We gathered 14 UTVs and headed down the trail from the Lake Tahoe side to see if
they were worthy enough to survive the trip. 8 Yamaha Rhinos, 1 Arctic
Cat Prowler, 4 Polaris Rangers and 1 Polaris Ranger RZR made the trip. Our
destination for camp was Rubicon Springs, the site of a late 19th Century
mineral springs and hotel. To get there, we passed several lakes and then
descended Cadillac Hill.
Eight Rhinos and one Arctic Cat Prowler at the trail head on the Lake
Tahoe side of the Rubicon Trail.
The second wave of UTVs (one Polaris RZR and four Polaris Rangers) left
later in the day.
Quick stop at Miller Lake
Random Shots from Day One
Observation Point - The Group Shot
Coming down Cadillac Hill
Going up Big Sluice
Coming up Cadillac Hill
Blown Tire Bead
extreme trail like the Rubicon, you have got to be prepared for different
types of breakdowns. Unfortunately for Aaron Wedeking from PRP Seats, the
Rubicon threw him a few curve balls. The good news is Aaron was prepared
and had the skills to fix the breakdowns that could have left us in a very
mishap came on the way down Cadillac Hill before we made it to camp. In a
tough spot, he had forced the wheel to the side and ended up breaking the
aftermarket steering wheel adapter. Since we were about ½ mile from camp, we
decided the best thing to do was to get him to camp, then work on a fix. To
do that, a few of us ran ahead and took a steering wheel and adapter off
another Rhino, then ran it back up the trail. We bolted it on and got down
to camp without a hitch. Now what were we going to do?
was prepared for just this type of scenario. With two other rigs, he
combined three batteries with jumper cables and used a welding stick to weld
the adapter back in place. See the “Trail Welding 101” article in this issue
to see exactly how this works. All I can say is that I was completely
impressed. The welding sounded good, looked OK and got him back to the
trailer on Sunday. And that is what a trail fix is all about.
second mishap came on the way up Cadillac Hill on Sunday morning. The Arctic
Cat Prowler that his Dad and brother were in broke a rear CV, and then
another. With the stress of trying to make it out with less traction, and a
few more “cowboy” type maneuvers, a tie rod broke. With only two wheel drive
and no ability to steer, the Prowler wasn’t going anywhere.
With no other
options, Aaron broke out the “welder” and went to work on the tie rod.
There is no way a tie rod welded together at the break would hold, so a
splint was fashioned to give the tie rod some strength. Aaron welded on a
bolt and a screwdriver, and they were back in business.
Still a few
miles from the trailhead, they weren’t home free. Front wheel drive might
get you out if you are on a logging road, but there were still plenty of
boulders on this part of the trail that a UTV with two wheel drive just
can’t climb. With a tow strap hooked from their Rhino to the Prowler, they
were able to bang and bounce their way back to the trailer.
Aaron’s dad Bruce learned on the trip is too much air pressure in your tires
may save you from blowing a bead, but the added stress of less traction will
take its’ toll on other parts of the vehicle.