it’s a safety issue, take care of it.

What would happen if an individual made the Soup Bowl ‘safe’?

Now there are rumors that even more rocks will be split, removed, dealt with, etc. on Cadillac Hill; during the dark of night with no formal permission or discussion. Does Placer know? FOTR? RTF? TNF?

There is a new bypass on Cadillac Hill in the ‘trees’ section. I can only assume the tight turn was too much for some drivers or some rigs so they went straight through the trees. This is an illegal users created bypass and will be blocked.

In both photos below, you can see a former bypass that was blocked on the right. In the first photo right through my rear view mirror. In the second photo far right and half way up.

Bypass straight ahead, original trail to the right:


Bypass left of the tree, original trail around to the right:


I thought people drove the Rubicon Trail for a challenge?










Sign updated at staging area

As was the subject of the last “Photo of the month”, the sign at the McKinney-Rubicon Springs Road has been in the need of attention for some time.

Recently, some new material was installed along with a new piece of backing plywood and a new plexi-glass cover. Additionally, the broken map box was replaced and stocked with both the RTF Rubicon Trail map and the new Rubicon Area OHV Trails map and flier. The map was covered in my last post.

Here is the new signage in all it’s glory:

New signage

The RTF map is on the left.

The agencies involved with the trail are represented across the bottom: Placer County, El Dorado County, US Forest Service, CA State Parks OHV, Friends of the Rubicon, Rubicon Trail Foundation, CA Association of Four Wheel Drive Clubs, and the Blue Ribbon Coalition.

Towards the right is some educational information including ham radio frequencies, contact information for the agencies involved, how to volunteer, driving cautions and a copy of the new tri-MVUM map.

A close up of the new map box now housing the RTF Rubicon Trail map and the new tri-MVUM of Rubicon Area OHV trails:

New box


This was a private effort. Hopefully, in the future, the agencies listed on the sign will get together with the users to decide what more signage and information is needed at the staging area and along the trail.


UPDATE 2-20-15:

The LTBMU visited the staging area and decided that the sign needed a few changes. Here is a photo of the current sign. I’m working on getting FOTR to join the party and hopefully, together, we can all get the information on the sign to reflect what the users need to travel safely and enjoy the area.

Staging sign by FS

They added a full Motor Vehicle Use Map for North Tahoe and a snowmobile riding area map.












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.

IMG_0605 IMG_0610

IMG_0612 IMG_0613

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.