Rookies on the Rubicon

jeremyk

Adventurer
Nice write up,
It reminded me a bit of my trip back in 04. We were a group of 3 Early Broncos on 35s. We were all pretty well prepared for the trail. We didn't make past the first day until one guy pulled his steering box loose from the frame ( the gate keeper was declawed shortly after this trip). As we were taking a break on the granite slabs, a 99 LR Disco, with a lift kit came by. It was beautiful, not a scratch on it. He said it was his wife's car, and she went on vacation. He was escorted by his gray haired uncle in a late 60's CJ5, that looked like the oil was last changed in 1980. We ended up passing them a little while down the road. The rear bumper was smiling at all who approached, and a couple of the rear quarter panels were now dented. We camped at Buck Island, since spider lake was closed. They didn't get there until almost dark ( that's 8 oclock ish in July). What you send about relentless is true. I've been on tougher trails, but this one stays tough for most of the 26 miles.
The Disco pulled out early the next day. We caught up to them at Rubicon springs. He was off to the right trying to dodge the rocks, and I just happened to look over as the last remaining radius arm? broke, his front diff pivoted, and snapped the u-joint and he was done. We asked if we could help ( I dunno how) but he climbed in the back of the well worn CJ and they headed out to get parts and tools, the little 4 cylinder engine chugging along....

We patched together the Broken Bronco and he went home via Tahoe. We climbed to the top of Cadillac hill turned around and headed back out. It was a great trip, but it was mentally exhausting.
Tom
Great story (but maybe not so popular around the Roverphiles). You should write it up, long version. I wonder if he and his D90 wife are still married, that would be a test. I love those things, but I wouldn't take one on the Rubicon, not that it wouldn't do it, I just wouldn't want to chance hurting it - too valuable. You did it both ways? Very cool and impressive.

I see that you were well equipped vehicle-wise tho...
 
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Surf and Snow

New member
First time poster, loooooong time lurker. I was brought here by Jonathan "skibum315"s post on theNewX.org. It took me 3 days to read it all, but amazing post! Great story telling Jeremy. I've not been to the Rubicon yet but felt I got a taster from your stories. Keep it up, keep exploring and testing your limits and thank's so much for sharing this experience with us all!
- Jay
 

jeremyk

Adventurer
That was a great write up! I want to go again.

I've been "on the" Rubicon several times in the last 20 yrs. Usually as a spotter and the last as driver. We made it through well the first time with minimal body damage in 3 full size Blazers. I say "on the" because the next several tries we experienced catastrophic failure on at least one of the vehicles that required us to backtrack. I think we did so well the first time because like you were extra careful. The last trip (as a driver) it seems we learned our lessons and made it through with little or no damage (or I'm a terrible spotter). Even with prior exerience I felt much of the same, lets say, "appreciation" of the trails difficulty you captured so well. Below is an image of my rig somewhere on the Rubicon.
Great writing, I should have been working but I could'nt wait to see how it worked out.

View attachment 186398

I did drive it down from Oregon and back when we finished
Great story! I also went to run the rubicon this year for the first time. I got a door ding on cadillac hill also. :coffee:
I just returned from a brief foray into the rubicon, but only as far as ellis... so many things that you wrote in this thread ring true; this trail never lets up.

I have a far more capable rig than what you all were running, but even then, I found myself pulling over regularly, to look for the safest line to take... I had to drive 500 miles back home, and I needed to keep my parts together.

I think that this trail takes it's toll on everyone, including the locals... I met a guy in a full-size dodge, who had broken all of his motor/trans mounts, and another guy who had rolled his very capable 4runner(that was running 40's)... someone else apparently broke the frame(!) on his first-gen Toyota, in a couple of places... all that's just within the space of one weekend, in the October off-season... who knows what other damage happened, that I didn't know about.

the locals know every rock on the rubicon, and for them, part of the fun is pushing the limits of their rigs... they will go out of their way to help, and offer lots of good advice.

in the end, I turned back because I had brand new 37" mtr's that were rubbing into my back fenders, and a nervous Nellie of a wife who hadn't done much serious rock crawling before, lol

a bit of minor tweaking, and i'll hit it again soon.

thanks for taking the time to write up your experiences.
LOL, that guy is crazy... "Crushed BOTH doors in on the Rubicon Trail.." "Fordyce Creek: HOLY **** ME!!!!!!!!! Most INSANE trail of the trip... Words cannot explain how crazy that trail is!!!!!!! I broke an Transmission mount and snapped a Rear Driveshaft Ujoint on this trail. EPIC!!!!!!! EPIC!!!!!!!!"

different dodge, tho... the guy I saw was in what used to be a red dodge pickup, he was being followed by what was once an old '70's(?) full size ford pickup, minus the bed... you've probably seen 'em out there before... the guy in the dodge said that he had to strap his drivetrain down to get back out, lol.

I couldn't believe that bridge!! I heard about it from every local that I met... sounds like a giant waste of money to me, over $600k(?) that could have been spent better somewhere else on the trail... here is a good use for that bridge, courtesy of a post on pirate 4x4:

https://scontent-b-sjc.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-frc3/1393742_3493712957769_1259050610_n.jpg
Nice write up,
It reminded me a bit of my trip back in 04. We were a group of 3 Early Broncos on 35s. We were all pretty well prepared for the trail. We didn't make past the first day until one guy pulled his steering box loose from the frame ( the gate keeper was declawed shortly after this trip). As we were taking a break on the granite slabs, a 99 LR Disco, with a lift kit came by. It was beautiful, not a scratch on it. He said it was his wife's car, and she went on vacation. He was escorted by his gray haired uncle in a late 60's CJ5, that looked like the oil was last changed in 1980. We ended up passing them a little while down the road. The rear bumper was smiling at all who approached, and a couple of the rear quarter panels were now dented. We camped at Buck Island, since spider lake was closed. They didn't get there until almost dark ( that's 8 oclock ish in July). What you send about relentless is true. I've been on tougher trails, but this one stays tough for most of the 26 miles.
The Disco pulled out early the next day. We caught up to them at Rubicon springs. He was off to the right trying to dodge the rocks, and I just happened to look over as the last remaining radius arm? broke, his front diff pivoted, and snapped the u-joint and he was done. We asked if we could help ( I dunno how) but he climbed in the back of the well worn CJ and they headed out to get parts and tools, the little 4 cylinder engine chugging along....

We patched together the Broken Bronco and he went home via Tahoe. We climbed to the top of Cadillac hill turned around and headed back out. It was a great trip, but it was mentally exhausting.
Tom

I look forward to hearing great stories like the ones that have been shared on this thread. Thank you keep them coming; the Ribicon trail produces some classic stories and I'd like to think that we had one...
 
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My brother and i did it too

Your tale is great it reminded me of one of the best trips of my life, I met my brother and his wife out there( they live in Maryland) . My 14 year old son accompanied us. We went on a guided trip though jeep jamboree. They provide everything which was cool because I didn't a have a Rubicon capable rig. WE all got new then TJ rubicons short wheelbase before the longer wheel base came out and they were bone stock. but with dual locker and 4:10s they literally rolled over anything we could get a tire on. your tale remind me so much of that very fun time. I actually won a set of tires in a raffle. it had to be around 2003 I think. I remember the gate keep well as it was a tight squeeze and Cadillac hill looking at the sky a lot. Well done great write up.
 

stioc

Expedition Leader
Great report. I read it back when it was first posted and again recently after reading the Dusy Ershim report.

Anyone done the Rubicon trail lately with 32" tires + rear locker? As 35"/37" tires have become pretty common these days the ruts they create out there make it harder for the 32/33" tired trucks.
 

jeremyk

Adventurer
One of the things that is often mentioned about the Rubicon Trail is that it is much easier now, especially referring to the Little Sluice and how it is virtually paved over. I was digging through some old photos the other day and found pictures from a mountain bike adventure my friend Dayn and I did back in 1987. It was an amazing trip, we got stuck on the back side of Hell Hole reservoir and ended up building a raft to get out and back to the road. That's a whole other story. But I did find this picture of Dayn pretending to ride the Little Sluice where it actually appears to be quite a bit smoother than when Erik and I saw it in the summer of 2013.

Dayn in the Little Sluice.jpg
Dayn clowning around in the Little Sluice ~1987
 
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craig333

Expedition Leader
I thought the Dusy was harder than the rubicon. Makes you pay attention when before you even start you see a Jeep coming out with transfer case split in two. Nice trip report. Glad I finally came across it.
 
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