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Old August 29th, 2004, 16:59
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NAXJA Fordyce/Rubicon '04 trip report/pics...dialup folks beware

Trip report Fordyce and Rubicon '04

After traveling from all over CA, and from Nevada, Idaho, CO, and Utah, we met up Saturday morning at the beginning of the Fordyce Creek Trail, which is just north of I80 between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe. The Fordyce Trail is about 12 miles long and mostly follows the canyon up to Meadow Lake, crossing the river four times. We had about 16 XJ's, plus Dan and Penny from Bakersfield in a 'Cruiser and Lincoln's dad Bill in a Wrangler. The water crossings got everyone's attention, here's Lincoln in the first crossing, and John in the second crossing.




Our first mechanical trouble came when John (poomba) broke the rear yoke on his D35. CRASH did a little welding and he was fixed up. Check out the Chevy Z shackles.



The first of five major obstacles which are called Winch Hills 1-5 came up around noon. There is a bypass for Winch Hill 1, which some took, everyone else made it up without any major problems, other than BrettM loosing a taillight. Here's Jes and Paul Sinclair.



The weather was as good as it could be, and the scenery was wonderful. This trail has a nice combination of challenging obstacles and great scenery, and we were enjoying ourselves. Unfortunatly, John's yoke broke again a little further down the trail. Here's Lee, Dan and John changing the u-joint in the driveline while a new yoke was being installed.



We weren't making the progress that we needed with this large a group, and it was getting late in the day for us to not be half way through the trail yet. We reached Winch Hill 2 around 6:30, and John broke his rear driveline for the third time trying to take the bypass. Most of the group kept on going, while Jon (Kaczman) and I winched poomba up the hill. We decided not to fix it again, and try towing him with only front wheel drive through the rest of the trail. I towed, and Jon strapped to me when needed, and we winched when we had to. Lincoln and Big Red were behind us and helped often with the strap, winch line, and stacking rocks. We popped the bead off the rim on one of the front tires three different times, caused by rocks and towing around tight corners. It was well past dark by now, which made everything a little more difficult. We got through the water crossings and up Winch Hill 3, but on a big double ledge both poomba and I got wedged between rocks and I broke a front hub. We don't even know what time it was at this point, probably around 11:00. We had to high lift John and stack rocks to get him clear and get the tension off the strap, then we fixed my hub. Here's me and John working on my hub.



Up ahead, BrettM twisted a driveline, but thankfully he carried a spare so the spare got installed. Lee (crazy4mopar) broke some aluminum lift blocks that he had just installed, which caused the diff to twist up, breaking the driveline. Erik towed Lee for awhile, also in the dark, until on a good hill the stress from driving only in front wheel drive caused the stock upper control arms to buckle, and they both broke in half. This caused the front diff to twist up and broke the front driveline. Now Lee had no front or rear driveline. Since it was so late, Lee made camp right where he broke and the rest of the group headed towards the end of the trail and camp at Meadow Lake.

We met up with Jes, CRASH and a number of the others at Winch Hill 4. I was able to pull John about 2/3 the way up the hill, but then it was time to winch. It took five pulls from different angles, two using a snatch block, to finally get him up Winch Hill 4. By this time it was 3:30 am and everyone was really beat. John stayed with his rig and made camp, and we finished the trail, pulling into camp at Meadow Lake at 4:40 am. No one had trouble going to sleep.

The next morning CRASH, Jes, Jason and Dan went to get poomba, and Dave Taylor and Erik went to get Lee, with enough spare parts to hopefully get them off the trail. The rest of us took a swim in the lake, got packed up, and headed out. On the drive into Truckee, we hit a bad thunderstorm and got pelted with hail. Here's Andy, Jon, and Bryan as we're breaking camp, and a shot of the hail piling up at the bottom of my windshield.




We made it into Truckee, got some lunch and gassed up, and hit the grocery store to stock up for the five days we were about to spend on the Rubicon. We drove around Lake Tahoe and arrived at Ice House Resort around 7:00 pm. Since CRASH went back to help poomba, I had all the food for dinner that night, and when we pulled into camp at Ice House, Keven and a couple of the Sierra Chapter guys had the grills ready and immediately started cooking dinner. It was sure nice to have them there so we didn't have to deal with cooking dinner, and they did a great job. We all ate steak and chicken, and visited around the camp fire for much of the evening.

Around 8:30, CRASH, Jes and the rest of the rescue crew rolled into Ice House, and the cooks had kept the food hot for them. They were able to get John fixed and running in 4wd again, and had discovered that the pumpkin on his D35 had spun up, causing the bad pinion angles. After welding the tubes, keeping it on the tow strap, and some careful driving, they got him off the trail and to Ice House. Erik and Dave got Lee going in front wheel drive again with a spare upper control arm and driveshaft, and they got him to the end of the trail. Lee was able to get out on his cell phone and got someone to grab a trailer and come up to Meadow Lake so they could trailer his XJ back to home.

The next morning many of us had breakfast in the cafe at Ice House Resort, and we lined up ready to hit the Rubicon Trail. BryanC had ripped a rear brake line on Fordyce, and so had been running with only front brakes, so he headed into town to find a brake line. Bill discovered a gas leak under his Wrangler which needed to be fixed, so CRASH stayed with them and the rest of us headed out. Here's a pic of us getting lined up at Ice House, and Lincoln and Bill working on the YJ.




We got to Loon Lake, got aired down, and worked everyone through Gate Keeper, the first big obstacle on the trail. We headed through the Granite Bowl, where Mike popped a bead and bent the rim bad enough that it wouldn't hold the bead. After putting on the spare, we all continued on the trail past Ellis Creek with no problems and then stopped at Soup Bowl to play. CRASH, Lincoln and Bill caught up with us at Soup Bowl, and Bryan caught us a little later on at the Little Sluice. Many in the group made a try at Soup Bowl, with only a few of those who tried needing to take the winch. Here's CRASH and Erik on Soup Bowl.




The next stop after Soup Bowl was the Little Sluice Box. It changes somewhat from year to year, and this year it is REALLY tough. Jon and I ended up giving it a try, but after getting halfway through we both bailed out the side rather than risk serious body damage or breakage. We had meet Chris who was driving a severely chopped and bobbed XJ, and was with a group from Durango, CO. He wanted to give the Box a try, so a few of us stayed to help him and the rest of the group headed on down the trail to Buck Island. Chris made it most of the way through, but on the last ledge he broke a front hub. We winched him out and stuck around while he fixed his hub, and then we all headed for Buck Island. Here's Jon and I in the Little Sluice.





We headed down the trail, deciding to go down True Big Sluice rather than taking the slabs, and made it into camp at Buck Island with no other problems. We got camp set up, then hit the lake for a swim. The next day, Tuesday, we all did a whole lot of nothing. We sat around camp, hung out next to the lake and swam, and CRASH and Dave did some fishing. Here's us in camp, at the lake, and Andy ready to go fishing.





That afternoon a group of some new vehicles that we hadn't ever seen before came cruising past camp. They were H3's, five of them, with a couple of support vehicles and engineers, and some dealers and media people driving them. They had that typical black tape trying to hide the shape and look, and they stopped to visit for awhile, then made camp right across the creek from us. Later that afternoon, Mike (DrMoab) and Bryon Reyna (xj4moab) came cruising into camp in Mike's rig. They had some trouble on the drive out from Utah, and then Bryon's XJ had broken down back on the trail close to the Little Sluice, so they had left it there. Many of us brought a couple of bottles of wine, and that night we sat around and did a lot of wine tasting, it was a fun time.

The next morning CRASH and Mike drove back to get Bryon's XJ, with help from a few others. They got it fixed and made it back to camp, and it was another kick back day in camp, reading, swimming, fishing, and visiting. Here's some more shots of the action in camp.




I took a hike past Rockbound Lake and up to Rubicon Lake. Here's the view looking back on Buck Island Lake, then Rockbound Lake from the trail, and the view of Rubicon Lake from where I sat under a tree and read for a few hours.





That night, after dinner, we all gathered around for the raffle. Jes and the Sierra Chapter folks had gathered together some nice prizes, including some JRCS custom door guards, FarmBoy heavy duty taillights, heavy duty battery cables, a nice toolbox bar-b-que, and other items. Here's some pics of the evening activities.

Buying tickets.


Goatman winning the Bar-B-Q.


Mike winning the JRCS door guards.


Dave winning the FarmBoy taillights.


The next morning, Thursday, we got packed up and hit the trail for Rubicon Springs. One group headed for the Springs, and the rest of us headed back up the trail to run up the True Big Sluice. Here's the group going up True Sluice, Jason (basalt51), then Jon getting hung up.





After finishing True Big Sluice, we headed down the slabs back towards Buck Island Lake, which is always fun since it's off camber all the way down making all the ledges and drop offs more interesting. Here we are coming down the slabs.



We made it past our camp at Buck Island, then I noticed that my left front tire wasn't pulling. We stopped to check it out and it looked like another hub was broken, but when it was taken apart we found that the Warn stub shaft had broken, taking the hub out with it. Since the spindle was messed up enough to make the hub nut hard to get off, I decided to leave it alone and just finish the trip with three wheel drive. We headed on to Big Sluice, where a particularly tight spot claimed a lot of quarter panel damage, but we were able to continue into Rubicon Springs without any further mechanical problems. Here's Big Sluice, Jason getting some body damamge, and Eric (EricsXJ) on the bridge over the Rubicon River.





Here we are crossing the river to reach our camp spot in Rubicon Springs.



We got camp set up, cleaned up in the river, and started thinking about dinner. There was plenty to eat since everyone wanted to use up the last of the food they had packed in. The Utah boys, Mike and Bryon, had a ton of food left since they had missed the first two days of the trip, so they cooked up enough beef, pork loin, and shrimp to feed the whole group. After we ate, and ate, and ate, we sat around the camp fire visiting and wine tasting. Here's Mike and Andy with a healthy helping of Mike and Bryon's cooking.



The next morning the group that was going on to Barrett Lake got up and headed out around 7:00 am. The rest of us packed up and hit the trail closer to 9:00. We headed up Cadillac Hill, where one of Bryon's upper control arm frame mounts ripped off. It was determined that he was OK with just one upper arm, so we continued to the top of Cadillac Hill and stopped at the overlook to take a picture. Coming out of the overlook, Jon hit a big rock too hard and sliced one of his Swamper SX's, you don't see that happen very often. He got the spare put on and we continued on the trail to the staging area and Lake Tahoe. There we loaded up, aired up, and said our goodbyes. It had been a full and very enjoyable week of wheeling and camping, but it was time for each of us to head for home. Here we are at the overlook for the traditional picture.



I'd like to give a special thanks to Andy and Jes for organizing this trip, for trail leading, and for making sure everyone made it to the end of the trails. Also a big thanks to the Sierra Chapter people who cooked for us at Ice House Resort and worked on the nice raffle prizes. I hope you've enjoyed reading about our experience, and maybe we'll see you here next time.

Happy wheeling,
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Last edited by Goatman; August 30th, 2004 at 18:35.
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  #2  
Old August 29th, 2004, 17:05
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Glenn B Glenn B is offline
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Re: NAXJA Fordyce/Rubicon '04 trip report/pics

Looks like fun!!!!
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Old August 29th, 2004, 17:27
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Re: NAXJA Fordyce/Rubicon '04 trip report/pics

good report looks like it was a fun trip
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Old August 29th, 2004, 17:39
BajaXJ92 BajaXJ92 is offline
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Re: NAXJA Fordyce/Rubicon '04 trip report/pics

nice!
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Old August 29th, 2004, 18:00
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Re: NAXJA Fordyce/Rubicon '04 trip report/pics

Sickness!!! Looks like a ton of fun beside all the broken parts. I cant wait to get my xj all fixed up so i can take some trips like that. Great pics.
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Old August 29th, 2004, 18:13
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Re: NAXJA Fordyce/Rubicon '04 trip report/pics

Looks like a great trip! Did anyone NOT break something? Also did BrettM run the 'con or just Fordyce with yall?

Ary
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Old August 29th, 2004, 18:57
ChEwBaCcA ChEwBaCcA is offline
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Re: NAXJA Fordyce/Rubicon '04 trip report/pics

nice pics and report, Someday I will get out there...looks like a blast

Chewy
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Old August 29th, 2004, 20:24
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Re: NAXJA Fordyce/Rubicon '04 trip report/pics

Most of us didn't break anything.
Great trip, although the wheeling was a little lonely for me since I was leading most of the time. Fordyce was one kickass trail, much more difficult than the last time I ran it. Way fun!
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Old August 29th, 2004, 22:12
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Re: NAXJA Fordyce/Rubicon '04 trip report/pics dialup folks beware of big pics

Sounds like you all had a great time. Hopefully in a couple years I'll be able to come down an join in on the fun.
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Old August 29th, 2004, 22:12
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Re: NAXJA Fordyce/Rubicon '04 trip report/pics dialup folks beware of big pics

Sounds like you all had a great time. Hopefully in a couple years I'll be able to come down an join in on the fun.

TORX
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Old August 29th, 2004, 22:15
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Re: NAXJA Fordyce/Rubicon '04 trip report/pics dialup folks beware of big pics

Quote:
Originally Posted by TORX
Sounds like you all had a great time. Hopefully in a couple years I'll be able to come down an join in on the fun.

TORX
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Old August 29th, 2004, 23:12
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Re: NAXJA Fordyce/Rubicon '04 trip report/pics dialup folks beware of big pics

damn okie, always got to be a bit**, just playing.

looks like a whole lotta fun, one day i am gonna have to make it way over there. from your experience looks like i better start hording spares now.
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Old August 30th, 2004, 11:39
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Re: NAXJA Fordyce/Rubicon '04 trip report/pics dialup folks beware of big pics

Nice trip report. Looks like it was a ton of fun...
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Old August 30th, 2004, 22:35
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Re: NAXJA Fordyce/Rubicon '04 trip report/pics

Great write-up Richard! That was a great trip with a great group of guys. Many thanks to all who put in the effort to pull it all off. And a special thanks to all who donated their time and spare parts to get everyone off of the trails and back home safe.

Bryan
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Old September 3rd, 2004, 00:07
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Re: NAXJA Fordyce/Rubicon '04 trip report/pics dialup folks beware of big pics

Great trip report thanks for sharing.
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