Trip Reports

Playing Hooky on the Rubicon Trail

Playing Hooky on the Rubicon Trail

Mid-week trip to the Rubicon Trail
Mid-week escape to the Rubicon

By Jon Crowley, UTVGuide.net
Photos by Dale Bunch and Kevin McKenzie

I just received my RZR XP 1000 demo unit from Polaris and was jonesing to see how it would do in the rocks.  The Rubicon Trail is just over an hour from where I live in Northern California, so a day trip is not extraordinary. I called a few local friends and convinced them to play hooky with me.  Surprisingly, I didn’t have to twist their arms very hard at all.

In addition to my new XP 1000, Jeff and John brought their XP 900s and Miguel brought his Teryx4. All of us had 30-inch tires and everyone has wheeled on the Rubicon, Rally on the Rocks for John and Jeff and even King of the Hammers for John. It was great to know that I didn’t have any newbies along for the trip so I could focus on how the new car would do in the rocks.

We met up for breakfast, then headed up to the trailhead at Loon Lake where Kevin met up with us.   I met Kevin back in 2007 at the first UTV Rally and we haven’t really been able to get back together in the rocks since then.  This was his first trip on the Rubicon and he was also excited to check out the new XP 1000 first-hand.  I told him he had to take pictures if he wanted a ride, so it worked out great for me.

We took our time for the most part, but stopped at a few spots to properly document our trip.  We stopped for lunch at Little Sluice and everyone was game to make a run through.  The county has really done a lot of work on this section over the last year, and it is much easier than it was before that.  But it is still a fun spot to challenge yourself and watch others do the same.

Polaris RZR XP 900Kawasaki TeryxPolaris RZR XP 900
Little Sluice

I made two runs through and everyone else was good with on trip.  We played around on a hill just past Little Sluice.  Well, mostly me trying to take a harder line and not being very successful at it…. After that, we decided to continue on to Buck Island.

Buck Island Reservoir
Buck Island Reservoir

We stopped at Buck Island for a while then decided to get back on the road again. I pretty much made a beeline for Little Sluice and then waited for a few of the guys to catch up.  It seems that bungie cords are not a suitable tie-down method for an ice chest in John’s RZR.  Let’s just say there are remnants of the soft-sided cooler on his Muzzys dual exhaust.  Oops!

Tire Block run flat foamAt Little Sluice, I decided to test out a new run flat product called Tire Blocks.  I let all the air out of one of the tires and we headed for Loon Lake.  Jeff was in front of me and we were moving at a pretty good clip.  Very surprised that the blocks were holding the tire up, and I wasn’t slowing down.  The dust was going to get worse ahead so I started looking for an opportunity to pass Jeff, and I caught him asleep at the wheel and snuck past him.  From there I was on the gas until we hit the turnoff to Loon Lake.  I wanted to make sure John didn’t end up in Wentworth Springs, so I waited until I saw him. 

We made it back out to Loon Lake in quick order and took a look at the tire.  It was still looking like it had air in it, and I really couldn’t tell much difference while driving either.  Very impressive that I was able to run 4 miles at a pretty fast pace on a flat tire in the rocks.

All in all, it was a great day on the trail.  Great friends with fun machines and no issues.  Great way to escape for the day!

30x10R14 UTV Tire Shootout
30-inch Tire Shootout

Note: All of these vehicles were equipped with 30x10R14 tires from different manufacturers. Want more details on 30-inch tire shootout? Look here: 30-inch Tire Shootout

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