80's on the Rubicon, Trail Report

by Alvaro Rodriguez

On the first day somehow I got to be trail leader. Things went fine on the first half of Wentworh Springs. Then I missed a turn. I had the war wagon behind me. Talk about pressure to perform. I lead the group through some very tough slabs that I had not been on. Then It was time to turn around and find another way to get up the trail. Meanwhile, La Cabra was pinched between three rocks. One on the rear left quarter panel, one on the right slider, and one behind my rear diff. I had to get out and move the rock behind it and back out. That's where I got my first scratch of the trip. Right above the rear end of the left slider. Then, still with the war wagon behind me, while backing up to get a better line, I hit the right rear quarter panel with the root of a tree. I felt much relieved when Jim Brantley took the lead. No more body damage for the rest of the trip. I needed to relax a bit.

My nephew Juan was with us. First time camping for him. First time with a 10 year old for Monica and I. Juan was a great sport. His help was greatly appreciated to set camp. There were some very funny moments with him, like the time we went through the first set of tight rocks and he said "Uncle you're going to destroy your wagon". Or his face when worried about the bears at night and I told him that my snoring would keep the bears far away from our tent.

Early Thursday morning at Buck Island I realized I had a flat tire due to another damaged stem valve. Just like three weeks ago in the Dusy-Ershim. Only this time the air leaked slowly. That's how we where able to get to camp without noticing it. I have to say we are getting good at changing stem valves on the trail. It took us but 10 minutes to get it replaced. Robbie, thanks for the CO2.

After we got over the bridge, I heard on the radio someone asking for the NorCal 80s wagons. It was Jeff Kauffman. I felt like Livingstone. I followed Jim Brantley as he avoided the mud pit. He took a bypass on the far right that had a V shaped climb. Knuckles made it look easy, but I knew La Cabra would have a tough time doing that. So I backed up resigned to get in the mud. I hate mud. And then, there it was. Another bypass, no need to go through the mud. I got to the other side just in time to see Heather trying to get over. The Hockers 80 looked like it was going to tip. I got a great pict of that.

Then came camp at Rubicon Springs. It's paradise. Jim found a great spot to set up camp. Our tent was on prime waterfront. Jim gave me a great shot of Tequila with a Squirt chaser, a great way to start cooking. As the sun came down, with the help we fired up the propane grills. We had three going at the same time. In two of them we did skirt steaks, on the other one sausages. We had a blast cooking for everyone. As we sat down to eat, Doug took over the duties of grilling. The best piece of skirt steak I had that night was done by him. We learned for the next Argentinean BBQ that we need a greater sausage per person ratio and more Chimichurri (Andy, you spelled it correctly).

I want to thank all those who spotted me. Jim your spotting is the most educational spotting that I've ever had. Thanks for pointing out where things where going to be, like my diffs. Monica, Christo thank you for asking me to chill, when I need it to.

It was a great weekend. Regards Alvaro

Alvaro Rodriguez