Toyota Classics And Cruisers On The Rubicon Trail
Held from June 21 to 25, 2006, and hosted by the Toyota Land Cruisers Association (TLCA), Rubithon is one of the largest gatherings of Toyota-built rigs on the mighty Rubicon Trail. This year the event offered an added twist: Participants got the chance to testdrive several new '06 Toyota FJ Cruisers on the rocks in the main camp area at Rubicon Springs. It was great to see this new rig in action and also get the chance to see how it handled on the rocks. The general impression was that the FJ is a very capable rig, and many were surprised at the amount of traction and flex it exhibited.
To keep the trail from getting bogged down with traffic, the TLCA staged several runs of small groups throughout the event's duration. Each group was separated by about a two-hour window for its launch time and was limited to 25 to 30 rigs with a trail guide or group leader. On Thursday morning, the first group arrived at the Loon Lake trailhead and headed out a little after 7 a.m. Going through from Loon Lake to the base of Walker Hill was just a matter of picking the correct line on the trail, climbing some rocks, and dropping down some ledges. This was due to the fact that the Gatekeeper (an obstacle at the start of the Rubicon Trail) and other parts of the trail at the Loon Lake entry area had been reworked to help keep the trail open. But even with these simple trail repairs, the Rubicon is still a very tough trail from beginning to end.
Rubithon was the first large organized trail event of 2006 on the Rubicon, so from the base of Walker Hill to Little Sluice it was generally more challenging than usual due to Mother Nature's winter modifications. Quite a few eyes were opened by a little off-camber tipping on the way up Walker Hill, but everyone made it safely through to the top. Then, just past that, the group ran into a new log bridge built to help minimize erosion. The log bridge surprised some with its curves, but it was easy to wheel to the other side.
The next leg of the trail invloved the off-camber sections of granite slabs at Buck Island. The rocks and angles were a challenge as usual. A few minor vehicle repairs were needed along the way, but everyone made it safely around the island. Buck Island is a great place to take a break, relax, and swim in the lake before hitting the trail again. There is nothing like cleaning the trail dust off with a cool swim in a clear mountain lake!