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 Ricks 2018 Rubicon run domination (picture thread) 
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Post Ricks 2018 Rubicon run domination (picture thread)
A great trip for sure and the rigs did excellent. Here's some pics

all tow rigs worked great

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Not many pictures mostly because we spaced out enough to not run into each others dust storms. Great weather but the dust we were kicking up was pretty gnarly

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Scotts Jack before the squeeze (notice you can't see the bottom of the pad)

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Scotts jack after the squeeze (he watched it happen and didn't care)

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Rob helping build the zip line

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Dan getting some NAR (south park reference)

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Poser shots (or should I say poster shots)

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obligatory "look out" point photo opp

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and don't forget to put your license plates back on while crossing state lines...

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August 22nd, 2018, 3:00 pm
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Post Re: Ricks 2018 Rubicon run domination (picture thread)
Looks like a great trip! I can’t wait to get off-road again!

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August 22nd, 2018, 10:08 pm
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Post Re: Ricks 2018 Rubicon run domination (picture thread)
Rubicon Day 1, Thursday August 16, 2018

Ah yes, the Rubicon. The infamous shallow river in northeastern Italy, just south of Ravenna. The same name was given to a river that was famously crossed by Julius Caesar in 49 BC. While it has not been proven, some historians agree that the two rivers are indeed one and the same; this was not always the case. Er… Wait… Wrong Rubicon....

Ah yes, the Rubicon trail! Infamous 4x4 Mecca in the middle of the California just east of Lake Tahoe. Once a major tourist destination and trade route across the Sierra’s, later replaced by the easy going highways of 50 and 80, and to this day an “unmaintained county road”. Without a doubt, it’s reputation precedes it.

But I’m ahead of the story. First one must get there. In the days of yore this meant mounting horses, and carriages. In the slightly more recent days of yore, it meant piling gear into a post-war-Jeep (some might say “CJ”). Today, at least for us, it meant putting the 4x4 rigs on the trailers and letting the tow rigs do the work. And my “do work”, I mostly mean run AC to keep the cab cool.

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This guy was tailgating me like crazy!

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Our group left the greater bay area, and headed up 5, through Sacramento and West on 50 towards the Sierra’s. We intended to run the trail all the way through which makes for a bit of a logistical problem. The trailhead we intended to use at Loon Lake (the purists will enter through Wentworth Springs) and the trail end in Tahoma, a good bit north of South Lake Tahoe, are about 2.5 hours apart on pavement. Since our group has licensed, registered, and insured rigs we left the trailers in Fresh Pond, about as perfect of a “middle ground” as one can find to minimize unnecessary time on pavement.in the 4x4 rigs. Fortunately the folks at the Fresh Pond Chevron and mini store have a lot of parking are amenable to 4x4’s. So we unloaded the rigs and left the trucks and trailers to wait for us. Our buddy Scott had driven up from SoCal the night before, leaving his tow rig and trailer at the trailhead in Tahoma, so he drove down the hill and pulled into Fresh Pond right as we were ready to leave, perfect timing!

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Unencumbered by 150”+ wheelbases and trailers-wider-than-trucks we blasted up the often-aptly-named Ice House Rd and were at the trailhead in no time. Anxious to get on the road, err, trail, we aired down and apparently neglected to take a single picture between the spillway and the slabs. I guess the gatekeeper isn’t what it used to be…

If you look closely you can spot 3 trucks

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The slabs are pretty cool. An unimaginably big chunk of granite with stair steps, climbs, off camber sections, and some random loose boulders and rocks thrown in for good measure, it all comes together to make for some cool wheeling. The good news is traction is often good so despite some steep climbs, it’s usually pretty easy going with low tire PSI, the right line, and the occasional judicious use of throttle.

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Shortly after the slab, Rick opened his hood. Originally we presumed he was just checking blinker fluid, you know, preventative maintenance. But alas, it was something else. Loose muffler bearing? I don’t remember. We were moving again before too long.

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After the slabs the trail gets a little more traditional-Rubicon-like. A mix of rocks, granite formations, trees, and shit. Emphasis on the shit.

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This picture is somewhere in the vicinity of Walker Hill. Perhaps Walker Hill proper.

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Here we are at the little sluice bypass. Though little sluice is passable in a reasonably built rig, there are still some larger boulder’s and we were on a mission to make it to Buck Island Lake ASAP.

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Before too long… off in the distance… you catch your first glimpse of Buck Island Lake.

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There it is!

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Then you start the descent into Buck. Which consists of approximately a half mile of various levels of off camber, leaning downhill, into what we result in a devastating roll. It’s not that off camber, but the sustained sideways, the long way to the bottom, and the lack of anything to stop you from reaching said bottom, gets a little uncomfortable after a while.

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Before you know it, we’re at Buck watching the sun cast long shadows

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All in all it was a great day. We made it to Buck in about 4.5 hours. Trail carnage was minimal. Rich, in his red and white 68 Bronco, pinched the rear flex brake line that comes off the frame down to the axle hard lines, but it turns out with a ~ 120:1 crawl ratio you don’t really need brakes, and everyone knows the fronts do most the work anyway, right?

Being late summer with much recent heat, half of the nearby forests on fire, and fire restrictions technically in affect, we don’t dream of starting a fire. Besides, it was 85 during the day and only low 60’s a night. Life doesn’t get much better.

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August 23rd, 2018, 9:47 pm
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Post Re: Ricks 2018 Rubicon run domination (picture thread)
I think when Rick had his hood up, he was adjusting his battery hold down. Great story telling Danny.

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August 24th, 2018, 9:27 am
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Post Re: Ricks 2018 Rubicon run domination (picture thread)
California Monkey wrote:
I think when Rick had his hood up, he was adjusting his battery hold down. Great story telling Danny.


You mean battery hold down Rick!?

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may be compared to the north polar star, which keeps its place and all
the stars turn towards it."

- Confucius


August 24th, 2018, 9:30 am
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Post Re: Ricks 2018 Rubicon run domination (picture thread)
Rubicon Day 2, Friday August 16, 2018

We covered a ton of ground the day before with the intention of an easy Friday. The plan was to cover the short ~ 2 miles from Buck to the Rubicon Springs. We took our time breakfasting and packing. Speaking of breakfast, just cuz you’re camping doesn’t mean you can’t eat well. Co-pilot Rob and I whipped up this delicious dish

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Rich did a quick fix on his damaged rear brake soft line from the day before by threading a screw with some glue on it up the line and pinching it off with a vice grip. Then we hit the trails.

Rick driving over part of the damn at Buck on the way out

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Rich in his CJ-5. Or maybe its a 6? Can’t remember, all those Jeep’s start to look the same to me

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Extreme!

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Before too long we were navigating the big boulders on the aptly named Big-Sluice. Several year ago there was a giant boulder smack in the middle of the trail with a tree growing out of it. The left line (going downhill) was narrow and best saved for Jeep’s like Rich’s. The right line put you super off camber with the driver door coming dangerously close to the aforementioned giant boulder. It was one of my least favorite sections of the trail. But as nature will do, the rock split and relocated itself in the trail, making the Big Sluice far more enjoyable in a full size.

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In short order we were at the springs, chattin’ it up with the caretaker. For whatever reason everyone and their mom was at the springs this Friday and all the prime spots on the water were taken. The caretaker recommended crossing the springs and going to the dirty dozen campsite. He also let us know there were 21 (!) brand new JL Rubicon’s coming through the trail with FCA Corporate. Apparently they fly out a bunch of the big wigs, execs, and some journalists to get seat time in a Rubicon on the Rubicon. So having received our briefing on the happenings at the springs, we hopped in the trucks and headed for the dirty dozen camp site.

The springs are private property and at $15 per vehicle a night, totally worth it. An amazing place to camp. One of my favorites on earth. Yes the whole earth.

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Little deeper than I expected!

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We set up camp, had some lunch and went to the infamous rope swing at the “main” camping area on the springs where many peoples were hanging out. There was a large group in the primo camp spot right on the water that we wanted originally so we chatted them up to see when they were leaving. They told us early the next day so we formulated our plot to get up early and swoop on the spot. We returned to camp and made dinners.

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Used rock lights for late night human-vehicle avoidance assistance. Remember what we always say, safety 3rd.

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I think we had like a half a beer each and went to bed. Another great day, trucks were flawless getting to camp. The awesome part about today was ~ 2 hours of good wheeling followed by many hours of swimming and relaxin around camp. To me the Rubicon is so much more than the wheeling, its the scenery along the way, swimming, hiking, and hanging out with friends, recalling prior stories with decreasing accuracy as the night wears on.

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may be compared to the north polar star, which keeps its place and all
the stars turn towards it."

- Confucius


August 24th, 2018, 3:35 pm
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Post Re: Ricks 2018 Rubicon run domination (picture thread)
Couldn't agree more on what the Rubicon means. The wheeling is good but the place, people and campsites make it worth doing to me.
Also, it's weird wheeling with a bunch of blazers and ram chargers. I use to know bronco owners.

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August 24th, 2018, 6:06 pm
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Post Re: Ricks 2018 Rubicon run domination (picture thread)
California Monkey wrote:
Couldn't agree more on what the Rubicon means. The wheeling is good but the place, people and campsites make it worth doing to me.
Also, it's weird wheeling with a bunch of blazers and ram chargers. I use to know bronco owners.


Totes all around. Blazers for life!

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the stars turn towards it."

- Confucius


August 25th, 2018, 11:02 am
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Post Re: Ricks 2018 Rubicon run domination (picture thread)
Must be a Jeep thing, I just don’t understand with my 1946 green lawn tractor!

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August 25th, 2018, 9:36 pm
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Post Re: Ricks 2018 Rubicon run domination (picture thread)
Looks like fun times!


August 26th, 2018, 9:06 am
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Post Re: Ricks 2018 Rubicon run domination (picture thread)
Great write up Danny, thanks! I had a great time this trip, truck held together and suprised/impressed me. Not to build a link setup so I can drive out Cadillac without losing my mind.

Let's do it again!!

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September 16th, 2018, 10:00 pm
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Post Re: Ricks 2018 Rubicon run domination (picture thread)
Saturday August 17, 2018

Apologies for the delay in story-telling, we did in fact make it off the trail intact. But first there’s some more trail fun and campground shenanigans to be had.

As mentioned in the last post, we had been told (warned?) that there were 21 new JL’s staying at the springs Friday night and heading up Cadillac Hill early Saturday morning. So with that knowledge we did some strategrizification on Friday. We scoped out our favorite campground in the springs, right on the water, a stones through from the infamous rope swing. So we chatted up that group and they told us they were planning to get out early ahead of the big Jeep group. So we planned to get up, eat quickly and backtrack the couple hundred yards on the trail to said awesome campground, ahead of the corporate Jeep group.

It’s hard to feel too rushed while camping in a beautiful place

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Plus we were killing it on breakfast as per usual

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So alas we ran into the Jeep group on the trail. Literally 5 minutes earlier and we woulda missed them. We chatted with a few of the drivers, a hodge-podge of engineers, corporate dudes, journalists, etc. We even ran into Pewe and Hazel driving together in one of the JL’s.

For some reason they had far nicer camera equipment than us…

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A friend at work pointed me to this article which was written by a friend of his. Small(ish) world! The article mentions “a few older Ford Bronco’s” and something about sheet metal being beat to shit. I’ll presume that was us.

https://www.caranddriver.com/features/j ... road-drive

Before too long the Jeep brigade filtered through and our desired campground was available! Paradise right on the water!

So even though we were setting up camp about an hour after taking down camp… it was so worth it. We’d have the day here to relax and enjoy the beauty of the area.

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Beachfront property!

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Now. Here’s the “problem” with a group of wheelers hanging out all day… We got a little bored. We had been swimming and using the rope swing (shout out to whoever rigged that up, always fun!), but were still a little restless. Around 2-3pm, after lunch and the first round of a couple silver bullets it occurred to us we had everything we needed to make a zip line. Winches, tree savers, snatch block, shackles, tow straps and so on. So after a little discussing we put the plan into action.

We used my truck as a ladder, standing on the roof to get a tree saver (gotta respect nature!) and snatch block high in a tree.

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Then we used the steel winch cable from Rick’s truck to run the line to the snatch block and across the river

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Another tree saver and a shackle on the other side and bing bang boom, zip-line.

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Worked pretty good all things considered!

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We were attracting some understandable, but undesirable, attention from some kids at the camp next door and the visual of a kid face planting into the dirt and rolling into the water after launching themselves off the roll cage of my truck ran through my head… and we took it down… I think we had another beer after that.

Before too long the sunset and you really see the beauty of this place.

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We had some steaks the size of a plate (is there any other size for a steak?)

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Had a couple La Croix’s and called it a night.

It's a little weird to say that the best part of the day, on the world famous off-road trail that is the Rubicon, was not wheeling. This really is the magic of this place. Great wheeling, sure. But its also a hell of a place to spend a day doing nothing. Perhaps there's a common thread here. There's plenty of cool camping spots in this country, and the world for that matter. The difference is you can't get to this one in a Prius.

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"He who exercises government by means of his virtue
may be compared to the north polar star, which keeps its place and all
the stars turn towards it."

- Confucius


September 22nd, 2018, 8:57 pm
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Post Re: Ricks 2018 Rubicon run domination (picture thread)
Sunday August 18, 2018

We woke with that slight disappointment a kid has on the day after Christmas. Not only was the day before simply awesome but this day would end with a long drive home on pavement and a return to work the day after. But before that, we had some cool wheeling ahead of us, namely Cadillac Hill. And in the meantime, we still had the beauty of the springs and the trail to soak in.

I was trying to get some pics of the sunrise but this jerk parked his Jeep in the way.

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We made another killer breakfast, despite the Jeep ruining the sunrise

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We packed up and begrudgingly left our water front property at the springs

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From the springs to Tahoe, there’s really only one section of the trail that gets much attention, and that’s Cadillac Hill. Named for the rusted shell of a car (supposedly a Cadillac) that many moons ago met its fate at the bottom of the hill. It doesn’t take a whole lot of imagination to figure out how it got there. The thing about Cadillac is it’s not really that challenging as the four-wheeling is concerned, in fact there are quite a few obstacles on the trail that are objectively harder. The thing about Cadillac is there are quite a few narrow spots where you’re gazing downhill, with not a whole lot of trail between your trusty 40’s and the edge. Did I mention those same sections are often off camber, aimed downhill? Yeah it gets a little butt-puckery at times. Many a passenger has opted to walk Cadillac, and I don’t blame them at all.

Given all of this, there’s generally a sense of “lets get it over with” that is further compounded by the fact that were several days and many miles into the trail. As such, there aren’t a lot pics…

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If the wheeling gets a little hairy, at least there’s always a great view!

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And bing-bang-boom we’re at the top of Cadillac, Observation point

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The cool thing now is the perspective we have on the trail, and Cadillac. I remember years ago, early 20’s and tight budgets, we were wheeling the trail on half-tons, 35’s, and breaking a lot of stuff. It’d take us twice as long to cover ground as it does now. I remember a particularly disastrous trip that took us hours to get up Cadillac due to multiple mechanical issues, the most impressive of which was losing both engine mounts and the trans mount at the same time, allowing the engine to pivot in the frame and smash the oil filter into the frame, losing oil in the process.

I’m so happy to feel like these days are behind us. On this trip our group walked up Cadillac. No winching, no tow straps, and not really even any spotting. This doesn’t mean it was a cake walk. Tires were spun, different lines were tried, and as mentioned previously, I’m willing to bet everyone had a butt pucker moment. The difference isn’t is mundane but a revelation at the same time: adult jobs, rigs with slightly better “base” parts (and often a lot more tire than we used to run!), and far fewer parts straight from the junkyard, means stuff doesn’t break as often.

We line up for the obligatory group shot. True story the authorities check your camera on the way out, if there’s no group shot picture here you gotta go back!

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People’s opinion on the drive from Cadillac to pavement in Tahoma, Tahoe largely follow the suspension of the vehicle their in. Link suspension with decent shocks? You probably don’t mind. Softish leaves all around? Meh. Stiff leaves all around? Call your dentist, you’re gonna need some fillings to be re-filled. The thing is from Observation Point to pavement is probably a good 8 miles and a lot of it is just rough dirt roads. It’s not particularly fun wheeling, in fact most of it is 2wd stuff, but it’s too rough to carry much speed for most of it. Accordingly we mosey on and don’t take a whole lot of pictures.

We did stop briefly for Scott to repair a steering box leak. The sector shaft seal at the top of the box sprung a leak. I carry a full steering box seal kit (highly suggested BTW, it’s cheap, and I remove the cardboard and wrap in duct tape so it’s very light, small, and rugged!), so we used a fresh seal and had it back together in no time. Apparently in the midst of this stop we only managed to get one picture…

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Scott wraps up and we hit the road. Then, in a plot twist fit for M Night Shyamalan, Aliens drop in from outer-space!!!1 JK. No, not the Jeep. What really happened was… Rich comes on the radio and tells us he’s lost clutch hydraulics. The plastic rod that connects the pedal to the master cylinder has decided it prefers to be in 2 pieces. The reason for the significance of this plot twist is a year prior, in a similar place, Peter also lost clutch hydraulics. Mind. Blown. No biggie. The beauty of a manual: lots of built in back up plans! So we carried on, some of us shifting normally, and some of us starting in gear and matching revs to change gears.

There’s a few lakes as you approach pavement.

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And just like that we’re at the staging area. We put air in tires and head down the hill. Scott had his tow rig and trailer at the Tahoe staging area so Rich leaves his Bronco with Scott and rides down the hill with Rick to pick up his trailer.

Even though the trip is over there’s some great sight seeing in Tahoe, here the famous Emerald Bay

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Just outside of Tahoe the group text fires up with this

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Apparently Rick forgot to put his licenese plate back on… The officer was super cool and everyone was underway.

So we head back to Fresh Pond and reunite with trailers. Rick and I head home. Rich drives backwards, an hour and a half to pick up his Bronco, where Scott has loaded his Bronco and is also ready to head home, for him it’s a much further trek back to So-Cal.

All-in-all another fantastic trip on the Rubicon. Great wheeling, great natural scenery, and great friends, what more could you ask for?

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"He who exercises government by means of his virtue
may be compared to the north polar star, which keeps its place and all
the stars turn towards it."

- Confucius


September 22nd, 2018, 9:41 pm
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Post Re: Ricks 2018 Rubicon run domination (picture thread)
Great write up! I had a blast on this trip and I'm glad to have had some failures but none that effected me or the group enough to be an issue. I'm really glad I over built it so I can still drive out even with no brakes and no clutch.

I can honestly say it's weird having my bronco called a jeep by so called "bronco guys"... its understandable to be a little jealous but this is borderline hate.

Come on guys... take a little pride in your ride. You guys are bringing down the property value of rubicon springs.

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September 23rd, 2018, 11:29 am
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Post Re: Ricks 2018 Rubicon run domination (picture thread)
The fact that us calling your bronco a jeep bothers you as much as it does just makes me want to do it more :goodfinger:

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the stars turn towards it."

- Confucius


September 25th, 2018, 1:42 pm
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