~ jbjeep & MudBall's webpage ~



August 2004

  Jim & Maria - 91 XJ

  Robin & Jill - 93 YJ 

  Todd - 99 TJ

  Dan & Jordon - 51 Willys

  Jenn - 98 TJ

                  NOTE:  Pictures are by everyone!


{Todd} In a nutshell, I schlepped 1,300 miles to drive 1 mile of the Rubicon from Wentworth Springs to Ellis Creek before I broke. As I think Jim said, ďThat trail whipped our butt this year!Ē   Saturday morning Robin/Jill (YJ), Jim/Maria (XJ), and I (TJ) left the Wilsonville rest stop about 8:30. Blasted through to Ashland where we met Tom and Jenn for a late lunch.

{Jenn} I had headed down on Thursday to spend some time bsíing and just hanging out with my buddy Tom, since I was headed right thru the area.

{Dan}  I picked Jordan up at 7:00 AM after stopping at the ice maker and purchasing 11 pounds of dry ice to add to the Igloo refrigerator.  It worked wonders.  My stuff was frozen for 3 days and really enhanced the cooling capacity of the thermo-electric refrigerator.  We headed down Hwy 97 to meet the others at Weed.  Got there about 1:30, called Jim and they were just leaving Ashland.  Picked up some parts for Jim at the local Napa, got some lunch and the rest of the group arrived in Weed.

{Todd} Tom said gíbye and Jenn came with us (TJ). Met up with Dan and his grandson Jordan aka Sanchez (Ď51 Willys) in Weed. Jim had called Dan and assigned him to get a thermostat and sender unit for his Cherokee while he waited for us in Weed.  Robin & Jill split off in Red Bluff to stay Sat night with his bro in Yuba City. Stocked up on groceries in Cameron Park. Used up a good portion of the Safeway parking lot staging Jimís XJ and getting all the stuff in. Frankly, Iím amazed everything fit, but it did.

{Jenn}  So was everyone else!!!

{Todd} We have pics to prove it. We continued on and pulled into Ice House Resort about 11 pm. Threw down some sleeping bags and crashed big time.  Pretty much an uneventful day Ďcept for that bird I hit outside Sac (that Iím sure is doing just fine resting and recuperating at some birdie hospital). Had some bad construction traffic near the Sac airport that burned up 45 minutes or so. Killed the time looking for a bypass on the GPS, but ended up just staying on I-5 till it broke loose.

Camp at Icehouse

{Todd} Slept in Sunday morning and a few of us wandered up to the cafe for eggs and coffee (good service and good prices, amazingly enough for Ice House Resort). Some of us partook in a morning pick me up - but I wonít name any names, right Maria?! Topped off all the tanks at 2.99/gal.  We had called Robin and asked him to stop in Pollock Pines on his way up for the fire permit. But of course the Ranger Station isnít really in Pollock pines like the web site says, itís really 4 miles east. So Robin had to wander around a bit before he found it. He also had to plug a tire that sprung a leak in the MickeeDees lot.

{Robin} I ran over a large screw when I pulled off the road after getting breakfast. It was a good test for my tire repair kit. It worked.

{Jenn}  Not to mention we ended up calling him and catching him in Placerville (I think) to stop and pick up a gas cap. I must have been more tired than I realized the night before, I think it must have been left at our gas stop in Cameron Park.

{Robin} We were gassing up in Placerville when Jenn called with the gas cap request. We checked the nearest auto parts store (C&H) to find it closed.  Tried to find a phone booth with a phone book that still had pages in it (no luck) and finally got directions to the Napa store from the guy at the hardware store. They had the cap and we were off to find the fire permit. We had an address in Pollock Pines and a phone number we got off the web. Turns out the ranger station is a few miles past town, so after touring town we actually had to resort to calling for directions to find it. Another stop and we were on our way to Icehouse.

{Todd} So he shows up and we hit the road about noon Sunday. Bopped up to Wentworth CG to air down. Started in on the trail, up the first little section of slab, then into the rocky section. Past a Toy Landcruiser (ca. Ď75) that looked like it was off the showroom floor. They were coming down. They told us the section up ahead was ďReally BadĒ and we should take the bypass. True to BushHacker form we said only pussies take bypasses (pardon my French, just paraphrasing). At the first obstacle is a ledge with a couple possible lines. Robin gave us a wheelie stand show lifting his left front several times (I got a couple on pic I need to post somewhere.) We all got through with no damage. On to the next section. Jim goes first. There are 3 lines. To the right (that we all took last year with only minor trouble) are four large granite boulders, one of which is loose. Several attempts, no luck. So he tries door number two - two tall rocks that youíd have to straddle or risk slipping and doing door damage. A couple tries there, no luck. The third line to the left is up a couple off camber steps with lots of loose gravel. He noses up to it, but I donít think Jimís heart was in the line. So back to door number two. After a couple tries, out comes the winch. A few minutes and Jimís over. Considerably tougher than with the CJ last year, eh Jim? So Dan is up next. With his short wheel base he pretty much walks around the four rocks pivoting at all the right times. Made it look easy.  Then itís my turn. Of course I get hung up 20í from the obstacle on a ball bearing under my skid (32Ē tires - Ďnuff said). Then on up to the obstacle - I take the first line to the right. Struggled a couple times, but with good spotting made it through - but bashed in my right rear quarter panel - Ouch! Jenís up next. She works those lockers pretty good on the right line. I smelled rubber a couple times. A couple locals guide her through. But she bashes the same quarter panel in the same spot on the same rock.

{Jenn}  I ended up using the winch to get myself over the last couple of feet of this one too.  I spent a lot of time teeter-tottering on those two big rocks with only one wheel (or no wheels?) on the ground.

Todd's first owie

{Todd} Funny how the same model rigs get the same damage on the same obstacles.

{Robin} We might mention that we spotted Dan and Todd through the rocks, and as Jennís turn came up we decided that since she just watched 2 rigs drive through, she didnít need a spotter. No sense making it too easy for her.

Jenn's first owie

(Todd)  Robinís up next. He gives it a couple tries, but we encouraged him to learn from our mistakes and bypass which he wisely did. Heís got brand new paint - and at least as far as I know, he still has brand new paint.

{Robin} My paint is a little over 1 year old. It was painted a month before last years trip. I have not washed it yet to see what new scratches I got, but I managed to avoid the dents.

{Todd} So we move on up to some slabs just below where the trail from Loon lake comes in. Robin takes the lead and gets hung up against some roots. Blows a little dust around, and gets his sheet metal uncomfortably close to some granite boulders the size of a small house but gets through. Might have tagged a Gerry can there, but Iím not quite sure.

{Robin} No tagging that I am aware of. Jim takes a different line right over some tall rocks. Gets pinned between his front bumper and gas skid. Four wheels in the air and spinning. He wasnít going anywhere w/o a tug. So Robin backs down to be a winch point. Jim pulls himself over. Iím up next. Seeing how much trouble the other two lines were, I decided to try my own line up to the right. Left tires through some rocks and right tire up on a ledge. A little tippy, but Iíve done worse. Couldnít get it to pivot around the rocks. All flexed up in front. Working it a little, we all hear kind of a crack/click/click/click. I thought it was the locker. Others thought something broke. I was wrong. It wasnít the normal gun fire snap of a shaft/u-joint. And Iím not a heavy throttle guy Ďcause I have to drive to work Monday. But on next attempt, my front axle puked out (quite literarily) a joint onto the granite. Uhoooh.  

{Jenn}  Well, what I heard was a sharp CRACK, and a clicky, clicky, clicky.  I hollered, but you swore it was locker noise!  It didnít just blow out, it literally puked end caps and bearings into the air.  I saw an end cap as it went flying by my head...funny how I can identify those on the fly now, so to speak.  

{Todd} So I back down and take a look at the damage. Sure enough, the joint blew and took out both axle shaft ears on the right side. And no spares in the group. So we decide to pull the shaft so I can limp. As we were pulling the shaft, Jim lugs the welder down and attempts to spot weld a new joint onto what remains of the ears. Valiant attempt, but no luck, the welder didnít have the penetration to get a good weld. Not even worth putting the axle back in since it would have just probably puked again and consumed another hour of our quickly diminishing sunlight. So we bolt the hub and brake caliper back on (notice I didnít say anything about putting the outer shaft back in) and I take the bypass around and up into Ellis Creek CG. Everyone meets up and sets up camp. Didnít make it to Buck like planned, but what the heck. Ellis is actually a nice place to camp - running creek (ice cold), shade, no crowds like you can get at the lakes (while we were there anyway).

Todd, always with a smile!

Jim - trying to weld the axle

Robin and Jill at Ellis Creek Camp

{Jenn}  Itís a very pretty spot.  We found a largish site along the creek where everyone could fit in.  However Todd had his Jeep in a really good flat spot already, not far away, so he just set up camp right there.  Ellis also had some fairly decent outhouses - much nicer smelling than the ones at Wentworth (ick, scary) - sans the bullet holes.  The camp was pretty nice there, lots of shade and room for Robin to set up a hammock for snoozing in.

{Todd} The plan is for Dan and me to take the short cut north out of Ellis, get his pick-up at Ice House Resort, and drive into Placerville to round up a new axle shaft/U-joints. No problem, right? And oh since we were going into town anyway, why didnít we pick up half-n-half, a Sac Bee, a People, and some ice. And we wonít mention who the cream, mag, and newspaper are for, right Maria?

{Jenn}  I was going to ask for you to bring me back a peppermint latte, but I figured that might be too much to ask.

{Todd} So it takes us a couple hours to get to Placerville and we try C&H Automotive parts first which came highly recommended by someone on the trail. They hardly knew the difference between a Jeep and a Yugo and no way would they stock something as low volume as axle shafts! But they did call the Jeep dealer for us (how nice) who wanted 600 smackers, if you can believe it!!! And they would have to order it to boot!!!  Youíd think they were quoting a complete assembled axle, housing and all, delivered to the trail via helicopter, Jeep Jamboree style. Dan and I are shaking our heads at this point, but not to be deterred, we locate all the parts stores/4WD service places within 30 miles in the GPS and start calling. We must have called 15 places and the best I got was a 1 to 2 day delivery. We tried Davidís Automotive, who has now moved 40 miles away to Ione BTW. And we even ran out to Olsens. Nice guy, but he didnít have anything past the vacuum disconnect YJ years. He said they never had a request for a TJ, if you can believe that. Uh oh. What do we do now? We were stunned. How can there not be any TJ axle shafts in Placerville, the closest town to the Rubicon, notorious for consuming axles?

{Jenn}  This was pretty much unbelievable!!!!  How can no one carry TJ shafts in that area???  Next time I go down I will have 1) spare shafts in the group and 2) the name of someone in the area who have or can get them to us!  Iím still shaking my head over this one.  I am sure that someone in the area must have some, but you just couldnít find that person/shop.  <sigh> Its absolutely unbelievable!!

{Todd} We even called a couple places in Sacramento and got the same 2 day delivery  line. So we admit defeat having burned up most of everyoneís day (they are all back  waiting for us at Ellis Creek CG). So we start the long trip back to the trail. Get  Jim on the 2m about a half hour from Ellis and tell them the bad news. While we were  dropping back down to Ellis, Jim and Robin were nice enough to start bolting the hub  back together for me. Note to self - always bolt the outer shaft onto the hub or the  bearing races WILL begin to separate - oops - should have known that. When we get  back to camp, I decided I would pull the driverís axle, limp out in 2WD and head for  home. No sense in beating my rig up more than it already had been by trying to get to  Buck in 2WD. The rest of the gang packed up and headed for Buck about 6:30 pm. I got  to listen in on 2 m while they were having all kinds of fun. But the funny thing was,  they were reporting to me it started raining on them (clear blue sky at Ellis,  though). And they said they werenít having a good time at all. Go figure. BTW, from  Ellis you can reach most of the trail between Ellis and Buck with about 30w and a mag  mount - quite good signal too. I gather Jim got a little body modification coming  down True Sluice and Jenn trashed a right front brake line that was leaking, but it  sounded fixable. I stayed the night in Ellis and packed up Tuesday morning. I talked  to Jim one last time on 2m about 8:30 Tuesday morning. I tried to reach them several  more times as I drove out, but never could get them. So thatís where my story ends.

{Todd} As an aside, the shortcut out of Ellis is kind of neat. Thereís a Ĺ mile of  fun trail that I managed in 2LO w/ no trouble. Then you hit a gravel road. Thereís a  small lake off to the left (the name slips my memory at the moment) with several nice  camp spots. I wandered up to a 7,250 ft peak near the lake with great views down to  Loon and you can see the bowls for Spider and Buck. Tried again on 2m with no luck.  Should have had line of site, but couldnít get them for some reason. (Iíll pull the  details off the map of the lake/peak if anyone wants them).  I drove out through Georgetown and Auburn to at least get some site seeing in.  Uncle Tomís cabin is a different kind of place. Paid $1.50 for a 25 cent RC cola -  but it was cold at least. Worth stopping there once in a lifetime, no more. But the  drive through Georgetown is an interesting one - completely different  terrain/geography than the Ice House/Placerville route. Worth taking. But maybe not  with a trailer. Would be more work (i.e. stress) than Icehouse Road. I await the  others to come home and report on the exciting trip. They should be back Friday give  or take a day.  So, for the analytical among us: 1 mile of trail/1300 miles of driving =  0.0008 fun factor. Hmmm. TSF is sounding kinda good about right now. j/k. Maybe Iíll  do better next time. Seriously, it is a one-of-a-kind place and the people on the  trip made it all worthwhile, even if it was cut short for me.

{Jenn}  We were bummed that you had to leave, but it was the right decision.  We sure  missed you!  So, after leaving Todd, we headed up the trail.  All of 200 yards or so that  is.  Jim found a nice spot to hook a Cherokee up on the rocks right away. Itís a  whole lot different for him driving a shorter LWB than his ďCJ from hellĒ.

{Jenn}  We stopped and took a look at the little sluice on the way.  Sweet looking  rock, about 3 times as big as what I can climb right now.  LOL.  The off camber  bailout point looked a little nasty to me - but then I am still feeling a little  paranoid about tipping over for some strange reason.  From there, it is on up the trail to what Jim called the True Sluice, or Old  Sluice.  That was fun, big nasty rock right in the middle.  I think this is where I  1) hit the rear quarter panel again and 2) damaged my water jerry can by bashing it  up when I landed on it.  We eventually get down that (Iíll let the others tell their  stories).

{Dan}  Well, right at that big rock in the middle, the line had changed from last year from left of the rock to the right of the rock.  That meant that in order to proceed, one had to swing far left and then hard right.  Just at  that hard right moment, I slide to the left with my left front fender ready to fold under the rock and the Jeep tipped down hill and far the left. Being low on gas and way overheating, (gas in the tank was boiling, water spewing out the overflow) the inline fuel pump being above the tank at this point and trying to pump fumes.  With a short tug from Jenn, the Jeep back on level, 5 gallons of gas in the tank and 15 minutes to cool down, the old rig just climbed over that obstacle like it knew what it was doing.

{Robin} Shortly after starting in the true sluice, I got cozy with a large rock and peeled off my left rear fender flare. Then when my turn came on the big rock, I managed to peel off the right front flare. My 6Ē wide flares sometimes reach out and grab things like that. They are held on with zip ties so no harm, but they all came home with a few new scrapes on them.

{Jenn}  So we are going along down the hill, its getting late, itís nearly dusk.  Right near the bottom of the hill, just before you hit the flats I brake for a corner  and Oops!  No one is home.  I panic.  Kill the engine and call for help. Jim has me  drive it down the last little bit of hill - which turned out to be a whole lot less  distance than I thought.  I manage to get it down onto the flats, where there were a  lot of people camped.  Jim said this is the lake, and I am thinking ďwhat lakeĒ????  Anyway, Jim looks and shows me where a rock and my tire have trashed my brake line on  the driverís side front.  Ugh.  He says ďlets go, you can drive it up to campĒ, my  response is things like ďyea rightĒ, ďI donít want toĒ, and other unprintables.  Long  story short.  I drive it with no brakes to where he wants to camp, on the other side of  the lake, in the dark.  The dark was good.  Had I seen what I was driving I probably  would have freaked out!  I manage to get it to camp, with the help of some good  spotting and folks finding the trail for me.  We park and set up camp for the night.  Its dark and you canít see much but what you can see is pretty incredible! And the  stars.. OH WOW!!!!

Broken brake line

Camp at Buck Island Lake

{Maria}   I must say that camping at Buck Island was incredible.  I was a tad scared  because when we pulled up to the dam at one end there where quite a few camping  around and my thoughts, ďOh we are going to be camping around people, and I wanted to  be alone.Ē  We kept going (at night) and sure enough after getting out of the jeep  and searching high and low Jim said this is it.  So we fetched everyone else got them  all down to the camp sight and unloaded and crashed hard.  I must say at this point  we really did miss Todd who did not get to continue after breaking the doohicky on  his jeep.  We kept saying it over and over and even though it didnít help much we  thought about him often.  I was bummed because Todd sounded a bit like Gil on the ham  and he was fun and full of odd facts just like Gil. But he wasnít, he was Todd so yet  another fun fact filled person to get to know.  But he had to go home because his rig  didnít feel oh so very well, and it sucked.  I am sure next year will be to go  further then one mile.

{Maria}  So after we crashed we woke to the most beautiful crystal clear, ice smooth  lake I may have ever seen.  Buck Island.  We had the coolest camp site too, and a bit  off in the distance 200 feet or more was another camp site with more jeeps, and most  of the time not wanted to see others, well this just seemed right.  So for the next  three days we played at Buck Island.  We swam, fished, to long hot showers on a  granite tile floor, went potty in our little potty tent we made.  Stop here.  Wag  Bags, and a Bucket. CHECK IT OUT!!! They are great.  We put Robin and Jillís 4 gal  porta-potty right next to our bucket and we did all kinds of statistics. If you want  more detail just ask.  We took 25 bags; I think 4 of us went through 5 in 3 days 2  nights.  They are worth it, but take along a toilet seat and put the plastic top of  the bucket underneath when not using.  When you are done there is a dumpster at the  end and you just throw the things in the trash and they are gone.  We threw the  bucket too sorry Dan.  Also there was a huge amount of human waste around the lake.  So I really would encourage the use of these.  They are going to use that as reason  to limit use if we donít clean up our act. Soap box off.

Buck Island Lake


   The first fish                Potty enclosure   

Jill, Maria, and Dan 

~ Hanging out on the rocks ~

Dan, Maria, Jim, and Jill



{Jenn}  The next day we have a slow morning.  A leisurely breakfast.  Check out the  views - WOW!!!!  We end up spending the day just hanging around.  A little fishing, a  little rafting, a little swimming, and a lot of good conversation and just kicking  back and relaxing.  I swam out to the nearest island.  The one that Jim left his  geocache on.  I checked that out.  7 new entries from folks who found it (its not  listed on the web site).  When I got back I wasnít allowed to tell Jim anything about  what was in it, so that he could go over and check it out himself.  It was pretty  cool.

{Maria}  Jim went on the Rubicon a year ago and he took my very cool niece Hannah.  She was a freshman at UofO.  They took a geo cache and placed it on the top of Buck  Island.  Jen swam out and Jim yelled for her to go to the top of the rock (20 or so  feet) and look to see what she finds.  She found Jim and Hannahís geo cache.  It was  still there.  We went out later and there were 7 entries from people who actually  just stumbled onto it.  Geo cache would not allow the cache due to lack of routine  checking up on it.  But was still there and lasted through a winter in the Sierras.  It made Jim smile.

{Jenn}  The water in the lake was fantastic.  Not to cold, but refreshing. At that  altitude you can get tired really fast, but I had no problems until I got out and  started walking around.  lol.  Then I had to sit down before I fell down. We also  got hot showers (well a warm one in my case - I was fried by this point). Jim has a  shower enclosure and a heat exchanger setup that worked wonders.  Maria built us a  nice granite floor for the shower, so we were not standing in a puddle of water.  Robin set up the potty walls.  A great contraption of string, pvc pipe, and green  tarps.  Privacy for all your needs.  We had nearly all the comforts of home and none  of the noise.

Shower tent

Maria's granite floor

Maria one evening in camp

{Jenn}  This was a night for another late dinner.  We ended up eating all our dinners  in the dark, since no one wanted to mess with it until the sun started going down.  Also, we didnít always remember to get meat out to thaw, so it had to be cooked slow on the bbqís.

{Jenn}  The next day was another leisurely morning.  About noon we finally Decided  that we would drive over to Rubicon Springs and back.  An easy day trip. Maria and  Jordon elected to stay in camp, and Dan left the Willyís and rode with Jim. It was a  fun trip.  The Big Sluice was great!  The guy at Rubicon Springs (I forget his name)  was really friendly and nice and we chatted with him for a while.  He seemed mildly  surprised that we were all HAM operators.  He also checked out the rigs and who was  driving what.  He has a really neat setup there.

The broken axle fence at Rubicon Springs

{Jenn}  After a brief snack we loaded up and headed back towards the lake. Heading  up the hill, Robin had something happen with his ARBís.  I never did quite get what  it was, but he and Jim got it fixed pretty quick and on we went.  Just before he  stopped to check out the problem we passed another group that Dan spoke with and  found out that they were from the Canby area.  

Robin working on his rig on the trail

{Robin} I had a small air line come loose on the pressure switch so we loosened the fitting and pushed the line in and retightened the fitting for a quick fix. It came loose again Sunday, so itís on my list for repair.

{Jenn}  Without any more trouble we made it  back to camp for another leisurely afternoon of sitting in the shade (we are all  sunburned at this point) and chatting and fishing.  I should note here that we were in Bear Country, however we didn't see (hear) any bears.  We did keep a pretty clean camp and hung our garbage each night.  The biggest wild critter to invade us was a large squirrel.  Also, we didn't have hardly any bugs!  The gent at Rubicon springs had said that it had gotten really hot a few weeks prior and most of them had died off.  Yeah!!  Hardly any mosquitoes, few yellow jackets, and lots and lots of dragon flies the size of small planes!

                            Squirrel eating a piece of peach

{Jenn}  The next morning we slowly loaded up and headed out towards the Loon Lake entrance.  We made our way over the slabs and bypassed the sluices.  What incredibly scenery.  We make our way back to Ellis, and while screwing around I rolled a big rock under my rig.   I get off that and head down the trail after the others.  Get to a nice long flat area and pop it into second and hit the gas and WHAM, bang, bang, bang.  Uht-oh.  Busted the rear drive shaft.  Not good.  The gang all comes back and harasses me about it and Jim drops the rear drive line for me and we start down the trail.  He gets about to the first obstacle and calls back and suggests that Dan and I go out the same way Todd had, on the escape road.  I very reluctantly agree with him and off we go.

Broken drive shaft

{Dan}  That rock that Jenn liked so well was in the middle of an wide open flat area.  The only rock within 50 feet. :)

{Jenn}  I was a little upset at missing the Loon Lake part, but, I also realized that it was probably the best decision too.  Dan and I go back to Ellis and head up the road.  There are a few tricky spots, one where I needed a tug, and one long hill where I had to take two trys to get up it.  Momentum is important when on a loose dirt hill with only your front wheels pulling!  It made for an interesting trip out. We eventually get down to the two lane paved road where we are to meet up with Robin and Jim, and hmmm.  No one around.  So we hang out and get on the radio to them and find out that Jim is having some issues with the Cherokee.  Iíll let him tell about  that.

{Jenn}  After a bit Jim tells Dan and I to head on into Icehouse and they  will  follow.  So we head down and start loading up his rig and getting mine ready for the  highway.  Jim and Robin pull in after a bit. He has worries of his own, and is also  not sure we have the tools we need to get the broken bolt out of my rear yoke so that  we cant put the rear axle back in.  I call Tony (my mechanic) and confirm the  information that Jim has given me of worst case scenario if I have to drive home on  the front shaft alone.  I am not liking it.  I also let Tony know that he has a  ďhospital caseĒ coming into the shop next week.  I go talk to the guy who runs  Icehouse to ask if we could borrow or rent an easy out.  The long and short of that  was that I donít know squat and he figured that out right away and took pity on me  and had me pull the Jeep around and into his shop where he used a left hand drill bit  (gotta get me a set of those) to get the broken bolt out.  [I definitely owe him a  cold one next time I am there!!!  I asked what he wanted for the work, and he said a  cold beer next time.]  After that it was a matter of putting the drive shaft back on  and pulling a bolt from the front shaft to use on the back.  That had me ready to  head into Placerville.  I was a little leery, but just hoped there would not be any  more problems.

Jim, Dan, and Jenn working on Jenn's axle at Icehouse

{Jenn}  We get down to town and find a place that is still open for dinner. Itís a  really nice steak and seafood place, but they let us in anyway.  The food was great  and the service was good too.  Robin and Jill head out for where they are staying and  we go off to find a hotel for the night.  The second place we tried had room for us.  Not the nicest place I have stayed but far from the worst.  Best yet, lots of clean  towels, soap, and hot water!  <G>

{Jenn}  In the morning we get up and check in with Jim, the Cherokee is at a shop  already.  We head down to the Starbucks for Coffee.  We get the rig back in time for  check out and head over to the parts store so I can pick up the strap kit I need -  and discover that I have to buy a wrench too, since the one I had used the night  before was Robinís.  Oh well.  I get that and get the bolt back in the front drive  shaft and we are ready to roll again.

{Jenn}  We make tracks up the freeway.  Its H-O-T in the valley!!!!  Dan blows a tire  on the trailer at some point.  I was in the lead for some reason (not sure how I got  there), and I wasnít feeling well due to the heat so I kept on going up the road  until the next rest area where I doused my head and shoulders 7 or 8 times and began  feeling ok again.  Way too much sun!!  The rest of the gang pulls in a few minutes  later.  Jim puts the last of the gas in the Jerry cans into the XJ and we are off  again.  On to Weed this time.

{Dan}  About 5 miles north of Redding, 100 degrees outside, 70 MPH in the left lane, traffic all around,  one of the tires on my trailer decides it doesnít need itís tread any more.  No blowout, just no tread.  Luckily the median was wide and grassy.  I quickly get off the road and stopped.  Before I can walk back and assess the damage, a CHP drives up and asks if we are OK.  I tell him that Jim is right behind me and we donít need any help.  He visits a minute and drives off.  Jim drives up, whips out the high lift and we are back on the road in 10 minutes soaking wet from the heat.

{Jenn}  In Weed we stop at Les Schwabís and get a replacement for the trailer tire.  Then we head off up Hwy 97.  Itís a much nicer drive than the freeway is, and cooler  too.  We saw a pelican along side the road at one point near Klamath Lake. In Danís  words, ďthatís one weird birdĒ.  We stop in LaPine for gas.  The nice lady at the gas station that Dan and I  go to is trying to close up.  She only has 10 more minutes to go.  She was great.  She got out the windshield scrubbers out for us so we could get the bugs off, and got  the key out so we could unlock the bathrooms, etc.  Very nice of her to be so  obliging.  We stop at the Taco Time for a quick snack, getting there just as they are  trying to close of course.  Then we hit the road again.

{Jenn}  We part ways at Madras, Dan and Jim head on up 97, and I head up 26 to 35 and  over the back of Mt Hood into Hood River, then down the freeway and over the river  and home.  It was a slow drive over the mountain, and it was down right chilly up  there too.  A nice change from the heat of the last week.  I end up rolling in about  1:00 am.

{Dan} Jim and I head up 97 to the top of Criterion and take 197 to The Dalles.  Just as we start down the grade into Maupin, there are flashing lights ahead and some people in the road wildly waving flashlights.  Seems a pickup had hit a black cow that was still on the pavement.  I had both front legs broken and was trying to walk backwards with is hind legs only.  Really a sad sight.  We carefully went around the cow and proceeded down the hill, passing the county deputy and a pickup with a cattle trailer going up the hill to clean up the mess.  We got The Dalles shortly after midnight, exhausted.

{Robin} Jill and I stayed with her sister in Folsom Thursday night and my brother in Yuba City Friday and Saturday night. My brother will most likely be leaving the country for 2 years (Air Force) at the end of the year, so it made the trip even better to have time to visit with him. We drove home Sunday and enjoyed the weather which was much cooler than on the way down.

{Jenn}  What a wonderful trip it was!!!!  Iím tired, and sunburned, and peeling, but  it was worth all the fuss for sure.  I look forwards to going back again! I finally  got my rig emptied out this afternoon, about an hour before the rain began. What a  nice sound, rain.  The trip was really great and all of you folks were just wonderful.  I canít say enough good things about the guy at Icehouse going out of his way to help  me out!  Wish I had gotten his name.  He was really great.  It was a nice relaxing  trip.  I wish we could have stayed longer at the lake.   Itís a shame to have to come  back to ďcivilizationĒ so quickly.

{Jenn}  Oh yes, and a quickie report on the ARB Freezer...  WOW!  It wasnít turned up  all the way and still holding at about -20.  Should have brought some ice cream for  those hot afternoons.  Meat was not just frozen, but totally rock hard when we would  take it out to thaw.  No issues with the battery that I can tell.  Just sits there  and runs off of that second battery, and runs, and runs, and runs.  Nice and quiet. Its a little worse for wear after this trip.  Couple of dents in it, but doing fine  (note to self, check clearance under swing out next time).  Did fine all the way  home, even with me switching the power off every couple of hours so I could charge my  2M radio up.

{Maria}  I just wanted to say thank you to everyone on the Rubicon trip.  I had a  very good time.  I would say blast, but I have to still let Jim think he canít just  get me to go on all ďjeepĒ trips.  But I have to say that this one was fun, and I  think it had so much to do with the group.  A lot of laughs for all, and after I was  offered the Bitch Stick, and I told everyone in no uncertain words that I was not  going to take it, and if it was offered again the ******* thing was going on the  barbeque, the subject was pretty much closed and the coveted award was left strapped  to the bumper the whole trip.  I donít think anyone other then myself was even  offered it.  So I guess that was a good sign.  I have been pretty skeptical about  going on this trip.  I think it is the line, ď14 miles in 5 daysĒ that just didnít  sit right.  But after watching the Gilís Rubicon video 20 times I was ready to give it a try.  If I had to use 6 or so words to describe Rubicon they would be. 1st  PATIENCE, then flexibility, endurance, creativity, INGENUITY, and love of unknown and adventure.   Rubicon was SO different from Moab.  It was white and Moab was red. Moab just had a feel of spirituality thick in the air, Rubicon was so fresh and clean and clear.  Moab had so many grown up fun things to do and a quaint little town that keeps you hooked with reality.  And you can get good beer at any time. Rubicon felt  SOOO remote for being in the middle of California.

{Maria}  We had no camp fire.  That was sad but we did have two barbecues, and a Coleman stove.  Jenn has the coolest freezer.  We had frozen meat every night. So if  you have 1000 dollars pick one up.

{Jenn}   They are actually less than that, but not by a whole lot!

{Maria}  No it was very cool thanks Jen.  Everyone did something and pitched it and we had a ball.  I would recommend taking spare anything you can think of.  ESPECIALLY axle things of all sorts.  We could have used them, and a welder that has been charged.  Lots of towels, and sun screen, and a good chair to kick back in because not only will you kick back you will literally want to do it for days. One more thing the STARS are amazing.  I have never seen the stars so bright and twinkling so take a star chart if you have one.

{Jenn}  I was quite bummed that I forgot to pack my star chart.  It would have been a lot of fun to have.

{Maria}  Anyway, this isnít much of a technical report, but that maybe I can reach out to the spouses of the pesty 4 wheelers out there.  This trip was a great one.  I  would recommend doing it without young children or none at all.  If you love being in remote outdoors and you want to just relax you wonít do better.  Jim was literally in  heaven and it really made it fun to be around him.  He does things for me all the  time.  I hem and haw about these trips but they really are amazing.   Okay Ďnough  said. Thanks, Robin, Jill, Jen, Todd, Dan, Jordan, and Jim for all having such a good time and letting me join you all.

{Dan}  Maria and Jenn said it best, it was a wonderful trip, more breakdowns than on previous trips, great company and wonderful weather.  We all missed Todd and hoped that he made it home alright.  This was the best bunch of trail bums, as a group, that I have ever had the pleasure of being with.  Thanks to all.

Evening in camp




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