By Ken Hower

Rubicon Toilets Upgrade

Last Fall, Edio Delfino and All Coast Builders (www.allcoastbuilders.com ) and James Hardie Building Products (www.jameshardie.com), offered to El Dorado County via Rubicon Trail Foundation to donate materials and services to rehab all the Rubicon toilets with new more durable siding.

Last week, with coordination from RTF and All Coast Builders, seven of the ten Rubicon Rest Stops (trail bathrooms) were stripped and rehabilitated with new concrete siding and trim provided by James Hardie Building Products. This was a coordinated effort to move material, strip, and re-side the public bathrooms with a superior product that will last for decades and be non-combustible, resistant to sun, wind, animals, and insects.

The result is a transformation!

Rubicon Trail Foundation would like to thank El Dorado County Parks, All Coast Builders, and James Hardie Building Products for their collaboration to make this project possible. Look for the rest of the toilets to be updated and all to be painted to their former colors before season end.

Each toilet was rehabbed removing rotten wood, and woodpecker holed wood.

They were properly wrapped for the elements.

Arnold’s rock toilet was in the worst condition, given it is one of the oldest toilets on the trail. It now has decades of new life.

By Ken Hower

Placer County Crawlers and Slo Town Crawers Deliver Final Rubicon Rock Marker

Memorial Weekend 2020, marked the final chapter in a 10 year project by the Rubicon Trail Foundation to place markers at key locations on the trail.

Over the years, markers have been placed at the Kiosk, Intertie, Little Sluice, Old Sluice, etc.   Most of them were delivered by the Placer County Crawlers.  In May 2013, the majority of the rocks were placed, with the most difficult being Big Sluice rock.

This year, the Slo Town Crawlers and Placer County Crawlers teamed up to deliver the final marker to the Rubicon Springs.  However, this time the rock almost didn’t make it!  Due to a rollover on the Indian Trail descent, the rock spent a portion of the weekend waiting for reinforcements.

But the crew came back later in the weekend, and connected the trail to a new rig, and headed off to Rubicon Springs.

Later in the day, they MADE IT!  The final rock had arrived!

The crew set out to place the rock and was able to take a celebration photo with the rock in place.  Congratulations to so many who worked very hard to place these rocks on the trail.

Never forget…there’s always a ham!  Thanks again to the Placer County Crawlers and Slo Town Crawlers.

By Ken Hower

Cadillac Hill Rock Flight Success

In 2018, Vickie Sanders at El Dorado County began laying the seeds with Placer County to assume control over the maintenance of the Rubicon Trail from Loon Lake through to Lake Tahoe. The Rubicon Trail has never been a high priority for Placer County, so El Dorado County began the process to get an MOU (Memorandum of Understand or Formal written agreement) in order to take control.  In 2019, with the MOU secure, Vickie began planning a very important project on Cadillac Hill.  At the very popular Steve Morris history of the Rubicon speech at Jeepers Jamboree, Steve stated that in his opinion, the road base at Cadillac Hill was 10 feet lower in some areas from his first visit.  This erosion over the years lowering sections of the hillside needed to be addressed. However, the amount of natural rock around Cadillac Hill had been used in previous projects.  It was clear that a helicopter would be required to fly rock available at the Gerle Addit, an ENF facility (Loon Lake, spillway, and tunnel rock from the ’50s) to Cadillac Hill.  Vickie secured a grant from the OHV Fund to hire the Sikorsky S-64 Skycrane from Siller, but the grant required matching funds.  In early 2020, the Rubicon Trail Foundation voted to provide the $32,000 of matching funds required to execute the grant.  The project was on!

In April, when the weather on the trail became more clear, Siller was able to confirm availability for the weekend of May 15-17.  However, any project like this requires manpower and Jeepers Jamboree, with years of experience doing work on Cadillac Hill, stepped up to provide the crew required to complete the work.  Rubicon Trail Foundation provided support by feeding the volunteers, in addition to the previously approved matching funds.

On May 15, the rock began being flown to Cadillac.  There were 3 RTF directors, 3 JJ directors, and 5 JJ volunteers for a total of 10 people on site for rock delivery. Rock was laid down on cyclone fence and the fence was pulled over and secured with hog rings.  More rock was placed over that blanket of rock, for final securing.

Final work below V Rock

In total, 264,000 lbs of rock was flown to Cadillac Hill and a couple other locations. Overall the project was a major success and a great example of El Dorado County, State OHV Fund, Rubicon Trail Foundation donors, and trail volunteers to ensure an important project on the trail is completed.

By Ken Hower

Black Tie & Boots Postponed

Black Tie & Boots is Postponed at this time

Jackson Rancheria Casino Resort just notified us that they have to cancel all events.

We are making plans to reschedule this event and will let you know as soon as possible when dates are available.

If you had hotel/RV reservations the casino will be calling you.

We sincerely apologize.

Jackson Rancheria Casino Resort 800-822-9466

If you have any questions or concerns please call us at 1-888-678-2426 or email- info@rubicontrailfoundation.org

By Ken Hower

Visiting RTF Property in Winter

As the colors turn on the leaves, that first big snow storm is potentially just around the corner. Travel on the Rubicon during this time of year can become a life or death struggle faster than most people are aware.

Visiting the RTF Property after the Little Rubicon Crossing and heading down to FOTR camp requires going down Trash Can Hill.  TCH is fairly steep, and in the best of conditions, can be a struggle.  While the RTF Property is open to the public 365/24/7, in winter conditions be extra vigilant.

  • Check the weather conditions on Thursday before your planned departure.  Check our Condition Page for current and potential weather.
  • Read our vehicle preparation page. This time of year you have to be highly self-sufficient due to reduced traffic.
  • Always have enough food and water to make it several days beyond your expected departure.
  • Pack warm clothing beyond what you think you’ll need.  Expect the unexpected.
  • Know where the Trash Can Hill winch plate is before going down.

If you follow these basic tips, you can keep your trip from turning into a life or death struggle.

By Ken Hower

This History Of Spill Kits

Rubicon Spill Kits

By Vickie Sanders

There has been a lot of discussion about spills recently. The County wants to remind everyone spills were part of the cleanup and abatement order from 2009. The county developed an educational program commonly called the 4’s, sanitation, spills, sedimentation and safety.

In 2011 spills were the focus of the year and with state grants the county has provided spill kits ever since at the kiosk free of charge. This is your green sticker money at work for you. You have already paid for them.

In the past RTF staff under contract with the county have been at the kiosk to hand these out. This year the county hired staff to be at the kiosk. Staff is there Friday thru Monday from 12-6. If you miss staff or need a kit you can always contact Vickie Sanders and come by the office. The County office is located in Placerville by the fairgrounds.

There is a group addressing the recent spills in the bowl. Thank you once again to a community that takes care of the resources and each other. Without your help the county could not do the work needed for the Rubicon.

In addition, RTF has 2 mid-trail staff on trail, Glenn near Buck Island and Mike near Spider. Both of these awesome gentlemen gladly will hand out spill kits provided by the County.

By Ken Hower

A Day In The Life…of a Poo Truck Driver

By John Arenz


John Arenz and Merlin Scott in the RTF Poo Truck

I guess everyone knows by now that I’m the day to day poo truck driver for RTF. At this point it is also common knowledge that El Dorado County next season will take over this service. We (RTF) couldn’t be happier! When we built the poo truck, we did so as proof of concept. A little history, in 2010, the anti-Rubicon closurists were watching the trail intently. They campaigned the agencies (El Dorado County and the Forest Service), saying they couldn’t spend money putting bathrooms on the trail because they had no way to service them, and of course that they couldn’t spend money building a service truck because there was nothing to service. Chicken and egg, if you will. RTF built the truck and started providing the service to help solve the sanitation problem on the trail because it needed to be done, the same way the county built the  bathrooms…because it needed to be done. Now that RTF has proven it can be done, it’s time for a government agency (the County) to take it over.

So on to the original subject. A typical day for me on the Unimog starts at Spider Lake. I pack a lunch, fill the mog with water and leave as early as I can. It takes me about five hours to go to the far end of Buck Island Lake, suck out the four toilets (about 350 gallons of poo slurry) and return to Spider, pumping the Arnold’s Rock toilet on the way back. From there it’s another two hours to the Ellis vault to dump, and two hours back to Spider. So a nine hour day. The following day, thankfully, is much shorter. It usually takes about 5 hours to do that. On the trail I chat with people on the trail, educate and just try to be friendly.

Sounds simple, and it is, usually. Of course, sometimes things don’t go as well. I’ve popped tires turning a nine hour day into a three day extravaganza trailering a new 250 pound tire and wheel in and changing it. I’ve also run out of gas in the pump and had to beg borrow, and steal fuel, ok mostly beg, from trail users (yeah, I know, dumb). Of course, users create roadblocks too. I HATE wipes. They clog the machine and must be removed using a hook and pliers. Please, please, don’t put wipes in the toilets! I’ve found some interesting stuff in toilets too…many pairs of underwear (men’s and women’s), pajamas, lots of random trash, full bags of trash, and one of my favorites, a block of cheddar cheese. Who does that? All of this stuff has to be removed, bagged, and placed in a leak proof bucket to be taken off the trail and placed in the trash. Yes, that happens in my personal rig.

I’m looking forward to next season!

By Ken Hower

15th Annual Cantina For The Con Postponed

Press Release:

15th Annual Cantina For The Con Postponed

It is with heavy hearts we announce that the 15th Annual Cantina For The Con will be postponed until 2020.

After meeting with the Forest Service and addressing their concerns with the construction closure of North Shore campground and the dispersed camping area adjacent to it, RTF has determined that the severely limited parking, camping sites and turn around points near the construction area would greatly affect traffic flowing in and out of our event. The Rubicon Trail and its user’s safety will always be a top priority for the Rubicon Trail Foundation and we feel this year’s event will only add to a difficult situation. We also hope this will free up some much needed space to help offset these closures on one of the trails busiest weekends.

We greatly apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you. We know a lot of people look forward to this event each year and we look forward to seeing all of you as well!

Please stay tuned for future upcoming events.

Thank You,
Rubicon Trail Foundation

By Ken Hower

Steve Morris – A True Rubicon Legend


It is with sadness that we give tribute to one of the true Rubicon Legends, Steve Morris. On Saturday, July 27, 2019 at the 67th Jeepers Jamboree in Rubicon Springs, Steve passed on. Steve was a true pioneer of the Rubicon Trail, participating at the beginning of the Jeepers Jamboree with Mark Smith, a partial owner of Rubicon Springs, the first President of Cal4Wheel, a 2019 inductee of the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame, Rubicon Trail Foundation Rock Award winner and the name behind Morris Rock on Cadillac Hill. Steve had dedicated his life to spreading the message on the beauty of Rubicon Springs and through ownership, making sure the Rubicon Springs is available to everyone. Steve couldn’t have written a better life script passing away at Rubicon Springs after being with his family and so many friends during the event he loved so much. He will be missed and remembered by so many for generations to come. The Rubicon Trail Foundation sends it’s sympathies to Steve’s family.

By Ken Hower

Vicki Sanders Resignation

For immediate release: July 23, 2019

It is with great reluctance that we announce the acceptance of Vickie Sanders’ resignation from the Rubicon Trail Foundation Board of Directors.

Vickie Sanders, the El Dorado County representative has served on the Rubicon Trail Foundation Board for the last 5 years as a non-voting member and has chosen to resign her board position effective July 17, 2019.
Vickie will continue to be a liaison to the Rubicon Trail Foundation and we look forward to continuing a close working relationship with El Dorado County. We have two upcoming trips planned with the County: the VIP and OHMVR trip which are in the planning phase and will move forward as scheduled.

Vickie will be missed by the board, she has served with passion and strength. She truly is a trail user, advocate and has brought about many positive changes to the trail and community.

Sincerely,
David Thomas
President Rubicon Trail Foundation