How not to run the Rubicon

This can also be titled…how NOT to do the Rubicon….or…how to save the sanity of your passenger, remembering that she is the one that feeds you. I should preface this account by saying that Joe and I, and the Jeep, are safe and sound, and a little sore. We all survived, although the Jeep got a lovely new dent on the passenger side fender.

Joe and I, perhaps forgetting our age, the age of the Jeep, and the difficulty of the trail, decided to do the Rubicon in 1 day.

Thinking we would get an early start, we set the alarm to 5:30am, only to push the snooze button, and get up about 8:00.

This set the tone for the rest of the day.

We drove through Georgetown, and decided to enter the trail through Wentworth Springs Road, for some additional bone crushing, Jeep punishing fun. We met Ole and Sherry coming out after finishing the Rubicon work day with FOTR, and Ole tried to warn us that the trail ahead was a little rough. He was right.

I’ll spare the account for the rest of the day, but suffice it to say that this was the first time I’ve ever screamed on a trail. I’m not proud of this fact, but it is true. I don’t believe that we set a land speed record for doing the Rubicon, but we started from Wentworth Springs Rd. at 1:00pm or so, and we arrived at Rt. 89 at 9:15pm. We stopped for lunch at Little Sluice, always a good source for entertainment, proceeded to do the rest of the trail at bone-breaking speed. We unfortunately met up with a particularly memorable individual who had broken down on Cadillac Hill, and refused to let us pass for 30 minutes or so. After determining that he was a few bricks short of a full load, as they say, we convinced him to winch up to a point where we could squeeze by him. (He had decided to do the Rubicon with open diffs - and an ancient Warn winch. To his credit he managed to get through it, but his YJ looked much worse for the effort.)

Joe did some incredible driving - some of the best I’ve ever seen him do. He maneuvered the Jeep through the rocks with a lot of skill, but the sound of the Jeep banging and crashing simply got to me.

I’m left with a great respect for the difficulty of the trail. It is simply non-stop rocks, rocks, and then for a change - some more rocks. Oh, and some granite slabs, and a few water crossings. We’ve decided that the next time we do the Rubicon we need the following - lower gears (we have stock gearing). maybe some kind of front locker (ours is open), a working clutch, and we’ll take a little more time. If we had bigger tires - it wouldn’t have hurt, although we’ll probably stick with 33’s. And of course we broke the cardinal rule of wheeling - we were alone, then the cell phone and GPS ran out of juice and we didn’t have the rechargers. To our credit, we did have emergency gear, including blankets, sleeping bags and warm clothes, a lot of water and extra food.

Jim - I need to talk to you about some good emergency flashlights!

Quite a few Excedrin later…..