This year’s Rubicon trip would be unlike any other we have ever taken. Maybe it was the seemingly countless trailer flops. Or maybe it was the legendary campsite. Or, the fact we started in Wentworth Springs instead of Loon Lake.
**UPDATE!! As of Summer 2016, The Brewery at Lake Tahoe NO Longer offers the vegan burger. I have updated the post below**
There are two ends of the Rubicon trail in Northern California.
Most people start on the Loon Lake end and make their way toward South Lake Tahoe on the Eastern end. While the West end at Loon doesn’t have any amenities, the Lake Tahoe region has a ton of great, hidden vegan gems – some to hit up, and some to avoid.
I will update this little guide as my time in Tahoe expands and I am able to check out more and more places.
The Brewery at Lake Tahoe
3542 Lake Tahoe Blvd, South Lake Tahoe, CA
The video documenting our Rubicon adventure is finally online!
August 2014, Days 2 & 3.
Miss part one? Find it here!
Everyone slowly woke to the familiar smell of coffee and the sound of hushed voices. Once caffeinated and packed up, we decided to cross the dam and take a look at the helicopter crash site.
Just days before we arrived, a chopper that was ferrying supplies for the Jamboree crashed on the shore of Buck Island Lake. Fortunately, everyone survived. It was still a very surreal scene, with bloody clothes visible and even the pilot’s headset resting in the cockpit window frame.
Once we returned to the campsite, we left Buck Island Lake, quickly encountering a fun series of ledges right out of the gate.
August, 2014, Day 1
The Rubicon is not just an offroad trail, snaking through the Sierra wilderness of Northern California. It is also a river in Italy. More importantly, the saying “crossing the Rubicon” is a direct reference to when Caesar’s army crossed this treacherous river, knowing they could never go back. It is now a reference to a point of no return.
And, while there many points along the Rubicon trail that seem like a point of no return, the metaphor is larger than that. The Rubicon is more of a pilgrimage (pardon the oft cliche’d jeeping phrase) for people that are looking to challenge themselves and their Jeeps, spend quality time with great friends, and experience some of the most beautiful wilderness this country has to offer.
As far as the offroad community is concerned, spending time on the Rubicon Trail is a spiritual experience.
So, it is, actually a point of no return.
You’d be amazed how many calories you burn when wheeling. Yes, you are sitting down quite a bit. However, you are constantly climbing in and out of your Jeep to scout obstacles, running ahead for that photo, scrambling up hills with winch lines, etc etc.
So it is important to eat well.
On the Rubicon trail earlier this month, I decided to use some Beyond Meat Beefy Crumbles and Field Roast Italian sausages to whip up a sauce so meaty, it would make Ted Nugent blush (disclaimer: He’s an a$$h*#! and I can’t stand him).
Anyway, even though this is a simple recipe, it bears writing as it is super easy, delicious, and will be the envy of your camp. Trust me.
When jeeping for a long period of time, nothing is more important than a hearty breakfast. On our recent trip along the Rubicon Trail, we woke to a chilly Sierra morning and I decided to warm up with some breakfast burritos.
These are a twist of my friend Andy’s amazing breakfast burritos from Moab.
So what do you get when you merge the Rubicon with burritos? Ruburritos (thanks Jesse!)
UPDATED! I am building a SECOND expedition trailer! On 4/1/2016 I purchased a 1946 Willy’s M100 trailer from a seller in Livermore, California.
While on a recent trip to San Francisco, I happened to open Facebook and saw a unicorn – a 1946 Willy’s M100 for SALE! And the price was right. So I bought a trailer hitch, installed it in a dirty alleyway, and the following morning dragged the trailer all the way to Portland.
At this point, plans include better electrical, paint, fab and welding, 37s, and a few extras.
4/10/2017: My friend is doing the fab work for this phase of the build which includes new fenders, platforms before and after the fenders, extended tongue and tongue deck, fitment of a CJ tailgate, and a new bumper. We are also discussing the possibility of a raising platform to make better use of the annex.
The trailer below this point was built and sold. Read on for build notes!
Last Summer while camping on the Rubicon, we camped at the base of a small ledge near Buck Island Lake. Our tent was on the ground at the base of this ledge. All night, (what I though could be potentially drunk) drivers drove their rigs around the area. The thought of one of them not seeing our tent, and attempting the ledge kept me up all night.
So finding a way to get up off the ground has been on my list.
In addition, the ability to have “just enough” creature comforts without having “too many” is appealing to me. Also, as trail-bound vegans, we tend to bring all our food with us, so the additional space is critical. Continue reading Building an Off-road Expedition Trailer
Be sure to check this out! No really. Do it.
Buck Island Lake to the End
September 1, 2013
So last night was just about a disaster.
There was a lot of partying in them thar hills – and shouting, and driving around, and being all rednecky. So I woke up pretty grumpy.
Luckily, I was up before anyone else in the group. So, I wandered down to the lake and decided to get my morning started with a swim. I jumped into the lake with biodegradable soap and wash some of the trail off me. It was VERY chilly (probably about 8,000 feet) but worth it.
I wandered back to camp and started to prepare our breakfast at about 7:30.
My coffee routine has changed over the years. I used to lug a huge silver coffee pot when backcountry camping (which was stupid). Then, I moved to French Press on Jeep trips. But even that is a huge pain in the butt. You have a lot of grounds to deal with (both fresh and wet) as well as washing out the press and all that stuff.
So my new formula is Stumptown’s Cold Brew coffee (small glass bottles). I heat up some water, and add about half a bottle of coffee to half a cup of water. Stir in some soy creamer, and voila! Trail coffee that is easy and grounds free.
Back to the trail.
We broke camp and headed out around 10:00AM.
The first set of ledges right outside of camp proved to be an abrupt and startling challenge. Chad would use his winch again on these, as the placement of the ledges were right in the wrong spot. Running an open diff was much harder in spots like these.
We made our way slowly toward Big Sluice.
We arrived at a great spot for lunch, just past Rubicon Springs. This was a large granite area that butted up against a cliff, with large boulders piled up at the base. A the Rubicon River meandered through the site, and filled a good sized pond, complete with a rope swing. This would be an amazing spot to camp next year.
We sat here for a couple of hours, enjoying the water and some good lunch.
After departing Rubicon Springs, we now had to face the final obstacle – Cadillac Hill.
This is the end of the Rubicon, and you could say they saved the best for last. This is a very steep climb with harrowing drops on the right side. Four or five obstacles (mostly ridges) dotted the length of Cadillac.
This was the only spot where I sustained any damage. On one of the steep ridge climbs, a rock struck my brand new Bilstein steering stabilizer and I had to work to remove it.
On our way up Cadillac Hill, we had a visitor. A Western Diamondback Rattlesnake.
The rest of the trail ended pretty uneventfully. We aired back up around 5:30PM and left for town shortly thereafter.