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PostPosted: Sat Aug 19, 2017 9:53 pm 
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whew, finally
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Joined: Sun Nov 30, 2014 7:38 pm
Posts: 229
Ran a ton of trails, amazing area for wheeling, nothing in Washington comes close to the ruggedness of the trails. Zero issues or breaks with the Jeep on the trails or the 2000 miles of highway driving (except a tie rod jam nut loosening up, and something got creaky at the end of the trip when flexing).

Notes on the Jeep: Other than some snow wheeling and one trail run, this was basically my first real runs after doing tons of work on my Jeep.

Good things
  • Eliminating the rear shock mounts, removing the OEM gas tank, and doing a 2" tummy tuck had an absolutely transformative impact on the capability of my Jeep. The clearance improvements are very useful, and it's great not getting hung up on rear shock mounts.
  • I only have ORI's in the rear right now, but they are incredibly fun. The 3-stage velocity sensitive damping is amazing on the trails, they ride smooth but if you drop off a ledge or rock the Jeep just gently falls down down without any overshoot. Can't wait to get them in the front.

Bad things
  • My rear axle is 2.5" wider (due to spacers to fit my suspension, but I don't really want spacers on my poor front unit bearings). This is a lot more annoying than I thought it would be. Really have to work harder to not drag the rear end into places you don't want.
  • Down turn pre-axle dump exhausts suck so much. Just tap the gas in neutral and a big cloud of dust erupts. Oh well, it's the only way to really setup a JK how I want it.
  • Not-straight tie rods are really annoying, it's impossible to keep jam nuts tight (land the vehicle on the tie rod puts thousands of pounds of force on it, and a JK tie rod bends out a few inches at each end, so that's many hundreds if not nearly a thousand foot pounds trying to loosen the jam nut). Not a lot I can do about this on the JK axle though.
  • Long arms are sort of annoying, even with my mounts above frame level the lower arms get dragged up onto rocks and ledges (higher mounts than any kit on the market, I can't imagine having them mount below the frame, they'd just drag on everything). My front is still stock and I might just leave it like that with some stronger control arms and probably change it to a 3-link.


Ran an old trail a few hours north of Reno in the desert on the way over. Pretty overgrown and abandoned, was supposed to be a loop but the other side was gated and went through someone's driveway so I had to run it back out.

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First day arrived in the afternoon and ran the Blackwood Canyon trail to Barker Meadows trail, and then exit on the Rubicon (after Obs. rock) looping back to Lake Tahoe.

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Next day met up with someone to run the Rubicon Lake Tahoe side to Buck Island Lake and back out (since he had a trailer didn't want to go through). This was the only time I was not running alone.

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Got out by early afternoon so I started towards Hell Hole Reservoir. Google Maps routed me on 40 miles of very rough forest road (the forest roads down there are awful compared to around here - there are towns on gravel roads rough enough for the Washington Forest Service to consider it a 4WD trail)

Went looking for mining remnants, but just found some shot up piles of trash and a collapsed roof

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Next day ran Hell Hole Reservoir trail. This has some good ledges and rocky sections but nothing extreme. Had to pull cable once coming out. The entrance is a descent down to the lake, and you have to get back out.

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Since there was no cell service anywhere and I didn't have good maps, ran the same 40 miles of forest road back north to Lake Tahoe area. Went out another "forest road" to Summit Lake, but also really like a Jeep trail.

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Next day I drove south for 3 hours then ran Slick Rock trail. This is a pretty short trail but has a few fun rock steps. As a bonus a thunderstorm came through so I got to run most of it wet making it a bit more fun.

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Finished Slick Rock quickly then went to Deer Valley. I believe this was the first week in many years that the trail has been open (disputed land use issues). Since it was still wet from the thunderstorm and the ground was fairly soft the initial climbs on this trail were quite difficult. Setup camp at the end of the trail

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Next day did some hiking, then went up Ellis Peak in the Jeep (did some loop, both ends are just after the Rubicon staging area on Lake Tahoe side). This is a spectacularly beautiful trail, highly recommended!

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Afterwards I drove south and camped then the next morning ran the full Rubicon from the first Wentworth Springs entrance through to Lake Tahoe. A bit over 7 hours pavement to pavement. Arrived to Cadillac Hill when it started raining as three people were going up in 2WD open-diff buggies on probably 28" tires. Never have I seen wheel speed be used to such an extent, they must have been hitting 60MPH wheel speed, you'd get killed standing behind them from flying rocks.

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Was going to join some people on a trip through Fordyce Creek trail today but PG&E raised the flow to 300CFS so that got cancelled (since my Jeep would just disappear into Fordyce Creek never to be seen again), so I just drove home after the Rubicon run. Was a bit tired of wheeling anyways. I'll need to go before Sierra Trek next time to get that trail in since they keep water levels low for that.

Fun trip, should have planned it better as I was doing way too many 2-3 hour drives between trailheads. Generally had no plans made until each morning.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 20, 2017 9:34 am 
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Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 9:08 am
Posts: 11086
Location: Reno, NV
Vehicle: '04 Jeep LJ, '72 Toyota FJ40 LandCRAWLer
Glad you enjoyed our backyard. It's not a bad reason to move. ;)

As a general rule if you're in Nevada and confronted with a gate, you open it, drive through and then close it again. Your situation may have presented different facts but for the most part you can do that and nobody cares.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 22, 2017 7:44 am 
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whew, finally
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Joined: Wed Nov 15, 2006 5:45 pm
Posts: 862
Location: Lynden WA
Vehicle: 04 LJ
That looks awesome! :rock:
I cant wait to get my Jeep done and down to the Sierras.
I've got family in the area that run Fordyce, Barrett lake and the Rubicon regularly, so I'll have some experienced guides to help me.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 22, 2017 11:13 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 22, 2017 12:33 am
Posts: 6
That looks fun and challenging adventure!


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