TTORA Rubicon Run 2006
All pictures from the trip are HERE.
So I never did a real write up on this trip, but here are the highlights.
This is the trip made famous by the now legendary Gnome. The Gnome. is the guy who purchased a yellow FJ Cruiser, added a ARB front bumper and winch, Revtec spacer lift and headed out to tackle the Rubicon Trail. He had emailed with a few people that were going on the trip and was warned that the trail was very difficult, especially for a rookie off-roader but he was determined that he was going to make it... after all, the FJ was Rubicon ready.... Toyota had said so!
For the Gnome. pictures, see folder 3 or click HERE.
So the Gnome. takes off in his severely overloaded FJ on the Rubicon trail. I first became witness to his driving prowess in the area of Buck Island Lake. There was this already severely dented up FJ (missing one tail light also!) that was trying to get up to the level of the dam but was having problems. He was taking a hard line, and every time he could not make it, he just backed up and tried again, this time with more throttle! It was great entertainment to watch, as long as you were not the one responsible for the damage being done to the FJ. He eventually made it up the obstacle and I fell in behind him in my truck and followed him up the trail.
Just a short way up the trail the Gnome. got stuck again. I got out to take some pictures, and while standing near the passenger rear side of the FJ noted that every time he hit the gas, the wheel/tire moved forward about 6 inches before the FJ started moving.... not a good sign. I called for him to stop and we looked under the FJ, the passenger side lower link was broken off and the upper link was bent. The ABS wire was also broken.
A trail repair ensued, the link was sleeved up and welded by Marlin (Marlin Crawler), the upper link was straightened and the ABS wire was spliced back together. After a few hours or repair, when we all thought it was ready to go he hopped back in and tried to head up the trail... only to hear a nice grinding noise and no drive to the rear end... the ring and pinion was gone. ( video here ) So he took a strap to Rubicon Springs, where Marlin towed him out to the Lake Tahoe side of the trail. I hear that he drove home to Elk Grove from there in 4wd with the rear popping and grinding the whole way.
The Gnome. did have a good attitude about the entire thing, he said he had full insurance and his brother owned a body shop. He had some idea that the insurance would pay his brother to repair it after inflating the costs and he would get a kick back, but they ended up totaling it instead and that cost him his deductible plus whatever they put the depreciated value at.. There was not a single panel on the FJ that didn't have a dent of some size, but the thing that made it totaled was the lower link hangars on the frame were beyond repair, so with frame damage that made it a total loss. AJ from Bent Up in Sacramento purchased it from the insurance company and later sold the yellow FJ to someone else. I also heard that he later ended up trying to sue Toyota for false advertising because they said the FJ was Rubicon ready. There was an almost identical FJ on this trip, and it made it through without a single dent, so I suspect that only the Gnome. was not Rubicon ready.
The other key highlight of the trip was the Motel 6 antics after the run.
Pictures are in the Motel 6 folder, or click HERE.
In the never ending game of escalation funny things can happen, and this is proof of that. Angry Andy decided that he didn't want to be screwed with so he stayed at a hotel across the state line. After a night of drinking in the Motel 6 parking lot and all sorts of fun, it was decided that someone needed to do something to Andy's truck. A few people headed off to paint his undercarriage in pink and purple. Nice work if I do say so myself, but browse the pics and see for yourself. It was discovered that the Motel 6 was in the middle of a remodel job, so a old toiled was pulled from the dumpster and placed on the hood of Demellow's truck, spray painted in the same purple and filled with "poo".
The next morning, everyone awoke to flat tires. The valve cores had been pulled and were on top of everyone's tires. A phone call was made to see when Andy was going to head over. He always valet parks his truck, and his girlfriend said that he had a fit when it came around the corner and had pink and purple suspension. He proceeded to come over and spray paint everyone who he thought had been part of the gag's suspension a baby blue color (the gayest color he said he could find on short notice). All in all, it was a blast that everyone laughed about for a long time.
The Gnome., center looks on as repairs are under way... love this picture, they all seem to have the expression on their faces like they are thinking "what else is wrong!?!"
The rear link is sleeved with a deep socket then welded back together.