What to expect

Rants, missives and occcasional updates about where Masquerade is located and what we are up to.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Crossing the Rubicon

Back in late July we had a chance to participate in the 56th Jeepers Jamboree, a famous 4x4 off-road event. This is a multi-day trip on the historic Rubicon Trail, which goes from Georgetown to Lake Tahoe. The trial was at one time a stage coach route, that was also the last time the road was maintained. 80+ years of rain, snow melt, and Jeep traffic has not been kind. This is rated as one of the toughest off-road trails in the US, a 10 on a scale of 1-10. We were tagging along with Cindy’s brother and his wife (John and Gwen) since we do not own a jeep ourselves (we have enough money pits for now). It did not take long for me to be surprised and impressed by what a Jeep is capable of getting up/over/down.  There is also a different set of driving skills involved. My short time at the wheel showed me I still had quite a bit to learn. You need to read the road ahead and pick a good line to follow. You also have to memorize what the road looks like and where the rocks are because as you get close the hood obscures your view and you need to remember what is right in front of you. I did OK driving; I got us stuck once and needed a tow; and got to one large rock that I just could not get over.


John and his friend Dennis volunteer as mechanics for the trip (along with several others). This means that they get to help fix the jeeps that breakdown along the way and there are always breakdowns.  The mechanics are true McGyver’s. They have a small set of tools and spare parts that they carry, and that is what they have to make whatever repair necessary. Of course they jeeps are outfitted with both welders and air compressors. I got to watch them pull apart a rear differential on a dirt trail, weld it back together on a rock, put it back together and drive the rest of the way out and back home.  Another repair that was done was to an engine that blew a rod. In an open air repair area, they disconnected 2 rods, wired the cylinders in place with bailing wire, and plugged the valves with wine corks. The engine came into the mechanics as a broken 6 cylinder and left as a running 4 cylinder and drove out under it’s own power.


The trip was an adventure. We met some great people, did some amazing driving, and got to camp out in the high sierras. A great couple of days.