Saturday, July 30, 2016

Ready to go North.

Okay then RV is loaded, the jeep is hooked up an we are ready to leave for Canada.

We will take off around 8:00 tomorrow morning. Our first stop will be on the Klamath River. Where we will visit with Joanne and Dave who are camping there for a couple of days.

On this trip of approximately 3 to 4 weeks I will try to post when ever I have a hook up but there may be long stretches between posts so just keep checking back.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Catching up.


The last couple of days.



I had a doctors appointment. Nothing serious just my annual physical. My cholesterol is getting high. So far three of my doctors have recommended that I start taking a statin. This one was no exception. I have resisted this for a few years but since I have had one aneurism repaired and have another on my heart the statins sound like they may be a good idea.


I had to get some blood drawn.
I got that done early.
When I got home I washed the RV as it was filthy from sitting in a dirt field near the freeway for the last few months. That took an hour or so.
Washing this big RV is kind of like giving a bath to four elephants.

After I finished washing the RV we drove to Walmart to pick up my new pills.

We are slowly getting stuff loaded in the RV for our trip to Canada.

Today (Friday) and tomorrow will be the busiest days getting ready.

Okay that’s the last couple of days.
Not very exciting but productive.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Quick Trip to the Cabin.



I had to go up to the cabin to pick up some cables for the XM radio in the RV and check things out because of the bear report.

Everything at the cabin was just fine. The only thing that I found that is still a problem is the Bat is still living in the cabin some where. I found a pile of bat guano in front of the woodstove where I always find it. I guess I still haven’t found the place where the bat is entering the cabin. I’ll just have to keep checking for light coming in and sealing any gaps I find.  It doesn’t take much of a space for a bat to squeeze through.

I removed the barbeque from Dave’s tent and put it in the dining hall so if the bear comes by again it won’t smell the barbeque in the tent and possibly break in.

On the way home from the cabin we stopped at Walmart to get a couple of things for our trip up north.
We got home by 1:30. It was already getting very hot by then so we took it easy the rest of the day.

That was our day.  

Monday, July 25, 2016

Got to go to the Cabin, oh Darn!


Getting the RV Ready.

We got the RV out of storage to get ready for our trip to Canada.
I was reinstalling the XM radio and found that I had left two of the necessary cables at the cabin; the audio cable and most importantly, the 12V power cable. I had forgotten to bring them home after the fourth of July.

Bear report.

Over the last weekend Mike and Renee went to the cabin to take down their tent from the fourth of July and found that the Bear had destroyed their tent.

That’s another reason to go up and check things out.

So that’s what we are doing tomorrow morning.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Checking Out the Jeep After the Trip.


The day after we got home I decided to check out the jeep to see what kind of damage was done.

The Steering.

I’m glad that the guys at 4wheel Parts convinced me to have the heavier duty steering and track bar installed in the jeep. They took a beating but didn’t bend.

In the picture you can see a lot of scrapes on the tie rod and the lower end of the track bar.


The Belly Pan.

The belly pan apparently took a really hard hit and is bent up pretty bad.


The rock guard on the passenger side paid for itself.


Other than those things, the under side of the jeep came out pretty good.

The Starting Problem.

I did some research on line and found that the problem was not uncommon. Most pointed to the switch as the culprit. Unfortunately the switch is kind of expensive, hard to find and a pain to change.

I decided to take the easy way out and installed a separate starter button. I picked up 12v from an unused fuse, ran it through a momentary pushbutton switch to the starter solenoid. I mounted the switch on the dash just in front of the ignition sw. Now it starts every time.

I’ll wash the jeep today.

On Monday we are going to get the RV out of storage and start getting ready for our Canada trip.

That’s all for today.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

The Great Rubicon Trail Adventure 2.

Note: this post is the second of two. See the previous post for the beginning of the story.

On the Trail Day Two.

A nice easy start.

The camp started to stir a little after sun rise on the second day.
After a light breakfast we struck the tents, packed up the jeeps and were on the trail around 8:30.

Not to far up the trail we met these guys.


After watching them tear things up a while we continued our slow pace over the rocky trail.


The Big Sluice.


The Big Sluice is a steep down grade with lots of rocks,


tight squeezes


and plenty of boulders to navigate.


We forged ahead.


Tara walked a good part of the Big Sluice to allow the kids a chance to get outside. It was not as if we were cruising along at high speed. She had no trouble keeping up.


As we were waiting for the jeeps in front of us to clear an obstacle I noticed an old stump that had been gnawed on by a beaver in the past. That’s a good sign.


Crossing the Rubicon.

This makes the second time I have crossed the Rubicon in my life. The first time was about fifty years ago on a back packing trip through the Desolation Valley. I had to wade across the river that time.

Eventually we got to the bottom of the sluice and crossed the Rubicon River on a not too old bridge. At some time in the not so distant past travelers on the trail would have had to ford the river here.


Here is a look at the river as we cross over.
It looks a little deep for fording. But never under estimate a determined jeep driver and his trusty jeep.


After crossing the river the trail seemed to ease up a bit.



Lunch Time.

We came to a beautiful spot along a side shoot off the river. There was shade and plenty of flat space to park and spread out.


We sat around in the shade, had a leisurely lunch and visited.


Here’s Sebastian enjoying a piece of bread.


Josephine was excited to see a water snake in the river.


There were some people across the river that were having a good time playing on a rope swing.


Cadillac Hill.

Eventually we left our beautiful lunch spot and began the last of the hard obstacles, Cadillac Hill. So named for some idiots who tried to drive down the hill in a Cadillac LaSalle. They died in the attempt. 

At this spot JJ got through ok but dug a hole on the left side.


Then Lynn came along, got crossed up and dug the hole a lot deeper.


Eventually Lynn has to have a tow strap assist but gets through the spot.


Dennis and I threw a bunch of big rocks in the hole and I got through okay.

Observation Point.

It went along like that for a while; some easy stuff , a little hard spot occasionally.


Eventually we got to Observation Point. This marks the end of the hard stuff.


and so did our humans.

We left Observation Point and continued along the trail. We still hit some obstacles but nothing we hadn’t seen and conquered before.


The trail got smoother and smoother.
As we went along we passed several larger ponds with lots of Lily Pads.


Some of the lily’s were beginning to bloom.


Before long we were on the pavement and driving along side Emerald Bay on Lake Tahoe heading for Truckee on I-80.


Okay, that was the world famous Rubicon Trail. It was bloody awesome.
There were several places on the trail that I didn’t think were possible to travers but with Dennis’s expert guidance we all made it through with minimal damage to any of the vehicles.

Dennis said that he has done the Rubicon four times. The last time was 12 years ago. He said that these were the worst conditions that he has ever seen on the trail.

Patti didn’t take any pictures of Snoopy doing his thing. Fortunately Cheryl sent me a couple. I don’t know where they were taken so I’ll just put them here.




A good nights sleep

The original plan was to camp out another night and drive the trail to Signal Peak tomorrow morning.
After last nights cold camp and the trail today we all decided that a nice hot shower and a real bed for the night was the ticket.
JJ and family headed for a friends Time Share to spend a couple days so we said our good bye's and best wishes and they headed out.

As we drove toward Truckee, Cheryl got on the phone and found us some rooms at The Inn at Truckee.

We got our rooms all settled and went to an Italian place for supper; it was ok.

Signal Peak.

A Little History.

In the 1800’s there was a watch station on Signal Peak where two men would spend the winter keeping a eye on the railroad tracks that cross the mountains here.
Their job was to watch for avalanches and rock slides that would occasionally cover the tracks. When the men spotted a problem on the tracks they would put a red lantern in the window.
The train engineers could see the lanterns from 20 miles and would know if the tracks were clear or not by the color of the lantern. Red for danger and green for safe.

Signal Peak Trail. 

We left the motel a little after 8:00 and got on I-80 heading west. We turned off at the Cisco Grove exit and followed Rattlesnake Road toward Fordice Lake.

The road wasn’t to rough but very dusty as it goes through some dense forest..


Eventually the trail gets up on the ridge and we start seeing wild flowers.


As we climb the ridge we can see these modern radio towers that have taken the place of the men and lanterns.


Eventually we get to the old stone building where the watchers lived and kept their lonely vigil.


On the south side of the building is a bay window where the watchers viewed the canyon and the train tracks.


Here is some of what they could see.



The lake in the distance is Lake Spalding. I-80 disappears in the distance.



Here you can see I-80 and the railroad tracks above it.




After wandering around the shack for a while we eventually continued along the trail down the other side of the mountain.
We passed more wildflowers.



The trail dropped down the mountain fairly steeply but in a short time we were at the trail head.


We aired up the tires and said our good bye’s to our fellow travelers with promises to meet again in Quartzsite in the fall for more Jeeping fun.

We got on I-80 and drove to Auburn where Patti and I decided to take Highway 20 home. It is a much more relaxing drive than I-80.

We got back to Santa Rosa around 5:00 in the evening.

Wow! what an adventure!!

I hope you enjoyed reading about it

Friday, July 22, 2016

The Great Rubicon Trail Adventure



Before I start the tale of the Rubicon Trail, I have to acknowledge the work of our guide, Dennis M.
He not only organized and lead the trip but busted his butt to make sure we all made it through the roughest trail that any of us has ever encountered, safely and in one piece.
He also took a lot of falls while trying to spot for us as we crawled over obstacles.


You may laugh at this picture but falling on these rocks is no laughing matter. I am surprised that he made it through without serious injury.
Thanks Dennis; we’ll follow you any where.

Cheryl's nephew, J.J. his wife Tara, 3 year old daughter, Josephine and 8 month old son, Sebastian came with us in their 1999 Jeep Cherokee 
What a great family.
The children were very well behaved and were a delight to have in camp. I have to say that I had my doubts when I heard that the little ones were coming but they were troopers.
Josephine even told her dad that she loved going over the rocks. She’s a keeper.


Our friend Dave, and his son, Lynn came all the way from Twin Falls, Idaho to join us on this trip. Lynn did all the driving and took very good care of his dad.


This was Lynn’s first experience rock crawling and he did well. From his excitement I think Lynn is hooked.

Getting There.

Rubicon or Bust

We left Santa Rosa around noon on Sunday heading to the town of Placerville in the foothills of the Sierras. We were to meet the others in the group there and the next morning head for the trail.
There was a lot of traffic between home and Placerville so it took us about 4 hours to make a three hour trip.

We eventually got to our motel (The Placerville Inn ) and got checked in.
Cheryl and Dennis were in a different motel.
Dave and Lynn arrived at the Placerville Inn around 6:00.
J.J. and Family were staying in Pollock Pines.


Once Lynn and Dave arrived we all decided to meet at the Placerville Brewery for dinner.
We got in the jeep, I turned the key and nothing happened. WTF!!All the lights on the dash worked, the head lights worked. That meant the Battery was good.

What could it be?

Let’s eat.

Lynn and Dave had trailered their Jeep so they had Dave’s pickup. We got in their truck and went to supper. While we were there we found out that the local Auto Zone was open until 9:00 so after dinner we went to Auto Zone so I could buy a starter for the jeep.

No Joy.

There was still a little daylight when we got back to the motel so I crawled under the jeep and replaced the starter.


I tried to start the jeep again and it still wouldn’t do anything.
We decided that we would tackle the problem in the morning.

The Trail, Day One

A Solution Arrives in the Night.

During the night Dennis came up with a solution.
He had some stiff insulated wire in his jeep so we could use that to actuate the starter by holding one end of the wire to the solenoid hot side while someone touched the + terminal of the battery with the ignition on.
The jeep should started right up.
The only down side was that I had to crawl under the jeep every time I wanted to start it. Not optimal but reliable.
I would just have to not turn the jeep off any more often than necessary.

In the morning when we were ready to leave I got in the jeep turned the key and it started right up. WTF!! again.

I hate spooks in my car! It’s bad enough when something breaks but intermittent problems will drive you nuts.

Okay, we have a back up system so lets go.

We drove the 20 miles from Placerville to Pollock Pines and connected with JJ in the Safeway parking lot.


Next Stop the Rubicon Trail Head.

From Pollock Pines to the trailhead is about 30 miles.
We took Ice House Road off Highway 50 and follow it to Loon Lake.


Here we crossed the dam,


and drove down below it to the trailhead where we aired down the tires. Of course I forgot and shut off the jeep and it wouldn’t start so before we could go I had to crawl underneath and with Dennis’s help to jump start it.

These large granite mile stones are all along the trail.


Slick Rock, Cool!

Finally we are on the trail and it is already after 10:00.
The first part of the trail crosses a large area of granite dome. It is just like the red slick rock in Moab and is a lot of fun to drive on.


This stretch of slick rock doesn’t last long and we find ourselves in the boulders.


With Dennis’s guidance we slowly work our way through this set of obstacles.


We eventually came to another area of slick rock and were able to relax for a little while.


Not to say that there weren’t some interesting spots along the way.


There are plenty of beautiful views as we go along.
Some times though, your attention is so fixed on the trail that you have to stop every once in a while to take a look around.



We continue to travel along; climbing steep shelves


and working our way through boulder fields.


occasionally needing a tow strap assist.


Eventually we came to a spot where we could get off the trail and have lunch.


On a rock near by Patti noticed this cross.


After lunch we continued on our way. Just a short distance away we came to another mile stone


A mile and a half in over two hours. That might give you some idea of the difficulty of the trail.

Okay, break’s over back to work.Smile

The trail for a short distance is fairly easy.


But that doesn’t last long.

That’s right, we have to climb up there.


More boulders.


We continued along this way for the rest of the day; climbing steep rocky grades,

and negotiating incredible boulder fields.


The Little Sluice.

By 3:00 we had traveled another two miles to the turnoff for the Little Sluice.


Dennis checked out the Little Sluice and decided that it was too rough.
Rougher than what we've gone through already today?
That’s hard to imagine.
We decided to bypass the Little Sluice so we continued along the trail.

More Slick Rock.

Just past the turnoff to the Little Sluice we came to more slick rock. It is always a little relief when we get to drive on the slick rock for a little while.


At the top of this one there is a squeeze between two trees with a hard right turn down hill on the other side.


Lily Ponds.

On the other side of the trees we passed some lily ponds; there were several along the trail here.


Another Hour, Another mile.

We continued along slowly crawling up slick rock,


through narrow slots,


over and around boulders


and eventually past the mile stone for the Old Sluice.


Our camp spot appears in the distance.

As we start down hill we can see Buck Island Lake in the distance; this is our destination for today.

How beautiful is that?!


And it will only take another two hours to get there.

Here are just a few pictures of the rest of the way to Buck Island Lake.




JJ had to have a little assistance here.


Yes, it is possible to get stuck going down hill. Especially where boulders are concerned.

Buck Island Lake.

As we approached Buck Island Lake we crossed a pretty little creek.


We crossed over the dam.


Around 6:00 we got to our camp spot, hungry and exhausted from the drive.

We set up our camps and had supper.


Later we were treated to the sight of the rising of the full moon over the mountains.


It had been windy all day which wasn’t bad as it kept it cool and blew away some of the dust as we drove along. But after the sun went behind the mountains it got very cold.
As fires were prohibited we all went into our tents and our beds early for a well deserved rest. Tomorrow is going to be another rough day.

Okay, that Is the end of day one of the Great Rubicon Trail Adventure.

What an awesome day!

Stay tuned for Day 2.