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Story by, Coach George
Photos by, Steve Maguire
Spell-checked by, Jake the dog.

Rubicon Media Run '99
Sponsored by the California Association of 4WD Clubs

RubiconIn the morning, we scrambled out of our sleeping bags and set off to an enjoyable breakfast of coffee, coffee, and coffee. Oh, yeah. There was also awesome French toast as well as steak and eggs. With our bellies full, we had a driver's meeting and hit the trail at a leisurely 10:00 am.

Buck Island Lake was the destination for lunch. This time, Steve, Jake, and I jumped toward the front of the pack. We figured we couldn't be left behind if we were in front. Clarence Solari was keeping us on track via CB. He was supposed to be the trail leader, but several rigs scrambled to the front like the beginning of a motorcross race. Most of them took their own route, leaving us up front. In the meantime, we stopped and waited for each rig as they clawed and fought over various little objects. It's a great humility lesson when you claw your way over an obstacle and then see several rigs just meander over the same path. The planned route was to keep us high above the side-wheeling slabs and in the trees as long as possible. It's a lot safer that way, because several rigs were pulling trailers. I kept tabs on the route with Clarence via CB.

RubiconWe decided that staying off of the slabs was a good choice because as you look out into the slabs you see a white speck. That's a CJ that lost its brakes. Mother Nature provided a nice dead tree to halt his forward motion. Apparently, this driver was intelligent or lucky enough to point his nose down hill instead of cartwheeling again, and again and again. I understand that it has been a testament to the potential dangers of sidehilling for many years. If you drive and hike carefully and take the turn I soon missed, you can check it out yourselves as you explore the Rubicon.

I stopped to wait for the pack behind me. As I hiked up to spot, Clarence was hiking down to us. I had almost headed down the Old Sluice by not taking the correct turn out onto the slabs. Much further, and I would have been doomed to tackle the most evil t of all sluices; one way in and one way out. This used to be the main rocky route around the slabs but now a big boulder sits obtrusively in the way. Since then, I have talked to some 'wheelers who have recently traversed the Old Sluice. I understand that if you drive to the left of the boulder you can put your passenger's tires on the side of the boulder and your drivers tires on the wall. From there you wedge drive yourself around it. Sounds easy right! Yeah Sure!!!!!!

RubiconWell as I did a U-turn, many of those behind me followed the previous day's etiquette and went on their own way. Clarence and those behind him politely awaited my quick return. We were off again on a short trip, side-hilling through the slabs and through several water crossings.

Jake, as usual, checked the water depth and savored the sweet, mountain water. He is quite a geographer, as well. He studies all the different mud formations. Add to that, a wet coat and trail dust and you got one messy, but happy, hound.

Just before we get to the dam, Jake took a left and explored all the parked rigs, campsites, mud formations and water bugs. Entomology too? He sure is smart. He, of course, did not let me in on this adventure plan, so my lunch was spent hiking while eating a hot dog. I eventually found this professor on four legs. I sharply reminded him he was not the Indiana Jones he thinks he is and he should stay with me. He agreed, happily.


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