Trail of the Summer

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Is a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon truly broken in without returning to the dirt, boulders and climbs from which it was sired?

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Thus began plans to take on the mighty Rubicon Trail in California. Preparing for this trip with my fellow comrades from the Rubicon Owners Forum, we converged seven Jeeps from the four points of the compass—Rubicons all but one, to a single spot on a cool, Friday August morning at Robb’s Valley Resort.

With the tools and spare tires dispersed amongst us, we were ready for anything.

Day 1:

Unlike the typical run of the Rubicon, we wanted to spend two nights on the trail. Originally we had planned to stage at Loon Lake, but after several recommendations for Wentworth Springs, we changed plans at the last minute. And we were glad that we did.

Flanked by rotted buildings from the mining years assured me of the right course. We circled the wagons, aired down, disconnected our swaybars, and said a prayer for a safe journey.

The trail was easy going at first until we met our first real fork on the road. The trail sign hung closer to the flat road on the right. But the tire tracks marked the steep granite face to the left. We walked the steeper lines and discovered this was the Postpile.

The Postpile started with slabs, then boulders and fine obstacles. Bill and Robin Moore sat on the smallest shoes at 33 inches, but they took the hard lines with the rest of us on 35s and 37s (yes, the Rubicon can be done ably on 33s if you have proper armor protection).

All of us got an early impression of the 4-door JK when we watched Michael Wood, crawling with a prototyped Nth Degree suspension. The Jeep footprint was larger than the TJs and LJs the rest of us were in – yet a vehicle in command. Nimble likea buggy, Michael took his hard lines, maxing out his suspension on every side yet hardly getting tipsy…ever.

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